Confused in NY


Wooden Canoes are in the Blood
Maybe I’m over thinking this problem. I’m trying to determine the best location for the mast in the 18’ HW that I am converting to sail. The canoe does not have a mast seat. I can mount the mast step in one of three locations, in front of the bow seat, behind the bow seat or in place of the quarter thwart. I don’t want to have to move it after it’s mounted. Drilling holes through the bottom of the canoe twice is not an option. The distance from the bow to the three locations is 56.5”, 70”, and 73.5” respectively. I have a 55 sq.ft. sail rig. The distance from the mast to the Center of Effort is 3’-2” more or less. The canoe has sponsons with oar locks mounted at the center of the canoe. Therefore the center 8” of the canoe is not available to mount the leeboard bracket. The leeboards would have to be mounted ahead of or behind the oarlocks. If I mount the mast in front of the seat I can set the leeboard bracket directly under the CE but that location is ahead of the center of the canoe by 1’-1”. If I mount the mast behind the seat the Center of Effort and the leeboard location would fall at the center of the canoe but the oarlocks would preclude that location. I would have to move the leeboards ahead of or behind the CE by at least 7”. If I mount the mast at the thwart location the leeboards would, by necessity, be behind the CE and behind the center of the boat. My thinking at this point is to mount it in front of the seat. That location affords the best option to adjust the location of the leeboards forward or behind the CE.

Sooo… what do you think? I went through the forum archives but I couldn't find the total answer.

Jim C.
If I mount the mast in front of the seat I can set the leeboard bracket directly under the CE but that location is ahead of the center of the canoe by 1’-1”.

That's probably what I would do. Remember, there is a fairly large fudge factor involved in these things and that they are guidelines on paper that don't always translate exactly to real life out on the water. Also keep in mind that playing around a bit with fore-and-aft trim is usually the easiest, and one of the most effective, ways to adjust the boat's handling as needed.

The only other thing that comes to mind would be investigating any possibility of using the oarlock sockets as a means of locating or attaching the leeboard bracket. Anything that has a hole in it and is quite solid on a canoe is always worth looking at as a potential multi-use gizmo.
Still confused in NY

Thank you Todd. Sage advise as usual, but being a partner in an Engineering firm I am still over thinking the project. Access to AutoCad makes it easy to draw all kinds of neat pictures to graphically see the issues.

If I mount the mast immediately behind the bow seat the CE would be at the center of the canoe. Because of the oarlocks the leeboard bracket would have to mount 7” ahead of the CE. From what I have observed with most sailing canoes the leeboards are rarely set vertical, therefore the true point of lateral resistance would actually be closer to the CE than the 7” would suggest. The advantage of having the leeboard bracket further back (than it would be with the mast mounted ahead of the bow seat) is that it would be easier to reach to raise and lower the boards when you are seated in the rear 1/3 of the canoe.

What to do…What to do…

Jim C.
I agree with Todd that having the mast in front of the seat is the best location. You can free up your leeboard mounting options by removing the oarlock bases if you don't intend to be rowing this canoe frequently. The picture at shows a sponson canoe with only the wooden pads for oarlocks (without the brass bases). This gives me enough clearance to move the leeboard bracket around freely.

So it's solved

OK, I'll put it in front of the bow seat. What can I say, a 'flatlander' goes to sea. Thank you Todd, thank you Benson. The goal is to have it all put together for the Assembly.

And I still have to finish the Crandell.

Jim C.