So OK, what did I buy?


Wooden Canoes are in the Blood
Actually I know what I bought, but not the build details. It's an Old Town double ended boat, serial #137321. Maybe some kind person can look it up when you have nothing to do. 16', CS grade

It was a Craigslist purchase with a staggering price of $200. Came with two six ft. oars and full sail rig. Previous owner started working on it removing outwales, which are now lost, canvas etc. before losing interest. Two pair of oar locks and OS stems were removed and saved. Two broken ribs, no rot. Sail rig appears to be a Spirit Sail?? Measures out at 60 sq.ft. Mast is 10 ft. tall, foot of sail is 8 ft. Dacron sail is good condition with only one very small fixable hole. I'm not sure how or where the the mast was stepped the step has gone missing so I'll need help when I get to that point. The distance from the bottom of the mast to the boom is only 16" so it's going to be quite low over the gunwales. No leeboards - maybe they are not needed?? Rudder is pictured and set up with a push/pull stick rather than rope steering.

So if any of the canoe sailors have advice - I'm all ears.

Actually included with my $200 purchase was a second canoe - I had to take both or "No deal." It's a junker of dubious origin and unknown parentage. I'll have to take a couple pictures and start another thread with that one. Maybe it's a jewel in the rough but I doubt it.

Jim C.


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Nice score! No mast step is why you take crew along.........:D

These things are pretty cheap, too! Just look at the price.


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Is it a Spirit Sail? How does the gaff attach to the mast, just lashed on? I presume there must have been a mast thwart that has gone missing as well. I am a long way from needing to know but how far forward should the mast be stepped and are leeboards needed?

This boat is actually big enough that I could take it out on the Hudson with less concern than a canoe. The Hudson by me is a mile wide with serious boat traffic.

Jim C.
Yes, it's a boomed spritsail (many don't have booms, but when used, they give better downwind performance). The sprit is held up and tensioned by a small, simple rope tackle called a "snotter" (I have no clue where they ever came up with such a lovely name for it). The snotter hangs from a small bump or fitting, probably about half-way up the mast. It could be a wooden bump, or a small fairlead or eyestrap screwed into the mast. When setting up the boat, the snotter is tensioned snugly enough to create a bit of a crease between the tack (lower forward) corner of the sail and the peak (top rear corner where the top end of the sprit attaches to the sail). Once you fill the sail with wind and tension the mainsheet, the crease goes away and you have a smooth sail. A fairly typical snotter is shown in the drawing below.

If this boat was ever sailed, I'd think that there would be evidence of a mast step on the floor. I can see where a mast thwart might be missing, but the step would usually be screwed in place and leave screw holes. In any case, we generally want the center of the sail pretty close to the middle of the boat, or a little bit forward of the middle, meaning that the mast will probably need to be 4'-5' forward of center. I wouldn't expect it to sail very well using just a canoe-style keel for your lateral resistance, so leeboards are in order, and the bracket for them should also be near the hull's center, and under the sail's center. Despite being kind of a contraption, leeboards actually work pretty well, especially in cases where you may need some adjustability to get all the parts of the rig working together well and you really don't want to be drilling lots of new holes in the boat. Once rigged and adjusted, I would expect that boat to sail pretty nicely.


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On the mast in about the right location are two screw holes where I suppose a cleat was located to anchor the gaff. I will have to inspect the hull bottom looking for the mast step location. Thank you very much for your help. A wealth of knowledge as usual.

One pair of oars came with the boat. I'll have to keep my eye out for a second pair. Then both my kids can row while I sit in the back with a drum setting the pace just like in the movie Ben Hur. What do you think the chances of that working out? Not!!

Jim C.
Build sheet

Al Bratton sent me the Old Town build sheet on this boat and I have attached it here for those who might be interested. Thanks, Al

Jim C.


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