Too tender?


Curious about Wooden Canoes
As I near the point of putting real green money down on a set of plans for a boat, I have to ask a question.... are sailing canoes too tender to be considered "real sailboats"?

I love the look of them (Iain Oughtred's Macgregor in particular) and for me wanting to build a boat or a canoe is at least half of my desire for a boat. That said, I do want to be able to go out for a sail on one of our local lakes, preferably without going for a swim.

So I'm looking for a few opinions here. Should I go ahead and build the canoe or should I steer more towards something a little larger?
A typical sailing canoe will generally be more tender than a typical sailing boat which usually has a greater width. However, some practice, patience, and good common sense should keep you from swimming in either one. It never hurts to keep a good bailing bucket handy also. You may want to borrow a sailing canoe for some test runs before you decide.

A MacGregor is a lovely boat which can be fun, interesting and at times challenging to sail. Compared to something like a Laser or Sunfish, it's nowhere near as seaworthy if you push your luck - the same way that any open dinghy would have limited seaworthiness. You won't be able to take a MacGregor out any time you happen to want to go sailing and just take pot-luck for weather and wind conditions, but instead you'll learn what conditions are fun to sail in and what conditions are a bit too much. On the other hand, you'll probably be able to move in conditions where a lot of regular sailboats just sit there with limp sails. So no, it's not an all-round sailboat. It's in a class by itself with certain weather restrictions due to it's small size, narrow beam and open nature - but that doesn't mean that you won't enjoy sailing it.

Best bet seems to be the stretched version, which comes out somewhere in the 15'-16' range (extra length increases stability and seaworthiness). The ketch rig (twin sails) is the most interesting to sail as you can do much of your steering with just sail trim and the relationship between the main and mizzen. Adding a third, more centrally-located, mast step allows you to use both sails together or just one (main or even the tiny mizzen) by itself in the central step if it's windy out and you want to calm things down.

Did I mention that the boat is also drop-dead gorgeous????

Tom Moen's MacGregor


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I just started canoe sailing this year and before I sailed my canoe for the
first time I realy was not sure what to expect.
Ive been a paddler since I was a kid and built a mahogany Glen-L 10
with my father, which met an untimely end under the trunk of a 60 foot
oak tree that came down in a bad summer storm. that would be the boat
not my father!
So when I sailed my canoe for the first time I was surprised at how stable
it was, and I actualy feel that the rig makes a canoe more stable.
I can stand up and walk back and forth will under sail with ease.
and although my canoe is not nearly as sexy as the Rob Roy in Todds
post it is still an attractive boat and a pleasure to sail.
Let us know what you decide to build.
See pics under previous post sailing trip.