The success of a canoe as a sailing craft depends largely on the proportioning of the sails to the boat and the work to be done on their proper fitting, and on the perfection of all the smaller details of the rigging. Most every known rig has been tried on canoes, all but a few having been in time rejected, so that to-day but three types are at all popular with canoeists-the leg of mutton, the lateen, and the lug.
Before deciding on the shape of the sails, the first question is, How much sail to carry? a question only to be decided by a comparison with other boats and their rigs. Attempts have been made to formulate expressions by which the area of sail may be calculated when the dimensions and weight of the boat are known; but in a canoe the greatest elements in carrying sail are the personal qualities of the canoeist, his skill, activity, daring. prudence and good judgment; and their value is easily appreciated when on the same canoe one man can carry 100 square feet of sail, while another will hardly be safe with fifty. This being the case it is impossible to calculate what area a canoe will carry, but a comparison with similar boats will give the average cruising rig, the canoeist making such an addition to it as he considers will suit his individual wants.
Another uncertain element in carrying sail is the character of the water on which most of the work is done. If on a river or lake, among hills, where squalls are sudden and violent, the sails should be small, and the arrangements for furling and reefing them as complete and reliable as possible; if on open water, where the wind is strong but steady, a large sail may be carried, fitted with an ample reef for rough weather.
Whatever area be chosen, the almost universal practice with canoeists is to carry two sails. The cat rig, though simple, requires larger and heavier spars, a large boom and a high center of effort, and is more difficult to handle, as far as setting, furling and stowing sail, than the main and mizzen rig; and, on the other hand, a jib has been proved to be of little use, as it is difficult to set in a boat where the crew cannot go forward; a number of lines are needed, it requires constant attention, is useless when running, and of little benefit when doing its best. By having the bulk of the sail forward, it can be easily reached, is always in sight, draws well when running, and can be quickly spilled without losing the power of luffing, while the mizzen aft requires very little attention, luffs the boat promptly and keeps way on her, and even if neglected, can do little but bring her into the wind.
In a long, narrow boat like the canoe, the sail should be spread well fore and aft, long and low, rather than narrow and high, as the propelling power will be as great, and the heeling or capsizing power much less, and this end is best attained with the main and mizzen rig.
In order to obtain a proper balance of the sails, it is necessary that their common center or the point at which, if a force were applied, it would balance the pressure of the wind on the sails, which point is called the center of effort, should be nearly in the same vertical line with the center of lateral resistance of the hull, which latter is the point at which, if a string were attached, and the boat, with rudder amidships and centerboards down, were drawn sideways, it would advance at right angles to the string, neither bow nor stern being ahead. These points would be described in technical language as the common center of gravity of the sails, and the center of gravity of the immersed vertical longitudinal section, including rudder and centerboard.
The center of lateral resistance can be ascertained by drawing accurately to scale, on a piece of cardboard the outline of that portion of the hull below the waterline, including rudder, keel or board, taking it from the sheerplan, then cutting out the piece and balancing it on a fine needle stuck in a cork. The point on which it will balance is the center of lateral resistance.
To ascertain the center of effort, some calculation is necessary. A sail draft is first made showing the sails, masts, hull and center of lateral resistance, the scale being usually 1/4 or 1/2 in. to the foot for a canoe or small boat.
First, to determine the area of the sail, if triangular, a line is drawn from one angle perpendicular to the opposite side, or to that side produced. Then the area will be equal to one-half of the side multiplied by the distance from the side to the angle for instance, in the triangle B C D in the first figure, which represents the calculations for a sail of 89 square feet, a line perpendicular to C D would not pass through B, so C D is produced to g then 12 ft. 3 in.x7 ft. 6in = 91.87/2 = 45.9 ft., area of B C D. If the sail is not triangular it may be divided into several triangles, each being computed separately. The sail shown will first be divided by the line C D from throat to clew; the area of B C D has been ascertained to be 45.9 ft., and similarly the area of A C D is 42.9, then the entire area will be 88.8 ft. A shorter rule, and one that in most sails is sufficiently correct, is to multiply the distance A B by C D, and to take half of the product, but in a high, narrow sail, this would not answer, as in this case, where 16 ft. 4 in. X 12 ft. 3 in. = 200/2 = 100 ft., or an error of 11 ft. The area being known, the center of gravity of each triangle is next found by drawing a line from the middle of one side to the opposite angle, and laying off 1/2 of this line, as in the triangle, B C D, where half of C D is taken at a, a line, a B, drawn, and 1/2 of it taken, giving the point d, the center of the triangle. The point c is found in a similar manner,
and we know that their common center of gravity must be on the line c d, Now, dividing the sail by a line, A B, into another set of triangles, A B C and A B D, we find their centers at e and f, and drawing the line e f, its intersection with c d will be the center of gravity, and consequently center of effort, of the entire sail.
To determine the common center of two or more sails, a vertical line is drawn just ahead of the forward sail, and the distance of the center of each sail from this line is measured and multiplied by the area of the sail. In the drawing, showing two balance lugs of 45 and 20 ft., the cruising rig, for a 14x30 canoe, these figures would be 40 X 5 ft. 2 in. = 232, and 20x13 ft. 7 in. = 273, or 505. Now, dividing this sum by the total area of the sails, or 65 ft., we have 505/65 = 7.77, or 7ft 9 in., the distance of the center of effort from the vertical line. In this case, the center of effort of the sails and the center of lateral resistance of the hull will fall in the same vertical.
To be safe, a boat should always carry sufficient weather helm to luff easily, or in other words, when sailing on the wind, the leverage of the after sail should be enough to require that the helm be carried slightly on the weather side to prevent her coming up into the wind, then if it be left free she will luff instantly. To do this requires in theory that the center of effort should be aft of the center of lateral resistance, but in the calculations it is assumed that both sails and hull are plane surfaces, while in reality they are both curved and the wind pressure is distributed unequally over the sails; while the pressure of the wave on the lee bow, aided by a decrease of pressure under the lee quarter, tend to shove the boat to windward, independently of her sails, so that she will have a greater weather helm in any case than the calculations show, varying with the fullness of her bows, and the center of effort may often be placed some distance ahead of the center of lateral resistance.
It will be seen from this that such calculations are not absolutely exact, but they are the best guides we have, and if the calculated centers, and actual working in practice of different boats are recorded, a comparison will show what allowance is necessary in the case of a similar boat.
In planning a canoe's sails then, three things should be kept in view; to distribute the sail well fore and aft, keeping a low center of effort; to keep the latter about over the center of lateral resistance, and to keep as short a main boom as is consistent with the first point.
In order that a boat should sail equally well with her board up or down, the center of the hoard should come under the center of lateral resistance, otherwise, if the board be forward and the boat balances with it lowered, on raising it, the center of lateral resistance at once moves aft, and the center of effort being unchanged, the greater leverage is forward, and the boat's head falls off.
If it is necessary to place the board well forward, it may be done by using a small mizzen, a reef being shaken out in it when the board is raised. A mainsail is sometimes rigged and tried with a cheaply made mizzen of any shape until the proper balance is obtained, when a suitable mizzen is rigged permanently. The simplest rig for a canoe is the leg of mutton, or, as it is sometimes called, sharpie rig, consisting of two triangular sails, requiring only mast, boom, halliard and sheet, and on a narrow boat, where but a small area can be carried, they will answer very well, but where a large spread is needed, the spars must be so long as to be unmanageable; for instance, to spread 60 square feet, with an 8 ft. boom, would require a mast 16 ft. above the deck. Another disadvantage is the necessity of using rings on the mast, as they are liable to jam in hoisting and lowering.
A simple sail, once used on canoes, is the spritsail, but it was abandoned on account of the difficulty of handling the sprit in so small a boat. The ordinary boom and gaff sail is also objectionable as it requires two halliards and the rings on the mast, are apt to jam.
The lateen sail, as adapted by Lord Ross, is much used on canoes, especially the smaller ones. It has the advantages of a short mast, low center of effort, and few lines; but the yard and boom must be very long, the sail cannot be furled or reefed when before the wind, and it is not suited for large areas. The lateens introduced by the Cincinnati C. C. are practically leg of mutton sails, the yard peaking up into the position of a topmast, as shown in the drawing. The ordinary lateen rig consists of a triangular sail laced to a yard and boom, both spars being jointed together at the tack, and a pole mast with a spike several inches long on
top. A brass ring is lashed to the yard near its lower end, and a jaw (a) of wood or metal is fastened to the boom, a short distance from the forward end. In setting the sail, the yard is lifted until the ring can be hooked over the spike on the mast, then the boom is drawn back, lifting the yard, and the jaw is dropped in place around the mast, the operation being reversed in taking in sail.
The following method of reefing the lateen (see p. 83) was devised by Gen. Oliver, of the Mohican C. C. The fore end of the boom is fitted with a jaw (b) which encircles the mast when the sail, is set, making a leg of mutton sail, while on the boom is a jaw (b). In reefing, the jaw (b) is removed from the mast, allowing the boom to come forward until a touches the mast, the slack of the sail being taken in by a reef line, d d d. One end of this line is made fast at the tack, it is then rove through grommets in the sail, and the other end made fast on the leach, the slack being taken in by hooking the cord over a screweye (e) on the boom forward, and another aft. Another similar plan dispenses with the jaw on the end of the boom, using instead a second jaw on the boom near the first, the shape of the sail being a little different, but the details of reef line, etc., the same.
Another sail devised by Gen. Oliver, and called by him the "Mohican" sail, is intended to combine the short boom and facility in reefing of the balance lug with the short mast of the lateen.* (* This sail is little used at present, and the name "Mohican" is applied solely to the settee sail described on page 159.)
Fig. A represents the sail set. The short mast with pin, and the spars toggled together of the Ross lateen, are used with the addition of a jaw at the end of boom. The sail is set in the usual lateen manner, and the spar, B, becomes virtually a high mast, and is treated as such. Four very light bamboo battens are put in the sail to increase the area, and the sail is attached to the spar, B, as far up as the ring, and from that point to a batten (a), and this batten is attached to B by halliard, b which passes through block to foot and back to hand. The sail can be lowered by halliard (b) or taken off mast, A, in the usual manner of lateens.
The first reef is taken by letting go halliard and pulling in reef line (one being the continuation of the other) until batten touches boom. The Dot's reefing gear is used in this instance, and works admirably. The second reef is taken by unshipping boom C from mast A and hooking it again to A by the jaw. Batten No.2 drops to No.4, and the slack is taken up by reef line, as shown, and the sail becomes an ordinary lateen. The halliard and reef line may be made fast on boom, and should be so when sail is stowed away.
This sail can be unshipped and stowed exactly as the lateen, and with the same advantages. It is always stowed on deck, made fast to side of coaming; and it has the reefing advantages of the balance lug, the short boom, and the height to catch light winds with none of the disadvantages as to many ropes and high masts.
A is the jaw; B, the spar or topmast; C, the boom, Fig. B shows sail with one reef and Fig. C, with two. First reef can be taken in before the wind; second reef can not, unless first reef is repeated with a parallel batten. In case leg o' mutton form of sail is used the area is much reduced, but all but No. 4 batten may be omitted, and the sail made fast to spar B by rings, and hoisted and lowered as in ordinary leg o' mutton sails.
The old sliding gunter is no longer used, as it was difficult either to hoist or lower the topmast with any pressure of wind on the sail. Within the past year (1888) the gunter rig has been revived, with better results, see page 192.
On a canoe, the nearer the sails approach a square. the shorter boom and yard they require for any given area, and the easier they are to handle and stow. All things considered, there is no sail so easily set, reefed or furled as the simple standing lug. The head of the sail is laced to a yard on which a ring b is lashed, while the foot is laced to a boom, in the forward end of which an eye is spliced. On the mast is a brass traveler a, formed of a ring to which a hook is brazed. An eye is formed on the upper part of the hook in which the halliard c is spliced, while the downhaul e is spliced to the hook itself.
The halliard and downhaul are sometimes in one piece, the lead being from eye in traveler through block at masthead, thence through double block at foot of mast to cleat on side deck; thence through double block again and to hook of traveler, the latter part forming a downhaul. The tack d is an endless line rove through a single block on deck at the foot of the mast and a screweye near the well, and having a toggle spliced into it. To set sail it is taken from below, the eye in the end of boom toggled to the tack, hauled out and belayed, then the yard is lifted, the ring hooked on to the traveler, and the halliard hauled taut and belayed. The downhaul is led outside of the sail, the latter always being on the same side of the mast.
Where a large area is to be carried, as in racing, the best sail is, beyond all question, the balance lug, a modification of the sails long in use in China, which was introduced to canoeists some fifteen years ago. In this sail a portion projects forward of the mast, greatly lessening the outboard weight when running free, as well as the length of the boom. The sail is spread on a yard and boom, as the standing lug, but is so hung that a portion hangs forward of the mast, about one-seventh to one-eighth of the boom being forward; thus, a sail of 7 ft. on the foot will have no longer boom when running free than an ordinary sail of 6 ft. on the foot.
To handle a large sail quickly and certainly a number of lines are needed, some of which may be dispensed with at the will of the skipper, but we will give all in the description.
One peculiarity of these sails, a feature also derived from the Chinese, is that they have a light batten sewn in a hem on the sail at every reef, keeping the sail very flat, and permitting the use of reefing gear instead of the ordinary reef-points.
The sail always remains on the same side of the mast, on either tack, being permanently hung there. On the yard just forward of the mast is a short piece of line (g), having an eye in one end, and a wooden toggle in the other, and abaft the mast is a thimble, k. The end of the halliard has an eye spliced in it, then in setting sail - supposing, as is usually the case, that the sail is on the port side - the halliard is passed through the eye k, around the starboard side of the mast, and toggled to the eye in the line g.
The boom is rigged in a similar manner, with thimble (k) and tack, the latter, about 5 ft. long, being spliced to the boom at l and leading around starboard shIn of mast through k and block m on deck, to cleat; or the tack may be fast at l, lead through a thimble lashed at starboard side of mast, then through eye k and to cleat on boom. In these sails the luff must be set up very taut to keep them flat, so the tack and halliard gear must be strong.
On each batten a short line (o), called a parrel, is made fast just forward of the mast, fastening with a toggle to an eye p on the batten abaft the mast, allowing such play as is necessary in lowering sail or reefing. These parrels confine the sail to the mast, keeping it flatter, and distributing its weight more uniformly over the entire length of the mast, thus easing the strain on the masthead.
A topping lift is usually fitted, being in two parts, one on each side of the sail. The lower ends are "crowsfeet," as shown, the main lines leading through a block at the mast head, and uniting in one part, which leads through a block at the deck and to a cleat.
Another line, t called a jackstay, is made fast to the masthead, leads down outside of the sail, and is made fast to the mast just above the boom, or it may be led through a thimble on the boom to a cleat. Its purpose is to hold up the fore end of the boom in reefing and lowering sail. A down haul is also rigged to gather in the sail quickly, especially an case of an upset. It is made fast to the yard near the eye, h, and leads through a screweye or block on deck. The main sheet is made fast to a span, or for a large sail a single block travels on the span, and the sheet is rove through it, one end of the latter having an eye in it. When running free the entire length of sheet is used, the eye bringing up in the block and preventing it unreeving. but when closehauled the eye is hooked over a cleat on the afterdeck, and the sheet is used double, giving a greater purchase and taking in the slack.
For racing with very large sails, backstays are sometimes necessary, leading from the masthead to the deck on each side, one being slacked off, and the other set up in jibing. When not in use, the slack is taken up by a rubber band. In rigging the mizzen, the jackstay and backstay are omitted, and the topping lift is a standing one, made fast to masthead and boom. the sheet being single. * (* A later and improved form of balance lug is described on page 225.)
The following method of handling a balance lugsail written by Mr. B. B. Tredwen, and published in the London Field some time since, refers both to the large racing sails, and to a cruising rig also: "The difficulty which is experienced by many canoeists, appears to arise from the needless labor of taking off the sail every time the canoe is housed. I have always found it best to keep a mast for each sail, a cruising mast and a racing mast, and the respective sails are never taken off their masts except for washing or repairing. Similarly the mast which has been last used on the canoe is always put away with the canoe, either unstepping it, and laying it on deck, or lowering it (if a lowering mast be used) and letting it lie with a lashing to keep it in place.
If, however, the canoe must be left in the open, it is necessary to remove the mast and sail, which is very easily done. Having finished sailing and come alongside the boat house, the topping lift is let go and the after end of the boom comes on deck; then the tack must be slacked, or if the tack is a fixture, the jackstay must be slacked a few inches. The reeflines should next be gathered together, and stowed into a fold of the sail, the halliard and hauling part of the topping lift, similarly stowed in a fold on the opposite side of the sail, and the main sheet cast three or four times around all.
All the lines leading to the masthead (topping lift, halliards, etc.) should then be gathered to the mast about two feet above deck and a tyer put around. The after end of the sail can now be brought up to the mast and tied there, and the whole let run into a long bag and stowed away in the boat house.
When next going out for a sail, the mast is stepped, the tie of the boom end to the mast let go, and the sail brought down to the deck, the mainsheet cleared from around the sail, the topping lift set up, and the reeflines allowed to lie in the fore end of the well. The jackstay being set up, sail may be hoisted at once. The trouble when under way of reeving two reeflines through two screweyes, and knotting the ends for the sake of keeping them in their places, appears to be a detail scarcely worth discussion.
If the mast and sail are not taken off the boat at the end of the sail, there is not even the trouble of untying the knots in the ends of the lines. When my canoe sails have not been put away by a stranger, I can always get under sail in five minutes.
In a cruising sail there is no necessity for the tack to lead along the deck, or even along the boom. I have always cruised with a fixed tack about 6 in. long, made fast to the lug of a triple pulley on the mast for the reefing gear to lead through.
The only occasion on which the tack need be started is in racing, when the wind is very light and the canoe is sailing between high banks. The tack may then be eased up until the yard is hoisted chock ablock, so as to get the sail as high as possible; at all other times a standing tack will do without any part on deck."