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Solo Canoe Sailing

In this video, Dave Rossetter demonstrates how to set up a sailing system in a solo canoe using a pole and a purpose-made sail and paddling downwind with it in place.

Great, we've looked at some skills journeying upwind and across the wind. Now, it's time to look at some journeying skills downwind. We're gonna look at trying to harness the power of the wind, and as a solo paddler, I'm gonna set up a sailing system from a sail using my pole and a purpose-made sail.

To set that up, we've got a thwart that's got a hole already into it with a mast foot, and using the narrow end of the pole, we can slide that down through and work it into its mast foot. My sail then slides over the top of the pole and down. And we've got a little bit of a strap here, and this is nice to hold the sail down tight. So just tying it round, just with a couple of half hitches, and that just holds the sail down.

To give the sail a shape, using the other end of the pole, we've got another sleeve, and then we need to hold that in place just using the last little bit of the strap, and that clips in to there. While I'm sailing, then, I could be in, and I've got the use of my sheet here to be able to hold that and change my direction, as required. It's a little bit fiddly to set up when it's like this, but there's some times we can actually have it set up already and we'll just be needing to slide the mast into the mast foot.

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Okay, we're gonna use the wind on the way back down. So I've just got myself orientated nose into wind, mast is already set up, we pop it in, into the mast foot. We'll go all the way down, unwrap, and pull it in, and away we go. Just using my paddle, just to help with the steering, and what I can do with the rope is, I'm just going to kneel on it just now because we've got the sail set. I'm just gonna kneel on it, and I can steer away. If I want to change direction, I could pull in, and I could just use a little jam just to help me. Away we go.

This video is courtesy of Glenmore Lodge in Scotland featuring instructor Dave Rossetter
Glenmore Lodge offers a range of Open Boating / Canoeing courses from April to November covering flat water, white water, journey skills and even multi-day expeditions.

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