Why a sailing canoe is the ideal small boat - your adventure starts here!
Sailing canoes are small boats that are fun to sail. They are as fast as many small sailing dinghies such as Toppers or Mirrors. They have low drag easily driven hulls which are very responsive and don't need huge sails to make them go. Because of this we can use very simple Bermudan sails on unstayed masts. This makes them inexpensive, very quick to set up and fast and easy to reef when on the water. Since they can be rigged and launched in minutes, you can spend more time sailing.
A sailing canoe is easy to paddle when the wind drops. As with any open canoe you can paddle with a single paddle or with our extra long double paddle. The easily driven hull means that when the wind dies you can move the craft along efficiently at 3 knots with little effort. On an expedition, or if you are only day sailing this is important, as it means that you can keep moving on so that you can get back to the car at the end of the trip or the end of the day.
The canoe can be taken to the water on top of your car. Two people can lift the canoe onto the roof rack and it is even possible for one person alone to develop their own technique for this. A sailing canoe can be kept at home in the garage or in the garden under cover which saves on marina bills. Because it is easy to transport it is much easier to take to a new cruising ground than many other small sailing boats. A car toppable boat is much cheaper to take on ferries, if you are going abroad, than taking a small boat on a trailer.
There is a dedicated launching/portage trolley so that you can wheel the canoe from your car to the beach. The trolley makes launching easy so you do not need a slipway and it is small enough to take with you in the canoe. This means that when you land on a distant beach you can wheel the canoe on the trolley up the shore above the high water mark. Thus protecting the bottom of the canoe and your back! There are very few small sailing boats that you could do this with.
Expedition sailing canoes have large watertight hatches to stow loads of gear. These can carry enough camping gear for two people for a week, safely stowed out of the way. There is bags more room than in a sea kayak which would be capable of a similar trip but doesn't have a sail.
Sailing canoes are great little craft for exploring. They have very shallow draft and are ideal for discovering the hidden creeks and backwaters of our estuaries. We have taken them to the Norfolk Broads, sailed on the rivers and loughs of Ireland, amongst the islands of the Stockholm Archipelago in Sweden and taken them on holiday to France.
But sailing canoes really come into their own when you take them coastal cruising. Our favourite cruising ground is the West Coast of Scotland; this is one of the best wilderness areas in Europe and it is on our doorstep. Some six thousand miles of contorted coastline create a wonderland of islands, mountains, rocks and stacks and secret inlets. There are hundreds of beaches with white sand and crystal clear water in remote and uninhabited places waiting to be explored.
To read more see our articles, for example EXPEDITION AROUND MULL 2009