The 25 Expedition Lugsail Rig  £400


Old Town Penobscot with Expedition rigExpedition rigExpedition rigexpedition rigexpedition sailing rigsail outhaulkicking strapExpedition rigThis rig is a 25 sq ft lugsail and is aimed at the open canoe paddler who wants a small auxiliary  sail. Unlike most such rigs, this one is designed and made by people who know something about sailing. We use top quality sail cloth that will hold its shape and not stretch when the wind picks up. The sail is raised and lowered with a halyard so it is quick to set up and quick to lower. All three spars are only 6 ft 3" long so the rig packs into a very compact bundle.


It is stowed by rolling the sail around the boom which keeps it crease free and in good condition. When stowed it is small enough to drop into the bottom of the canoe and not to interfere with paddling but when the wind blows it is big enough to harness plenty of wind energy. A lugsail shape allows you to set a large area of sail on short spars and because it has such a low centre of effort it has very little overturning effect on the canoe.

This  sail area will propel the open canoe at faster than paddling speeds in a good breeze. With the addition of our expedition leeboard  it will sail faster across the wind and will even sail to windward. Because it is designed as a minimal rig you can use your paddle to steer, and a competent paddler will quickly find this an easy skill to master.

We recently have done some development work on this rig and we were keen to find the best way of using it to travel into the wind. Sitting still and steering with the paddle under one arm works fine in a decent breeze, but in lighter winds the results were a little disappointing.

However with the sail cleated off to the centre thwart it leaves both hands free to use the paddle. With the leeboard positioned to give the canoe a little weather helm (the canoe tends to turn into the wind) you can control the direction of travel with a paddle stroke on the windward side. If you paddle hard the canoe turns slowly away from the wind and if you paddle lightly it turns slowly into the wind. These paddle strokes add to the power of the sail whilst controlling the direction of travel. We found that with a light breeze we could travel into the wind with a few gentle paddle stokes at a speed of around 4 knots and as the wind picked up a bit we were travelling into the wind at an impressive 5 knots. This is called paddle sailing and it can be a very efficient way to travel.

If the wind is blowing at 6 knots towards you and you are travelling towards it at 4 knots there is actually 10 knots of wind passing over the sail which can generate a lot of forward force (free power to help you along). If on the other hand you are sailing downwind in a 6 knots breeze and you are travelling at 4 knots there would only be an apparent wind of 2 knots on the sail which wouldn't be able to help you much at all so down wind it is best to use your paddle behind you like a rudder.

Paddlers often make the wrong assumption that it is only worth sailing when the wind is strong and is blowing in the direction that you want to go. You can get much more use from a sailing rig that can help you whatever the wind direction and over a wider range of wind speeds.

We have recently been developing the rig to make it more controllable so that you can get more from it. We have made it loose footed with an adjustable outhaul. This allows the camber (curve) of the sail to be altered; loosened for a fuller shape for more power off the wind and tightened for  the optimum shape for sailing into the wind.

The boom has jaws on the end so that the lug can be set standing. This lifts the boom up and makes it easier to duck under when going through the tack. We also have put on a kicker on which holds the boom down and keeps the sail in twist. This means that you can adjust the tension in the sail to keep all of it working and therefore generating the maximum force.












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We have an article showing How to fit an Expedition Rig to your canoe

and an article on Setting up an Expedition Rig

We have a video of us sailing on Coniston with an Expedition Rig.

A video of Greg sailing with his Expedition rig at Tighnabruaich

and a video of OCSG members on Loch Ken using their Expedition Rigs in strong winds

The Expedition lugsails in this last video are a larger 35sq ft rig.

These have now been replaced by the Expedition Bermudan.

We make all our own sails. They are computer designed, laser cut and built to a high standard. We only use top quality sail cloth that is designed to take the forces of sailing without distorting. Cheaper sails are often made from cheaper ripstop nylon. These stretch and distort when under stress and are usually kept screwed up in a bag when not in use.

The rig is supplied as a sail on it's spars, a mast with rigging, a carrying bag, a mast thwart & mast step, and a cleat for the main sheet.

If you want the rig to sail into the wind you will need a leeboard. Our Expedition leeboard is specially designed for the expedition rig. Other things that you may want to consider are: side buoyancy bags; and a lee-board thwart - find them in Accessories.

Details of how to place an order can be found HERE

25 Expedition Lugsail Rig - Prices

Sailing RigSail Only
Expedition Rig 25
  £400    £40 p&p
£200 £30 p&p
Expedition Leeboard    £135    £25 p&p
Expedition leeboard thwart     £80     £15 p&p
Side Buoyancy bags   £90/£70 pair     £12 p&p