“Canoe Rig” – an amazing way to expand the possibilities of what a canoe adventure could be

Canoe Rig: The Essence and the Art : Sailpower for Antique and Traditional Canoes, by Todd Bradshaw, is one of those books that stakes out a new piece of turf in your mind. In this case, that turf is the possibilities of adding spars and canvas to the traditional canoe. Bradshaw presents, in great, well-illustrated detail, a set a rig options and associated hardware for setting sail in a canoe. He also outlines, canoe background and sailing theory, as well as I have seen it done. His artwork captures the concepts amazingly well.

The canoe, as my father noted in flipping through the book, is not the most obvious choice for conversion to a sailing rig. Bradshaw seems to accept this point, noting that the sailing experience in some of the scenarios he sketches out is fairly exciting and that one may need more attention to matters hand than one does in, say, a Flying Scot. Maybe that is what is so compelling to me about the book – it presumes traditional designs and hardware yet sketches out a world we don’t think about. It is not new, of course – many ideas come from the days of Rushton. The arts of this little realm of boating, though, have been lost to modern options, and Bradshaw’s rescue of them is as commendable as it is exciting. As is apparent, my idea of adventure involves the small, simple, and traditional. Bradshaw’s rigs taking an able adventure craft and give it new possibilities. This one is definitely a keeper.

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