Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Sailing Canoe Story

“You do not put a sail to a canoe, said a relative,” teasing me up.
Yvon R. Lalonde, Ste-Émélie-del’Énergie, Québec Province, Canada

Editor’s Note: Real’s first language is French and he asked me to make corrections for him, which I did, but only where needed. I left much of his article untouched so as to maintain the quality of his "voice."

What’s the hole for, I asked the salesman at sportcenter? Some people put a mast there and go canoe sailing. Huh! Are you kidding? But he showed me a products list from Sportspal Company, makers of good aluminum canoes. Nice, I said, and 2 weeks later, I purchased the sail outfit!!! (Sail, Mast, Leeboards). I went sailing with my brother two weeks later. We went downwind, but it was impossible to come back windward. Few more weeks later, I went sailing again, alone, no experience, sitting at the rear seat trying to sail, then a small breeze made canoe to capsize!!!!

That was my first experiences in canoe sailing. “You do not put a sail to a canoe, said a relative,” teasing me up. Others said I was dreaming or a bit nuts. So after a while I quit sailing canoe, cuz I thought they might be right. Three years passed until one day in September 2007, while paddling with another relative, a very light breeze made me dreaming again about canoe sailing. My relative lives in Switzerland and by the end of that month, he was back to Zurich.

I began looking literature and pics on Internet, see how people were sailing a canoe, I learned about leeboards, real lift able rudder instead of a paddle, rigging, all parts, from leeboards thwart to mast thwart, and from cordage to blocks and so on. "If they can do it, so do I." The Web is an awesome source of informations. I was lucky, a friend of mine gave me a fine book from a French writer (written in French, my mother language), all about canoe, from natives' birch bark canoe to modern Royalex, aluminum, fiberglass, polyurethane and last but not the least, his majesty—the cedar canoe. All my needs were in that single book. How to sail, mastering wind. Making masts, leeboards, thwart, rudder, sails. But I was terrified about capsizing again.

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