Sailing canoe, adding CLC outrigger

Hi All, hope your all eating your greens!!!!!

 I have a nice open sail canoe, a Lincoln approx 16' loa with max beam of approx 36". Have elected to add a single ama, using purchased CLC plans.

It seems as the manual is more geared to setting up in kayak tri configuration.

Would anyone care to chime in on the following:

-where should the ama be, in the fore/aft dimension relative to the canoe vaka for good all around sailing?

-what max beam should I be aiming for?

 I have a single mast step and will use either ACA lateen of 44 sq ft or, on heavy days, an Opti rig, Toying also with the idea of adding a new mast step up near the bow (a la Cat boat) and one abaft of the the backrest thwart, thus a yawl rig.

In that scenario, would use either the ACA or Opti sprit rig fore and a little sharpie rig of about 25 sq ft aft.

The ama will be mounted to the same side as the ama, and can be adjusted fore/aft both in terms of pivot and placement of the leeboard thwart.

Paddle steering using an outboard overhanging piece of hardwood lashed to the back rest thwart...a simple elegant way to get a fulcrum extending a few inches of the gunwale on both sides of the canoe...steering paddle always to leward of course.


All idea and thoughts welcome...


Kale Boy 

7 replies:

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RE: Sailing canoe, adding CLC outrigger

should have read : "The ama will be mounted to the same side of the canoe as the leeboard, which leeboard can be adjusted......"

RE: Sailing canoe, adding CLC outrigger

couldn you put on flaps like trim tabs to increase stability.........or air bumpers on the sides so when she tips shell gett to the bumpers filled with air which will increase bouyancy?  im looking to make my canoe more stable also but dont like the looks off out riggers!

RE: Sailing canoe, adding CLC outrigger

Hi Kale,

  I added a single outrigger to a 16' canoe a couple of years back. I was a complete newbie and had lots of fun building, tinkering and sailing. I found a single outrigger a good compromise - lots of stability at rest, great fishing platform, a blast to sail with outrigger flying, less cost, weight and setup time than double outrigger. I also liked the ability to paddle and mount a tiny 1.2hp outboard. But you probably realise all that!

Fore-aft position of ama: It is not critical - I'd say loosely speaking centred lengthwise or actually slightly foward of that. It is convenient to place foward crossbeam at mast location, then mast partner can be attached to crossbeam. This should work well with the ACA lateen, but check sail COE is close to leeboard position which should be close to hull maximum beam which is usually somewhere near mid length. Adjustable leeboard helps fine tune this. Different mast locations may be needed for the opti and yawl. 

More beam gives more stability, but more difficulty tacking. I'd go with the CLC plans, but will make one side only. My beam was probably 6' ish? By the way the 'tradition' is for the ama to be to port.

A thwart for paddle steering sounds good. Paddle steering works amazing well if the rig COE, leeboard etc is well tuned, hard work if there is strong lee or weather helm. Can also be a juggling act with sheet and paddle when tacking and approaching shores and docks. I made a kickup quarter rudder which is nice - on light wind days I can bungy the tiller extension to the rear crossbeam, lay back and put my feet up. And in general it is all a bit more relaxed and under control with a rudder.

Give some thought to lashing your crossbeams to hull, and crossbeams to ama. Lashing is a strong, cheap, flexible (ie no break) solution, probably no longer to lash 4 or 5 turns compared to say doing up a bolt requiring a wrench...

   keep us posted, Dave P


RE: Sailing canoe, adding CLC outrigger

Hey Dave P, thanks for your incisive input. Yes, lashing by all means.

I am a bit up in the air on what type of lashing attachment I will use (ama to akas)...I better start thinking harder on that because I need to close her up soon.

I'm not winning any speed records in this buid...but  I am enjoying the ride.

Paddle steering..not a big deal to learn and varying my position in the canoe, tilting the canoe and modulating leeboard angle are all useful in dialing in helm balance (assumimg everything is pretty much dialed in  with respect to mast, leeboard thwart and CE of sail. The ACA lateen rig is a nice option.....lack of reefing a problem but with the float added to this canoe,  should be able to leave the ACA rig flying  when it  pipes up a bit....


David (aka Kale Boy)


PS...leeboard is to port as will be the single ama/DES

RE: Sailing canoe, adding CLC outrigger

Hi Dave / Kale,

  here are a couple of methods for ama lashing, both of which I have used (from website of outrigger guru Gary Dierking)


Ama has vertical dowel which locates in hole through end of beam, lashed with innertube.

A description here:


But the one I really like:

Ama has wooden upright with loose hole to locate dowel in end of beam. Lashing locks it on, pivots to allow some movement. This is the BOMB, quick and easy to lash, secure, no stress... highly recommended.

See these pages on Gary's site for examples:


For further reading, Gary did a series on his blog on ama lashing:

...and on up to part 6.


We want to see pics once you get on the water,

cheers Dave

RE: Sailing canoe, adding CLC outrigger

Thanks Dave, I appreciate those ideas and images. Once I get bulkheads roughed out and installed, I'll post on what I decided upon.


David S.

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