"Budget adventure "
A fiberglass Canadian Canoe is a light and tough craft ideally suited for outback adventures in shallow inland lakes and rivers although if you intend to use it on large lakes such as Lake Eyre it is not recommended to venture too far from shore as seas can reach a height to swamp the craft.
The canoe used as a basis for this project was purchased via the Trading Post web site. If you monitor these sites daily, particularly in the non boating season, you will often find a bargain at around a tenth of the price of a new boat. I paid $100 for mine from an individual who bought his for an aborted attempt at canoeing on the Murray River . In the 10 years since then it had taken up space in his garage and he was eager to get rid of it. Mike paid $200 for his – still much less than the new price of over $1500!
Originally purchased as a “day play” toy to muck around in, it was soon realized that it would make a better tender than a two person inflatable to tow behind the catamaran in adventures. It can hold a huge amount of stuff (40 litres fuel, 60 litres water, 35mm Film Camera, Digital Video, still camera, battery, solar panel, esky and food barrel) and still draw under 100mm. Hence the first stage of modification which included the outrigger and outboard bracket for the trip down The Warburton to Lake Eyre in March 2004. Despite sinking it twice on the return journey (two people were required to lift the 35mm camera!) it proved much stronger when it bounced off the odd dead tree that may have punctured an inflatable.
The second round of modification was performed in a record breaking 3 weeks prior to a trip to “the outside” in June 2006. Most of the desert, including Lake Eyre , was bone dry and under drought conditions. However a brief and minor Cyclone Larry induced flood that was due to peak at Innamincka around the time we planned to arrive there. I did not want to tow a catamaran over three thousand kilometers of unmade road to sail it in a minor flood. But I had never sailed on The Cooper and the temptation was so great I thought of an alternative. A few nights searching in Google and a design began to firm for an Adventure Sailing Canoe.
The design is based on information obtained from the American Canoe Association specs at:
Other useful references I found are listed in the article where relevant. Many articles and images are available but a greater part of them gave scant information on construction and appeared far too light duty for the type of work I had in mind for this craft. For example I had doubts over the wall thickness of the unstayed aluminium mast which was given in only a few references, most describing wooden masts, and sure enough we bent it! Also the outriggers I found available for purchase were toylike.
This design was tested on The Cooper and found to be successful. In fact the First Mate appeared to enjoy the trip and I may be able to persuade her to partake in a real adventure such as a trip from Innamincka to Coongie Lakes . In late June 2007 we had three days of magnificent sailng on the lower Warburton River (and technically Lake Eyre) including a "flying" return on a south westerly breeze of 50km in one day.
In keeping with LEYC Technical Department tradition the current design is budget conscious, reasonably easy to construct and maintain and is tough enough to handle a real adventure.