After paddling my son's shiny new Ocean Kayak, my old, often-repaired Indian River canoe felt like paddling a waterlogged door. So in the interest of chasing fish along the Florida Gulf Coast's oysters and islands, I decided to add a sail. The rules of the project were that I spend a minimal amount of money and that I use what's already around the house as much as possible (it's summer and I'm a teacher).
Traditional sailing is all about performance, but performance is a relative term. My goals were to maintain my normal paddling speed (about 2.5 mph, according to Garmin) without paddling, to keep things simple, and to not ever bail out a swamped canoe.
I did some sailing when I was young, so I sort of knew what to do, and I had some old sailing odds and ends in the attic, but everything I added could be made with materials from the hardware store.
Sailing is all about the balance between the sail's center of effort and the boat's lateral resistance (imagine holding a sign at a windy protest rally - if the stick is in the center of the sign, it's balanced, if it's off to one side, the sign wants to swing downwind like a weathervane). More pressure in front of the leeboards=swing downwind, more pressure behind=swing upwind, so all the rigging needs to be as adjustable as possible for the first few attempts. I ordered the steps by how difficult they would be to change.
1. mast placement
2. sail rig
4. a way to steer (technically you can steer with the COE/LR balance but the COE changes as the wind speed changes - grrr)
Many thanks to Tim Anderson and thousands of other online canoe sailors and boat tinkerers!