Anyway enough of the theory, as soon as I received the new rig I was keen to try it out so on the first decent day I headed for Duck Bay on Loch Lomond.
Once the mast is assembled it slides up the luff sleeve on the sail and is tied off at the mast head.
Next the downhaul is cleated off which holds the whole lot together. The sail and mast can then be moved about at will and slides into the mast thwart in the canoe ready to have the boom attached. The whole process is quick and easy taking only slightly longer than the lugsail to set up (with practice I'm sure it'll be just as quick).
The canoe all set up and ready to sail.
The wind was blowing offshore at Duck Bay so the water was deceptively calm close in but from experience I knew that as soon as I ventured further out it would be choppy. I set off with the full sail out and was immediately struck by how much higher this rig would point upwind than the Lugsail (not that it's bad in this respect either). Being offshore the wind was quite gusty as well and the stronger gusts were pretty strong. I sailed about for a while then decided to land and try reefing the sail (I could have done this on the water but as it was my first attempt thought it'd be safer to do it on the beach). I just took a couple of turns of sail in to try it and see what the difference was.
It was really easy to reef, just unhook the kicker, slacken the outhaul and rotate the mast to wind the sail in, reconnect the kicker, adjust the outhaul as necessary and I was ready to go again.
This time I decided to sail a bit further so I set off beating just to the west of Inchmurrin island.
As I'd suspected it was pretty splashy further out and at times it was like sailing while having buckets of water thrown over me! The eagle eyed amongst you may notice in the picture above how much the mastfoot is causing the canoe hull to deflect under pressure from the rig. This also used to happen with my Lugsail and was an issue I was already aware of (and another reason I chose to reef the sail a bit). It's caused by the lightweight construction of my particular canoe and isn't so noticeable on heavier boats. Whilst it's not caused any problems while sailing (other than being inefficient) I've decided to do something about it now and Dave has kindly agreed to make me a braced mast thwart to dissipate the forces more away from the mastfoot and stiffen things up a bit. Hopefully I'll have the new thwart to try at the end of April.
This short video clip gives an idea of what it was like.
Pretty soon I was back at Duck Bay so I unfurled the full sail area again and sailed about nearby for a while before landing to start packing up for the day.
I can't wait to get it out in some more far flung places and explore it's potential further.