Posted by: ukhbbr | June 14, 2008

Canoe ‘Fly’ – 1889

I find it fascinating to read about sailing canoes from the late 19th Century. In many ways things have not 16ft long and 30in beam ‘Fly’ could have been built last week or 119 years ago:

Paul Butler\'s Canoe Fly 

Paddle and Sail, February 1889 wrote this about Paul Butler’s Canoe Fly:
“A REAL LITTLE SHIP SHE WAS CALLED at the meet last August. Rigged like a yacht. Planking and deck are of Spanish cedar, smooth skin, well varnished and polished up to the last notch. Fittings are scientifically made, light strong and in exactly the right places. the centerboard trunk, in the middle of the canoe, prevents sleeping in the hold. Otherwise it is an honest cruising canoe, a wonderful sea boat, having excessive freeboard…

A little over 100 feet of sail, perfectly balanced, no ballast. Canoe is very stiff, sails wonderfully close to the wind, maneuvers easily and quickly, weathers a blow and a heavy sea . Uses hoisting sails, each with a single reef worked by gathering lines from the cockpit. The rudder, centerboard and hangings, tiller, deck seat, mast blocks and rings, cleats and running rigging, were specially designed by the owner and worked out under his eye, as the whole boat was, in fact.

The canoe was built up to the limits – sixteen feet long by 30 inches beam.

Lost in 1888 to Eclipse but was ahead of her in heavy air until at the finish the wind died.”




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