Hillbilly Sailing Outrigger

Hoping somebody out there will get a kick out of this, my latest hillbilly engineering project.



At this point it’s just a $30 prototype, well probably $150 if we figure-in beer… Aside from basic bouyancy/leak tests & some huge-grinned ‘dry sailing’, it’s a virgin; but I have absolute confidence in all but alignment.

Goal is to have a modest deck over the arms, and overkill stability for relaxing with the wife & maybe some wildlife photography way back in state park no wake zones. Bouyancy + distance from axis looking good.

Pontoon is an external chine screw & glue, half ton of primer & paint.

The gunwhale clamps are 2" PVC with about 1/3 ripped on table saw, forming a “C”. Bolts through 2x4 & the “C” clamp well.

Sail is of course a $9 tarp from WallyWorld.

No other pics or real tech info at this time. Google “sailing canoe cheap pages” for a few months’ worth of reading, but no real ‘for dummies’ guide that this dummy has been able to find. Winging it has been a lot of fun. I’ll sit down & do a proper write up after the bugs are worked out.

Feel free to heckle, my wife & neighbors have been for three weeks.

foam in the interior of the ama

– Last Updated: Sep-26-06 1:33 PM EST –

if it leaks, the foam will keep most water out...wait until you guys see the new pool noodle outriggers I've got...($10.00 at the most, INCLUDING beer!...don't drink lmao).

You have a leeboard don't you?

Google images....leeboard....what about a rudder?

Put the beer…
in the outrigger. Build a hinged door with a gasket to keep water out. Insulate the outrigger and it’ll keep the beer cool.

Just a thought!

IMHO nice job!



– Last Updated: Sep-26-06 1:48 PM EST –

Thanks for the foam tip! I have a few sheets of the cheap beadboard & thought of doing that along with decking, but the plan is now empty one-gallon juice jugs. This would allow filling a jug (or four) with water for last minute ballast.

I have a board for leeboard, still need to taper the edges & mount. For maiden voyage I plan to attempt steering with the leeboard and/or paddle. Possibly put an oar lock on the rear arm for a steering oar type of setup.

A proper rudder is going to be a complete project in itself with this plastic beast.

Now we’re talkin!
Thank you!

real southern engineering. Don’t forget to calculate “kentucky windage”.

compromise…fill the ama with foam around the edges…(flotation and a void into which you can put beer and ice!)

Okay, okay!
You’re way too accommodating for a troll. Did the old hostile purist crowd move out or are they the grumpy night crew?

…And all this talk of beer is making me thirsty.

My main concern with lining the ama with foam was blocking view of the seams during first few trips. Your mention of creating a void makes sense though, you talked me into it. Juice jugs will still fit if only the bottom & walls are lined.

I’m sure beer would make fine ballast, can’t help but imagine my wife (doing her best Samuel L. Jackson) yelling “stop drinkin’ the ballast, b##ch!”.

Liquid Nails melt beadboard? Off to read labels…

Kentucky Windage
Thank you!

Funny you mention the windage, judging from your profile pic it’s experience. We’re up in Florence, aka ‘Cincinnati-Lite’; deep in the Ohio Valley. The wind changes direction every five minutes.

The maiden voyage will be in Indiana Windage, at Brookeville Lake. About an hour north. They have an impressive sailing marina up there, complete with crane. We were up there paddling during the sailboat races last month, and that’s what triggered this whole mess.

Ceasar Creek, Ohio will be the second trip. If any of you are out there & see a couple careening downwind & screaming bloody murder, don’t panic. We’ve done the calculations and everything is under control.

One problem

– Last Updated: Sep-26-06 7:49 PM EST –

The beer will be out of reach! So what you have to do is put the outrigger on a locking pulley system. When the need arises, release the outrigger and pull it in with the pulley system. When done, reverse!


A beer out of reach is a sad beer.

Sliding arms are high on the list of needed improvements, I figure this would make launching/landing much easier. If any of you guys are familiar with “D” rings (typically used in network cabling industry), I’m looking at them as a possible answer.

The embarrassing truth – here in The Land Of The Free, beer/alchohol is forbidden in state parks… But that’s a topic for a whole 'nother forum.

Cool! I want to try this
but I don’t think I would want the outrigger. Is it necessary? I’d rather have my beer in the same boat so I can reach it easier. More weight in the bottom to increase the CG, should be ok right? Cooler fore and aft to keep the mast upright. Hmmm, just a thought. I better go get another beer and read this again and check out the pictures. Maybe print them actually.


Looks good!
Have you been over to Yahoo Sailing canoes?

Lots of good stuff there including pics of my rigs.


Outrigger Optional
Thank you!

I needed the outrigger because this canoe is a flat bottom, and the seats ride high. A sudden gust of wind from the side would dump us right now; as mentioned above the wind changes a lot around here. Original plan was to sit on the floor, but that’d be kinda silly with these seats.

In a traditional canoe with good secondary stability, you could run with the gunwhale riding the water. Much faster & more thrilling, but we’re just in it to relax.

Thank you!
Yes, the months of googling led me there many times. I never registered for the group, will do that.

Foamy Thoughts
Been thinking about getting some foam into the ama. I’ve read there’s a liquid pour type of expanding foam often dumped into WW canoes.

Then the thought expanded.

Ooof, sorry.

You could build a plywood mold lined with wax paper or cellophane before assembly, drop in a skeleton frame for rigidity & arm mounts, then cross your fingers & pour. Cross fingers again & collapse mold… Instant foam outrigger.

If anyone tries this before I do & gets rich, please give me a job.


– Last Updated: Sep-27-06 1:10 PM EST –

That's a long drive for me. I usually day sail at Eagle Creek here in Indy and occasionally Raccoon Lake (son has a cottage there). I have been to Monroe lake a couple of times.

I have been sailing canoes the past 5 years. Currently sail a homebuilt decked 50/50. Since paddling the Missinaibi I try to pick an annual wilderness trip that will include some form of sailing.

This summer we paddled 100 miles of Lake Superior from Hattie Cove to Michipicoten. Beautiful trip!