MacGregor Canoe

Iain Oughtred


  • Length

    13' 8" - 4.17m

  • Beam

    31" - 0.80m

  • Draft

    -

  • Weight (kg)

    27

  • Sail Area

    57 sq ft - 5.3 sq m

  • Time to build (estimate)

    140-200 hours

The early canoe sailors were an inventive lot, and magazine articles of the time show just about every conceivable variation of almost every likely rig - and not a few unlikely ones But the battened balanced lug was the most popular for cruising, with its combination of low area, controllable driving power, and the ability to adapt quickly to any conditions, without the crew having to tramp up and down the boat. Most reefing systems were however quite complex, with many tiny blocks and lines designed to haul down the batten to the boom at several points, along with the tack and clew, all by hauling on one line. This has here been simplified to a modern single-line reefing system which hauls the tack and clew only, cleating on the boom, with a couple of reef points which can be tied in whenever it's convenient. Synthetic sailcloth, being stiffer, is less inclined to flap around uncontrollably if not properly tied down, so needs less in the way of restraint between the tack and the clew.

Many and devious also were the contraptions designed to fulfil the function of a centreboard. There simply is nowhere to put a proper board in a canoe without it taking up virtually half of the limited room in the boat. One solution was the fan-type bronze plate, which fitted in under the floorboards, but must have been as inefficient in use as it was expensive. The single asymmetric leeboard, with its flat face outboards and a line cleated amidships, has proved itself to be surprisingly effective and easy to operate on the larger skiffs. In a canoe it is even easier to flip over to the new lee side, as she comes through the wind.
The MACGREGOR can be built 13' - 7" or 15' - 8" (4.14/4.77). The shorter length is obviously the most practical when space is limited. Otherwise the 15'-8" size may be the most useful for all-round cruising, sailing, and general messing about, if she is to be used fairly often with a crew of two, but still has to be easily manageable by a single-hander, both in and out of the water.

MacGregor Canoe 2nd image