Sailing in Maine

Sailing in Buzzards Bay

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Travels with Yakaboo

Click on any picture to enlarge it. Blog starts with the September 23rd post.

Every year during the second week of September, John Hupfield of Lost in the Woods Boatworks hosts the Paddle Rendezvous at Killbear Provincial Park near Parry Sound, Ontario, on beautiful Lake Huron. The Paddle Rendezvous is an informal get-together for people that enjoy canoeing, kayaking, and canoe sailing. Its a chance to camp out, meet new people, show what you've been working on, and see what others are doing. Nancy and I decided we would check it out.

From where we live, it's at least a 12 hour drive. If you don't get lost. The park is a few hundred miles north of Toronto, past the Muskoka Lakes region. We managed to take the "scenic route" through the lakes region and added more than an hour, but we saw some beautiful lakes and boats.

Arriving on a Friday evening just as it was getting dark, we checked in and picked out a campsite by the lake. Early the next morning, John Hupfield came by to welcome us, followed by Hugh Horton, who graciously offered to help me unload the canoe and take it down to the shore. We also met Eric Cloutier, who brought his speedy 16-30 racing canoe, Pam Wedd of Bearwood Canoe Co., who built the beautiful canvas covered canoe shown, and Skip Izon, an Olympic gold medal winning racing shell designer who built the Bufflehead for Hugh Horton.

Nancy checks out Pam Wedd's 10 year old canvas covered canoe that still looks like new. The workmanship is amazing. Pam teaches canoe building in the area.

Nancy tries out a sailing canoe for the first time.

Kicking back in light winds, Nancy shows how relaxing sailing can be.

The good thing about canoes is that they have, well, canoe sterns, so there is never any transom drag.

The lug yawl rig is easy to handle since the mizzen is self-tacking and the main sheet has a light touch. I highly recommend it.

Yakaboo II and Bufflehead at the beach. As you can see, there wasn't a lot of wind, maybe 8 mph. tops.

The amazing, multi-adjustable seat from Bufflehead. It has triangular "feet" which allow the seat to be set at 3 different heights, and adjustable back rake.

This view shows a good view of Bufflehead's leeboard, steering rods, and the width of the cockpit.

The underside has several layers of fiberglass so that it can take the ground over rocks or even coral without damage. The inside is lined with Kevlar to protect against impacts.

The park itself is stunningly beautiful, set on a wooded peninsula just north of Parry Sound. The park closes after Labor Day but they reopen it for John since this was the 12th year for the Paddle Rendezvous, so we had it all to ourselves. The weather was in the 60's and the water was still warm, but the insects were all gone. And the wildlife.... While driving down the Trans Canada Highway, I looked up on a large rock outcropping and saw a black bear, sitting there watching the cars go by like it was no big deal. A deer came right into the campsites. And the chipmunks were so tame they would come right up on your lap and eat peanuts out of your hand.

Paddle Rendezvous organizer John Hupfield is second from the left. There was a very diverse and interesting collection of paddling craft, brought together at a very remote but stunningly beautiful part of the Great Lakes. Some day I'd like to come back in a larger boat and sail the lake for a few weeks.

We had a memorable time, the highlight of the year. The people we met were all a lot of fun, and enjoyed the whole canoe sailing atmosphere. Highly recommended if you like canoe sailing.


  1. Great pix Geoff!! I'll be at the paddle rendezvous this year..... I missed last year, but have been going every year, second week of September since 2000. Looking forward to seeing everyone again this year on the water, and around the nightly campfires.

  2. Hello Geoff

    Any chance you are going to sell plans of the canoe/sailer?

  3. Hi, Smilicus-

    I've been asked for plans by someone who saw the boat in Cedar Key, Florida, so I am working on them. I guess I'll have to work a little faster!
    I estimate a month or two to complete.


  4. Thanks Geoff - I will check hear again to see when you finished.