Bufflehead Sailing Canoe

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Segelkanu Bufflehead, Rumpf 1 is an innovative decked expedition canoe for one or two people. It is easy to handle, versatile and with beautiful lines. It can be paddled as well as when the winds won't play nice.

You may notice that this design just looks right the first first time you lay eyes on it. This canoe has the look of balance, because the hull, deck and rig all harmonize well together. It is functional, with no extra frills keeping it simple and pure. Bufflehead is as relaxed as her skipper, in a spacious cockpit on a comfortable seat, sheet and rudder in hand, as close to wind and the water as possible. Most modern designs look tense, impatient on their mooring, as if they cannot wait to plow the water at 20 knots as soon as the moorings are released. This boat fits in with nature, like she belongs here and now. She is Zen, radiating an atmosphere of meditative calmness.

Unpretentious, Functional, Consistent, quite simply beautiful.

When the canoe learned to sail

Segelkanu Bufflehead, Rumpf 1 Canoe sailing has some history. Some 150 years ago, it was absolutely en vogue among the young gentlemen. The sailing canoe was not only used for entertainment between supper and tea but also for expeditions: John MacGregor took long spectacular trips along the coast and wrote several books on that subject. Sadly around 1900, travelling by bicycle on the then idyllic streets was invented, and the sailing canoe went out of fashion.
Bufflehead's design was heavily influenced by these boats, but she is built with today's materials and state-of-the art building techniques. Ironically, it is made like those overpowered motorboats but with its classic appearance you can sail on by in relaxed amusement with no concern for low fuel or raucous noise.

A "50-50"-canoe...

Hugh Horton, the Designer of the Bufflehead sailing canoe Hugh Horton is the Designer of the Bufflehead sailing canoe. His designs are the result of his actual experience. Hugh has travelled several thousand miles in a variety of small boats over decades. He designed this one as his perfect escape vehicle. This design is referred to as a "50-50-canoe; sail when you can, paddle when you must". Accordingly, this canoe has plenty of buoyancy with its full bow and stern sections to be a worry-free sailor. It's wide enough to allow ample sail area and narrow enough to be paddled with a double paddle. The battened sail on the short mast and spars has a perfect shape and can be reefed several times. When paddling becomes necessary the whole rig is easily stowed inside the boat. Bufflehead has payload allowances for camping gear and food for one or two weeks. Or the spacious cockpit can carry an additional passenger for a lovely day cruise. A spray skirt can be added to close the cockpit aiding in keeping the water out in rough seas.
Sailing canoe Bufflehead The Bufflehead is so light that you can carry it over your shoulder to the water; it is considerably lighter than a decked fiberglass canoe off the shelf. You can sleep comfortably inside the hull, with a mosquito net over the cockpit or tarp it when it rains. Two of these canoes will fit on a car top. When not in use, you can stow Bufflehead in a garage up in the rafters or hang on the wall, she doesn't take up much space. Canoes, generally, need neither license nor are they taxed. However, you should always check your local ordinances to be sure. Even with all these features the very functional design does not look overconstructed. In fact, it seems like Hugh Horton on his journeys did not engineer the design with formulas and calculations but rather meditated on it and allowed every part of the boat to find its natural place and its fairest shape.

... for experienced sailors...

Sailing Canoe Bufflehead Bufflehead can be sailed very wet and wild as it is a narrow boat. If you choose to push her to the limit she'll need a prudent and agile skipper. In spring and autumn, a dry suit or a wet suit is advisable. The boat has flotation bags inside, but you should always carry a life jacket. If you want to cruise for several days, you will need some grassy or sandy spot or a campground in the evening for cooking and relaxing.

... and virtually unlimited use

Bootsbauer Benjamin testet das Bufflehead Segelkanu It is unbelievable how versatile the boat is. Do you dream of an afternoon on the Lake Constance, a weekend on the Swiss Walensee followed by a descend through the Linthkanal, a month holiday on the East German lakes or the lagoons on the Baltic coast, a trip on the Loire, Rhone or Danube, along the Italian or Croatian coastline or the coast of Cape Horn? Treated with excellent seamanship, this boat can be used for all these trips like no other one. Bufflehead offers more fun for less money, more seaworthiness per kilo than any other boat. I have tested the boat extensively around Elba on several Swiss lakes and on the Kiel Fjord and could not find any faults! Click here for the technical details and equipment.

Sailing canoe Bufflehead, planks Sailing canoe Bufflehead, planks Bufflehead is not an easy boat to build. The reason is not its functionality: other designs, like Bolgers Peero, are nearly as versatile, but look like floating shoe boxes. Bufflehead´s aesthetics and the modern ultralight building technique, KevlarTM and carbon fibers, make the hull extremely tough but drive the price up and increase the construction time. Experts can build the boat so accurately that it can be varnished.

A layer of KevlarTM inside makes the fuselage very resistant to puncture. The rig is a carbon fiber laminate.

Author's note

It was a 'Merican who edited that text and made it much more comprehensive. Chuck, thank you ever so much for your work.

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