Chautauqua Plans PDF

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A sensational sailing canoe

15' 3" x 38" - 4.65m x 94cm

Maximum recommended capacity - 375lbs - 171kg

Weight: 65lbs - 30kg

Sail area: 61 square feet - 5.7m

For printed plans of Chautauqua, click HERE



Chautauqua is a SOF decked sailing canoe of the classic style developed in the late 1800's. Boats similar to her were very popular in both the UK and North America. Fierce international racing, serious cruises and day sailing were all part of the spectrum. Called "the poor man's yacht," sailing canoes were, in fact, the fastest small sailboats on the water. There are faster boats these days, but I've had Chautauqua to 11.98 knots, with the potential for more - and that seemed pretty fast at the time. And, in the right hands, she is exceptionally seaworthy; Chautauqua has been battle tested in the grueling Everglades Challenge.

Vintage sailing canoes are rare and expensive. Chautauqua, however, is accessible to even novice builders for just a small investment of time and money. She's quicker, easier and less expensive to build than any other similar boat, and her light weight makes her easy to handle both on and off the water. She can be either rowed or paddled, car-tops easily, and readies for sailing in just a few minutes. Sans sailing rig, she'll be great for fishing and able to poke into every tiny pond or backwater.

Plans are in both metric and imperial, and include full sized templates for all the plywood parts, so there's no lofting required. Plans are easy to understand, comprehensive, very well illustrated and take you step by step through the building process. Everything you need to know including materials, sources, skinning, spar making, rigging, et are all covered in the instructions.

Plans also include instructions on how to build a cruising version of Chautauqua. The cruiser has a longer cockpit that will seat two inside of it, with a leeboard to free up cockpit space. The cruiser version has enough room for a solo sailer to lie down inside, for convenient - if not luxurious - camping.

A few things to consider:

  • Chautauqua floats on her side with no tendency to turn turtle, and her side decks keep the cockpit from flooding. However, if you are a novice sailer, she is probably too narrow to learn on (kids, and spry young adults may be the exception).
  • The standard cockpit, with slave tiller, allows one to either steer from the side decks for better performance, or while seated in the cockpit, for more comfort and stability.
  • With either cockpit version, she will take two adults. But two big adults will be pretty crowded.
  • Cost? Basically she requires two sheets of marine plywood - one of .5" {12mm} and one of .25" {6mm}. Also needed are a few long cedar boards, fabric for the skin, fasteners, a small amount of epoxy, two quarts or liters of paint, et. Add the costs for that in your area and you have a ballpark figure. Around here - Virginia, USA - that was about $450USD. Of course, it's easy to spend a lot more than that if you try.
  • The cost of the sails must also be added, and they are often the main expense. You can save some money by building the sails yourself, but makes high quality custom sails for her at a very competitive price.
  • It took me a couple of weeks of part time effort to finish the hull; though your results may vary, a novice builder should likely count on 3-5 weeks, working part time, and at a leisurely pace.

All in all, Chautauqua is a fantastic sailboat that is easy to build, easy to use, and a joy to sail.

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Metric & Imperial
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