"A little canoe sailed down the bay,
Good bye, my lover, good bye;
It bore the flag of the ACA,
Good bye, my lover, good bye;
In eighteen hundred and seventy-one,
Good bye, my lover, good bye;
The New York club was first begun,
Good bye, my lover, good bye."


"More honored in the breach than in the observance."


1. All canoes being alike, of course, if you master the management of one you can readily handle any other. Likewise, sailing being sailing the world over, if you can command a ship or schooner, or sail a sloop, you can sail a canoe as well.

2. Sailing needs no especial practice. If you once master the principles it is a waste of time to keep at it all the while to prepare for a race or cruise. Sailing has this advantage over paddling, in which practice or training is necessary.

3. Ballast is rather useless, after all ; but, if you do use it, leave it around anywhere in the canoe, so you can get at it easily. It doesn't much matter if it happens to slip down to leeward when the canoe heels; you can easily counterbalance it by leaning over to windward.

4. During the season don't bother about overhauling the gear, especially the running rigging, for having got it once right, in the spring, it is sure always to slay so.

5. Airtight compartments are useless and unnecessary. They are bulky and heavy, taking up valuable stowing room. They are never useful unless an upset occurs ; and no well regulated canoeist ever upsets. So don't have them.

6. Be sure to put plenty of cleats around on deck and coaming, so one is always handy to belay a line. Never mind fastening a line twice to the same cleat. The canoe is so small you can easily see all the lines, and put your hand on the right one at the right time. To be sure these cleats will at times tear clothing and bark knuckles, but such trifling things must be borne with patience.

7. Have a centerboard. Place it in canoe when built almost anywhere out of the way of the seat in the well. You can easily get the sails to balance ; besides, it don't very much matter whether they do or not. Keep the board up always when running free, even in a heavy sea-you will thus go faster. When coming on the wind, after running free, trim sails, etc., and don't bother to think of dropping the board; you will be sure to remember it before going far on the new course.

8. In coming about, jam the tiller hard down, and do it very quickly; the gear being strong will of course stand the strain and then the canoe comes around so much quicker when the rudder is at right angles to the keel.

9. Have a very large dandy, to give a good weather helm.

10. When the breeze increases during a race be the last one to shorten sail ; you will thereby sail faster than the rest, and then when you do have to reef you know it can be done very quickly, and the reefing gear is sure to work perfectly. In a race don't you bother about keeping the course, but watch the other canoes, do as they do; you will thus know what is going on all the time

11. When turning a buoy give it a wide berth so there will be no chance of fouling it, say about thirty or forty yards. When on the wind, in a squall or puff, don't let up on the sheet, nor is it well to luff; the canoe is sure to go down to her bearings and stay there till the wind lets up.

12. Always use a seven-foot paddle, because you have been taught by the fathers that it is the best. They can't possibly be wrong; though they had only twenty-six inches of beam, and your canoe may be thirty-one, the one rule holds.

13. Jibe whenever you can; it is very easy; the sail comes round all by itself. When jibing it is a good plan to be thinking of almost anything else than the event in hand.

14. Never bother to fasten the hatches down over any loose parts of the canoe. In the very rare event of an upset some one is sure to pick up everything floating off; and then, too, there is so much less to think of in righting again.

15. Have plenty of length of line in the halyards and sheets, so pieces can be cut from them at any time when you need them. Long lines rarely get tangled.

16. Never fasten the dandy-sheet. No case has ever occurred when it got away and drifted aft from the sternpost block. If it should happen you can easily reach back with the paddle and get it again.

17. In paddling always leave the dandy-mast up. If it happens to be in the way when running under a pier you will be sure to be notified of the fact before you get through.

18. Wear heavy shoes to protect the feet; an overcoat, too, is a good thing to keep handy.

19. Oil skins such as sailors and fishermen wear are cheap, and therefore hardly dressy enough for a canoeist, even in stormy weather. That they furnish a perfect protection against rain is not a sufficient reason for carrying them. It is much better to get wet and be uncomfortable at any time than to look common, even though there is no one to observe.

20. In running rapids don't bother to inspect them first. The chief charm about rapid running is to have it all a constant surprise. So don't spoil that pleasure.

21. When the season is over, and the canoe housed for the winter, don't bother to clean up or repair, or dry the sails. There will be plenty of time during the winter fur all such work. Never insure a canoe against fire; it being so near the water always, if a fire should start in one it could easily be put out.

There may be some other points worth forgetting.


146 Appendix.


IN 1870-71 Mr. Alden and a number of other gentlemen known to him, became interested in canoeing reports from England. The New York Times published several articles on the subject and awakened an interest in it. Mr. Alden was instrumental in forming the New York Canoe Club, and in getting drawings of a canoe's lines from Mr. Baden-Powell, from which James Everson built a fleet of canoes for the club. A summer cruise and a winter club dinner were the sum and substance of canoeing among the members till the year 1879, when a club house was built and the club found a home. By this time canoeists were becoming less rare a production of the United States, and other clubs were formed. The New York club regatta in 1879 brought out some ten or more canoes not on the club register and gave the sport a fresh start. At the club's first regatta, very early in its existence, dame Rumor has it that every canoe under sail upset. This naturally threw cold water on sailing. A summer cruise of four of the NYCC members is described, with some variations, in "Canoeing in Kanukia."

There are so many clubs now in the country with carefully framed constitutions and by-laws, and a printed copy of them is so easily obtained by writing to the secretary of a club, or to the canoe editor of the FOREST AND STREAM that the space given up to such matter in the first edition has been filled with notes comments and suggestions of more importance to canoeists generally in this, the second edition of the book. Canoeists wishing to form a club and needing good models on which to frame laws for the government of their club when formed, are referred to the above authorities for information. As the following rules are rarely printed in club books, they are here given as suggestions merely.


147 Appendix.


I. A berth will be assigned to each canoe, in which it must be kept when not in use. All sails, rigging, and other belongings, must be neatly stowed in or near the canoe to which they belong. Canoes shall be launched at once on removal from house, and shall be returned to their respective berths as soon as practicable after coming in.

II. No canoe shall be used by any one except the owner without his express consent.

III. Members are at all times expected to leave the house in as good order as they find it.

IV. Each member must furnish his own bathing suit.

V. Every member shall be entitled to keep one canoe in the house. Should extra space be required to the crowding of the house, a charge may be made for each additional canoe, in the discretion of the Executive Committee.

VI. Each member is entitled to a locker, for which $- will be charged per year. The Secretary will furnish a house key to each member.

VII. Members of the American Canoe Association shall be entitled to the privileges of the house for one week, and longer by permission of Executive Committee. The courtesy of the Club will be at all times extended to other canoeists within reasonable bounds.


I. All general regulations relating to the government of the Club House shall originate with the House Committee, consisting of three members appointed by the Commodore.

II. Complaints must be made in writing to a member of the House Committee.

III. The Committee shall keep posted in the Club House copies of ferry and local railroad time tables, fixtures for the Club and ACA notices of meetings, etc.

NOTE. The member's name must be placed on his locker and canoe berth.


148 Appendix.


THIS organization was formed at Lake George in 1880. The Canoeing described in the foregoing pages has been made possible and greatly influenced by the yearly meets, regattas and rules of the ACA A copy of the year book containing the constitution and by-laws of the Association, together with much other useful information to canoeists, lists of members, racing programs, how to join, etc., can be got by addressing the secretary, whose name and residence will always be found in FOREST AND STREAM Canoeing Department.

As the ACA regatta rules and canoe classes have been adopted by clubs everywhere they are here printed for the benefit of readers not ACA members.


Each Canoe may carry a distinguishing signal, rectangular in shape, 12x18 inches. The Association signal shall be carried at the peak of the mainsail, the officers' or private signal immediately below it; national and club signals at discretion.

NOTE. -- This arrangement is adopted to secure uniformity, at least in regard to the Association Signal. Lugs and gaff-rigged sails are the only ones which have an available masthead, but every rig has a peak to the mainsail, and this was selected as the most conspicuous practicable point.



A canoe to compete in any race of the ACA must be sharp at both ends, with no counter stern, or transom, and must be Capable of being efficiently paddled by one man. To compete in ACA paddling races, it must come within the limits of one of the numbered classes, I, II, III, IV; and to compete in sailing races, it must come within the limits of either Class A or B.

CLASS I. -- Paddling. - Any canoe.

CLASS II. -- Paddling. - Length not over 15 feet, beam not under 26 inches. Depth inside from gunwale to garboard streak, at any part of canoe, not less than 8 inches.

CLASS III. -- Paddling. - Length not over 16 feet, beam not under 28 inches. Depth as above, not under 9 inches.

CLASS IV. -- Paddling. - Length not over 16 feet, beam not under 30 inches. Depth as in Class III.

CLASS A. -- Sailing. - Length not over 16 feet, beam not over 28 inches.

CLASS B. -- Sailing. - Length not over 16 feet, with a limit of 30 inches beam for that length. The beam may be increased 1/8 inch for each full inch of length decreased.

The greatest depth of a canoe in Classes A and B, at fore end of well, from under side of deck amidships to inner side of garboard next to keel, shall not exceed 16 inches.

 In centerboard canoes, the keel outside of the garboard shall not exceed 1-1/4 inches in depth, including a metal keel band of not over 1/4 of an inch deep. The total weight of all centerboards shall not exceed 60 pounds; and they must not drop more than 18 inches below the garboard; when hauled up they must not project below the keel except as follows; Canoes built before May 1, 1885, maybe fitted with centerboards which, when hauled up, may project below the keel, provided such projection of board and case is not more than two inches and a half in depth below the garboard, and not more than 36 inches in length. In order to be admitted in races without ballast, the centerboard or boards, including bolts and other movable parts, but not including fixed trunks or cases, must not exceed 15 pounds in total weight.

Canoes without centerboards may carry keels, not over 3 inches deep from garboards, and not weighing more than 35 pounds. Leeboards may be carried by canoes not having centerboards.



The length shall be taken between perpendiculars at the fore side of stem and at the aft side of stern; the beam at the widest part not including beading. In the sailing classes the heading shall not exceed 1-1/2 inches in depth; if deeper than 1-1/2 it shall be included in the beam.

The word "beam" shall mean the breadth formed by the fairlines of the boat, and the beam at and near the water line in the paddling classes shall bear a reasonable proportion to the beam at the gunwale. The Regatta Committee shall have power to disqualify any canoe which, in their opinion, is built with an evident intention to evade the above rules. As the minimum in Class III and Class IV coincides with the maximum in Class A and Class B respectively, a quarter inch each way is to be allowed in measuring for these classes, in order that a canoe built to come well within one class may not thereby be ruled out of the other.



None but members of the American Canoe Association shall be permitted to enter its races, and no canoe shall enter that is not enrolled on the Secretary's books, with its dimensions, etc., and no member who is in arrears to the Association shall compete in any race or claim any prize while such arrears remain unpaid.

Any member shall enter only one canoe for races at any one meet, except for such races as the program shall specially state otherwise. Each canoe shall be enrolled and entered for racing in only one sailing class and one paddling class.

CREW. --

The "crew" of each canoe shall consist of one man only, unless the program of the regatta states the contrary. Members must paddle or sail their own canoes, and must not exchange canoes for racing purposes. A canoe which is not owned or used for racing by any other member present, shall be deemed to be the canoe of the member bringing it to the camp. In double canoe races, the owner may associate any other member with himself.



All entries must be in writing on the blanks provided, and must be handed into the Regatta Committee within such time as they may direct.



Every canoe entering, except for an upset race, shall carry a colored signal flag, 10 x 6 inches on a staff forward when paddling, and her ACA number of enrollment in red block numerals 15 inches high and 2 inches broad, when sailing. The number to be on both sides of the mainsail, to read correctly on the starboard side and reverse on the port side. The clerk of the course will lend the paddling signals for each race, and, they must be returned to him, but the sailing numbers must be supplied by canoe owners.



Flags shall be given as prizes as follows: A first prize in each race, and a second in each race in which more than two start, and for the five best scores in a record of the regatta to be prepared by the Regatta Committee, the five best flags at the disposal of the committee shall be given. Prizes donated for special races or competitions may be accepted, at the discretion of the Regatta Committee. No prize of money shall be raced for.



The mode of turning stakeboats, and all directions for each race, shall be posted by the Regatta Committee on a bulletin board one hour before the race is called; and any competitor not knowing the course, or mistaking it, or not following these rules, does so at his own risk. Stakeboats and buoys will be left on the port hand, when not stated distinctly to the contrary.



No pilotage or direction from any boat or from the shore shall be allowed, and any one accepting such assistance may be disqualified.



Any canoe fouling another shall be ruled out. It shall be considered a foul if, after the race has commenced, any competitor by his canoe paddle, or person shall come in contact with the canoe, paddle, or person of any other competitor, unless in the opinion of the judge such contact is so slight as not to influence the race. In case of a foul, the non-fouling canoe must go over the course, unless disabled beyond the possibility of temporary repair, in order to claim the race. Every canoe must stand by its own accidents.



Should the owner of any canoe, duly entered for a race, consider that be has fair ground of complaint against another, he must give notice of same before leaving his boat on the finish of the race to the judge, and must present the same in writing to the Regatta Committee within one hour of his arrival at the finish, if appealed from the decision of the judge.

The sum of One Dollar shall be deposited with each protest, to be forfeited to the Association should the protest not be sustained. The Regatta Committee shall, after hearing such evidence as they may deem necessary, decide the protest, and the decision if unanimous shall be final, but if not unanimous, an appeal may be made to the Executive Committee, whose decision shall be final.

No member of either Committee shall take part in the decision of any question in which he is interested. In all cases where a protest is lodged on the ground of fouling, evidences of actual contact shall be necessary to substantiate the protest. The Regatta Committee shall, without protest, disqualify any canoe which, to their knowledge, has committed a breach of the rules.




Paddling races shall be started by the starter asking, "Are you ready?" On receiving no answer, he shall say, "Go." If he considers the start unfair, he may recall the boats, and any canoe refusing to start again shall be distanced.


A canoe's own water is the straight course from the station assigned it at starting. Any canoe leaving its own water shall do so at its peril; but if the stern of one canoe is a canoe's length ahead of the bow of another, the former may take the water of the latter, which then becomes its own water, and it shall only leave it at its peril.




The paddle shall not be used in sailing races, except for steering when no rudder is used, or when the rudder is disabled, for back strokes to leeward in tacking, or for shoving off when aground, afoul of anything, or in extreme danger, as from a passing steamer, or from a squall.


Five minutes before the start a signal shall be given, and exactly five minutes later a second signal shall be given to start. Any canoe which crosses to the course side of the starting line prior to the second signal, must return above the line and recross it, keeping out of the way of all competing canoes, using the paddle if necessary; but after the second signal the start shall be considered as made, and all canoes on either side of the line shall be amenable to the sailing rules. Canoes may take any position for starting, and prior to the second signal may be sailed and worked in any manner (outside aid not allowed). Should circumstances require it, the Regatta Committee may vary the manner of starting.


All shiftable ballast except centerboards shall be carried within the canoe, and no fixed ballast shall be carried below the keel band. Ballast may be shifted, but no ballast shall be taken in or thrown out during a race. 


A canoe overtaking another shall keep out of the way of the latter; but when rounding any buoy or vessel used to mark out the course, if two canoes are not clear of each other when the leading canoe is close to, and is altering her helm to round, the mark, the outside canoe must give the other room to pass clear of the mark whichever canoe is in danger of fouling. No canoe shall be considered clear of another unless so much ahead as to give free choice to the other on which side she will pass. An overtaking canoe shall not, however, be justified in attempting to establish an overlap, and thus force a passage between the leading canoe and the mark after the latter has altered her helm for rounding.


Canoes close-hauled on the port tack shall give way to those on the starboard tack. In the event of a collision being imminent, owing to the canoe on the port tack not giving way, the canoe on the starboard tack shall luff and go about, but shall never bear away. A canoe on the port tack compelling a canoe on the starboard tack thus to give way, forfeits all claim to the prize.


Canoes going free shall always give way to those close-hauled on either tack.


When canoes close-hauled are approaching a shore, buoy, or other obstruction, and are so close that the leewardmost cannot tack clear of the canoe to the windward of her, and by standing on would be in danger of fouling the obstruction, the canoe to windward shall, on being requested, go about, and the canoe requesting her to do so shall also tack at once.


Should two or more canoes be approaching a weather shore or any obstruction with the wind free, and be so close to each other that the weathermost one cannot bear away clear of the one to the leeward of her, and by standing on would be in danger of running aground, or of fouling the obstruction, then the canoe that is to leeward shall, on being requested, at once bear away until sufficient room is allowed for the weathermost canoe to clear the obstruction.


A canoe may luff as she pleases to prevent another canoe passing to windward, but must never bear away out of her course to prevent the other passing to leeward; the lee side to be considered that on which the leading canoe of the two carries her main boom. The overtaking canoe, if to leeward, must not luff until she has drawn clear ahead of the canoe she has overtaken,


A canoe may anchor during a race, provided the anchor is attached or weighed on board the canoe during the remainder of the race.


These rules may be amended by the Executive Committee, on recommendation of the Regatta Committee.


In case of temporary vacancies in the Regatta Committee, the senior officer present shall appoint substitutes.

© 2000 Craig O'Donnell
May not be reproduced without my permission.