The Viola 14 is a plywood sailing canoe that combines the light weight and portability of a wooden canoe with the performance and stability of a good sailing dinghy.
At 34kg, the hull is light enough to be lifted easily on and off a car roof rack and moved to the water single-handed.
The Viola 14 was created by Australian boat designer Michael Storer as a modern performance boat suited to raiding. Compared to his Beth sailing canoe, which uses a traditional yawl rig, his aim with Viola was for a cool, minimal mainstream boat. Storer's well-known Goat Island Skiff demonstrates that a minimal, light boat is often the fastest and has less that could go wrong. Consequently, everything that could be stripped out, was.
The hull is built from four sheets of 4mm marine plywood. Okoume (gaboon) plywood keeps the weight down as far as possible for portability. Using the stitch-and-glue method, the hull panels are stitched together along the edges and then glued with epoxy resin.
The spars are simple aluminium tubes to keep the cost down.
As well as the standard rig, two larger rig options are available, including a balanced lug rig that allows more sail with less heeling moment and makes it easier to drop the rig for going under bridges or reefing for stronger winds.
With the balanced lug rig, the Viola 14 sailing canoe has blitzed some long distance raid events. In strong winds, the Viola was out sailing when some of the other boats were deciding whether to continue or not. In light and medium winds, Viola sailed while other boats were rowed or towed.
The prototype of the Viola sailing canoe plan was built and trialled in the Netherlands by Joost Engelen and Viola Spek over the last two years.
Joost has sailed it on the sea in rough conditions a couple of times. He recommends a self-bailer for such conditions but finds steering, balance and predictability good.
The Viola has enough stability to allow Joost to stand up to raise and lower the sail and mast with no trouble.
Viola, Joost's wife, was a dinghy racer when young but has had a long break from competitive racing (apart from RAID events and fun sailing on the family Goat Island Skiff). She really likes how this boat handles and from the start, she has felt very confident to go out sailing in it. She has capsized the boat a few times and finds the recovery easy enough. In her own words, after the first sail:
What a fun and easy boat to sail!
The kit includes:
The kit does not include the mast, spars, sail or warp although we can supply them.
The 86-page A4 plans for the Viola sailing canoe are more like a book or a boat building course. They contain detailed information on each building step, including how to join the plywood, mark the shapes of the panels and use the epoxy.
The plans are highly detailed and fully dimensioned. That means that there is no poring over them with your scale rule and getting scale conversions wrong: the measurements you need to know are written in clear type and in the area that you are looking at.
The plans are in PDF format that can be viewed using Adobe Reader. After credit card authorisation the file will be sent to the email address put on the order form.