The International 10 Square Metre Canoe is the worlds fastest single-handed monohull sailing dinghy, with a unique feature of a sliding seat that enables the helmsman to place his or her weight a long way out from the side of the hull. This makes the International Canoe (IC) an exhilarating and challenging boat to sail. The hull is one-design, but the deck layout and sail plan are subject to minimal restrictions. The first world championship was held at nearby Hayling Island in 1961 with foreign competitors from the USA, Germany and Sweden unable to beat the British.
Peter Nethercott made the most recent changes to the Canoe hull – which has remained a basic one-design since 1971. Thirty years seems like a long time to retain the same shape, but there are minimal restrictions to deck layout and sail plan, so long as the main and jib only add up to 10sq m.
Rig control systems have improved alongside sailing techniques, with wood being superseded by carbon as the favoured material for hulls and decks, in addition to spars. Stiffer, lighter boats mean that 10kg of the all-up weight can now be provided by correctors, keeping older boats in the class happy until the time comes for weight reduction all round.
The most recent innovation is the asymmetric spinnaker, which has resulted in the class being split between those racing in IC Classic (ICC) or IC Asymmetric (ICA) mode.
Canoes are sailed by a small band of enthusiasts. Around 20-25 boats turn out for most open meetings, with all boats currently raced less than five years old. Hayling Island SC has the biggest fleet, while Ullswater SC packs the most talent having scored 1-2-3 at the nationals and 1-2 at the Europeans.
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