Canoe Sailing

A unique sport using a unique type of craft.

Canoe Sailing at Lake Sebago

Sailors at Lake Sebago are a dedicated group, always looking for new members. There are several types of canoe sailing, but most of the races at the camp on Lake Sebago are Cruising Class sailing races. The most important distinction in Cruising Class is that the boats are steered with a paddle, rather than a rudder. Years ago (late 1800’s) when the class was first established, the goal was to use a standard, open canoe which could be either paddled or sailed – and many of the first competitive races mandated that the participants compete in both areas on different legs of the race.

Every summer, on the weekend nearest the 4th of July, the Atlantic Division Cruising Class Championship races are held on the lake.  Sailors are competing for the “Lady Bug Trophy”, a replica of the America’s Cup.  In 2023  we will celebrate the 116th anniversary of the trophy!

Sailing Rigs

Many of today’s rigs are more highly developed than the simple, triangular (lateen) sails that were first used. However, Larry Zuk , a long time outstanding sailor, boat designer and sailing historian, has designed a standard ACA lateen sail that is now sailed both in the Cruising Class and in a class of its own, the ACA Class. For the Cruising Class, the size of the sail is determined by boat dimensions, and can vary significantly for different boats.

Canoe sailing can be challenging – and more importantly – fun. Unfortunately, except for the ACA sail, you cannot purchase a “ready made” rig – and even with the ACA sail, you must make or purchase your own mast and spars.

Experience the joy of sailing

The sailors at Lake Sebago are eager to share their enthusiasm for the sport, and the Sailing Committee has several sailing canoes available to those who would like to give it a try.  In 2023 there are two scheduled “Free Sail” days when boats can be rigged for those interested.  They are Saturday, June 24 and Saturday, July 15.

There are sailing races almost every weekend from July 4th to Labor Day.  We’d love to have both spectators and new sailors, so come join us.

For more information, contact:

Sherrie Winkworth, [email protected] or
Joanie Krilla,  [email protected]

Canoe Sailing Giants

Both Tom Uebel and Larry Zuk were well known to Sebago and Sugar Islanders. They made life long contributions to the American Canoe Association in canoe sailing, racing and leadership.
ACA Legends of Paddling – 2012

Larry Zuk

Among his other contributions to sailing and the ACA he designed the ACA sail and rig as well as designed and built the highly successful Dragonfly canoes,.

ACA Presidents Award – 2018

Tom Uebel

Multi-decade winner of Canoe Sailing Nationals, coach, racing official and Sugar Island representative to the ACA and dedicated contributor to Lake Sebago.