After the last portage on the Adlatok we paddled onto salt water and the scenery around us changed dramatically. There were not trees and the rugged, barren mountains looked inhospitable. We’d entered Inuit and Polar Bear country. When we felt wind against the back of our necks, we pulled over to raise sails. Ted had come up with this sail rig idea earlier in the trip and we’d already used it successfully a few times.
Here’s how to rig it up:
Mast add on: Wedge a paddle on either side of the canoe between your carrying yoke and gear. Use rope or carabiner clips to further secure them if need be. You can also place the paddles in the bow in front of the carrying handle.
Grab Your Bag: Slip a thick grade carpenter’s garbage bag over the two paddles.
Go where the wind blows: This set up only really works with a tail wind.
The beauty of the rig is that it can be set up and taken down very quickly and neither paddler needs to hold the sail to operate it. More complicated rigs often are more effort than their worth. With any canoe sail, it’s very important to take it down when you pull your boat up on shore. Otherwise, a strong wind can blow it back into the water and carry your boat away.
We watched a pod of Minke Whales pass us as we were wind bound on a point, with the communication towers of our final destination, Hopedale, in sight.
Burning some drift wood and a discarded toboggan, I slept out for the night, hugging the fire rocks for warmth when the wood ran out. Still windy but paddle-able, I woke the crew at the crack of dawn, and we went for it. Our month-long Labrador adventure was drawing to a close.