- Dec 4, 2013View Source
The Marsh Duck handles wind just fine, perhaps because her shape is low and sleek, combined with good sail/foil balance. She has a dagger-board extending to about 3 feet below waterline, and a rudder extending about 16 inches below waterline. Both are airfoil shaped. I quite enjoy sailing her in all wind conditions. She's quite steady sailing as long as waves aren't an issue - somewhat like a racing dinghy which is my favorite style of sailing. With 107 square feet of sail on a light canoe, she's fast and fun, and sail needs to be reefed when winds get strong (3 reefs down to under 25 square feet currently).
Waves aren't really a problem either, but do make for an active sail. When running before the wind, particularly in quartering waves of a certain size (3 to 4 feet height, shorter than the boat peak to peak, waves will pick up the stern and push it; with strong winds I'll be surfing down the front of the waves. Depending on what's happening with the bow (pushing into or riding up the wave in front), there can be some rocking side to side and tendency to turn involved. I've experienced this a couple of times. It's not really a problem, but it is quite active since my weight is what balances things and I need to move the rudder to maintain desired course.
When sailing I generally find it easy enough to avoid capsize. Other than doing capsize testing (intentional capsize), I've only gone over once. That involved some squirrely currents and gusts that I wasn't expecting - all of a sudden she was over 90 degrees with sail in the water. I dropped in, worked around the stern, pushed down on the dagger-board and was back in and sailing in a very short time (less than a minute in the water). There wasn't even any water to speak of in the cockpit.
On the other hand, in any long, narrow, un-ballasted, light weight boat, capsize in rough conditions is always a possibility. Ocean rowing boats go through Hurricanes, and they capsize, but they are designed to self-right. I wouldn't want to be inside the cabin of the Marsh Duck or an ocean rowing boat that stayed upside down! With sail and spars in the water, the Marsh Duck would NOT self-right. Even with sails and spars stowed below decks she'd be unlikely to self-right. I'm quite comfortable sleeping inside in the places I anchor her, and would be fine out on open water if it wasn't too rough, but in really rough conditions capsize is a possibility, so I wouldn't hole up inside where I could be trapped upside down.