CANOE, and CANOEING (Sp. canoe, canoe, from Carib cainioa 1. Strictly speaking. a canoe is a light boat designed to be propelled by a pad dle held in the hands, without any fixed support ; and in the main that is correct, although in some cases canoes have an auxiliary sail, to be used under favorable conditions; and, for mod ern sporting purposes, some use sails only and no paddles.
Early canoes were merely a few thin strips of wood laid across at tied together, and bent upward, so as to form a. frame Much like an umbrella-frame upside down. over that a skin was stretched and sewn. With this primitive canoe rivers and estuaries were crossed. It existed until quite recent times in Ameriea, and does so to-day in the Irish and Welsh coracle.
The tree, hollowed either by nature or tire, was the second stage of evolution, and canoes of this kind are common on the African rivers to day. Upon them the bulk of the commerce of the continent was carried until lately, and it is therefore not surprising to find specimens of than in the familiar dugout of the Southern States. The islands. of the Pacific, depending upon the adjacent sea for material sustenance, and having little available timber, naturally pro duced the first builders who made a canoe out of planks. Those in Samoa are regularly built of several pieces of wood of irregular shape. fas tened together with sennit and cemented all over with gum from the bark of the breadfrnit-tree, to prevent their leaking. Where the South Sea Islanders had larger timber, as did the Philip pine Islanders, they built from a single tree trunk, with an outrigger, and sometimes two, excepting on the canals and rivers, where the space was too narrow for them. In some of the islands t WO canoes were lashed together, like the catamaran (q.v.) : in others, fixed outriggers extended from cavil side. In het, the design and method of propelling the canoes of Polynesia are endless in vv.riety, but all masterpieces of adap tability to the conditions of their locality and their use. Wonderful sailors, too, are the natives who, in them, undertake even long sea voyages, far out of the sight of land, in passing from one group of islands to another. The coasts of tha mainland of Siam, Burma, and China swarm with canoes. America, too, has a great variety, from the skin-covered bones which the Eskimo paddles in the Arctic seas to the shallow canoe which the Seminole poles in the Everglades of Florida. But probably the perfection of canoe building in America was accomplished by the primitive inhabitants of the wilderness of waters in the great. Northwest, who stretched the bark of the birch over a framework of marvelous lines and produced a craft which for lightness, safety. and endurance has no equal in the world; and lightness tells where the necessities of portaging over heights of land, from watershed to water shed. and around waterfalls or rapids, is a fre quent necessity. In this canoe the canoeist kneels facing the how and applies the force of his paddle either on one side entirely, correcting its force by trailing it as a rudder, or alternately first on one side and then on the other. It is possible to paddle one of these canoes from Lake George to the gulf of Mexico; and if the canoeist turned north instead of south he could go to the Arctic Sea.
Modern canoeing as a sport largely owes its popularity to two men in England who built canoes capable of being either paddled or sailed. and took long pleasure journeys in them—John Macgregor in the hob Roy between 1866 and 1869, and linden-Powell in the Na (Has. The sport rapidly spread on both sides of the Atlan ti•. dividing itself into two schools, sailing and paddling, and naturally into two classes of de signs. The Canadian (or birch-bark pattern). Open and undeeked, built of basswood or cedar. or even paper or canvas, was chosen by the pad dling fraternity. The sailors took for their first ideas the two English boats, the lob Nog, a lap streak built of cedar strips. about 14 feet long by 26 inches broad. excellent for easy rivers and coasting, but bad for rapids and portaging. or the Nautilus, which was designed exclusively for sailing. American ingenuity soon busied it-elf with inventions. and every device which could lessen weight was adopted. Charles 11. Vaux in vented the stationary sent and tiller about I882. Paul Butler added, four years Inter, the sliding scat, on which the canoeist balances away out over the side of the boat, more like an acro bat than a sailor. Then followed years of elab oration in reeling and lowering sails, ending with the adoption of standing sails which cannot be lowered or reefed; mid experiments with folding centreboards without numher. Finally, the well or cockpit was done away with, save a depression in the deck, of small size, and some six inches deep. This tendency to convert the canoe into a machine, and the consequent Winning of every con test by the few men could handle them, has been largely responsible for the lessened interest ill canoe-racing contests, but as a pleasant sport and slimmer pastime it still numbers its devotees by thousands.
In America, the New York Canoe Club was founded in 1871. The American Canoe Associa tion holds an annual meeting extending over a fortnight, the first week of which is devoted to camping out and cruising, and the second to rac ing. It associates the Northern (Canadian Asso ciation. with 47 clubs), the Eastern (Atlantic, with 32 clubs), the Central (with 26 clubs), and the Western. Each of these divisions holds sec tional meetings. but numerous clubs exist which do not belong to any association.
In Great Britain, the Royal Canoe Club was formed in 1866, and it. has ever since been the principal organization, with headquarters at Kingston-on-Thames. near Laudon. There is an other, the British Canoe Association, which de votes its attention entirely to cruising.
Consult: Macgregor, A Thousand .!Miles hi the Rob Noy, The bob Nog on the Baltic, and The Rob Roy on the Jordan and the Red Sea (Lon don, 1874 ) : Baden- Powell, Canoe Trareling (London, 1871) ; Watery Wanderings (London, [SSG): Canoeing and Camping Out (Bell', Handbooks, London. 1893) ; \'aux, Canoe Handling (New York. 1888) ; Ilenshall, Camp ing and Cnnocing in Florida (Cincinnati, 1884 I ; Neide, 77cr Canoe A urora's Cruise from the Arli r6ndar•s to the Gulf (New York, 1885) ; Ste phens. ranee and float Building (New York, 1891).