why a

sailing canoe?

sailing canoesSailing canoes are the ideal small boat for ADVENTURE SAILING. They give you the freedom to launch anywhere, go anywhere without the constraints of yacht clubs, marinas and slipways. Unlike most sailing dinghies they can be carried on your roof rack, are quick and easy to rig and are easily launched and recovered without the need for a slipway. All sailing can be an adventure, whether exploring local water on a sunny afternoon or a weeks long expedition in new cruising grounds.

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Sailing canoes are also highly economical with low outlay and low maintenance and running costs when compared to other types of sailing boat. There are two ways of doing it, so read on!

Interested in canoe sailing? Your options for getting started..

buy a ready built

sailing canoe

shearwater sailing canoeSolway Dory Sailing Canoes have a hull design and layout that are optimised for sailing and expeditions. They are fast, seaworthy, comfortable craft that are easy to get on and off the water. They can be rigged and launched in minutes, are easy to sail and can be efficiently paddled if the wind dies.

Click here to see our full range or alternatively select a model below. We sell our canoes to customers from throughout the UK and Europe - customers come to our workshop in the beautiful Lake District to collect their new canoe.

fit out your own

open canoe

open canoe with expedition rig


If you already have an open canoe this is an economical way to get into canoe sailing and it can be surprisingly effective.

For the serious paddler wishing to extend their range on trips we offer the Expedition Rig. It is a small, efficient sailing rig that is quick to put up and will allow you to sail downwind and with the wind on the beam. With the addition of a leeboard this rig will sail upwind. When stowed in its own small bag it takes up little room in the canoe and will not compromise your paddling. We also offer the Expedition Bermudan Rig. This sail is more efficient, reefs really easily and can still be stowed in the canoe

For the person wishing to create a truly multifunctional craft we offer the Bermudan Rig . These allow the canoeist to sail upwind as efficiently as many small sailing dinghies. It is true that when stowed there is some interference with paddling but the sailing performance is much greater than that of the Expedition rig. Click here to see our full range.

We also sell a range of rudders, leeboards, outriggers, buoyancy bags, portage trolleys and paddles. See these in Accessories

We welcome orders for our sailing rigs and accessories from throughout the UK and EU.


About Solway Dory

Solway Dory was started in 1981 by John Bull at Kirkbride on the Solway Firth. Originally he designed dories but he soon became interested in sailing canoes and went on to become the main instigator behind the current revival in canoe sailing. He was the founder member of the Open Canoe Sailing Group and did much to promote canoe sailing in the 1990s.

John retired from Solway Dory in 1998 and it became a partnership of three: Dave Poskitt, Dave Stubbs and Jan Poskitt.

In 2016 Mark Aplin joined the partnership. The previous 35 years has seen a continuous development of our range of sailing canoes and rigs and Mark has taken this further.

In 2018 Dave, Dave & Jan retired; Mark has run the business since then.

Solway Dory is located in the beautiful Cumbrian Lake District, not far from Penrith, with easy access to the M6 & A66.

We have been passionate about sailing canoes since the early 90s, sailing in the Lake District throughout the year. We regularly attend meets of the Open Canoe Sailing Group taking part in racing, cruising and training events. We particularly enjoy setting out for camping trips on the West Coast of Scotland where we are able to experience a real sense of adventure and freedom by exploring the beautiful islands, lochs and remote beaches of the Hebrides.

Facebook page.

We have our own Facebook page where we post photos from the workshop showing our latest development work, or sailing adventures. Please click on our Facebook button to see what we are doing.