Hugh's Pages

Bufflehead Sailing Canoe Hugh Horton has lived most of his life on or next to the water. He has rowed, sailed, paddled, or otherwise small boated the US ocean coasts, Western States' reservoirs, the Great Lakes, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, England and Micronesia, and worked aboard a freighter to the Far East in 1969.
Hugh was a student at five universities principally studying engineering, geology, technical and non-fiction writing, and fine arts photography. As a teen he worked as a lumber handler in the family pattern lumber business, was a mobile home park service handyman, a roofing subcontractor, photographer, motorcycle shop owner, merchant seaman, filmmaker ('72 New York to Bermuda Multi-Hull race), construction superintendent, farmtown carpenter, and ran the lumber business. He is a boatbuilder, writer and environmental activist. He has three children and four grandchildren.
Hugh has been developing and building sailing canoes for more than two decades, with the Bufflehead sailing canoe as his most advanced design.
In the last few years, he has been pondering about a concept for "sailing... which should be accessible to all." The result is his 10'4" Clam Girl dinghy prototype, currently still in development.

Hugh's Essays

Related to Clam Girl

Cedar Key 2013 Small Boat Meet Report: Sailing with friends ... and a few days later, first ideas for what will become "Clam Girl".

"Clam Girl": A boat for adults learning to sail.

New! Clam Girl's Cat Rig: Nooks and crannys of a cat rig with a 21st century shape.

New! Clam Girl's Second Swim: The story of a false bottom and a true success.

New! Small Boat Christmas Eve: A highly satisfying colourful dinghy stroll with sons and grandchildren.

Related to Bufflehead

Build a Bufflehead, the Modern Sailing Canoe!: Essential information about the Bufflehead sailing canoe. Hugh wants you to know that before you contact him.

Summer Wind over Daughtry Bayou: Karen and Hugh trailer Bufflehead to a new lagoon for another happy cruise.

Bufflehead's New Home Water Hugh has moved to Cedar Key and is launching Bufflehead from Shell Mound in Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge.

Sailing Canoe´s Tents Tale: Tents! After a long cruising day, we sleep in your sailing canoes as well as in a cradle. A spirited article and different approaches for sleeping in a canoe and on shore.

Lower Suwannee NWR: Sailing and paddling in Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. A small sailing canoe is the ideal craft for observing wildlife and poke around the coastline.

Seats/Seats for Sailing Canoes: This is Hugh´s ticket to boatbuilder heaven, and for sure one of the most important part for canoe cruising. With a good seat, you won´t sail better... but you can sail longer, much longer. And this is one of the secrets of long-distance cruising.

Choosing a Hull for Monohull Canoe Sailing: Can an existing hull be used for canoe sailing? Hugh evaluates the ideal dimensions for rocker, beam and bow and stern sections.

Wet Exits, Wider Boats & Seamanship: In our size boats, wider is usually better.

Tales of Multi-Hullers: A discussion of monohull vs multihull approaches. There is a lot of direct, personal experience in this article.

Lateral Resistance:

Hugh digs deep into sailing canoe history. He tracks development of suitable means of lateral resistance: from Rob Roy's inch-deep keel to Bufflehead's leeboard and mount. Hugh shows how this development -among other factors- improved the weatherliness of sailing canoes.

Capsize Your Boat ~ Bailing and Flotation: Capsizing a sailing canoe - Air bags - Reboarding - Installation of flotation gear - Bailing

Flotation for Narrow Boats --- Stability after Capsize: Different types of flotation - Flotation trials - Accidents with open canoes

Related to dinghy cruising and design

New! Smallest Good Dinghy for Two: Hugh returns to Joseph Conrad's novel The Rescue, A Romance of the Shallows and Lingard's dinghy.

Ten Foot Dinghy from Kindness: Hugh enjoys dinghy sailing - and decides upon improvements on his 10' dinghy Valencia.

Vanity on Valencia: Leeboards and kickup rudder for Valencia - and a lost oarlock.

Coral Tortoise: Joseph Conrad's novel The Rescue, A Romance of the Shallows and Lingard's dinghy.

People and Places

The Gougeon Brothers: A tribute to Jan and Meade Gougeon.

They Were Small Craft Advocators: A very personal one. Hugh wrote: "It seemed all I was doing the summer of 2011 was... writing obituaries or tributes or memorials.

Adventure Races: An insight into individuals that excel in endurance races.

Cedar Key and the Pacific Northwest, 2015: Hugh reports two events, one in May, the other in June 2015.

Quest in the Frisians: Stefan and Axel take their sailing canoes to the Frisian islands, the stage of the famous "Riddle of the Sands" by Erskine Childers.

2013 Everglades Challenge, Cartoppers Meade & Marian: Portraits of two remarkable EC finishers.

Fly a Kite!: Tom buys a Kite dinghy and gets confidence on his first cruises.

A Balance with Life's Time: A highly personal essay about finding priorities in life.

Munuscong Gunkalong: A happy weekend at Ron Sell's place with friends and pets.

Tiny boat - Enough adventure: A cruise with friends, in their Stowaway 18.

Cedar Key's Clamming Sailor: Bobby Witt, a local waterman from Cedar Key, has enjoyed boating all his life. His Opti pram still gets much use...

Away: The more I think about it, the more I am sure that taking your time "being away" is a prerequisite for keeping mental health, avoiding stress burnout and just unwind your senses. And small boating is a great way to be "away" for a couple of hours.

In Boat Love: Whether it is a Conrad tale from the shallows of Indonesia - or Howard's new sailing experience in his sailing Canoe Sylph - it is all about an intimate connection between you, the wind and the water.

Aurora, of the 21st Century: Aurora is Ron Sell's 50:50 canoe, with a marconi cat rig and amazing carbon spars.

Meade´s (Small Boat) Manifesto: Why we feel that small boat building will flourish over the next years.

Hugh's Gallery

Great sailing canoe pictures


The Joy of Six10: Hugh builds teak Gunwales on Clam Girl and gives good insight into Clam Girl's purpose.

Sailing Canoes at Cedar Key: Simon Lew has made a wonderful video at the last Cedar Keys boat festival, starring Hugh Horton in Bufflehead and Bill Ling in Aku. About 5 minutes of red-sailed canoe goodness. Prepare for the paparazzi.

Planing around at the Cedar Key Small Boat Meet 2014: Simon Lew has also blogged a good number of nice pictures of that event.

From Serendipity to Bufflehead: A detailed description of the Bufflehead sailing canoe and its components

Modern decked sailing canoes: The sailing canoe history and Hugh's history on the way to the Bufflehead.

Bufflehead Design Review: A short review of the building method with pictures

Bufflehead... A 21st Century, Solo Cruising Sailing Canoe The Bufflehead sailing canoe and its predecessors. Podcast #109 Hugh Horton: Hugh shares with us how he got started sailing in canoes, talks about his trips and what it takes to build a sailing canoe. Also some history about these boats.

Back to top