Created By: CaveCat on July 6, 2013 Last Edited By: CaveCat on September 23, 2013
Troped

Improvised Sail

Using a different type of fabric, such as shirts or pants, as a makeshift sail.

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Trope

Proposed indices: Improvised Index, Comedy Tropes


Row, row, row your boat...

You make a sailboat and decide to sail it in a bathtub or in any body of water you can find outside such as a pond, a stream, or a lake). But uh oh! Your boat doesn't have a sail, what do you do?

The simplest thing you do is use a makeshift sail for your boat, whether it be a leaf, a napkin, or even your pants or a shirt. Sometimes may even be made of improbable materials. But that doesn't matter in most cases. Either way, now that your boat has a sail. On with ye journey!

Essentially, this is a trope where a boat or raft of any kind is devoid of a regular sail before being given an unorthodox sail.

Can be a part of MacGyvering.

Similar to this is: Improvised Parachute.

Needs More Examples


Examples

Film
  • In The Last Flight Of Noah's Ark, two bands of survivors join forces to build a boat to get back to civilization. For propulsion, flags sewn together make a sail. This might not count because the boat isn't launched until after the sail is in place.
  • In the film I Sailed to Tahiti With an All-Girl Crew a rival boater sabotages the protagonist's sails, so the eponymous all-girl crew use their dresses to patch the sails. Now he's got a sail which looks like a cut-out chain of people out of folded paper.
  • A plot device in the John Candy movie Summer Rental, where a pair of his character's under shorts are used in lieu of a sail, while entering a sailing contest against another vacationing family.
  • In Cast Away, Tom Hanks' character escapes the island after making a raft, the sail of which is a large sheet of hard plastic.
  • In Cat City, Sgt. Lazy Dick makes one out of a leaf.

Comic Books
  • The Viz character Felix and His Amazing Underpants often does this with... well, guess.
  • One Adventure Time comic had Marceline the Vampire Queen serve as a sail on Princess Bubblegum's raft by assuming the form of a giant bat and clinging to the mast.

Art
  • An early Gil Elvgren pinup ("Short on Sails") has a topless girl sitting on a raft with a bra flying from the mast.

Music
  • A Russian bard song "Blue Striped Pants" ("Little Boat"), sung to the tune of "Red River Valley", has the lyrical protagonist using the titular pants as a sail. It ends badly; wind carries the pants away and the protagonist is stranded on a boat, alone, with no means to steer and in his longjohns.

Western Animation
  • One episode of Mr. Bogus showed Bogus and Brattus sailing down the river in a raft, using Bogus's pants as a sail, with Bogus just standing in his Goofy Print Underwear.
  • One episode of Hey Arnold! had Arnold and Gerald going out fishing. They took off their shirts to make the sail on their boat. Arnold provided both his blue overshirt and his red flannel undershirt.
  • In Around the World with Willy Fog, when Inspector Fix and Constable Bully are lost in the jungle, they build a raft and they make sails out of their jackets (pictured above).

Real Life
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • July 6, 2013
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    • In The Last Flight Of Noah's Ark, two bands of survivors join forces to build a boat to get back to civilization. For propulsion, flags sewn together make a sail. This might not count because the boat isn't launched until after the sail is in place.
    • Truth In Television: on rare occasions in Real Life, this can be a highly effective survival technique when lost at sea. One such incident was logged by the HMCS Charlottetown on January 7, 2008.
  • July 6, 2013
    KZN02
  • July 6, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In the film I Sailed to Tahiti With an All-Girl Crew a rival boater sabotages the protagonist's sails, so the eponymous all-girl crew use their dresses to patch the sails. Now he's got a sail which looks like...I forget what it's called. One of those things where you make a cut-out chain of people out of folded paper.
  • July 8, 2013
    Jokubas
    This may be too different, but I'll put it here anyway for the rest of you to decide. In Quest For Glory 4, characters with magic can get out of the cave at the beginning by crossing the chasm using a Levitate spell and a ragged sheet as a makeshift sail so the air stream in the cave propels you across.
  • July 17, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    One episode of Hey Arnold had Arnold and Gerald going out fishing. They took off their shirts to make the sail on their boat. Arnold provided both his blue overshirt and his red flannel undershirt.
  • Film
    • A plot device in the John Candy movie Summer Rental, where a pair of his character's under shorts are used in lieu of a sail, while entering a sailing contest against another vacationing family.
  • July 26, 2013
    robinjohnson
    • The Viz character Felix and His Amazing Underpants often does this with... well, guess.
  • July 27, 2013
    dvorak
    Comic Books
    • One Adventure Time comic had Marceline the Vampire Queen serve as a sail on Princess Bubblegum's raft by assuming the form of a giant bat and clinging to the mast.
  • August 4, 2013
    XFllo
    Western Animation

    • In Around The World With Willy Fog, when Inspector Dix and Constable Bully are lost in the jungle, they build a raft and they make sails out of their jackets.

    It could be a page picture, for now.
  • August 6, 2013
    InTheMirror
    Hatted.
  • August 15, 2013
    TooBah
    Does it have to be fabric? Under film:
    • In Castaway, Tom Hanks' character escapes the island after making a raft, the sail of which is a large sheet of hard plastic (the walls of a port-a-potty, if I remember correctly).
  • August 18, 2013
    aurora369
    A music example: a Russian bard song "Blue Striped Pants" ("Little Boat"), sung to the tune of "Red River Valley", has the lyrical protagonist using the titular pants as a sail. It ends badly; wind carries the pants away and the protagonist is stranded on a boat, alone, with no means to steer and in his longjohns.
  • August 24, 2013
    XFllo
    More hats?
  • August 27, 2013
    Prfnoff
    An early Gil Elvgren pinup ("Short on Sails") has a topless girl sitting on a raft with a bra flying from the mast.
  • August 28, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^Which would that go under?
  • August 30, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Art I'd imagine. It only shows Toplessness From The Back so I'd think it would pass the Content Policy.
  • August 31, 2013
    Snicka
    In Cat City, Sgt. Lazy Dick makes one out of a leaf.
  • September 17, 2013
    XFllo
    About the pin up girl example, but it's also a general request for YKTTW. Sponsoring a trope is quite a lot of hard work as it is (Rolling Updates, copying examples), so it helps a lot if people write examples as they should be added. As if they were editing the wiki. Looking up for more info and trying to figure out which folder fits best takes time. So pretty please... :-)
  • September 20, 2013
    XFllo
    Why isn't this draft getting more hats? It's been up for quite a long time, there are updates noted, we have lots of examples... What needs improvement? Ot does anone have issues with tropeability?
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