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#96359 - 05/16/08 08:25 PM solo canoeing
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
So the subject has already come up - do you solo canoe? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> Canoes were originally designed for a bunch of people, including 24 foot freighter canoes. A small 2 person canoe designed for lakes or rivers is a far cry from the birch bark originals. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> The ultimate expression of the canoe may be the 10 to 12 foot solo canoes. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

What they give you in light weight they take away in hard to handle. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />The longer the canoe, the more keel, and 2 people, really help them go straight. In a solo canoe, without some experience, you go around in circles fast. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

The "J" stroke is inadequate when solo, you need a "C" stroke and you must move your center of mass forwards and backwards, <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />thus kneeling while sitting on a saddle is most effective and keeps your weight low. You move your body forward and reach out to the side with your paddle and pull in towards your center of mass as you move rearward, and then on the tail of the stroke is the "J". This can push you very fast through the water in a straight line. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

A paddle made of wood is around 5/8 inch thick and is carved in smooth curves - in fact its a hydrofoil - something capable of giving lift when moved correctly through water. So in fact you can rotate the handle of your paddle and achieve the same effect as the "J" or "C" and still only move the paddle along a straight line.

Try this next time you're in the rear - instead of a "J", at the end of your stroke, try just turning your paddle 45 degrees while pulling straight back. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />

Oh boy - next has to be skulling. The art of paddleing while keeping the paddle in the water - an excellent stealth method of approaching game. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> It also impresses the heck out of your girlfriend (boy friend).
<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

I'd love to try an UL canoe. Its gotta be the bicycle of the boat world. Like light and fast but falls over with no one on it. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" /> I had a sailboat once that was so light the wind would blow it over without someone sitting in it for ballast. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#96360 - 05/19/08 08:59 AM Re: solo canoeing [Re: Jimshaw]
HumanBN Offline
member

Registered: 05/15/08
Posts: 58
Loc: West Virginia
Yea man,

I've done some solo trips. Did a two day trip through the trough (part of the South Branch of the Potomac) in West Virginia last year. It was fun but a bit tiring. The wind was blowing up river all weekend and the river was down so the water wasn't moving very well at all. I enjoyed myself though.

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#96361 - 05/21/08 11:46 AM Re: solo canoeing [Re: Jimshaw]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
When I used my canoe solo or with passengers who couldn't paddle I "cheated" and used a kayak paddle from the stern.

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#96362 - 05/22/08 10:45 AM Re: solo canoeing [Re: Jimshaw]
gmagnes Offline
Moderator

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 562
Loc: Upstate New York
I'm a great fan of solo canoeing. For the past 7-8 years, I've owned a 16 1/2' tandem canoe, a Bell Northstar, which is very nicely suited for solo paddling as well as tandem, and I've used it for both. It's made with an asymetrical hull (more rocker in front than in stern), lots of tumble home and soft chines that make it very stable, maneuverable, and offer great secondary stablity. It's perfect to be leaned to one side and solo paddled from that side. It's not as efficient as a true solo boat, and can be a bit tough in strong winds, but it's nevertheless a very nice solo boat and strikes a great compromise between a boat that is well suited for tandem expedition paddling as well as solo paddling. It's a kevlar layup with wood trim and weighs about 48 lbs.

Now, I've recently picked up a second hand, 12 ft. pack canoe, the Bell Bucktail, which is paddled sitting on the bottom of the boat with a double bladed, kayak paddle. I'm really looking forward to using it for the many parts of the Adirondacks that have small and medium sized lakes and ponds with lots of carries in between. It's got a more efficient design than some of the other common 10-12' pack canoes that are used in the northeast, such as the Hornbecks. The couple of times I've had it out I'm really pleased with the way it handles, although I can't say I've had it yet in very rough conditions. I will say that although paddling with a double bladed paddle enables me to move a little faster, I kind of miss being able to kneel and paddle with a single blade on one side of the boat.

Gerry Magnes
Schenectady, NY

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#96363 - 05/22/08 02:55 PM Re: solo canoeing [Re: gmagnes]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
gmagnes

your 16 footer sounds nice. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

I always got wet using a kayak paddle in a canoe, but I can no longer kneel the way I used to since breaking my knee 12 years ago. I think maybe a new sit down seat and a kayak paddle could work for me, but I am a classical canoeist and the kayak paddle is just wrong. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

I paddled an 18 foot aluminum grooman out onto Lac Laronge in Canada alone with all my gear in it. Very strong winds meant no swapping sides with the paddle. A kayak paddle would not have worked.
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />


Edited by Jimshaw (06/05/08 06:43 PM)
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#96364 - 05/22/08 05:19 PM Re: solo canoeing [Re: Jimshaw]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
Jim you'd be interested in reading about an old aquaintence of mine took.....'Voyage of the Ant', james Dina...read it and get back to me <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

I used to canoe, then I found kayaks, then carbonlite merlin's, then hurt my back and do neither much any more. Fishing from shore sucks <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

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#96365 - 05/24/08 04:55 PM Re: solo canoeing [Re: Jimshaw]
Rick Offline
member

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 708
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I have three solos. 11'6" Dagger Impulse, 14'6" SunBurst and a Souris River Tranquillity in Kevlar / Epoxy layup (35.6 # complete with yoke).

A trip report of last years solo adventure can be found Here.

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#96366 - 05/27/08 08:54 AM Re: solo canoeing [Re: Jimshaw]
alanwenker Offline
member

Registered: 02/04/03
Posts: 812
I have a Bell CJ Solo, no longer made, but a great solo tripping canoe. I also have a CCS storm cover for the canoe. Cliff Jacobson's book on solo canoeing is very good if you are looking for paddling techniques.

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#96367 - 06/01/08 09:21 PM Re: solo canoeing [Re: Jimshaw]
northernbcr Offline
member

Registered: 05/26/08
Posts: 125
Loc: bc/yukon border area
the correct method for solo paddling is to sit in the front seat (with feet to boat centre) this way your weight is much more distributed across the boat it really helps to keep the wind from blowing you around you also get a much better glide this way

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#96368 - 06/04/08 12:59 PM Re: solo canoeing [Re: northernbcr]
alanwenker Offline
member

Registered: 02/04/03
Posts: 812
It's really more a matter of style. Many people prefer to paddle kneeling rather than sitting, some with a pronounced shift to one side of the canoe. I perfer to sit since my knees do not like to bend.

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#96369 - 06/04/08 07:05 PM Re: solo canoeing [Re: northernbcr]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
northernbc

When you sit in the front seat paddleing "backwards" your weight is nearer the center of the boat true, but your ability to move your mass easily from side to side or forward and back is limited. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> Of course it also matters a lot how much dead weight you have in the boat and where it is located. A boat that sits flatter on the water glides the best. An icechest full of beer towards the front is the best method of ballasting a canoe. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> I prefer to sit on a foam "saddle" that can slide into any position I choose. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />YMMV
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#96370 - 06/04/08 08:40 PM Re: solo canoeing [Re: Jimshaw]
northernbcr Offline
member

Registered: 05/26/08
Posts: 125
Loc: bc/yukon border area
i like the idea of your movable seat as your cooler lightens you could shuffle up a litle and still keep the boat loaded properly. i was going to say keep boat balanced but as cooler empty's i'm not sure where balance fits in

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#96371 - 06/05/08 07:20 AM Re: solo canoeing [Re: northernbcr]
alanwenker Offline
member

Registered: 02/04/03
Posts: 812
I re-read your post and you're talking about solo paddling a tandem canoe. In my case, my Bell CJ is specifically a solo canoe and therefore the one seat is in the center of the canoe. Wenonah makes their canoes with adjustable seats such that you can slide the seats back and forth as a means to adjust the trim.

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#96372 - 08/06/08 03:30 PM Re: solo canoeing [Re: Jimshaw]
Spock Offline
member

Registered: 01/10/06
Posts: 679
Loc: Central Texas
Jimshaw,
I've been making solo cedar-strippers of my own design since about 1990 - 13 foot, 26 to 30 pound pocket cruisers designed to go upstream. Ability to go upstream frees me from shuttles - and after all, a solo canoe is a solo canoe.

So, I've paddled 450 miles up the Rio Grande and have made several ascents on less remote rivers.

Lightweight boats and UL backpacking go hand-in-hand.

Solo canoes have a different dynamic than tandems and must be designed from the er...ground up... as solo boats, not simply scaled up from tandem designs. A good solo cruiser will track like it's on rails, but turn easily if leaned slightly.

Trim (forward to aft weight distribution) is critical. Shifting gear around is ok. Sliding seats help. A few water jugs or wine bladders that you can fill or empty as needed are very handy when not traveling loaded. Very handy when the wind comes up to prevent weathervaning.

To see what one can do and how to do it solo with a tandem canoe, watch Bill Mason's (Path of the Paddle) videos. Outstanding.

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#96373 - 08/07/08 08:30 AM Re: solo canoeing [Re: Spock]
alanwenker Offline
member

Registered: 02/04/03
Posts: 812
Bill Mason video - Water Walker really gets me in the mood to jump in the canoe.

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#147024 - 02/26/11 10:43 AM Re: solo canoeing [Re: Trailrunner]
wayman29 Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/26/11
Posts: 1
I used a kayak paddle on a 3 day tip down the Delaware river. It worked nice. I put my gear in the front to hold the bow down. I had some wind. It sure beat the J stroke. With the kayak paddles I was able to keep stride. I got video of the trip here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_gA4gKLNi0

One thing I found out was I took to much stuff. In the spring I am going to try the kayak.

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#151644 - 06/19/11 01:41 AM Re: solo canoeing [Re: Jimshaw]
bmisf Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/03
Posts: 629
Hi, Jim - been a while since I've said hi!

I have a Hornbeck Blackjack solo canoe - if you ever make it down to the Bay Area, I'll lend it to you to try out:

http://www.hornbeckboats.com/boatgallery/blackjack/bj.htm

These were made for the lakes and streams in the Adirondacks, near where I grew up, but are fun for out here, too. My next adventure is to try it in Tomales bay with some kayaking friends; I've been thinking of making a spray cover for it to make it a little more friendly for rough waters.

- S

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#151759 - 06/21/11 06:59 PM Re: solo canoeing [Re: bmisf]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Nice boat, thanks for the offer. Gee I thought my 34 pounder was light. I think I'd want bow and stern airbags for open water, and recovery would be pretty much impossible, so a spray skirt to avoid swamping would be good. Can you do an eskimo roll?

I'm going to sign up for a class in a pool in Bend to learn eskimo rolls and basic safety. Theres class 5 and 6 water near me as well as about 40 miles of mellow scenic upper Deschutes river.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#151827 - 06/24/11 01:27 AM Re: solo canoeing [Re: Jimshaw]
bmisf Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/03
Posts: 629
The airbags are a solid idea - I'll rig something up before I try Tomales Bay (and probably will do the spray skirt, too), especially since I'll be carrying some gear and if the canoe swamps, for all I know, it's going down!

I can do an Eskimo roll in a kayak but never tried it in the Hornbeck - I'm tempted to try it out in some safe water but have a feeling I'll just fall out of it since there's obviously no cockpit and nothing really holding me in. Practicing capsize recovery is a must.

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#151894 - 06/25/11 10:50 PM Re: solo canoeing [Re: bmisf]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Steve,
It just dawned on me where you're going. Atleast when I was in my 20s the mouth of Tomales Bay was the most dangerous water on the US coast with a lot of drownings. The currents hit 6 knots through the upper bay and hitting any swells coming around the corner in hat current can flip you. I sailed a 12 foot boat across there and broke my mast step (where the base of the mast sits on the keel) and the mast leaned over about 45 degrees which meant that when the sail was blown flat to the water, we had green water flying past too fast to come in and swamp us. We turned around after making some repairs on the far shore of Point Reyes and sailed back, white knuckled, on one perfect tack across the wind and current and waves right up to the marina. Good luck to you, I'd never go back there again without a kayak, certainly not in a small daggerboard sailboat again. grin
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#152201 - 07/01/11 11:25 PM Re: solo canoeing [Re: Jimshaw]
bmisf Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/03
Posts: 629
Hmm - I'll definitely take a hard look before trying the Hornbeck there. My friends just paddled out to an island campsite in Tomales Bay using kayaks and did an overnight; some of them were new to kayaks, and everyone had no trouble. But I'll ask them for more details, and ask around at the kayak shops here too. I certainly have no problem renting a kayak if the advice says "no way" on the Hornbeck....

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#152254 - 07/05/11 12:20 AM Re: solo canoeing [Re: bmisf]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Hey that sounds like a really nice ride though. Do you do any "free style solo canoe"? or "Canadian canoeing"? Have you seen the videos? Its based on having some smooth calm water and balancing right at the point of capsize, where the boat presents a tiny round profile and it spins on a dime. The idea beaing graceful 360 degree turns keeping the paddle in the water and making one forward and one backward motion. But I'm sure the champions have canoes designed for that.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#152557 - 07/11/11 03:24 PM Re: solo canoeing [Re: alanwenker]
GDeadphans Offline
member

Registered: 12/26/08
Posts: 382
Loc: Maine/New Jersey
I love paddling a canoe. Something about being on a lake or river, swiftly moving through wild areas. Been white water canoeing too, nothing serious, class I, maybe II's. The J stroke and what I call the sweep stroke (I believe is your C) keeps your paddle on one side and canoe moving straight ahead. I am still perfecting them, sometimes I have to draw to straighten myself out. But with practice makes perfect.

That Machias River out here in D.E. Maine has a bunch of small campsites along the banks marked on the gazateer. My room mates and I are planning a few overnighters exploring the river, staying at the campsites, and eventually making our way to our block. Along the way there are some serious rapids in which we will have to walk our canoe around. I am talking class 6's, which I can't even fathom doing it in a canoe, let alone a real river raft. The river eventually runs right by our house, then hitting huge water falls about a 100 yards after - we're very careful at getting out of the canoe before we hit those, you betcha! Beautiful wild river!
_________________________
"To me, hammocking is relaxing, laying, swaying. A steady slow morphine drip without the risk of renal failure." - Dale Gribbel

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#152619 - 07/12/11 09:16 PM Re: solo canoeing [Re: alanwenker]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
I have been Canoeing since age of seven. I have learned a thing or two. We have always had a LoweLine 17 ft Aluminum. This is very stable but I have always hated Canoeing alone. I hate kneeling in the center. I am however, going to try siting in the front seat facing rearward. I dont beleive I havent tried this, as it makes perfect sense. Thanks , for post after 40 years Canoeing I am still learning.

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#152649 - 07/13/11 04:13 PM Re: solo canoeing [Re: Kent W]
GDeadphans Offline
member

Registered: 12/26/08
Posts: 382
Loc: Maine/New Jersey
I know some die hard paddlers's, mostly older, true down easters', that stand in the center of the canoe o.O! IDK how they do it!
_________________________
"To me, hammocking is relaxing, laying, swaying. A steady slow morphine drip without the risk of renal failure." - Dale Gribbel

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