• Fitting out an Open Canoe - Notes from Scottish Canoe Exhibition - 29 October 2005

    Notes from Scottish Canoe Exhibition - 29 October 2005

    Fitting out an Open Canoe, given by by Claire Knifton http://cknifton.co.uk

    Her canoe is a Wynona Prospector-15 - the best in her opinion, wouldn't swap it [it was kitted for one]

    Bow/stern Loops: Drill clear through the hull, at least 50mm (2") from any edge and use 8-11mm loop. These are needed for carrying, broach recovery, etc. without the clearance many loops will pull out, as do fastened-in bow/stern pieces

    Swin Tails: add a 2m doubled tape (lark's foot knot) to the bow/stern loops for swimmers to hang onto (i.e. when you go and get them). Otherwise they grab your gunwhale making the boat un-steerable and possibly tipping you in! (and they are easier than painters to hold)

    Swim line: A light weight floating line, stowed in a throw bag, one each end, with a 0.5m clean end lying out for grabbing as you take a swim(i.e. self recovery). The other (bag) end is clipped to the bow/stern loop and the bag is also strapped down. The line colour should be your unique emergency colour [so you grab the right one]. The length should be sufficient for 75% of river width, so you can swim to shore, stand up and swing boat back to shore before the boat, still in main stream, drags the line out of your hands. The line is sized for convenient handling (6-8mm) rather than use as a recovery rope.

    Keep the boat clean: Don't have loose bits of tat hanging around as trip and entanglement hazards. It is not good for ease of trimming either. Clean (wash out) the grit and bits from the boat suitably often as airbags will get holes from the entrapped grit.

    Lashing points: If you use P-clips, don't fasten them to the side of the gunwhale. It might be easy to do but they pull out easily. Fasten them under the gunwhale so that the fastening has a side pull. [or see http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...hread.php?t=11]

    Protect airbags: Protect airbags from the sun - because the heating effect can cause them to pop.
    Use a piece of carrimat between the airbag and the tie downs as this provides protection from both sun and spikes (and dogs paws).
    Fully lash/tie in your airbags. They can easily squeeze out under full water flow if not fully lashed in. (The cooling water reduces the internal pressure and they are pneumatically compressible as well!)
    Claire uses a large airbag reaching all the way to the 'front' seat, and then has a large D-ring on the floor to shorten the airbag when paddling double (letting some air out).
    A lorry inner tube can always be used as a cheap alternative, though harder to pump up.
    Protect the underside of the airbag from grit.
    When trying to lash the front of the airbag into the bow, use a nice simple tie-wrap to reach through the bow tie hole, through that awkward to reach front airbag fastening, and out the other side. Cheap and easy!

    An easy sail clamp: The sail mast is formed from a split poling pole. The part with the button is the mast. The one with the hole (for the button) is boom. The mast clamp is two pieces of wood (30-35mm wide, 15-20mm thick, length = seat depth + 20mm + 40mm). These clamp over/under the seat with coach bolt & wing nuts, and have a mast hole through. A simple foot plate can be used if needed. It can even be bonded in.
    The sail is arab dhow style, the mast goes up a sleeve on one edge, with the boom being at an angle more like a Y, up at a diagonal. The boom fits in a sleeve and with a tension string using the pole's button hole. The last corner of the sail has the control string ('sheet') for the sail. [you hold this ]

    Kneeling thwarts: make sure they are at the right height. You should be able to get your feet out easily for simple tumbles in rapids. Make sure the twart is not so strong that you can't break out of it if the water flow collapses the bottom of the boat onto your foot. Entrapment is a possibility.

    Hip blocks: if you find you are of slight build relative to the boat & gear, then add a hip block at the end of your seat/thwart to allow some lean/pressure, especially for ends of kneelers. The block can have a wedge angle on it for comfort.

    Packing & pack leash: Use a large rucksac/drybag to hold all those smaller drybags and bits. It keeps the kit together and is easier to move around for trim.
    For the leash use a 3x long piece of line and then do endless slip knots. This gives a nice grippy lanyard effect, with the ability to quickly extend the line when needed. A single carabiner at the end allows easy clipping to the boat. Most recommend that gear should not be tied hard into the boat, but on a short lead so the boat can be emptied and righted independantly of the gear. [the gear can be tied together for stability, just not to the boat]
    The same 3x method can be used for the lining bridle, it gives lots of attachment points when linked under the boat between thwart attachment points.

    Paddle Carry: When in a group, it is easy to thread a paddle shaft through each bow/stern loop and have two persons at each end. This lightens the load greatly and you can carry much further. It is more efficient.

    Philip Oakley
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