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Thread: Attributes of a poling-canoe?

  1. #1
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    Default Attributes of a poling-canoe?

    I took up poling again in the last days. I have a narrow solo-canoe (Mad-River Independence) which is very tipsy and a 18 foot canoe that feels like nothing can shake it. I certainly prefer the big one but have the ambition to come to grips with the solo-canoe even in small rapids.

    As not many seem to pole in Germany I would like to get your opinion on adequate poling-canoes.

    Axel
    P A D D E L B L O G______________Bunděn er bŕtlaus mađur (Bound is boatless man)

    "Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing" - Henry David Thoreau

  2. #2
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    Default

    Now your talking. I am after a decent solo that I can pole.

    Bushcraft Survival and First Aid Training.

  3. #3
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    Default What sort of poling?

    [I particularly like the new concept of a 'tipsy' canoe -translation into German 'betrunken' and you get the idea - although you can certainly feel 'tippy' without the alcohol when in a canoe].

    Poling is different all over the world, but look at some contrasts in wholly different geographical locations in North America:

    A. Poling terrain in New Brunswick and Maine is all about wide, long canoes with a shallow draft, which you can pole up wide, relatively easy rivers with solid shingle to get a good grip down under. Look for the wide eddies, forward ferry across to them, and enjoy the ride upstream! Hence the classic 20 foot canoes, such as the E.M. White Guide. Check out a company building traditional poling canoes like Island Falls:
    http://islandfalls.wcha.org/.
    E.M. White was taken over by Old Town in 1984, and they kept on some synthetic designs based on the White canoes until 1990, but then phased them out. However, as the largest manufacturer of canoes in the world, and of course based in Maine, there are plenty of the Old Town range that you can pole very happily. My own, slightly battered, OT Discovery Scout is great for family trips, but as a larger boat is so much easier to pole than my solo boat, a Mad River Explorer 15, so I can easily understand you being 'tippy' in your own MR.

    B. Poling terrain in the Atchafalaya Swamp in Louisiana River is all about a swamp boat called a 'pirogue', a surprisingly hardy Cajun equivalent of an East Anglian small punt. Many of them are home-made:
    http://www.unclejohns.com/boat/default.htm
    You need a 'web foot' attachment for your pole there, as it splays out in the mud, and then slurps out as you pull on it. There is a very good Trailside film from 1995, Paddling and Poling Louisiana's Bayou Country, which is difficult to get hold of, but gives you all the tips for this fabulous delta region of the Mississippi. The footage includes a 'campsite' when you string your hammock tent up between two cypress trees on a lagoon above the water, spanish moss all around. Poling here is all about steady progress on flatwater, and nothing to do with climbing rapids, as it is in New England and Eastern Canada. Amazon no longer have the Trailside video in stock, but you can get one on
    http://www.willowbay-adventure.co.uk/shop.shtml
    Just don't lend it: mine is out to someone on SotP, who will read this, and I am waiting for its return!

    So a poling boat and poling technique is all about 'horses for courses' and local conditions. In the UK you are going more for the 'swamp boat' if you are poling in East Anglia - indeed, 'quanting' through the reed beds has a venerable history there - whereas climbing riffles on the Severn or the Wye is 'upstream whitewater' of the Maine/New Brunswick variety. In Germany there would be a similar contrast between flatwater in, say, the Mecklenburgh lakes, and upstream on Alpine rivers in southern Bavaria.

    However, technique is much more important than the type of boat. Tom Sibbald wrote an interesting article on poling from a British perspective in 2001 at
    http://www.beyondadventure.co.uk/Tex...noepoling.html

    But as indicated many times on this site, and elsewhere, the acknowledged master of the sport is Harry Rock from Springfield, Massachusetts. His 1992 book, The Basic Essentials of Canoe Poling (ICS Books) was pathbreaking, and it has now been updated in conjunction with Colin Broadway as 'Canoe Poling: Standing Tall and Carrying the Big Stick' (Little Dancer, 2005) which is a 'must buy' for anyone poling, and which is available from all the usual outlets. It is accompanied also by an excellent DVD of Harry Rock coaching in the Lake District when he visited the Symposium, available from
    http://www.bearcreekadventure.co.uk/...llproducts.php

    The one mildly irritating thing about Harry Rock is that, whatever the make and model of canoe, he can pole it better than anyone else can! He is just pure genius, and would certainly have no problems with your Mad River. So I am really sorry to have to inform you, politely of course, that with a Mad River canoe from Vermont you are probably in the right solo poling boat to start with! It is just that it will always be a bit 'skittish' and you will need to improve your technique to master it. And with the sale of Mad River Canoes to a southern kayak maker, who has since moved their office from Waitsfield, Vermont, down to Trinity, North Carolina, the perceived wisdom is that the shape of their open canoe designs will slowly transmute from their New England poling and paddling roots as a versatile tripping canoe like the Explorer (a 30 year old design) into a specialist whitewater boat like the Outrage. Who knows? But my advice is to hang on to what you have and just keep practising!

  4. #4
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    Thank you for this lengthy answer which gives me quite a lot to read and find out (and for the advice on my english - funny idea of "tipsy canoes" when it comes to poling).

    Well I expected someone to tell me something like "A canoe for poling should be beamy, flat bottomed and relatively short" (like all these angler-versions I usually tend to wrinkle my nose at). But as you tell my that my MR-canoe would probably be the right coice for decent poling I obviously have to practice harder...

    Axel
    P A D D E L B L O G______________Bunděn er bŕtlaus mađur (Bound is boatless man)

    "Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing" - Henry David Thoreau

  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bembe View Post
    and it has now been updated in conjunction with Colin Broadway as 'Canoe Poling: Standing Tall and Carrying the Big Stick' (Little Dancer, 2005) which is a 'must buy' for anyone poling
    Do you have an ISBN number for this book? Amazon doesn't seem to know anything about it, unfortunately.

    And with the sale of Mad River Canoes to a southern kayak maker, who has since moved their office from Waitsfield, Vermont, down to Trinity, North Carolina, the perceived wisdom is that the shape of their open canoe designs will slowly transmute from their New England poling and paddling roots as a versatile tripping canoe like the Explorer (a 30 year old design) into a specialist whitewater boat like the Outrage.

    Trinity, North Carolina is a suburb of Greensboro or maybe High Point. It gets pretty rural out that way. Not much in the way of water out there (check out Google Maps and punch in "3761 Old Glenola Road, Trinity, North Carolina"). This is not a mountain town but a town a bit west of where I am down in the Piedmont. White water is available if you know where to find it but it is not the norm in this region of North Carolina (you need to get up in the mountains for that). I believe that NC address is just the address of the holding company that owns Mad River et al. I believe Mad River is still designing and manufacturing canoes up north.

  6. #6
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    Here is what amazon.de tells me about this book:
    • ISBN-10: 0955153700 ISBN-13: 978-0955153709
    They are not selling it. not even used. Maybe amazon.com does.

    But this older one called "Canoe Poling. Basic Essentials"
    • ISBN-10: 093480236X ISBN-13: 978-0934802369
    is sold used - I have just ordered one in the US since it is much cheaper to order directly than purchasing it via amazon.de.

    A really good book on Poling is "Pole, Paddle and Portage" by Bill Riviere
    • ISBN-10: 0442069588 ISBN-13: 978-0442069582
    And the good old "Canoeing" by the American National Red Cross does even have a whole chapter on Poling
    • ISBN-10: 0385083130 ISBN-13: 978-0385083133
    Ah, - reading is for the winter-months! Just practise!

    Axel
    P A D D E L B L O G______________Bunděn er bŕtlaus mađur (Bound is boatless man)

    "Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing" - Henry David Thoreau

  7. #7
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    Default more fodder

    Here's a link to my adventure poling in the Florida Everglades. There's a photo of my New Englander's version of the "Miccosukee Indian" foot for traveling through the thick, sticky, nasty marl bottom.

    http://www.voodoocanoe.com/everglades/everglades04.htm

    I use almost exclusively my 16' Mad River Explorer. I find shorter boats to be quite hard to control. Those photos in Florida are of 17' Mohawk canoes. Back when Harry Rock poled the Explorer, you could watch his moves then (try to) copy them. Now with his custom high performance boat, you can only watch in awe.
    Will Paddle for Food

  8. #8
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    Default Isbn

    [quote=viridari;38903]Do you have an ISBN number for this book? Amazon doesn't seem to know anything about it, unfortunately.

    Harry Rock, Canoe Poling: Standing tall and carrying the big stick'
    ISBN: 978-0-9551537-0-9
    Published by Little Dancer Ltd, October 2005. They are at 61 Benthal Road, London N16 7AR, England.

    One tip is that on your US site for Amazon.com, go down to the bottom and you will see
    International Sites: Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | Japan | France | China
    You can then use your fingers to come over to the UK, and if you put in 'Harry Rock Canoe Poling' you will find the book I mean, as it does not yet have a US distributor.
    Searching for canoe books is an international matter, so I often go the other way across the Atlantic to Amazon in the USA and Canada.

  9. #9
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    The recreational (as opposed to racing) WW poler should go for something with lots of rocker, lots of secondary stability and reasonable width, about the 16 rather than 14 foot mark.

    Mr Rock poles the Explorer for speed and I reckon its a good choice for anybody, but more rocker would help in WW, esp. when snubbing.

    I use a Prospector 16 from Wenonah as my poling canoe because it has lots of rocker so trim is less vital. It lacks straight line speed though which can be an issue at times.

    I have just done a trip with a guy (Mark) who poled just about everything I did using a Dagger Reflection 15, so I guess the pilots skill level is tha most critical thing.
    If it wasn't for the rain in our lives there would be no rivers. X 2

  10. #10
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    I have poled my Argosy (14'6 and very narrow!) and actually really enjoy it!

    When I bought it, I was told it'd be a nightmare to pole and not to buy it if I was intending to do any poling. I'm not particularly good at poling, nor am I confident but have given it a try few times now on slow moving tidal water and also in windly conditions with a fair amount of success.

    The reason why I like it is that the 'tippyness' enables me to control the canoe through edging and to turn easier. Once you get used to the balance, it feels pretty powerful and I would now rather pole that then any of the more stable boats I have used before!

    I'm sure all that will change though once i've tried it in any serious conditions...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tenboats1 View Post
    Mr Rock poles the Explorer for speed and I reckon its a good choice for anybody, but more rocker would help in WW, esp. when snubbing.
    Mr. Rock used to pole an Explorer. Now he poles a custom boat, very round-bottomed with substantial rocker. It was laid up by Millbrook Canoes in Connecticut, USA based on a design by Ed Hayden (I think). You can buy one from Ed, though it might be tough getting it on the airplane.

    I wouldn't want one. I'd fall out the instant I stepped into it. Us mortals still prefer the Explorer, both for competing in Class II waters and for tripping, loaded to the gunwales and covering hundreds of miles.
    Will Paddle for Food

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