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Thread: Double bladed canoe paddle

  1. #1

    Default Double bladed canoe paddle

    Hello,

    The other day I was alone out sailing again here in Holland (with my SD Avocet) , having great fun, using the outriggers as an extra safety requirements. But I ended up in a narrow canal with a fierce headwind, no probs there just some paddling to do, but I was wondering if I would not be better off with a double bladed canoe paddle, kayak style. I'd guess that is easier and more powerfull. I guess the interference with the outriggers and boom won't be too bad, will it? Has anyone some experiences to share about that idea?

    Regards
    Andries / Bob

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Bangor, Co Down.
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    Go with it, there is no law against it. If it makes you happier having it with you for such emergencies then why not.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobZwaardvechter View Post
    I was wondering if I would not be better off with a double bladed canoe paddle, kayak style
    Lots of folk do take this approach. It's not great, but neither are the alternatives!

    For efficient paddling into a headwind you ideally want a very narrow craft. That's true of single and double blade technique. With either style... you'll also do best if you don't have to compromise your paddling in order to steer.

    With a single blade you need to shuffle over to one side and get a nice, efficient stroke. Use a bent shaft paddle, with a short stroke, and keep the stroke rate high by taking the blade out sideways. Great - but only possible with some other means of controlling direction - which could be a rudder

    With a double blade, and a headwind, the strokes on each side tend to balance out and even proper "steering" doesn't really slow you down... but on a wide boat with high gunwales the paddling position is awful: you need a very long paddle (with small blades) and you end up with a horribly low-angle (inefficient) stroke.

    I would suggest paying for a morning with Lennart Bal - get him to bring different paddles and to work on tips and tricks to improve your efficiency.

  4. #4
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    Morning, I have paddled my canoe with my kayak blades and yes, they will help you overcome the problem, but at a price...

    Due to the width of the canoe, vs. a kayak, you need to perform high angle strokes to keep the paddle vaguely vertical (and therefore not induce turning) and you ideally need to move afore the central point of the boat, to weigh the nose down (this will help stop the canoe weathercocking).

    In addition, you will find it quite hard work, due to the amount of body movement you end up putting in, plus you are going to get wet... and your peaceful paddle will be shattered with the splashing and dripping all over you and your kit.

    But yes, it can be done!

  5. #5

    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by AdrianO View Post
    [...] and you ideally need to move afore the central point of the boat, to weigh the nose down (this will help stop the canoe weathercocking).
    To prevent misunderstandings (and useless hard work ) I take it you mean the opposite of weathercocking (also known as weather helm or weather vane), that is lee helm?
    To counteract lee helm it helps to trim the canoe a bit bow heavy. (And if that doesn't work on flatwater, it may be an idea to start thinking about getting another canoe design...)

    In addition, you will find it quite hard work, due to the amount of body movement you end up putting in, plus you are going to get wet... and your peaceful paddle will be shattered with the splashing and dripping all over you and your kit.
    That is my experience too in canoes, because they are relatively wide compared to kayaks. On the other hand I must admit that my single blade paddles are quite efficient, and not everybody can afford them.

    Dirk Barends
    Last edited by canonymous; 2nd-February-2018 at 02:53 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by canonymous View Post
    To prevent misunderstandings (and useless hard work ) I take it you mean the opposite of weathercocking (also known as weather helm or weather vane), that is lee helm?
    To counteract lee helm it helps to trim the canoe a bit bow heavy.Dirk Barends
    Yes, absolutely and thank you for the additional terminology - I didn't realise there was a different term for which end swung to wind

  7. #7
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    For others looking in on this thread, the SD Avovet is a sailing canoe so making progress into the wind is not usually a problem, as the sail will produce a lot more power than a paddle. In a narrow canal it limits your ability as you have to tack up the canal, but unless it is very narrow I would still sail. If it is too narrow for you to manage to sail I would take down the rig and stow it along the gunwales. I would center the rudder and lock off the tiller and then use powerful paddle strokes to force yourself into the wind. Occasionally correct your course with the tiller and keep powering along. I have used a long double paddle in the past and it can help, but the 39 inch beam on the Avocet means that you need an extra long double paddle to do it efficiently. The problem is that the long double paddle can easily catch the outriggers unless you move back in the cockpit and are very carefull.. so I now use a long otter tail paddle most of the time. With the rudder locked off you don’t need to move forward to keep the canoe heading into the wind.

  8. #8

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    Dear All, Thanks so much for the feedback, so far I managed alright with my paddle, but to be fair I am more a sailor than a paddler. I have not tried stowing the rig, but I guess that must help. My friend has a kayak paddle, its not as wide as recommended but I’ll give it a try before I buy one. They charge quite a bit for nice wooden kayak paddle after all. Regards, Bob/Andries

    PS: Its great this forum, whatever funny canoe question I have, there is always lots of expert advice, thanks.
    Last edited by BobZwaardvechter; 5th-February-2018 at 07:17 PM.

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