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Thread: First outing in a Canadian, took my son

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up First outing in a Canadian, took my son

    I've maybe been on the water half a dozen times in my life, never fared well - green round the gills and all that.

    Today, I took my 6 year old son onto Loch Ore in Fife in a Canadian I was given last weekend. We paddled together a wee bit, I did most. He liked making "sideways tornadoes" with his paddle, as did I

    Watched a couple videos before going out, glad I knew about the wee pause and correction at the end of the stroke, otherwise, I'd have been swapping sides all the time. Really felt the effect of the wind - turning the boat, pushing us out. Might get some instruction, or might just keep paddling and tap up a paddling friend for a day out or something.

    Did a couple of capsizes after dropping him back on the shore - one within depth and one out, left the two float bags I was given out to see what the stock boat made of it. I couldn't bring myself to capsize kneeling with my feet under the seat, so the first one I just sat out over the side and dropped in, second time I rocked until it started filling. First time I righted it easy enough then got back in (not pretty) and paddled back to shore (VERY unstable half full of water), second time I only just managed to right it (was treading water), then swam it back to shore.

    I'd also made a wee trolley for it (a bit like a paddlelogic trailtrekker) out of two barrow wheels, 16mm threaded rod axle, some 22mm speedfit plumbing parts and a length of garden hose - brilliant! Holds the keel centrally in a wee indentation on the axle, and is free to pivot a wee bit to cope with kerbs and rocky shore. I can't post images here though, but it's a cracking wee thing. I can fit it easily in the water and then just walk the boat up and out.


    Wee lad had been nervous heading out, but loved it. Me too, definitely going again.

  2. #2
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    Good stuff mate.
    I’d highly recommend getting some tips (from any decent source) as early as you can. Two reasons ... might as well get the best use of it while you are out and then, you’ll not have chance to pick up too many habits before you get going.
    Wither way, enjoy it and stay safe enough
    MarkL
    www.canoemassifcentral.com
    Open Canoe hire/outfitting in the Massif Central
    ”We will make your trip work”

  3. #3
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    Cheers, Mark.

    Sound advice.

  4. #4
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    Sounds like an excellent first paddle. I've paddle Loch Ore, a really good spot for learning.

    Capsize practice is a great idea, even if it mostly teaches you that swimming to shore is often far more realistic than getting back in and paddlin'!
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  5. #5
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    Cheers, Mal.

    I left the canoe on the car overnight with the intention of taking another sprog out today but it was raining and she wanted to go to the indoor soft play, so I just went out again myself.

    Plenty more folk on the water today, fast rowers, kids on paddle boards and kids in pairs of Canadian canoes.


    The rain held off, mostly. I knew the NE wind was at my back heading out to the far end, so made my way back behind the islands for shelter before pushing back upwind to where I'd started. I think I did about 2 miles in the hour, easy enough, but was struggling to keep a heading when crossing the headwind even slightly, even with wide sweeping strokes on just one side. Was also trying not to wrap thumb round the throat, I think that's what your meant to do. I also think the paddle is too long. Tried a bit of paddling shuffled to one side and leaning the canoe over, seemed to steer more lively like that.

    I fitted my flotation bags at either end and did another capsize session, was able to get back in from the end and sliding myself along the centre line until I was in - far from graceful. I sought advice from some instructors nearby who had finished with their kids group, who said I should try from the middle, either getting a leg up and rolling in or butt first or otherwise. I didn't have a bailer with me, so emptied it nearer the shore and swam it back out until I was treading water and tried again a few times. There was no way I could get back in that way, it just filled up again before I could get over the tipping point. I'm a heavy lump, which might not help. They said they were pleased to see someone practising, though.

    It's a Coleman Explorer 166 - it's a hefty lift up on to the car on my own, but manageable. I think I will, as I reckoned on first thought, try removing the moulded plastic insert from the innards... it holds water and takes a bit to drain it. Also the 3 inches up off the base of the canoe doesn't seem ideal to my mind, and the cooler box and cup holders in the middle is just kind of in the way - I'd rather lace the sides and strap to stow. There's a house build nearby with some massive chunks of polystyrene offcuts, I may see if I can nab some and see what extra I can make with them, either to replace or supplement the bags, just because it's free to try.


    Anyway, great second paddle. Better than the first. I enjoyed a little peace when I stopped paddling.

  6. #6
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    I also have a job getting back in without water pouring over the side. What I do is have a spare large drybag attached to the central thwart. If i capsize i fill this with water and leave it hanging over the side. Then go to the other side and clamber in inelegantly using the water as counter balance. This works reasonably well.

    Sent from my SM-T813 using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    Cheers, Gdd. Interesting, can see how that works.

    I'll keep trying every time I'm out.

  8. #8
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    I wouldn't start removing that plastic insert - it's there because without it that boat will oilcan like crazy - it provides rigid strength to the hull, coz it's all part of their system, including that weird bar that runs the length of the keel. You can't make a silk purse etc etc. Those boats were mass produced to be easily shipped (coz they can nest inside each other when they are bare hulls) and designed to be very cheap to sell. They are tough boats, but imo that's the best that can be said about them. Because they are flat-bottomed, they have almost zero secondary stability. I suggest that you use it as best you can , as it is, because by the time you try and 'modify' that boat to try and make it into something that it's not, your initial investment will be gone coz what's left over will be unusable. There's a reason that Coleman stopped making canoes years ago. Just my 2-cents.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sk8r View Post
    I wouldn't start removing that plastic insert - it's there because without it that boat will oilcan like crazy - it provides rigid strength to the hull, coz it's all part of their system, including that weird bar that runs the length of the keel. You can't make a silk purse etc etc. Those boats were mass produced to be easily shipped (coz they can nest inside each other when they are bare hulls) and designed to be very cheap to sell. They are tough boats, but imo that's the best that can be said about them. Because they are flat-bottomed, they have almost zero secondary stability. I suggest that you use it as best you can , as it is, because by the time you try and 'modify' that boat to try and make it into something that it's not, your initial investment will be gone coz what's left over will be unusable. There's a reason that Coleman stopped making canoes years ago. Just my 2-cents.

    ++1
    Sk8r is correct ... but the boat works fine right now for what you need so just use it then move on if/when you want to
    MarkL
    www.canoemassifcentral.com
    Open Canoe hire/outfitting in the Massif Central
    ”We will make your trip work”

  10. #10
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    Cheers, sk8r/Mark.


    Third time on the water today with another offspring, a moderately useful bow paddler this time. We watched a heron make a few low passes and sat still for a while. A half hour or so, followed by a capsize and a few more deep water re-entry attempts for me.

    I tried filling a spare dry bag with water and hanging it on the far side, but I ripped a loop off it. I did manage a couple of side-entries, reaching across to the opposite gunwale with an initial thrust and then kicking like a hooligan, but only after emptying it somewhat in shallower water first.



    I've read similar opinions on this canoe, though there appear to have been a couple of variants/revisions. I was gifted the canoe in exchange for some scrap, but it would indeed be a shame to render it any worse. I've nothing to compare it to, and I'm likely only to be pottering around on flat water, so it does work fine right now for what I need.

    The insert does still nark me though. The pipe running the length makes fine sense to me, particularly if the shell has too much flexibility for it's own good. And I get the need for the bow/stern seats to bear down on it, to resist upwards load in the center - I don't know to what extent the insert also resists that load. With the insert itself, it's mainly the way it holds water and in particular the way it retards water that bugs me, either when tipping side to side it's heavy and laggy to roll, or when trying to empty it upside down I have to hold it up for a good 10 seconds or more and rock it to let it drain out. But hey, I can live with it if I have to. And in general, it's only going to be full of water when I want it to be.

    I'm not going to jump into removing it given what you're saying, but the engineer in me is still curious. Feels like there's three things going on... the keel pole and what bears down on it, the extent to which the form of the floor and the curves to the sides are supported by the ribbing of the insert, and related to that, the lateral support (or lack thereof) of the gunwales midship.

    For the sake of questioning, if the two end seats remained, and the insert were to be replaced by a center seat or thwart, also bearing down on the keel pole (effectively transferring some upwards load to the gunwales midship), and also providing lateral support to the gunwales midship, my curiosity is to what extent would the floor and curves still deform?

    This is effectively the "other" configuration I've seen the Explorer 166 - two storage seats bow and stern and a simple seat with vertical support in the middle, as opposed to my simple seats with vertical supports bow and stern, with then the insert comprising knee rests, ribbed sections and the cooler-box middle seat. Both have the keel pole. Perhaps it's down to rigidity or shell construction, even if it still required a keel pole - mine is definitely a single layer and perhaps the other model was a triple?

    I do appreciate the cautionary comments though.

  11. #11
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    I think you are concentrating on the wrong thing here. You have an effective way of re-entering your canoe should you ever capsize. But the chances of you capsizing that canoe are minimal.

    Most people go out and learn how to paddle the canoe, building up lots of time spent on the water having fun. Then they eventually have a go at capsizing "just in case".

    You've got that out of the road first.

    So spend the rest of your time "playing" and paddling in the canoe and I bet you won't ever capsize.

    Oh yes, don't forget to blog your trips on here.
    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

  12. #12
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    Hi
    I have an old Pelican Colorado (15'6"), which is basically identical to the equivalent Coleman 15'6" boats (I think Pelican is just the newer brand for Coleman boats). Mine has the keel pole and 3 seats configuration, but was also available with the coolbox/plastic tray set up. You are right in that the seats retain the keel pole whilst providing thwart rigidity to the gunwales and the centre seat/coolbox is required structurally.

    It's possible that your 16'6" boat was also sold as a 3 seater, so you may be able to source the middle seat. This might then be a straight swap as, I'd imagine, the gunwale drill points are probably the same. The 15'6" seems to be the common Pelican variant still sold, but it might have a similar width hull to your 16'6". You'd obviously need to check though. I would find a Pelican dealer and measure up the centre seat in the 15'6", as these appear to be still available from Pelican as parts.

    I rarely use the Pelican now as I have a smaller, lighter boat, but it's a solid old boat and has been very useful for family trips.

  13. #13
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    Great to see you practicing capsize drills but a Al says if you practice the paddling skills chances are you’ll never capsize. Still best to have a plan but at the moment I think you’ll see more improvement and enjoyment in being able to paddle easier and deal with the wind.

    Speaking of the wind I find the trim of the canoe plays a massive part in this. One you get the hang of this it helps a lot. The trim is the distribution of the weight in the canoe. Trimmed evenly the front and the back are level. Trim the weight more to the back and the front sits a little higher. With the weight at the back a canoe will naturally sit with the back to the wind. Weight forward it will face into the wind. So paddling into the wind is easier with the weight forward and all but impossible with the weight at the back.
    John

  14. #14
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    Big Al - I hear what you're saying, I'm one for over-egging things. I've had a grand total of two hours paddling, and nearly the same again in capsizing and re-entry efforts. The way I've been looking at it is from the perspective of a father taking his kids out on the water. I've really no business doing so if I can't keep them safe. True, I'm unlikely to capsize on flat water with a controlled approach, but I intend to keep capsizing that boat every time I go out, at least to that location. I will blog - hoping to get a road trip in July.

    JimHou, thanks for the background. I'll look into it. Do you know what your hull is made of, single or triple layer?

    MagiKelly - just now it's pretty much equal measures of paddling and in-the-water drills, that will change as I get more comfortable. I'll get myself into a couple of the supervised group sessions locally, if not a fully formal course yet. Thanks for the description of the effect of wind - that makes sense to me.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by seasick View Post
    Big Al - I hear what you're saying, I'm one for over-egging things. ..............

    I've really no business doing so if I can't keep them safe................
    Can't fault that logic. Sounds like they are in safe hands.

    Happy paddling.
    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

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al. View Post
    Can't fault that logic. Sounds like they are in safe hands.

    Happy paddling.
    Thanks.

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