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Thread: Wind

  1. #1
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    Default Wind

    I was wondering how everyone else here copes with paddling in the wind? I've been paddling for about a year now, solo in a pyranha ranger 16. Over the summer I mainly canoed in the lake district, but found that wind was a real problem to paddle against. I was thinking about putting oarlocks on my canoe or trying to find a double bladed paddle that'd be long enough to have for use when the wind gets up. Does anyone do anything like that? Or is it just something that gets better with experience (without wind I can j-stroke my canoe in a straight line no probs, when the wind gets up its like a fight). It's putting me off going out incase the wind gets up and I can't make it back.

    Would be interested in any info on canoe rowing rigs anyway as I've always liked the idea of making my canoe more multi purpose!

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    Default Wind

    Hi,

    There is a few things you can try, but there is also a max wind speed that you can cope with individually.

    Trim fore and aft and laterally. Lean the boat into the wind as this has less catching surface than leaning into it. Using a seat or kneeling thwart is not always productive, you need to move around the boat to find the best trim for the current conditions.
    A J stroke may be useful, but there are other strokes known as combination strokes that maybe more use. A draw stroke combined with a forward stroke is more effective if you are near the front of the boat for example, because the pivot point of the boat is forward of centre if you have moved forward for trim purposes.
    Find a bay with onshore wind and practice/try different techniques, if they fail you will get blown back to your starting point. Try straight into the wind and running with it varying trim, and then at 90 degrees to the wind varying trim etc and trying different stroke combinations. Maybe worth having a half day coaching session if its going to stop you paddling, it will stop many hours of heartache.

    PB

    The Ranger 16 is a big boat to be paddling solo if you are not a big strong person. It would be good to try other boats to see if they are different in similar conditions.

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    I often seem to be battling the wind - but having thought about my technique, it just seems to come down to paddling harder, and trying to get some shelter from the landscape where I can, and tacking...

    I also tend to squat lower into the boat, and spread my knees wider, both to lower my center of gravity, and to try to limit the amount of wind resistance that simply being there creates. I try to put more boat into the water in wind, rather than paddle along on the rail, but that's more about stability, as it'll also mean there is more boat to push through the water.

    I have a feeling that I pry off the gunwales a lot more in the wind too, just to keep the boat straight(ish).

    Sorry, not much help as paddling techniques go ...

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    There is a thread on here somewhere about using Bi-blades (kayak) to get you out of sticky situations when paddling solo in the wind.

    If I was clever enough I'd do a link for you!
    If it wasn't for the rain in our lives there would be no rivers. X 2

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    Not because I'm especially clever, but because of my secret moderator powers ...
    The link that tenboats1 is referring to is this one.

    You may need to look at a sea-tourer paddle, given the width of an open boat.

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    I have a Mad River 14' but have paddled 16' canoes as well mainly solo. I always reposition the centre thwart forward about 10-15 cm and have a kneeling thwart that sits just behind it. Into a headwind shift all the kit and yourself forward, when running downwind shift the weight back. Develop a strong rapid J-stroke and be prepared to use draws to check any sudden gusts that push across from the sides. Sit low and wide. I paddle a lot of estuaries and have found tacking into and away from the wind to be effective but sometimes you just have to paddle hard to get any where!
    Last edited by nigelp; 23rd-April-2006 at 09:49 PM.

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    All good advice but also, when you are trying to travel on a path diagonal to the wind, try to think of it like a ferry glide on moving water.

    You will be angling the boat so that the wind pushes you back whilst at the same time your forward paddling takes you on the vector route, your intended direction. If you can, switch to paddling on the down wind side so that your forward strokes automatically have a correction component. Draws will work but they are not as effective. Unfortunately I can only paddle on my right side so i don't have the option but it is worth the practice if you can.

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    Gusting side winds on rivers can have you in the trees pretty quick. I find keeping the blade in the water all the time acts as a keel and can stop you suddenly side slipping. Its a kind of Indian/canadian stroke I use on white water a lot.

    On the avon once nr Stratford (luddington to bidford) we had very stong winds. We shouldn't have set off really. Paddling into the wind was very hard. At on bend in the river we could make no headway at all. We were forced to turn round and paddled back up river in 1/4 of the time it took us to get down. Surfing waves all the way. Great Trip.
    Rogue

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia
    I was wondering how everyone else here copes with paddling in the wind? I've been paddling for about a year now, solo in a pyranha ranger 16. Over the summer I mainly canoed in the lake district, but found that wind was a real problem to paddle against. I was thinking about putting oarlocks on my canoe or trying to find a double bladed paddle that'd be long enough to have for use when the wind gets up. Does anyone do anything like that? Or is it just something that gets better with experience (without wind I can j-stroke my canoe in a straight line no probs, when the wind gets up its like a fight). It's putting me off going out incase the wind gets up and I can't make it back.

    Would be interested in any info on canoe rowing rigs anyway as I've always liked the idea of making my canoe more multi purpose!
    Though I don't like them, I sometimes use the double blade paddles in wind - especially if I'm paddling solo. I just used one last Tuesday (April 18) when heavy wind gusts out of the east would have put me on the rocks using a regular paddle.



    You can look at row rigs here:

    http://www.canoegear.com/catalog/home.php?cat=47
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  10. #10
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    Default Sympathy

    I've got a lot of sympathy with you! I've got a similar level of experience and do get "hampered" by wind. I was on a trip in Scotland last October with a group, fortunately paddling tandem as I don't think I could have made it up Loch Quoich for several hours against the wind alone, BUT the 3 very experienced paddlers who were with us did it no problem. Why? I think it was mainly a matter of good technique - I'm definitely intending to work on efficiency this year. The guy who coaches me can go twice as fast with half the strokes. I think this is particularly a matter of efficiency in correction strokes. I suspect that those who paddle regularly over a long period also build up their back muscles, so I'm doing a little bit of training too, but I think the efficiency is the main thing.
    Practice, practice, practice and some book pondering for me!

    I also fancy the idea of an anemometer to measure the wind speed - there are little pocket ones (waterproof) on ebay for about £25 - that would help in assessing conditions, and maybe measuring the development of paddling technique too. Will have to wait for Christmas or something, though...

    Ben

  11. #11

    Default The Trim Test

    An interesting article by Jason Carroll Asp. Level 5 coach.

    The Trim Test - Trimming your canoe to cope with wind

    The author also has a video of the experiments. It's funny to see one of them getting very dizzy on a cigarette, in an attempt to get enough smoke into the boat to try to work out what the wind is actually doing!

    There are also a couple of other articles.
    Poling - A Guided Tour

    Open Canoes Rafting - Why? & How

  12. #12
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    Not to beat anyone to death with the obvious, but in a strong headwind you must trim the boat bow-down, so that it naturally weather-cocks into the wind. The eliminates the steering problem.

    To do this is sometimes difficult depending on what gear you have on board, but if your packs are all in the bow, and you slide up and sit just behind the center thwart, the stern will rise higer than the bow, and it'll point into the wind by itself.

    If you have no packs, get ballast and put it in the bow. Very good ballast is a polycube of water, but I generally use rocks -- I just place them so that if I dump they won't get caught in the canoe.

    Sitting in the middle can be painful. Most people's knees aren't used to it. I generally have a simple, light bench seat that is unattached to the hull that I can slide around as required (when solo) for this purpose. But one way to get temporary relief is to straddle a pack like it was a horse's saddle. That gets the weight off your knees.

    And the double blade eliminates the need for steering strokes. Every stroke is a 100% power stroke. Obviously that means better progress in a wind, particularly solo. The trouble is, most kayak paddles are too short. Since in an open canoe you sit higher up, and the boat is wider, the blade has to be longer. The double-blade I use is nearly 8 ft long and doesn't quite feel long enough at that.

    On a trip, my double-blade comes apart at the ferrule, and a T-handle fits in there, giving me a single-blade again, which I prefer.

    That's what I've worked out over here, at any rate, for headwinds. I must say though, my first response to strong winds is just to camp for another day. Maybe paddle at night. It'll go down eventually.

    I hope this hasn't insulted anyone's intelligence.

  13. #13
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    One way I show folk the effect of the wind is to hold your paddle up horizontally & level, lower one end of the paddle & feel the way it swings round in the wind, then try lowering the other.
    This may show where the weight needs to be to keep the boat facing the right way.
    One trick is to carry a heavy sac to put in the right place in the boat or a poly bag of sand to get the trim right.
    If the trim is correct life becomes loads easier.

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    Thanks to everyone for your replies so far - it's been really helpful.

    I've decided to not go for double blades/oars so far, because I think the biggest problem has been the trim of my boat - my seat's maybe 3ft back from the centre thwart, and I'm not a lightweight person so my bow's been trimmed up quite a lot.

    Having read all the posts my outfitting plans and summary of the technique hints are:

    OUTFITTING (referring to bow and stern as it would be with a tandem crew):
    - remove the centre thwart and put in a new centre seat
    - remove the bow seat
    - use the clear space between the centre seat and the bow airbags to secure stuff I want to get at during a paddle (cooler etc)
    - put the thwart in between the stern seat and the new centre seat
    - put some kind of cargo net system in the stern for storing stuff I don't need to access on the go (bbq, camping kit etc)

    TECHNIQUE
    - paddling upwind make sure it's trimmed bow down
    - paddle on the downwind side to let the natural directional component of the stroke push me into the wind
    - try and learn a combination stroke
    - practice somewhere with wind blowing on to the shore
    - sometimes it's just hard work!

    Outfitting wise, my canoe came with the airbag lash system drilled through the gunwhales, so I've been thinking of lacing the gunwhales like at http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...hread.php?t=11 but probably with smaller loops. I had thought about putting in lacing eyes/hooks like in the http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...read.php?t=591, but I think the hull might be stronger and the loops more versatile, and I'm not overly fussed about aesthetics! It'll be my bank holiday project (as well as exporing the lake I'm going to be moving my canoe to this weekend).

    Amelia

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    Hi there,thought this might help,I've fitted a kneeling thwart just behind centre,this way I didn't have to re-arrange the seating plan as I did in my last boat,It's pretty low profile and is handy for lashing to on tandem trips.

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    What I did outfitting wise was take out the thwart and fit a central seat with the front edge of the seat about 4 inches back from the centre. That way when I sit on the seat I am almost neutral trim. No need to remove any seats and I have also found that because I used seat brackets instead of droppers I did not need to add a thwart back in.

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    I'm going to use metal brackets as I'm going to take them off the seat I'm taking out (which may go back in at some point if I find I ever paddle tandem). So would I be ok without putting the thwart back in? Thanks

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    If you are taking out a thwart and a seat i think you will need to add a thwart and seat. In my case I was replacing the centre thwart with a seat so it balanced out. you will need something to provide the stiffening that the seat you remove used to give.

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    Thanks. I'll put the thwart in where the seat came out (wouldn't want a wobbly canoe...)

  20. #20

    Default Wind.

    Hi Amelia,just a few more suggestions you may wish to try.Shorten your stroke and increase your stroke rate,this ensures the boat does not stall between strokes,feather the blade during recovery and experiment with neutral trim and bow down,I suspect you will soon find which you prefer.In extemis when you cannot make any headway,head for the shore of lake/river whatever and if you cannot wait it out and must get back ,sprint for 200 mts. rest,sprint again,rest, etc.etc. eventually you will get back,tired but home.

    Regards Eric C.

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    Sorry to contradict your summary Amelia, but everyone really should read the article Dyson pointed out

    The Trim Test - Trimming your canoe to cope with wind

    When going across the wind, paddling on the upwind side of the boat is more stable and more efficient, you can see more and react better. It's a little unnerving the first time you try leaning into a strong wind and big waves but it really does work and will extend the range of wind you are willing to go out in.

    I was part of Jay's team of test pilots for the article and we tested both upwind and downwind side paddling in some scarey conditions up on Kielder, and the stronger the wind the more you'll notice the difference.

    Trim is simple really, decide if it's the water or the wind effecting you most-

    Water - upstream edge/end light
    Wind - downwind edge/end light

    The fact some coaches still teach paddling on the downwind side is one of my pet rants.

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    Default Wind

    Hi

    That was in my first post on this thread. I suppose 'eluded to', would be a better comment.

    PB

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    My mistake about the paddling side - thanks for correcting (so much to take in!)

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    Sorry Paul,

    didn't mean to cause any offence to anyone (apart from the coaches who still teach badly).

    Having spent a lot of time and effort (and scared myself witless) getting out and testing this stuff, I hate to see things written that are just plain wrong, and your post seemed to have got lost behind others by the time it came to the summary.

    Amelia,

    one of the best lessons I was ever taught about canoeing (and life in general) - don't believe anyone (not even me), get out and try stuff. It's fun, and as Jay used to say, "it's all about time on the water", or was it "it's all about time at the bar"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield
    Not to beat anyone to death with the obvious, but in a strong headwind you must trim the boat bow-down, so that it naturally weather-cocks into the wind. The eliminates the steering problem.

    To do this is sometimes difficult depending on what gear you have on board, but if your packs are all in the bow, and you slide up and sit just behind the center thwart, the stern will rise higer than the bow, and it'll point into the wind by itself.

    .
    This very thing got me into a pickle about three years ago on a family canoe trip. We were headed up into Basswood Lake, not even the large part of the lake, but that day it was acting as a funnel for strong headwinds out of the north. We'd exchanged a duffer, mid channel, and as the wind was not strong at that point, it didn't concern me that two of our three packs were to the rear of the middle thwarte. As we got up into the wind, it was immediately obvious we were bow light, but were unable to do anything about it, as the sea was rough and we were already having problems with trim.

    Thinking I could still handle it (the arrogance of experience), I kept on, rather than turning back. Eventually the wind increased to where I just could not hold course and made for a bay to the east. Wave action there was so heavy I did not see the reef until the last second and just barely managed to pull up and jump out on the rocks to hold the canoe off. I sent Sara swimming off to shore to signal the other canoes for help. I was stuck there for an hour, able to hold the canoe off the rocks, but able to do nothing else to deal with the situation, due to the strong wave action. Wing and Jean Baptiste finally reached me from shore and helped me with the canoe.
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  26. #26
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    Default trim/seating

    in my limited knowledge i went for a snap in seat instead of a fixed one.i could be solo or 2 adults 2 children ,and the snap in seat can be moved 3-4 inches either way ,so am i right in thinking that gives more option for more gear/different conditions etc

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    Not being a large person and paddling a Prospector 16 solo most times I can empathize with anyone who has to fight the wind. A friend and I set out from a local creek in two canoes and paddled around into the open lake knowing it was very windy as he wanted to test out his canoe sail, but no sooner had we gotten into the lake and the wind really began to blow forcing us over to the far shore. It took almost an hour to get back a quarter mile in two and three foot waves some of them almost breaking as the wind blew their tops off. It was not quite scary, but there were times when it was getting pretty sporty. We could have always just run with the wind and hike the 20 or so kilometers back to the cars but we both managed to get back across but were quite worn out. Then we doubled up and towed an empty canoe back to the put in. We had no gear for weight so Tim actually sat ahead of center while I used the Indian stroke to constantly correct the bow as I paddled. Everyone else has given lots of great advice and all I can add was already said by Rogue. Learn to do a good Indian stroke with a powerful bracing action, a powerful draw at the bow and a powerful pry at the stern. It will at least help some. It also has other uses in moving water and for stealth.
    .

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