Submitted: 09-07-2010 by hoof
A quick addendum to the prior review regarding impromptu adaptation of the boat for solo use. It was either figuring out something workable or missing out on few remaining good paddling days for the season.
I brought along a 17 gallon sterlite (hard plastic) tub, a 42 gallon/3 mil contractor bag, a dry bag and a 5 gallon bucket. Put the dry bag inside the tub and put the contractor bag inside the dry bag. Used the 5 gallon bucket to scoop river water and put 13 gallons (approximately 108 lbs.) into the contractor bag. Twisted the neck and tied off the contractor bag and closed up the dry bag. Dry bag has shoulder straps and used them to lift the ballast bag out of the tub and place it into the front of the boat; just ahead of the front seat (canoe was already in the water). Ran the tub and bucket back to the car and was ready to roll. The rear (stern) seat and foot pegs had already been adjusted all of the way forward.
The 17' tandem handled magnificently as a solo! I did a 16 mile out and back on the 8 mile stretch of the Susquehanna River from the Crumhorn drop-in (north of Portlandville) to the end of Goodyear Lake. The unpopulated portion at the beginning and end was teeming with Great Blue Heron and Giant Egret. First time I've seen the Egrets anywhere other than Montezuma refuge. Treat of the summer came at the unpopulated cove on Goodyear Lake behind and east of the dam. Found myself less than 50' away from a Bald Eagle dining on a fish. Eventually he or she flew right over my head - could hear the wing beats!
If circumstance forces the need to solo another time, I will definitely do it. Again, handling was easy. The only gauge I had on speed was relative to the occasional other paddler and the lone motorized fishing boat I saw all day. This boat really moves with a single paddler if you can achieve optimal trim with ballast in the front.