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  double blade paddle in solo canoe
  Posted by: old_user on Oct-27-10 11:40 AM (EST)

As I recently completed an 8-day solo canoe trip in my Penobscot 16 (first solo), I was very interested in reading Tom Watson's "double dipping" article. Being used to paddling tandem, I quickly learned that I needed to modify my paddling style. Instead of paddling primarily on one side of the boat and steering with a J-stroke, I switched to the back-and-forth approach: a couple of paddle strokes on the port side followed by a couple on the starboard and so on. In this way I didn't lose forward momentum, and steering was easy: just add an extra stroke on one side or the other as necessary.

It occurred to me that this style of paddling is much closer to double-bladed kayak paddling than my normal canoe paddling approach, which got me to thinking about the possible advantage of using a double-blade paddle when canoeing solo. I don't think I would try it in rapids, but for flat-water cruising, the double blade might make a lot of sense. Aesthetically, I will have a hard time putting aside my classic Old Town wood paddle for a plastic and aluminum job, but the advantages might be worth it. The next time I go on a solo trip, I will probably rent a double-bladed paddle (maybe two in different lengths) and give it a test.

By the way, I was impressed with the Penobscot as a solo boat. I was carrying lots of gear and sat in the bow seat facing the stern so as to be closer to the center of the boat. In this position I was able to arrange my gear to achieve good front-to-back trim. The Penobscot is perfectly symmetrical, so the bow angle is the same facing forwards or back. With a sharp bow entry and a somewhat narrow beam, the Penobscot is a swift canoe, and the narrower profile helped with my reach across the gunnels when paddling. At 58 pounds in Roylex, the Penobscot is a tough boat but easy for one person to handle on land. With the Penobscot configured this way, and paddling on both sides, I was running about as fast as the tandem canoes I encountered on the river, and I was able to maintain good progress even when paddling into stiff upriver winds.

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Messages in this Topic


  double paddle a canoe
  Posted by: vcmtthws on Oct-28-10 7:58 PM (EST)
Just a quick history. A few decades ago, you weren't allowed to race a canoe unless you were using a double paddle. The double paddle in a canoe is often thought of as a new approach, but in fact it's been around a for a long time. It's the single blade for racing canoes that is the new approach.

And for what it's worth, search the archives long enough and you'll find that all kayaks and canoes are technically canoes. For me, I'll still think of a kayak as a different animal than a canoe...But closely related just the same.
  canoes vs. kayaks
  Posted by: Wavetamer on Nov-03-10 11:04 AM (EST)
I might tend to disagree on the archival argument that all canoes and kayaks are canoes? In name? In definition? There is evidence of kayaks being built over 5,ooo years ago. I don't think the "canoe" can hold that claim. My understanding of skin boat history is that Man developed four basic skin boat crafts: umiaks (open skiff-like boats), kayaks, canoes and coracles (open, bowl-shaped boats used to pole across lakes and rivers - used in MidEast, Africa, Asia. Also, human migration probably came from the east, the kayak builders who settled into the interior of North America (the canoe builders). I would think that,too, would lead me to guess kayaks are older. Canoes being modified without the need for the deckcovering.
  canoe vs kayak
  Posted by: hand2dplow on Nov-05-10 8:16 AM (EST)
  canoe vs kayak
  Posted by: hand2dplow on Nov-05-10 10:13 PM (EST)
Oh...I'm sorry. I must have fallen asleep.
  doublel bladed paddles
  Posted by: Wavetamer on Nov-10-10 10:04 AM (EST)
That exciting, eh?
  double bladed paddle
  Posted by: Wavetamer on Nov-03-10 10:58 AM (EST)
Hi, glad to learn that you gave the double paddle a try. I agree that it is more for cruising,open waters instead of working through a rapids.They also seem to work better with a narrow boat. Continued good paddling, thanks for the comments, and most of all, be safe out there.



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