not necessarily free
Posted by: c2g on Oct-24-12 8:02 PM (EST)
You don't have to free the stems to get a boat to turn faster, as I'm sure you know.
I paddle almost exclusively flatwater and rarely have to turn more than 90 degrees. Even with the harder tracking Wenonahs all I have to do is edge/heel the boat to the outside of the turn and take a couple of extra strokes on that same side and they come around more quickly than most folks think they will.
I can turn a Prism 180 degrees in three strokes, but the technique is not what most folks would probably use. It helps to go into the turn kneeling (yes, you can kneel with a bucket seat) with good momentum, then initiate the turn with an outside heel and a sweep, switch to an inside heel with a reverse sweeping low brace, then back to an outside heel with a good power stroke or two with maybe a little bit of sweep and carry the stroke a bit further back than normal and you'll be headed back in the opposite direction at crusing speed.
I'm not saying that Wenonahs are for everyone and I'm not saying they will spin like a good freestyle boat, but I've put plenty of miles on them over the years and I get irritated when folks say they won't turn. That is wrong.
The most important part of choosing a boat is to match the boat to your preferred paddling style and conditions. I've seen a lot of posts over the years by folks who bought a boat and were upset that it wouldn't do what they wanted it to when the real problem was that they bought the wrong boat.