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  Tandem is fun
  Posted by: booztalkin on Nov-23-12 11:32 AM (EST)

Congrats on getting out with your Wenona and your girl. Paddling a tandem boat with a skilled paddler is a lot of fun imo. The paddlers do need to learn to communicate, because when the tandem pair is not on the same page they can mess up twice as well as a solo boater.

A problem for the tandem pair is the bow paddler doesn't know what the stern paddler is doing. Talking between the pair is good, but it is slow and sometimes difficult due to noise, wind, etc. IMO, the solution to this problem is for the bow paddler to take the lead, and leave the stern paddler to figure out what to do with their end of the boat.

Previous posters mention the bow person may counter the lean when the stern paddler wants to lean the boat. That is the natural inclination, and the bow can't see that the stern is trying to lean the boat. They just feel the boat lean and counter. If the front person initiates the stroke and corresponding lean, the stern should be able to figure it out and support the move.

All that takes time to develop, and you and the g/f need to learn the basics first. It seems odd to me that often canoe instruction starts people off in tandem boats. I think it is helpful to paddle solo, learn the strokes and what is accomplished with leaning a boat. Then take that to the tandem boat.

I think tandem is tough to learn. There is a tendency to always think the other paddler is messing up. They call them "divorce boats" because a lot of arguments get started when the boat doesn't do what you want and each paddler feels it is the others fault, or that they did what they thought their partner asked and now they are getting yelled at. So avoid that! I hope you stick with it. It can be fun.

Another suggestion I have is to switch ends of the boat every time you stop. Wind may sometimes make it desirable to change the trim of the boat. You'd like the heavy end of the boat to be pointing into the wind. With a 13 shoe size, I'm guessing you'd be the heavier. When you encounter that situation, you will be happy that both of you are comfortable at both ends of the boat. And a stern paddler can learn paddle strokes by watching the bow paddler's draws, rudders, prys and what have you. So, I recommend changing it up at each stop.


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