Posted by: yknpdlr on Mar-14-13 10:28 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Mar-14-13 10:42 PM EST --
Glenn said: "As a "bow jam" or "bow wedge" it is the quickest and most violent way to turn the canoe to the off-side. It is particularly useful to go around sharp curves in twisty streams."
I started paddling the Adirondack 90-Miler as a bow paddler in a long skinny voyageur canoe. A particularly winding portion 2.5 miles through a narrow stream is known as Brown's Tract. You either love it or hate it.
A voyageur bow paddler is in a far better position to set-up and initiate sharp turns than the stern paddler, and success is definitely a crew effort to power through a smoothly carved arc. A moving power draw by the bow paddler is effective to maintain speed around moderately sharp curves. But turn after turn can get tiring.
Although no one told me how to do it, by experiment I discovered the bow jam and learned it could really whip us around the sharpest turns, though at the cost of some speed (maintaining power for speed is what everyone behind me is for). The jam can be done either on-side or cross-bow. We found we could easily out maneuver and out speed most other boats on the course, even those who had previously passed us on the lakes, with a good track setting up for efficiently carved turns in Brown's. I carried a long shaft sturdy wood blade just for doing bow jams in Brown's, as I worried about the heavy jam's powerful stress on my expensive graphite bent shaft. Doing Brown's is tremendous fun, no matter what boat I am in Brown's is easily my favorite section of the 90.
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