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    wind.

    when planning a paddling trip, where do you draw the line with wind speed before opting not to go? I want another trip on my time off. Wind speeds for the upcoming weekend are listed at "up to 11 mph."

    It's a short paddle to camp, but I want to paddle around leisurely, also.

    #2
    Windspeed limits depend on the particular body of water and region. If it's going to be windy all day, that's not a good sign.

    Watch for the time of day the winds are forecast to pick up and plan accordingly. On the west coast, in summer, winds pick up around noon with so we like to be off the water before then. Waves pick up a couple of hours later, so if we're going downwind, we can usually go with the wind for a bit. Following waves are very tricky and usually leave me with the spins afterwards. We have paddled into wind and waves but it's slow going and sometimes wet. We tend to closely follow the shore when we paddle into the wind where wind are lightest, if possible, but if we have to move out to get around points or when the shore is steep or cliffy, then things get iffy.

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      #3
      Originally posted by jefffski View Post
      Windspeed limits depend on the particular body of water and region. If it's going to be windy all day, that's not a good sign.

      Watch for the time of day the winds are forecast to pick up and plan accordingly. On the west coast, in summer, winds pick up around noon with so we like to be off the water before then. Waves pick up a couple of hours later, so if we're going downwind, we can usually go with the wind for a bit. Following waves are very tricky and usually leave me with the spins afterwards. We have paddled into wind and waves but it's slow going and sometimes wet. We tend to closely follow the shore when we paddle into the wind where wind are lightest, if possible, but if we have to move out to get around points or when the shore is steep or cliffy, then things get iffy.
      Wind speeds start at 9 mph in the morning and reach 13 mph by evening. They don't appear to let up at all on the proposed planned day.

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        #4
        That's windy! Where is this?

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          #5
          That should be within manageable limits. Just stay close to shore and try to make use of lee shores as much as possible. On small bodies of water, waves will not be the issue, forward movement will be the problem. Depends how much you are willing to suffer. I paddled about 6 miles in a 30 mph headwind solo once. It was a combination of small lakes joined by narrows. I made the destination, just took a lot longer.

          I have paddled fully loaded with my son in winds around the same strength on a large lake. On my GPS, we were averaging about one mile per hour, and working our guts out. When we finally made shore we both had forearm cramps for a while.

          Paddling downwind is a different story, it's kind of a "no-guts no glory" kinda thing.

          The more you paddle, the more you will be able to answer your own questions. I will often find an area with very adverse conditions, but with a safe out, like a beach, with really large waves, and then just go out and play. If you get dumped, no biggy.

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            #6
            In addition to what others said, it also depends on where you are on the body of water and where you want to end up. Often, if you can read the wind and your maps well enough you can sneak around in one direction near the shore, or connect the shore and islands. This might be a longer route, but going in the other direction would expose you to the wind. Navigating points of land might stop you along any shore though, and that's a call you have to make at the time. I have portaged across points of land on a couple of occasions just to keep forward movement on a windy day.

            Mark

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              #7
              As others have suggested, many factors are in play in addition to wind speed. For example, fetch, or the distance of open water across which the wind is blowing, greatly affects the height of waves. The longer the fetch, the bigger the waves. Shorter fetch results in smaller, more manageable waves. Your own skill and comfort levels are also very important. It seems to me that these wind speeds you mention give you a relatively safe opportunity to test your comfort and improve your skills. Stay close to shore, but go for it! To paraphrase Admiral Farragut, “Damn the wind. Full speed ahead!”

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                #8
                As others have indicated its going to be important to assess the situation as you go. Shallow bodies of water can become very wavy with low wind speeds. While other bodies of water might still be very calm. The direction of the wind is important as well. If you are getting waves that are pushing you in the direction that you want to go than it might be almost beneficial to have higher wind speeds. Although, like everything in life you can have too much of a good thing. If the waves are too large you could get into trouble. Finally the location of the body of water may have natural abilities to shield you from the wind. Trees, cliffs, hills and mountains can all provide protection depending on the direction the wind is coming from. You may also have to paddle in a direction that isn't the fastest route. Letting the wind and waves hit the boat at a manageable angle and almost doing a zig zag across a body of water. This is not the ideal way to travel but sometimes you have to make the best of a bad situation. Consider the boat that you have as well. The type of keel that you have and the length, weight, number of people in the boat will make a difference when conditions become less than ideal. You also want to consider the experience of yourself and those with you. If you haven't been on the water before a small amount of wind might seem overwhelming while an experienced paddler might not even consider that wind at all. Its hard to tell based on MPH alone what the conditions will be when you are standing on the shoreline putting your boat into the water.

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                  #9
                  I would agree with the stay close to shore to a point. As the lake gets shallower the waves can get higher close to shore so stay close but not too close. This too depends on your body of water and how quickly the bottom rises or not.

                  If you're not going on a huge lake those wind speeds seem very manageable. The amount of freeboard on your canoe can make a big difference too.
                  Not all who are lost wish to be found..............

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                    #10
                    All wind is local. The wind speed in the weather forecast is applicable to a land based observation station that is in a clearing and not on a hill or near a body of water (i.e., the local airport). It's not uncommon to have a wind forecast of 10mph and observe afternoon winds of 30mph on the shore of a big lake. If you then go back the next day and look at the actual observed wind speed, it will usually be 10mph -- that's what it was, at the airport. That doesn't mean it wasn't 0mph in thick woods on a portage and 40mph in the middle of Chesuncook.

                    Not sure about Canada, but with US Natl Weather Service we usually get a forecast including estimated gusts about 48 hours out, but day 3 and beyond it's just an overall wind speed.

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                      #11
                      So, the lake is a very large one and it's quite deep. I remember learning the J (I'm not an expert but have no issues tracking a boat nowadays) on a small lake in North Carolina. It was a heavier boat, probably a discovery series as it was a rental and that seems to be the go-to rental boat. Anyways, I got caught in a cross wind and I couldn't move. I slapped the water in anger, and finally made my way back to shore. I didn't pick a paddle up for a while after that.

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                        #12
                        I'd go but I'd also mentally prepare myself to turn around and go home or to stay at a local motel if, when I got to the put in, the conditions didn't look safe.

                        Bring some binoculars so you can see what's really happening out on the lake. Also, if it hasn't already been said, things are usually calmest just before sunrise or after sunset, so if you can time your arrival, you might be able to get to your destination before wind picks up or after it dies down.

                        Have fun but be safe!
                        Last edited by alsg; 12-28-2019, 01:46 PM.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by Chansta View Post
                          So, the lake is a very large one and it's quite deep. I remember learning the J (I'm not an expert but have no issues tracking a boat nowadays) on a small lake in North Carolina. It was a heavier boat, probably a discovery series as it was a rental and that seems to be the go-to rental boat. Anyways, I got caught in a cross wind and I couldn't move. I slapped the water in anger, and finally made my way back to shore. I didn't pick a paddle up for a while after that.
                          I know this is anathema to some here, but if I am paddling into an oppositional headwind, or even close hauled into the wind at an angle, I’m gonna use a double blade. There, I said it.

                          In our solo canoes a long double blade, at least 250cm, more often 260cm, depending on the gunwale width. A long, lightweight double blade; you are lifting half an 8 foot long paddle out of the water on each stroke.

                          As discussed elsewhere on CT paddling on a beam reach, broadside to wind and wave is daunting. You could hug the shoreline if there are any wind protected coves, but at the end of that protection you still need to round a point or peninsula, where the wind and wave may be concentrated at their worst, or clapotis confused.

                          Paddling out of a wind protected calm cove or leaving an embayed shoreline has surprised me at times when rounding a point of land, as in “Oh crap, the wind has picked up and those waves look awfully big now”.

                          Paddling in beam reach wind and wave on open water I will give up a “direct” route and paddle at some manageable angle to the wind. The downside of that solution can be a zigzag course, necessitating a quick-as-I-can 90 degree pivot between waves, sometimes further from shore than comfortable for that dicey move.

                          Originally posted by memaquay View Post
                          Paddling downwind is a different story, it's kind of a "no-guts no glory" kinda thing.
                          Paddling in large following waves is exhilarating. And sometimes scary. When the hull is up stems-free on the crest of a following wave you don’t have much time or opportunity to straighten things out before shit starts to go sideways. Sideways is not good, and liable to be followed by upside down.

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by Chansta View Post
                            Wind speeds for the upcoming weekend are listed at "up to 11 mph."
                            I wouldn't put much faith in a very general weather forecast for localized winds on a lake -- unless, of course, the prediction is for very high winds all over the area. Wind strengths and directions change all over the place out on the water, especially in hilly or mountainous terrain.

                            Originally posted by Chansta View Post
                            when planning a paddling trip, where do you draw the line with wind speed before opting not to go?
                            I just stand outside, feel the wind strength, and look at the water waves at the put-in and across the water body. With experience, I know what I can, or want, to handle. If you're less experienced with wind, just try a test paddle close to shore. Paddle twenty strokes north, south, east and west. If you have any trouble controlling the canoe, forget the trip. Instead, sit on the shore and sip decaffeinated green tea and read Wordsworth.

                            Originally posted by Chansta View Post
                            It's a short paddle to camp, but I want to paddle around leisurely, also.
                            If it's a short trip, the risk is less. Start very early when winds are almost always low. Get to your campsite early. If the winds pick up to an uncomfortable level after noon, postpone your "paddle around" until the wind dies down in the evening. Then leave very early in the morning again when you are going back to the take-out.

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                              #15
                              Very sensible, Glenn.

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