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Rethinking 30 years of soloing tandems

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    #31
    Originally posted by Canotrouge View Post

    Maybe, a 20 foot would be better, but I go in pretty narrow stream and I think a 17-18 feet could be more maneuverable... Especially when not in the boat like tracking and lining!!
    If one comes up for sale go check it out. At a good price I don't think you'd get hurt, with your skills and shop you could even add value.

    As far as the narrow creeks, I once had to load all my gear as far as possible to the stern and stand behind the stern seat to pop a wheelie to float my 36" boat down a 30 or so inch meandering creek in a beaver meadow.

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      #32
      Originally posted by lowangle al View Post

      If one comes up for sale go check it out. At a good price I don't think you'd get hurt, with your skills and shop you could even add value.

      As far as the narrow creeks, I once had to load all my gear as far as possible to the stern and stand behind the stern seat to pop a wheelie to float my 36" boat down a 30 or so inch meandering creek in a beaver meadow.
      I wish there would be a chance for one comping up for sale... But in my neck of the wood chances are pretty much inexistent!! ho and my shop is only 20' long.... So maybe not such a great idea!!

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        #33
        Canot, are you planning to store the boat in your shop, if not you can always work on it outside.

        Here is what Bill Mason said about paddling from the stern seat," Most people who fall out of canoes do so from the stern, some of them drown, because if the canoe doesn't capsize, which it often doesn't it will be quickly be blown out of reach."

        I should have emphasized that I did this in warm weather and left my cell phone,ect. on shore until I got familiar with how the boats handled. In cold water or weather I would be less likely to paddle my 16 footers from the stern than my 18 footer, a twenty footer would be even better, this is refering to an empty boat. I don't think I would have a problem sitting in the stern in a loaded boat in cold water, but as always "safety first."

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          #34
          Originally posted by yellowcanoe View Post
          And some of us prefer to paddle true solos from the middle as you can adjust the loads a little easier..

          Nobody is right or wrong but back in the day of Bill Mason there were not dedicated solo canoes.. He ran on traditional Canadian designs.
          I have to agree with this. For me, if I'm paddling alone, it is so much easier to be in a dedicated solo boat.

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            #35
            Originally posted by eckilson View Post

            I have to agree with this. For me, if I'm paddling alone, it is so much easier to be in a dedicated solo boat.
            I haven't paddled enough dedicated solo boats to make that call. My only solo boat is a Mohawk 13, which is probably too small for me, and I'm sure doesn't paddle as well as the most popular solos out there. The one thing I think that is hard to deny is that it is easier paddling where the gunnel width is about 20 inches compared to around 30 inches for a sleek solo boat.

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              #36
              I still haven't tried paddling solo from the stern. I've been neglecting my tandems lately, except for the one that has no seats (my dedicated poling canoe). It's not unusual though for me to be standing about where the stern seat would be, when poling up drops or surfing a wave. Stability is not a problem when standing there once you're used to it, and it is easier to control the bow against the current. But it's definitely not as fast as the boat can go when trimmed flat. Typically, when topping a ledge, I hop up toward the yoke to lengthen the waterline and immediately increase speed against the current as I pull away. It's a noticeable change every time I do it.

              As for paddling from the middle - in a canoe with great secondary stability, heeling on one side makes the reach over the gun'l as short as that from the stern. I do that all the time in my tandems, and even sometimes in my solos (although not to the same degree ).

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                #37
                Back before the internet told me I needed to paddle Canadian style, I spent a lot of time tootling on flat water from the stern seat. I would put a 20 pound rock in the bow and heel the boat over on to its chine. I could get the paddle under the boat and with so little wetted surface in the water I could get going pretty quick. Bow got blown around a bit though and it was a bit like walking on a train rail as far as control and efficiency.

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                  #38
                  With a load on small water, I can see it. I’ve paddled my 16’ prospector reverse and empty and the wind can be an issue. I wouldn’t hesitate to paddle the right load on the right water from the stern. Maybe some moose quarters.

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                    #39
                    I think it's largely a matter of personal taste/comfort, weather, and type of canoe. I have worked my tandem Yankee (36" beam?) both ways, and prefer the fore seat facing backwards technique with it, especially when it's windy. You need to front load then, and it just seems to work better for me if I'm in the middle vs back in those conditions. I have also worked my Chum both ways, and while it's narrower beam (32"?) makes paddling 'backwards' from the front easier, I still felt off balance or uncomfortable when it was windy; I was working entirely too hard. As I own two canoes, I removed both of the Chum's seats and my father made me a webbing seat for it, the front edge of which is now bolted about 2" aft of center. It's perfect for me and requires very little in the way of correction when there's no wind, and is easier to front-load when it's windy (just move my pack to the windward end.)

                    I've also taken up the heresy of carrying a kayak paddle with me sometimes. I still prefer to use the single stick, but will use the kayak paddle when needed because fighting the wind on the way back from somewhere is no fun at my age.

                    Eclectic. that's the word i was looking for.
                    Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you. John Muir

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                      #40
                      I just got back from almost two weeks of paddling back East and even though I mostly paddled my 16' OT Guide, my most tippy boat, I did so kneeling from the stern. It confirmed what I discovered last year about it, that it is a viable position to paddle from and not the unstable and uncontrollable one that I had thought it was for thirty years. Like Seeker said above it does depend on your boat, conditions and personal preference.

                      I'm really glad that I had this revelation because when I brought my 18' OT Chippawa home that I purchased from Robin I knew that I would be paddling it from the stern. Despite convention thinking the boat was very easy to turn with the bow out of the water as it pivots on the stern. As far as wind goes it only takes one step forward to put you ahead of the stern thwart in a position similar to the bow seat. I also get an advantage from even very light winds by paddling on the downwind side needing less correction strokes enabling more energy to be put towards forward strokes.

                      Now that the water is warming up it is a good time to try this out, you just might like it. The bigger the boat the better the results will be I think. Big guy, small boat may be too unstable so be careful. My guess is that at one time paddling from the stern was the norm and that if 100 years ago someone opted to have only one seat in their boat it would have been the stern seat.

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                        #41
                        This is a topic I've long pondered. I well remember one day paddling my symmetrical OT Penobscot 16 from the front seat, with a gusty headwind, on the upper Delaware. I could not control it. I resolved then and there to get a dedicated solo, which I did (Magic). It is all trade offs. There is much to be said for the leverage gained in the stern position of a tandem. Trade offs between freeboard wave clearance and low windage. Nothing is perfect.

                        (I've been MIA with back problems and elbow tendonitis, so absent from the forum for some time, but working my way back)

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                          #42
                          Welcome back Dave and get well soon.

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                            #43
                            I'm glad your on the upswing Dave. Start out slow and don't go out in the wind.

                            As far as your experience on the Delaware I would think being stern heavy going downstream into a headwind is a bad combination, but if you still have that Penobscot try paddling it from the stern on a calm summer evening. I paddle kneeling which is more stable than sitting.

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                              #44
                              Thanks, guys. I sold the Penobscot many years ago. Many happy memories in her. For a few years, it was my one and only, doing solo and tandem duty. It was outfitted really well, if I do say so myself. I would slide cargo around to go bow or stern heavy. But, that day on the Delaware really sucked.

                              The guy that bought it was super happy. I might not have sold it if I had any inkling that royalex would be phased out. Who would have thought? Everybody has a killer star trek communicator in their pocket, but they cannot sell enough rolyalex canoes to justify the factory making it.

                              Replaced it with a used Bell Northstar tandem, black gold, asym. Significantly lighter. I have not tried to paddle flatwater with the Northstar solo from the stern with the bow counterbalanced- weighted down. I would not want to do any class II like that, and I would think one would really have to horse it around in any stiff winds.

                              The Magic is great for sit and switch. Not so great for kneeling or moving water. I have a secret plan for the perfect solo boat that has a low wind profile, the seat is high enough for me to paddle kneeling comfortably with my size 11 shoes, enough freeboard for big lake water, enough rocker for class II. I will let you know how it turns out, coughrockstarcough

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                                #45
                                I've paddled my prospector from the bow seat, but would NEVER do it with a solo boat on hand. Just too wind and load sensitive. Of course, I'm not a big kneeling fan due to gimpy knees.

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