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Axle Turn in Tandem Canoe

Glenn MacGrady

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Mike Galt and Deb Welbes show how do it with style in the late 1980's or 1990's in one of Galt's Lotus Egret canoes. Heel the canoe to the rail to get on the side rocker, while the bow does a hanging draw (aka Duffek) and the stern does sweep strokes. The bow can then pull in the draw to enhance the turn. Can you do this?

EFS 350 MikeG & DebW Axle.jpeg
 
As bow paddler while racing in a voyageur, I do something very similar, but maybe not quite as extreme with my body so far extended. I will also angle the paddle blade to effect an outboard ruddder. My favorite part of the Adirondack 90 mile race is the very narrow winding 2.5 miles of Brown's Tract with its tight hairpin and nearly 180 degree turns thorugh lily pads and across mud shoals. If I were to extend my body and paddle quite that far out in the narrow stream, My paddle would likely get grounded in masses of thick llily pad growth or mud banks and disaster would follow. And of course with six paddlers in the boat, half on opposite sides, we can't safely heel the boat over nearly that far. But in general, I love to reach out to do close cut buoy turns with variations of this method, barely cutting outside of the buoy. I take pride in being able to guide the bow of my voyageur around the tightest turns at speed. My stern paddler takes cues from me, when I begin to independently make my move he or she knows when to start strong opposite side draws. The other team paddlers behind me sweep, continue the power, and hang on. I find the key is to set up approach wide if possible in straight paths prior to tight turns, then the stern paddler gets the initial entry angle aligned just prior to the actual heavy turn action. I'll tell you later my techcnique for safely and without conflict passing another canoe while in the turn process.
 
I kinda figured out that maneuver the first time my hubby and I ( we were college students in a college boat in 1963) paddled with the St Lawrence Outing Club on our very first overnight trip in 1963. We were on the Oswegatchie which is a twisty SOB with just moving water. I figured out planting a hanging high brace angled away could help us from bank banging.

An axle is more than a hanging high brace. But in a tripping situation you need not heel or come up on knees. Just do the hanging high brace with the leading edge angled just a little outward.

A few years ago in FreeStyle we could actually do a show axle.. head way out ,, stern cantilevered with opposite weighting.
Solo paddlers really can't hang over the gunwales unless they are heavily weighted on the other side.

We kinda stopped using the term Duffek as in the old days that had an arm positioned over the head. If the paddler hit something the danger of a shoulder dislocation was real.. Nowadays we keep things low no hands above the shouderl
 
Mike Galt and Deb Welbes show how do it with style in the late 1980's or 1990's in one of Galt's Lotus Egret canoes. Heel the canoe to the rail to get on the side rocker, while the bow does a hanging draw (aka Duffek) and the stern does sweep strokes. The bow can then pull in the draw to enhance the turn. Can you do this?

View attachment 133900
If the next shot isn't her in the water, then I'm impressed.
I do a less extreme version, in a tandem, quite frequently.
Makes me nervous just looking at her.
 
If the next shot isn't her in the water, then I'm impressed.
I do a less extreme version, in a tandem, quite frequently.
Makes me nervous just looking at her.
She is being totally supported by the pressure being exerted on the paddle from the water, which with the heeling of the canoe, easily causes the bow to be drawn in that direction. The stern paddler only has to swing the stern around by pulling with draws to change the direction of travel of the canoe as the bow pivots left. As the turn gets completed she pulls her paddle inward and rises up on it to put her full weight back into the canoe. Pressure on the paddle is controlled by its outward extension and blade angle with respect to forward direction through the water. If her paddle should happen to strike an obstacle, shallows, thick weed bed or mud bank, and it gets deflected, she's in the drink. I love making those turns from the bow seat.
 
Actually, looking back at that 1st picture, it looks like the rail is below water level.

As in most things, I suppose that the only way to know how far is "too far" is to get close enough to see it yourself but I'd think she's got to be right up against it. Mr. Galt doesn't look too concerned but, then again, it probably wouldn't be the first bow paddler to swim.
 
Actually, looking back at that 1st picture, it looks like the rail is below water level.

As in most things, I suppose that the only way to know how far is "too far" is to get close enough to see it yourself but I'd think she's got to be right up against it. Mr. Galt doesn't look too concerned but, then again, it probably wouldn't be the first bow paddler to swim.

My first experience with an expert padldler (Caleb Davis) and instructor who could do American Freestyle was during a guide training class at a BSA camp with Grumman canoes. IIt was obvious that evn in the Grumman he was an expert paddler, so I offered him my woodsttrip canoe to show us a freestyle demo. Well, he put on such a show, making the canoe dance effortrlessly and heeling the canoe over in the wind with a couple inches of surface riffles lapping up on and at the gunwale edge that we all though he sould surely swamp the canoe. But it stayed dry and upright.
 
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