• Happy Birthday, Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)!✍🏼📚👴🏼🌊

Finally got my NW Solo in the water

Joined
Jun 5, 2024
Messages
27
Reaction score
57
Location
S. Florida
Well, after building a rack, buying a paddle, buying a PFD, setting up my car, and doing a little maintenance on my new-to-me 2015 NW Solo canoe, I finally got it on the water. :p

The main goal on this trip was to get my Border Collie, Lucy, accustomed to the canoe. I also, of course, wanted to try out my new toy that I have already owned for a month without using yet. Since I didn't want to push it with the dog, I limited myself to one hour and at a local park with little to no boat traffic.

To prepare, while I had the canoe in the garage, I did one session of training with Lucy so she felt comfortable getting in and out of the canoe, and learned where to hang out in the canoe. I had planned on doing two sessions, but she picked it up pretty quickly, and frankly, I just wanted to get out on the water and see what happened.

The local park is called Lake Catherine, and is roughly a triangle-shaped lake with a park on one side and houses on the other two sides. Not a very back-to-nature location, but it would do for a test paddle or two. I took Friday, July 5th off from work, so off we went.

The launch was not great, although it did have a really nice parking lot quite close to the water. The launch itself consisted of an actual gated off concrete boat ramp (which I was not going to use), and a fairly steep bank down to the water. I picked a section with the most gentle slope and put the canoe in the water.

Once on the water, Lucy was a bit curious about everything. She loves the water, so I half expected her to jump overboard, but she never did. She did dip her front paws in the water. This is something she does to cool off. A couple of times she thought it would be a good idea to put both front paws in the water at the same time (narrator: it was not). She eventually learned that one at a time was the way to go. She also sampled the water with her tongue many times.

Eventually, she started to calm down enough to get a picture of her:

IMG_2167.jpeg

As far as the canoe went, the only thing I really noticed was that I was looking for a place to put my feet all the time. It paddled well enough, but I spent most of my time corralling the dog, so I didn't get much time to evaluate the canoe on that trip. It was also quite hot and humid that day and one hour was more than enough time on the water that day.

Unlike my ground-based training, I wanted to get back out on the water again with Lucy at the same location to reinforce proper behavior in the canoe so we went back out again on Sunday. This time it was a little cloudier, the humidity was less, and there was a light breeze. It was much more pleasant this time.

It also helped that Lucy settled down a bit quicker and it let me spend a little more time learning the canoe. I like it quite a bit, but the main thing I learned was the seat is too low for me. The reason I didn't know what to do with my feet the first time was because my legs are so long I could never get them "under me." I tried kneeling, but I didn't have room to bend my legs around, and even if I could, I don't think I could get my feet under the seat anyway. The only real "success" I had was when I sat cross-legged. That finally got my feet under me and I felt I had a bit more "leverage" when paddling.

I may eventually want to add a foot brace, too, but the first thing I'll probably do is install the kneeling drops from Northstar and see how that goes. If I don't like that then I will either modify the drops I have or build my own, or maybe remove them all together.

In any case, the second trip was much more useful all around. I'm not sure I'll be back to Lake Catherine, as it is not the most scenic location. It is close by and motor boats can't get to it. I only saw one other kayak the two hours I was on the lake on Friday and Sunday. It will make a good "test lake."

Here is Lucy on Sunday. I can't quite get her to lay down much because she can't see what's happening when she lies down.

IMG_2178.jpeg

And here's the route we took on Sunday:

IMG_2180.jpeg
 
Good luck setting up the canoe to your liking, Thanks for the report. I must say that Lucy is a heartbreaker. What a beautiful pup! ❤️
 
If she settled down that quickly, she's a natural (and she's gorgeous). I can't blame her for not wanting to lie down though, I want to see what's around me too. Hope you get lots of time on the water with both the canoe and the pup.
 
I too will be introducing my dog to a canoe. I’ve had him in my guideboat but he was standing paws on the gunnel the whole time. The guideboat is stable enough it was no problem.
Good for you getting your dog on the water, she’s a beauty.
Jim
 
Good job, John and Lucy!

The local park is called Lake Catherine, and is roughly a triangle-shaped lake with a park on one side and houses on the other two sides.

Can you paddle from Lake Catherine into that canal that goes northwest and the one that goes east all the way to Lake Worth Lagoon?

I tried kneeling, but I didn't have room to bend my legs around, and even if I could, I don't think I could get my feet under the seat anyway. The only real "success" I had was when I sat cross-legged. That finally got my feet under me and I felt I had a bit more "leverage" when paddling.

If you are young and limber enough to kneel in the canoe with your calves under the seat, I highly recommend doing so. You are more stable in that position and can implement more leveraged and effective turning strokes. It also frees up all the area in front of you without your legs sticking out up there. Kneeling doesn't prevent sitting. You can always sit, too, in a stable enough canoe. It's just an alternate position that you may find preferable or more useful at times, such as giving you more stability in strong winds and waves.
 
I also have a dislike of a low seat, I only kneel for whitewater and even then only for big volume C2's or above. My seat is placed medium high plus I use a lot of padding so I can sit pretty much like I was in a chair (my legs are not long either). The few times I've been in boats with an extra low seat I've experienced the same thing you did.
 
Can you paddle from Lake Catherine into that canal that goes northwest and the one that goes east all the way to Lake Worth Lagoon?

One would think so just looking at the map:

1720701973346.png

Which is what I actually thought when I planned on going back there on Sunday. My plan was that if things were going well and I got bored with the lake I would paddle out that way and see what the conditions were like in the intracoastal waterway. If you look at my track in my first post, you will see I did start heading east, but I eventually ran into this:

1720702235469.png

According to the signs on the bank, that line across the canal is a weed barrier. I probably could have portaged around it if I wanted to, but I decided it was too much work at the time. Later looking at this satellite view I noticed there was another one just east of the first one.

Then I followed the satellite view along the route just to see if there was any more of these in the way. That's where I saw this:

1720702495229.png

Looks like some sort of flood control device that I would definitely have to portage around. I also noticed the lack of motor boats west of that flood control. That's why I didn't see any power boats in the lake - no access!

There is another launch at Anchorage Park that gets me around that whole mess.

If you are young and limber enough to kneel in the canoe with your calves under the seat, I highly recommend doing so. You are more stable in that position and can implement more leveraged and effective turning strokes. It also frees up all the area in front of you without your legs sticking out up there. Kneeling doesn't prevent sitting. You can always sit, too, in a stable enough canoe. It's just an alternate position that you may find preferable or more useful at times, such as giving you more stability in strong winds and waves.

I'm going to hopefully be able to set the boat up with enough available positions so that I can change between them as needed to be able to paddle all day if necessary. I'm not much of a kneeler, but I would still like the option.
 
Back
Top