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Lining and tracking tips?

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First of all let me make sure I have my nomenclature correct: I think of lining as using one rope and either pulling the canoe upstream behind you or following behind the canoe as you work downstream. Tracking is using two ropes, bow and stern, to control the angle of the canoe and how far it is away from shore. This lets you stay on shore while the canoe is out in the current and also lets you steer it around obstacles. Is this correct?

Anyone have any tips they'd care to share for these processes, tracking in particular? Last year on the Bloodvein I really struggled with tracking when solo. Once in a while on a straight stretch of shoreline I could get it to work about perfect and it was great. I could just walk along the shore and keep the canoe 5-10' out from shore next to me.

Bust most of the time the terrain and current was much trickier as I was hopping from boulder to boulder and having to go around corners. I found it very difficult to control both ropes. For example I'd need to let out a lot of rope to get in position and then pull the canoe upstream towards me. Hard to take up line when both hands are holding a different rope. Or when I needed to suddenly change the angle of the bow or stern. It was hard to take up line quickly I usually ended up just tossing one of the lines and figuring out a way to do it with just the bow line.

The other big problem I had was going around outside corners. The stern seemed to be quite content in the eddy and I had to run the bow way out into the current before the stern would follow suit. Usually the bow was out too far at this point and the current would take it. What I really wanted was for the stern line to turn into a long stick so I could kick the rear end out into the current.

How do you handle these situations?

Alan
 
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These guys seem to know what they're doing:


One thing I notice is they're running the canoes in much stronger current than I dared to. I tried to keep mine closer to shore in the slower water. Maybe this was part of the problem as the current near shore might be less consistent with more eddies. No doubt boat design plays a part as well. My canoe had fairly grabby stems.

Alan
 
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I don't like using a single rope ever. Why hope for the best and leave it all up to the currents? With two ropes you can steer and manage your manoeuvring. There are times I want to haul on the stern rope for extra "oomph". Notice how well the harness works in the video? I'm too lazy to harness for downstream travel (is it necessary?), but two lines work well regardless to steer around most any obstacle. Go with the flow and try not to fight it. I don't like the canoe being too near shore; it's difficult to "kick it back out" into the current. I'm still a newbie at this, but I love tracking and lining. The worst part of the whole exercise is scrambling over bouldery terrain. And keeping the lines untangled as you play them out - pull and loop them in - play them out - as you quickly search for your next rock hop footing...
In all seriousness, when I'm doing this I'm telling myself to relax and enjoy it. (And don't let go of the rope.)
 
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Upstream is tracking
Downstream is lining
The bow and stern are always attached sometimes it's one big line and sometimes two shorter ones
I'm not skills at it but know the bow stays angled to shore when tracking and stern to shore when lining
 
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Think of it as flying a kite. If there is no wind your kite will fall to the ground. If the canoe isn't in the flow it isn't going anywhere. I find that you either get it out there in the current or if you want to stay close to shore you have to get up close and personal, right there in the water at the bow or stern to lead it where you want it to go.
 
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I don't like the canoe being too near shore; it's difficult to "kick it back out" into the current.

Think of it as flying a kite. If there is no wind your kite will fall to the ground. If the canoe isn't in the flow it isn't going anywhere. I find that you either get it out there in the current or if you want to stay close to shore you have to get up close and personal, right there in the water at the bow or stern to lead it where you want it to go.

That rings true with problems I was having on my trip. Too many times when I'd dry to pull a line to adjust the angle or move the canoe ahead it would just skid in towards shore rather than moving upstream. I need to do more practice this summer where a mistake doesn't mean being stuck in the middle of nowhere without a canoe. My new canoe has rounder stems that shouldn't bite as hard, hopefully that will help control it in the fast stuff. Last year I didn't have the guts to run the canoe out in the big water. Might not have them this year either. We'll see. I suppose that's probably not a bad way to be on a solo trip.

Thanks,

Alan
 
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I've had about 30 feet each, bow and stern. 20 feet isn't nearly enough. It seems like a lot of rope at times but when you need to play some out to keep in the current and scramble over and around shoreline obstructions it's surprising how much rope you need.
I'm not sure I'd work that river in the video. Looks a bit too bumpy for me. I think they were just playing/practicing.
 
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When tracking or lining, just remember "up- out, down- in". If you keep the bow out going up stream the flow against the side will move the boat away from you which will keep the lines taut and allow you to steer it without the tendency for the boat to suddenly run for shore.
Pulling the bow in on a downstream run allows the water to push the stern out, again tightening the lines.
The main thing to remember is that the bow rope positions the canoe where you need it and the stern rope does the steering by changing the angle in the water.
For example- to steer around a mid-stream rock going downstream you would pull in the stern line to maintain the angle while pulling in the bow line to move your canoe closer to shore.
I use 5/16 ropes about 30' long and hold any excess in my hand to prevent it from snagging on any obstructions, but whatever you do, DO NOT wrap the rope around any part of your body- a snag can tighten the line and pull you in! If you do snag a line it will usually come free by letting the rope go loose and allowing the canoe to find it's own path- the canoe will do one of two things; it'll immediately head to shore downstream of you if it's the downstream rope, or it will try to spin around and head down stream if the rope is on the upstream end. That's one of the reasons you want to tie on low- it allows the boat to run level, by tying high you allow the current to push the boat down and keel over because the pivot point is above the waterline.
Best thing to do is to take the boat to an easily managed spot with some flow, good footing, and no obstructions and practice, practice, practice!
 
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These guys seem to know what they're doing:


One thing I notice is they're running the canoes in much stronger current than I dared to. I tried to keep mine closer to shore in the slower water. Maybe this was part of the problem as the current near shore might be less consistent with more eddies. No doubt boat design plays a part as well. My canoe had fairly grabby stems.

Alan

Am I seeing things - or are they not using a bridle? It llooks on my screen like they just ran the line from the yoke over the far side and across under the boat to the handler. Interesting. Might have to give that a try for comparison, but it looks less controlled on the face of it.
 
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I also use 25-30' of line on each end. Yes, it can be a handful keeping the loose end out from under foot. I'm not really practiced at it. Usually only use it for a short distance over something I can't climb safely with the pole. That means, by definition, the boat will be out in the current. I always use a bridle, and it works well - whether with the Prospector or the Coho, which has less rocker.
 
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Am I seeing things - or are they not using a bridle? It llooks on my screen like they just ran the line from the yoke over the far side and across under the boat to the handler. Interesting. Might have to give that a try for comparison, but it looks less controlled on the face of it.

They are using a riddle from the bow seat, but off the grab loop in the stern! If you really look for it, you can see a reddish sling or rope going down the side of the boat by the bow seat!
 
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They are using a riddle from the bow seat, but off the grab loop in the stern! If you really look for it, you can see a reddish sling or rope going down the side of the boat by the bow seat!

Ah - I see it clearly now at 0:26. I think it was throwing me off because I always run it from the front of the bow seat, rather than the back. And I don't set it quite so snug that it goes straight down the side of the hull. I just wasn't looking right there. Maybe tighter works better in pushier water - I'll have to give that a try.
 
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I wish I had read this thread before I went to West Virginia 2 weeks ago..... Ya'll would have had a good time watching me try to line down some scary water with only one line tied to the stern......I will NEVER try that again...
 
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