solo ballast

Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
4,363
Location
Ontario Canada
I'd like to go for solo day paddles, but would prefer having some weight in my canoe for a more solid response on the water. Having no ballast is like paddling a twitchy leaf. Am I wrong? Right? What is most sensible as ballast? Pack of rocks? Jug of water? And how much weight is enough to carry? I paddle from a kneeling thwart in a tandem. Thanks for any advice. I'm a tandem paddler intrigued by this solo stuff.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
2,290
Location
Warren, Manitoba
Man, you got up over 600 posts fast...

Jugs of water is what we use. Potable water jugs, fill em up and drain if needed or whatever. Much better than rocks in the boat.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
260
Location
Middle of the Florida paddling paradise
A few months ago my wife wanted to try out our Jensen 16"1' solo. Did not think much about it and said sure why not. Went down to a local put in and away we went. Each in our own solo. All did not go well. She is just over a hundred pounds. The canoe did not sit correctly in the water and even with her exceptional balance the Jensen was too tippy to handle. It is just fine to me at about double her weight and there is no way I can match her balancing ability. She stands up and paddles in the bow of a Bell Northstar!!! So have to say I agree that a canoe is twitchy if it dose not have the correct weight range in it. Believe hulls are designed with a certain weight range in mind were they are the most efficient.

As to what to use for ballast? Well was thinking of an old collapsing three gallon water container I used to have. What ever you use it needs to be as low as possible in the canoe to my way of thinking.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
Nothing. I paddle just behind the center yoke.. I use a removable kneeling bench. If the headwinds pick up I spin around so I am in front of the yoke. I heel the boat over for quick response.. sometimes water dribbles in.. But for tracking the least heel you can get away with while maintaining a vertical paddle plant is best.

Most tandems can be paddled well without additional weight. One of the most talented paddlers I have seen weighs 90 lbs and paddles a tandem solo all the time. Tippiness is not a problem with most boats.

Jensens are not one of those boats. They have a unique hull design where the wide point of the hull is down low, and the sides pull in all the way to the gunwales. Other designs with the widest point at or above the four inch water line are far more stable for heeling Canadian Style.
 
Joined
Oct 13, 2012
Messages
1,189
Location
Alburnett Iowa
I paddle tandems solo from the bow seat facing the stern. On day trips I take a dry bag along and fill it with water and throw it in the other end.
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
4,363
Location
Ontario Canada
I've much learning to do here, thanks for the responses. This 48lb boat feels lovely, but is so darned light in the slightest breeze, I was wondering if more weight would help. Sorry. My terminology is as accurate as my guessing people's ages at parties. Not good. By twitchy, I didn't mean tippy, but instead so very responsive to wind. Wouldn't a bit of weight settle things down? There's that fuzzy terminology again. I saw a photo of me soloing, and noticed the bow just a little light. Should the trim always be level? Would level be better? I enjoy leaning the boat, and am impressed that it's not as unstable as I'd originally assumed. In flat calm everything's good, but the slightest breeze starts to push me around a bit. I've mostly paddled loaded tandems, and love that feel. I usually solo on flat calm for just an hour or so. I challenged myself recently for several hours in some windy conditions. Maybe not smart, but I tested myself and enjoyed it. YC, your 1st paragraph is loaded with so much info (as always). Thanks. I discovered these things while on my windy day paddle. Cfl, maybe this tripping canoe is ideally suited just for that. I wonder. Thanks for your insight. Mihun, I'll consider the water thing. Rocks sounded counterintuitive. I picture myself standing on the stream bank trying to explain how I sank my boat with rocks. "It felt really stable, right up until it sank." I dunno about the 600+ post count speed. Maybe Vbulletin is playing me like a fish, or maybe it's feeling guilty for past misdemeanours. I'm just happy to be here. And learning.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
405
Location
Wyoming
I like to sink my Wenonah Wilderness in the water a bit when the wind is up. To do so conveniently I have a couple big box store quality (or lack thereof!) dry bags. Easy to keep rolled up in my day bag when not needed and easily filled to a degree necessary for conditions. I use the transparent plastic style bag as that construction doesn't slide around in a composite boat. I put one just in front of me and one just behind me, they lay out nicely, stay put and I can easily adjust trim for conditions. I stick about 25-30 lbs in each bag and she behaves quite well in the wind. If I lose one I'm out $9.95.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
Its so much easier handling wind in a dedicated solo. Way less windage. No need for ballast..you are centered.. However a sliding seat does help as well as a day pack..

A little weight way in the stem affects trim better than a center weight. The issue of getting weight farther to the end where it can effectively trim a bow down is that its hard to reach without a rope attached.

What Gavia is referring to is overall sinking of the hull to reduce windage. Hellow Archimedes principle.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archimedes'_principle

Tandems have a lot of volume.. Someday I would like to know comparative volumes of some tandems vs some dedicated solos.

So there are several types of weight placement that at any given time can be "correct"

Anyone play with wind ferries? You can make that sail of a bow your friend rather than squelch it.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
838
Well, I suspect if I ever had a chance to see some of the real quality paddlers here in their canoes, I would probably be shamed into improving my technique. But for now I'm mainly interested in getting from here to over there. (and be dry when we get there) For those times it's just me and the dog in the canoe, I use large plastic "Jerry" can that I fill at the lake and dump when we're done. I put it up front to bring the bow down.

It is interesting how different the canoe acts under load vs. unloaded. Say; what's the name for that when people do that pretty way of spinning around in a canoe? It's almost like a ballet in a canoe. Some long time ago someone posted a u-tube video of paddlers in a competition doing that way of paddling. It sure was nice to watch and I'd like to see it again.

Brad, about your post count. First, congratulations on your recovered ground. Second, if you're thinking about the "bent tent stake award" for what was it; five or six hundred posts, I see where Robin's bending them straight again, so it looks like level of recognition is history. Ah well, that's the way it goes.

Best Wishes, Rob
 
Joined
Oct 13, 2012
Messages
1,189
Location
Alburnett Iowa
It is interesting how different the canoe acts under load vs. unloaded. Say; what's the name for that when people do that pretty way of spinning around in a canoe? It's almost like a ballet in a canoe. Some long time ago someone posted a u-tube video of paddlers in a competition doing that way of paddling. It sure was nice to watch and I'd like to see it again.
Best Wishes, Rob

That was a long time ago in a distant galaxy called solotripping. I believe it was called freestyle. Yellow canoe can tell you much more as she was in one of those freestyle videos.
 
Joined
Oct 13, 2012
Messages
1,189
Location
Alburnett Iowa
I saw a photo of me soloing, and noticed the bow just a little light. Should the trim always be level? Would level be better?

Brad, There may be some standard rules of thumb about trim but I'm not good with rules myself. It's a good thing I mostly solo paddle because most purists might be disgusted by my paddling habits. That said I always paddle my tandem a little bow light. I like the way my canoe feels and turns in that condition. Like every one else I adjust the bow up and down to suit wind conditions. But it is never quite level. This works for me (Dave) and my two tandems (NC Pal and NC Bob special). Brad, I say find out what trim you like and don't worry about "style points".
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
3,667
Location
Appleton, Maine
Man, you got up over 600 posts fast...

Odyssey was formerly know as Brad here and when the new version of vBulletin was installed, for some unknown reason Brad could not log in under his user name on his computer. He started over under the user name of Odyssey and I felt it was only right to correct his post count. No one asked for this, I consider it an accurate reflection of his support for the site and was happy to do it on my own.;)
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
4,363
Location
Ontario Canada
Incredibly good advice and info here. I'll experiment and learn. We have a much anticipated long weekend coming up shortly. Day paddles on a pretty river are planned. Also corn roasts, pond swimming and pitching horse shoes. The paddling prospects excite me though. I'll take many photos and write up a TR. I'll try out a borrowed kayak blade as well. Much to learn.
Post count mystery solved. Thanks Robin. I was happy being a brand new member again, joking about post counts, but most seriously happy to be back here.
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
838
Hi Dave, Thanks for the memory jogging, I couldn't for the life of me remember what that "freestyle" was called. Sometimes it feels like my brain cell have been feed though a shredder, everything's there but just not connected. Of course, I'm still miles ahead of Louis Lerner.

Rob
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
260
Location
Middle of the Florida paddling paradise
Way back in the day I used to hang out with a bunch of freestyle paddlers. They tended to use Lotus canoes. Mostly Dandies. Can not remember the club name. Used my solo stripper I built. Instead of leaning the tandems over use the more boring method of turning the boat around and sitting in the bow seat with ballest in the front.
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
425
Location
Maryland, USA
Hey Holmes375,
As a fellow Wilderness paddler, may I ask what you weigh? 50 to 60 lbs of ballast seems like a lot but maybe its because I am carrying my own ballast around all the time.
Dave
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
405
Location
Wyoming
Howdy Dave,

I'm 6'-2" and a skinny 170#... think Ichabod Crane in a Wenonah :)

I don't often use the ballast bags, only when I'm headed back across a lake and the wind is gettin' brutal. The additional sinkage keeps me on track easier. May have something to do with my paddlin' skills - or lack thereof!

And it appears I'm not only getting wimpy in my old age but losing the ability to gauge weight with any semblance of accuracy. I just weighed one of my bags filled to a typical level and it goes 17#. It appears my 50-60 lbs are in reality more like 30-40 lbs.

~Holmes
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
425
Location
Maryland, USA
Ichabod (formerly known as Holmes),
Well, I have about 60 lbs on you so I guess that's why I never felt the need to ballast, but I can still comfortably carry 100 lbs of gear and food when I need to.
Dave
 
Top