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Suitable Canoe for Poling?

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Being new (returning after MANY years), i never considered poling until i bumped into the subject in this forumn. I actually have a length of 1.250 X .058 6061 i am going to make a pole from. That said, most of the videos i have seen tandems seem t prevail. I'm a smaller guy at 5'4" and consider myself pretty agile, but a thought occured... My Canoe is a Swift Kee15 Solo, and i am curious if i may literally be getting in over my head :)? Only way i'll really know is after i give it the old college try, but i was wondering from those of experience here if this sounds reasonable.

Thank's in advance..
 
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27" width at waterline should make for a lively experience. You might want to consider getting some experience in a wider tandem if you have access to one before you try it.
 
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Ahhhhhh, Lively.... Coded language for "Make sure someone has a video camera on!!!" :cool: . I'll definitely take that advice to heart Sweet... And if not i'll just be prepared and expect the unexpected !! After paddling my boat last fall the wife has been warming up to the idea of paddling again as well, so that may solve the tandem problem.

K
 
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I started out poling in a Ranger Otter, http://www.facebook.com/Ranger-Canoe-148249508582220/ that I salvaged from a local river. After I lost it on the same river a few years later, that's another story for another day, I ended up with an OT Disco 158. Both boats are in the 36" wide range so were very stable. I've done a fair amount of poling on trips and just dubbing around on local rivers and am fairly good at it. Then I had an opportunity to pole a MR Independence which is around 28.5" wide and although I didn't swim it took a lot of concentration not to tip. I also tried poling a Bell Wildfire once, didn't flip but that lasted all of about one minute before I gave it up and took to kneeling. Most of the polers in my neck of the woods use a variety of hulls but the common theme is no less then 32" wide.

If you are familiar with your Swift and try poling in shallow, warm, water then you may get used to it. I'm only around 5' 8" so have a lower center of gravity and have pretty good balance. At 5' 4" you might fair well. Yes, please do have someone taking a video when you give it shot! :rolleyes:

dougd
 
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Not sure how all the waterline widths compare, but I have poled a Mad River Freedom Solo and a Mohawk Solo14. Those were both after having considerable experience poling tandems on class 2 rivers though, and it definitely took more attention than a tandem. I have not yet bothered to try it in my Dagger Sojourn (14.5' and 28" gun'l width), as I think I know how that will turn out. Bottom shape is going to make a difference too. The Mohawk was easier to pole than the MR solo, even though overall dimensions are very similar. The Sojourn is rounder, livelier, and harder tracking than both. You won't know if you don't try - but don't give it up just because you fall in. ;)
 
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I tried poling my Dagger Encore canoe. Beam at waterline 27.5, so somewhere in the neighborhood of Ken's kee 15 solo. I didn't step out, but I sat down pretty quick. It was scary.
 
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Well, i'll definitely give it a go once the water warms up a little after ice out. And yes, I promise a video :rolleyes: I'm sure my wife will volunteer to take that one!!!
 
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What I notice when poling a solo canoe is probably exactly what you would expect....the smaller boats are less forgiving and much more responsive to input, which promotes a tendency for over-correction. It's like the difference between poling my 75 lb 16' Prospector with a tripping load and poling the 40 lb 15'6" Coho empty - only much more so. It's not that it can't be done - just that it takes a whole 'nuther level of finesse....which in itself, is physically draining. No doubt, someone could even pole my Sojourn - given time and determination to develop that level of skill. But swims are almost guaranteed in the process. Heck - I swam quite a bit when I started poling tandems, and more when I pushed my limits. Starting with a solo is likely to make a steep and wet learning curve - but don't let that stop you.

It may not be obvious, but there is an advantage to being able to pole your solo at least in the shallow riffles, if not upstream in rapids. I've had a goal of acquiring a solo that has reasonable performance under paddle, but can also be poled without too much difficulty. Those two models I mentioned above (or any others I might be willing to try) have been on my CL watch list for a few years. Finally going to pick one up this weekend that I think will fit that niche (a MR Guide, actually).
 
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BTW - I forgot to mention, I'm about 5'11" (last I checked) and IIRC, Chip is taller than me. I think being a lot shorter will help.

Try it in a small lake or pond on a calm day first. Expect your legs to turn to rubber in short order until you get used to it. ;)
 
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. It may not be obvious said:
That's basically where i am at. In my neck of the woods there a quite a few streams and small rivers, and even sections of larger rivers that are just too shallow to paddle in sections, but really just riffles and not really rapids. So that's my goal, baby steps. Whats that sayinh??? Try it, it i'l be fun!! :rolleyes:
 
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Keep in mind the more narrow and shorter canoe will also require more water to prevent grinding on rocks than a wider and longer tandem. Going against the current will also require caution in the very shallow spots. This applies to all hull shapes and lengths.
Dave
 
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I pole quite bit( noting like these guys above though) and I tried different boats, but the one I prefer is a 16' x 36" Composite Creation Expedition.... I think that the shape of the boat have more to do that its size. I find the expedition really stable and I think that is not because it is 36" wide but rather because it caries its with well past the centre, makes of a really nice platform. I'm 6'2" and top heavy(thick chest and wide shoulders) I would love to try a wood canvas like a prospector to see how it handle and a Millbrook, I'm quite a fan of John's boats!
 
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I'd have to wonder if the floor and hull are rigid enough to withstand changing foot positions and "walking" to alter trim. At a paddlefest I once asked Charlie Wilson about poling a Swift Pack 13 and as soon as he stopped looking at me to see if I was insane and with no hesitation he said this is made to sit in.

I love videos, especially with sound, HA! ....I wish I had one of a late November poling jaunt (in a Malecite)...all of a sudden all I had time for was thinking 'boy this is going to be cold'. The worst part was after standing up I had to dive back in to catch the canoe.

Only tip I have is to begin with a somewhat shorter pole.
 
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I change the position of my feet quite often, sometimes I almost stomp. I have an old MR in the heavy layup. I don't know the boat, I wonder if the hull is too flimsy and if too much flex could cause damage.
 
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I change the position of my feet quite often, sometimes I almost stomp. I have an old MR in the heavy layup. I don't know the boat, I wonder if the hull is too flimsy and if too much flex could cause damage.

I really doubt it. Unless it is a really light weight racing layup, I really don't think you could do it any arm!
 
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Keep in mind the more narrow and shorter canoe will also require more water to prevent grinding on rocks than a wider and longer tandem. Going against the current will also require caution in the very shallow spots. This applies to all hull shapes and lengths.
Dave

Yes, a smaller boat will sit lower in the water. But it actually takes more caution to go with current in shallows than against. Going against current, it's easy to go slow or stop. Going with....not so much. Standing gives more lead time to avoid hazards though in either direction. What I find gets me into trouble in shallow riffles going downstream is the glare of the low sun ahead of me obscuring the shoals. That is why my poling canoes have scratched up bottoms. ;)
 
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I'd have to wonder if the floor and hull are rigid enough to withstand changing foot positions and "walking" to alter trim..

I suppose it may be an issue with some ultralight designs, but as long as one stays afloat and isn't doing things like "Rock-a-Copter", I would think standing and poling in mild conditions wouldn't harm it. Especially if your feet are in the chines, as in the modern poling method. I have avoided those layups with foam core ribs though, mostly because the ribs would impede my shuffling footwork (not much of a jumper, I ).
 
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Funny you should mention this though, Snubber. I have the opposite question about the possibility of installing seats in my primary poling boat - the Millbrook Coho. When I ordered it, I requested no seats and a robust bottom. Now I wonder if retrofitting seats would be a mistake. Are the sides strong enough? Never bothered to ask Kaz yet, because I decided to use a removable mini-cell pedestal - but I maybe should ask him before he forgets my build.
 
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It may not be obvious, but there is an advantage to being able to pole your solo at least in the shallow riffles, if not upstream in rapids.

That's basically where i am at. In my neck of the woods there a quite a few streams and small rivers, and even sections of larger rivers that are just too shallow to paddle in sections, but really just riffles and not really rapids.

About snubbing. All of the polers I know spend considerable time snubbing downstream.

Sometimes on a no shuttle, up and back outings, solo or with other polers. That no shuttle up and back style opens a lot of spur of the moment day trip opportunities for them, especially going out for an afternoon solo when the day turns nice and time opens up.

Sometimes poling downstream, shuttle vehicles set while accompanying seated paddlers. I admire their standing tall view ahead, their upstream work and play, and their occasional antics. But I lack both the necessary sense of balance, and the willingness to fall, into or out of the canoe, and never a poler will be.

I am envious at times, especially in downstream riffles and shallows where I can only get 3 inches of ineffective paddle blade in the water. They can push and glide and hull trim walk around, with a better view of the glorious 4 inch deep channel that lies ahead on river right.

I am likewise envious of folks who can side sleep comfortably in a hammock. Would that twere me.
 
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