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What is the Proper Way to Solo Paddle a Tandem Canoe?

Glenn MacGrady

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The best answer is:

(a) from the bow seat backwards

(b) from a centralized seat

(c) from the stern seat

Well, every river child in the watery wonderland of South America knows the answer is:

(d) none of the above

South American Bow Paddler.jpg

Picture taken by Verlen Kruger and Valerie Fons on the 21,000 mile Two Continent Canoe Expedition.

Your mission, members, should you decide to accept it, is to analyze WHY this boy, probably following more than a thousand years of his ancestors' canoe technique teachings, is paddling from that position in the canoe.
 
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I think he may be going downstream in flooded conditions. It's easy for him to steer with the boat trimmed that way.
 
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I think the answer should be "All of the above." Depending on the boat and conditions they have all worked well for me, including paddling forward from the bow seat on a very rare occasion.

I want to add that none of my tandems have a center seat, I kneel or sit on the bottom.
 
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Let me ask Bob my marine archaeology friend who is studying native watercraft in Guyana. He is learning to paddle those and finds them er...tippy.. no primary stability. My guess is that the kid has the most control in the bow as he is going upstream.. The rear end just follows.

Otherwise the "proper" position depends on where you are and what you are carrying.. Robins CT header is proper if you are carrying a lot of dead weight.. er meat.
If you can heel the boat, the most control of a lighter loaded boat is kneeling in the center but in a bilge.. heeled over.

Upstream. downstream?? The easiest way to change trim is to POLE!
 
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Knowing nothing about the hull shape below the waterline, if skegged the stern would just follow the bow paddler. He can steer well enough from the bow. Or maybe the poor lad always gets stuck in the bow, and when he took it out by himself he never thought to abandon his assigned seat.
 
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I observed a young kid at a resort, years ago, maneuver a V-bottom around the docks at a resort, doing just as Glenn posted. He whipped the boat around like a White water kayak. I was impressed!
 
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I would wonder about wind and current, but it sure looks to me like he's going upstream on a calm (if flooded) day. So I can only echos comments above, both the smart and the smart-assed variety.
 
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Also a hemlock lover. One of my favorite areas is the smoky mountains but it is so sad to see the hemlocks there are being completely decimated by the woolly adelgids. See ‘em before they’re gone.
 
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Also a hemlock lover. One of my favorite areas is the smoky mountains but it is so sad to see the hemlocks there are being completely decimated by the woolly adelgids. See ‘em before they’re gone.
We are lucky. Our back woods by the house is stuffed with balsam and hemlocks. But that will change for sure
 
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