Long Boating

Decked Canoes, Open Canoes, as long as they're canoes!

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Long Boating

Post by Kelly-Rand » Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:08 am

This past August I tried something different on one of my favorite rivers to prolong my river enjoyment, which was to take my 16' tandem down instead of a C1. The Dead river in Maine is a 15 mile run that has always challenged my kneeling stamina and this year I decided I wanted to be able to smile during the last mile of flat water. In the spring I had taken my Millbrook AC/DC down the South Branch of the Potomac through Petersburg WV. on an annual camping trip and discovered that this boat with a 100#'s of gear and paddler handled big wave trains really well when the paddler was a few feet behind centerline of the boat.
The Dead is a 15 mile run with long rapids punctuated with short stretches of still water. A good number of the rapids culminate in large standing waves interspersed with holes and a few have large standing waves for their length. There are two rapids of notable difficulty because of the lines needed to avoid large holes, Haydens and Poplar Falls. The former is boat scout-able but the latter you need to know where you want to be before you turn the corner as there is a large hole midway down that spans half the center left of the river bed, going right of center after you pass the guard rocks at the top of the corner is the easiest route.
The biggest difficulty paddling long boat style is determining how much effort or reduction of is required to make steering corrections as the shallow draft of such a long boat causes it to be bounced around a bit. The good thing about this is that it tends to ride over even the largest wave trains with little water gain. I seemed to put a lot of effort into turning the boat in the beginning but as the day progressed I found I could make smaller corrections by timing them with where I was on the wave. At the end of the run I was still comfortable in the boat, not kneeling at my C1 saddle height and being able to change my position enabled me to avoid the crying pain I usually experience half way through this run.
Long boating is not as fun as C1ing in a nimble boat that can catch eddies on the fly and allow you to criss cross the river eddy to eddy but it is satisfying to not have to give up a river.
Jim KR

"with single blade in hand
a C-1 I will stand"

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