Canadian Style?

I bet this has been covered before, but I couldn’t find anything on the archive. Anybody have any thoughts on the relative efficiency of leaning the canoe over to maintain direction as opposed to J-stroking? Leaning it over feels more efficient to me since it a breeze coming from the off-side seems to propel the boat a little bit. On the other hand I have learned that feel is a pretty poor measure of such things. Any thoughts?

Ah’ use it all de time
Wha Ho, Pilgrim;

Ah’ prefer de Canadian style of paddlin’ me’self. Works great in “Prospector” style canoos. Ah’ use de Indian stroke mostly (in deep enough water). This be an underwater recovery stroke dat takes a little bit of practice ta larn, but once ye knows it, ye be hooked. Best place ta git the jist of the Canadian technique are the videos ‘Path Of The Paddle’ by the late Bill Mason and ‘Classic Solo Canoeing’ by his daughter Becky Mason.

Fat Elmo

Canadian Style
Clarification of the term – Canadian style paddling is leaning a canoe over to one side and paddling a tandem canoe solo from just aft of center in the canoe. In this position it’s easier to reach the water and allows for maintaining a relatively vertical stroke. If you solo paddle a tandem canoe flat and are centered (side-to-side) in the boat you won’t be able to maintain a vertical stroke.

Paddling Canadian style does not eliminate the need for J-strokes or other corrective strokes. But since you’re heeled over and have a more vertical stroke you won’t be making more horizontal “sweep” strokes like you would if you were centered in the boat.

Heeling the boat (Canadian style) does not in itself keep the boat going straight.

No J stroke
If you dont like the J learn the Northwoods. It works very well for Canadian Style Solo. You need some sort of corrective stroke for any canoe since you are acting like a sidewheeler.

The effects of wind can be to crab you sideways and depend on load, load distribution , your goal your angle to the wind…lots to think of.

no j stroke
I should clarify what I am talking about a little bit. When paddling my tandem solo (sitting in the bow seat facing backwards) I find that if there is any wind at all leaning the boat over to my paddling side virtually eliminates the need for any correction strokes. While the boat does maintain a straight course with respect to a fixed object, it does not move “straight” in that the center-line of the canoe is not perfectly parallel with the direction of travel (I assume this is what you mean by crabbing). This feels very easy to me, but I am wondering how much efficiency I am losing (to say nothing of the all the looks I get from people wondering why I look like I am about to tip my canoe over)

More efficient

– Last Updated: Jul-22-06 8:15 PM EST –

I believe and find for myself that my paddling becomes, in most cases, more efficient leaning the boat over. You actually decrease surface area contact between the hull and the water (less friction, easier paddling), the bilge becomes a keel of sorts and in the case of both my Tripper and Prospector I increase apparent rocker making for easier turning, but at the same time tracking is still very good due to the slightly deeper bilge/keel. The power of your stroke is closer to the leaned centerline (bilge)and this, as stated cuts down on your need for excessive correction. I think what you are saying is that the wind is actually counteracting the tendency of your stroke to turn the canoe away from the paddling side - hence the canoe is going straight without having to do a correction stroke?
I tell people I teach to concentrate on which way the center of mass is going, not necessarily which way the boat is pointed. As already stated - same as "crabbing" when flying an airplane. Practice and you'll do OK. Canadian style is a beautiful and very efficient art of canoing. As I suggested before, if you get a chance, watch the Mason videos. They are very good. Anyway, have fun, thats what counts.

Oh, and by the way. People don't look at you funny when you are leaned. They look at you with admiration. A true canoeist....

Fat Elmo

ah, actually…
me thinks yous are confused. Canadian style is really just like doggie style, but with the addition of maple syrup for, well, you know…

Tacking into the wind
I have only begun canoeing the past few months, which will probably be obvious in my comments.

I paddle in a west coast bay, which has consistant on-shore wind in the afternoon. There are some sheltered areas. I paddle my tandem Hemlock Eagle about half the time from a kneeling thwart (and pad) somewhat closer to the center of the canoe than I would be if facing the stern in the bow seat.

With the canoe healed over I use the J stroke ( the best I can) in the sheltered areas and when paddling generally with the wind. When paddling into the wind I tack to one side of the wind (even if not directly on course) and am able to paddle a strong forward stroke without the J since the wind is countering me resulting in a fairly straight direction. Then at some point I switch sides and tack to the other side of the wind. An expert at J stroke and other efficient strokes will probably get where they are heading more efficiently, but tacking works for me and reminds me of sailing.