Canoe paddling question

In a Down river WW race in a tandem.

With the bow paddler paddling on the right, and the stern paddler paddling on the left, and we want to make a real quick left turn.

Will a cross bow rudder by the bow paddler have any effect?

My thoughts are that a sweep on the right side would be better with the rear paddler ruddering behind on the left.

But I would like to know what you experienced folks think.



cross bow draw with a sweep
i’d have the bow paddler hit a quick cross bow draw on the left while the stern paddler did a sweep on the right. just because both paddlers are on different sides of the intended turn doesn’t mean they can’t switch quickly.

roger that.
When I’m paddling w/ my 11 year old son, I can usually guess what’s coming up close by how quickly he changes sides(if needed). He is sometimes quicker w/ the paddle change than the “right” or “left” command.He’s still a little short for the cross draw,but the message comes across.

Switch over
so you are both on sides then either use sweeps or front rudders. or stay on the side you are on and use a Jstroke. Whatever you do don’t yell at Nanci …

turn vs. speed
Depends how quickly you need to turn vs. how much speed you’re willing to drop.

I’ll avoid any talk of switching sides. You’re turning left correct?.. (can’t remember)… here’s left turn:

Sharpest turn: stern pry/j/rudder on left; bow jam/pry on right.

Happy medium: stern rudder on left; bow cross draw (is that what you meant by cross “rudder”?)

Least stopping effect: stern j’s on left; bow sweeps on right.


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My thoughts were that going with…
…a fast current the bow rudder(out front) would not have much affect, where a sweep or a draw would have been better

She claimed I yelled at her, but that was at different time when we hit a gravel bar.

About a mile down stream as we past one of the kayakers his comment was: “you guys can’t be a married couple since you are such a good team!”

Thankfully I was at my best behavior as we went by.



PS: we did take a first, so all is in harmoney in this paddling family.

Cross Draw = Mo Power
I’m far from an expert paddler. So you can have my $.02 worth for free!

The cross draw by the bowman is the most powerful turning stroke, imho, because it engages the large muscles of the torso. Additionally, it makes it easy for the bow paddler to shift weight in the bow and lean the boat in the direction of the turn.

Prying and sweeping are weaker strokes and keep the bowman on the side you would like to elevate to enhance the turning of the canoe.

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“Yelled at her”?
Jack, after all these years, you still gret youself in trouble. Me too.

physical advantage
In terms of physics, a pry (off the gunwale) has much, much more force than a draw stroke.

Paddling stern in an upstream ferry, trying paddling on the downstream side, blowing your angle (to your downstream/onside), and then try recovering your angle with draws or sweeps. Now try paddling on the upstream side, blowing your angle downstream, and recovering it using a pry. The pry gives you leverage that you just can’t get with a draw.

Same in hitting eddies, compare the forces a cross-bow draw and a pry/jam.

I don’t mean to say that the pry is necessarily the best stroke to use (especially if you can’t afford to loose any speed, or if you’re in shallow water), but in terms of pure force - the draw is weaker than the pry.


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