Carving in a MR Explorer

I was out paddling (windy) flatwater over the weekend and paid particular attention to healing my new-to-me MRE. I don’t think I ever got it to carve the way my Encore does.

Heeled over with the water 4" from the gunwale on the paddle-side, my stern pry did not get the boat to start carving. Rather, the boat has a pronounced tendency to follow the arc of the side of the boat, i.e., it acts like a sea kayak and wants to turn away from the down / paddle side of the boat. I had both knees in the chine on the paddle side, and the edge of the wicker seat was aligned with the crack in my ass, so I couldn’t lean the boat much further without getting my torso over the gunwales, and the water was still a bit chilly for that. Being all the way on the paddle side of the boat made it difficult to execute a cross-forward stroke, so I was trying to initiate the carve with the pry.

Can you carve an MRE? Was I leaning it too much?


I can not
I am surprised though that you found the boat wanting to follow the gunnel curve.

I routinely kneel in mine with both knees in the onside chine heeling the hull canadian style. I’ve never noticed any tendency to turn in either direction when doing that.

The Malecite OTOH really seems to want to carve away from the low side when heeled, ala Touring kayak.

Go figure.

I’ve noticed the same thing
I know there is probably a physics-exam question solution to this having to do with wetted length, but I’ll be damned if I know what it is. I do know that when I am standing and poling, if I want to make a sharp turn (say into an eddy), I lean the boat to the OUTSIDE of the turn.

I think the reason the boat does not carve is because when you heel the Explorer (since it has a semi-V hull) you are actually turning it into a flat-bottom boat. There is no hard chine on which to carve. So, the overriding influence of the turn becomes the new shape of the “flat” hull and the boat will tend to turn towards the “longer” side since (now we are really entering the realm of a wild-ass guess) there is more drag on that side.

Hopefully someone has the real reason here.


I heel mine to the inside to do the same
The Explorer clearly turns easier when heeled. I just never noticed any strong tendency to turn towards or away from the heel (low side).

No wonder I’m confused
I could never get my MRE to carve either way. There is surely less resistance to turning on the high side, but I never saw any tendency to carve. It’s more like spreading peanut butter - you have to lift the far edge to get it to go that way. And of course the wetted length could be a little shorter. But the best technique seems to be brute strength. :slight_smile:

I bet you heel it when you pole
Thanks for mentioning your polling turn, RS.

I first noticed the heeled-gunwale-carve when poling and it is generally what I use to straighten my course when I am poling on one side, which is usually my right. Standing, I guess I just noticed the affects of the lean more since it is less natural than when you move to one side of the boat to be closer to the paddle. But when I pole on the right, I raise the right side a bit, drop the left side, and the boat comes back to center. This is more pronounced in the MRE and in the ironing-board-flat bottomed Chipewan. The OT Tripper will do it too, but far less pronounced. I think the Tripper is a more dynamic hull shape. It will carve and there is a range of heel where it will counter-steer off the bow wave.

My experience is really too narrow and short to generalize much, but it is fun and fascinating to discover the characteristics of different hulls.


"it is fun and fascinating to discover the characteristics of different hulls."

Amen to that brother!

Real Reason

– Last Updated: Apr-22-08 6:00 PM EST –

This is in response to RS' question a couple posts up.

I was told that the side you dipped has a longer water line than the side you raised.

With boats, the general rule is that the longer the water line, the faster the boat.

When you heel the boat, you make the water line longer on one side of the boat, and that side becomes faster than the other, which is physically impossible unless the boat is turning.

I don't understand the physics of it. It's just something somebody told me and they must have sounded like they knew what they were talking about, cuz it stuck.

And this makes sense on the MRE. If the bottom approximates flat when it is heeled, the water line on the bottom will be a straight line from bow to stern. The water line under the gunwale will be longer, hence faster, and the boat will turn.

Ever been to Venice and seen the gondalero rowing the gondola with only one oar? I always wondered how they rowed them straight, with only an oar on one side. Well, they cheated and made their gondolas with more curve on the off-oar side, so the boats naturally want to turn right, canceling out the left turn the one sided rowing would otherwise produce. You can see the asymetrical sides in this stern-view picture I took in 2005:


How windy was it?
Getting the stern to skid is hard…things that affect the upwind side…work better…thats why steering from the bow actually works pretty well in wind…at least as setting a wind ferry angle.

Its similar to getting a boat to change angle when going upstream…

Dont know jack about the hull shape of your boat though!

Carving MRE
I’ll second the wind question raised earlier. Even a slight breeze on a boat that large can make it difficult to carve an inside circle. The other issue that you failed to mention is your paddling position. Are you paddling from a station just aft of center, are you on the stern seat or the bow seat in reverse?

Carving an inner circle requires a near perfect forward stroke, with the boat properly trimmed fore and aft. The forces that allow the boat to carve are small. They are easily countered by a less than perfect forward stroke, poor boat trim or a breeze.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom canoe paddles and cedar strip boats

Heeled hull shape, carving & yaw couple

– Last Updated: Apr-22-08 8:04 PM EST –

Three thing: didn't we just....

To check out heeled hull shape, have someone hold the hull heeled on a beach, take a three inch stick and run it around the hull. Varies somewhat with hull form, but touring/tripping canoes generally take a banana or foil shape, but that isn't what's going on.

Tripping boats have their bows in the water. When heeled, more of the downside bow is in the water. This increased, angled surface deflects the bow away from the heel; as in bow carving. But that is only what's going on sometimes. Get your hull running straight. Take your paddle out of the water, heel on rail to the soup and wait. Eventually the bow will carve away from the heel.

But all tight turns are skids. The faster we go the faster the skid accelerates. We usually initiate skidded turns - on purpose or not - by kicking the stern out or drawing or prying the bow inside the turn.

Remember the rotational center of the hull moves forward as the hull gains speed. [google peripatetic pivot point] When we initiate a turn, the canoe turns on its pivot point. The Center of Gravity in the hull, generally the solo paddler, continues on course, swinging the stern around the PP.

That initiation, moving the CG out of line behind the Pivot Point, is the main determiner of which way the hull skids.

Hells enhance skidded maneuvers, outside heels more so than inside heels, but it's the initiation, setting up the yaw couple, that determine turn direction.

Without more forward or concluding strokes, the hull eventually comes to rest sideways to the original direction of travel. FreeStylers and WW paddlers will conclude, usually with a draw to the bow to conclude the eddy-out 180.

Paddling the Inside, or Offside Circle is simply a controlled skid.

Gotta go - meeting someone special at PJs in 5 minutes.

heeling MRE vs. Encore
Hi Chip :

you wrote : <I don’t think I ever got it to carve the way my Encore does.>

AN MRE will never turn like an Encore. There is a big diff inherent in their designs, but the MRE will turn to the heeled side.

You also wrote :

There’s a good chance you had some yaw going on even after your correction stroke and you heeled before initiating , so the yaw plus heel started a carve to the offside and your stern pry was then ineffective. Try a hard pry at the end of your forward to move get the hull turning to the onside, then heel. The hull should continue turning to the onside. But as Marc said, you’ve got to have a really good forward for this to work. Otherwise the hard carrection will just kill your momentum.

You ask:

You cannot heel too much the more the better and yes one can carve an MRE.

Okay then, I will keep trying
I guess I have more work to do. I can carve the Encore and the Tripper, so I think I have the concept, but I guess I have more work to do to get the Explorer to do it.

Last week, I was paddling either from the bow seat (backwards), and going up wind I spent some time sitting on the carry thwart, so my center of gravity might not be right. In the Tripper, I have a kneeling thwart about 14" rear of center, so my COG should be close to center of boat. The Encore saddle is in the middle.

Thanks all for your thoughts and well written explanations.


computer thing!
Sorry, I copied some of your previous post and included under the “you wrote” section of my previous post. For some reason known only to the great unwashed masses of computers it will not make the leap over to the “reply” in Anyhow, just fill in the blanks from you post previous to it.