My wife and I are new to canoeing and there is a lake by my house that has a boat only camp ground, it’s 4 miles from our put in point. Our canoe is a 17ft grumman with a flat bottom. We still aren’t real great paddlers. Do you think a 4 mile paddle is too much, or would it be a reasonable trip for new paddlers who are in decent shape. The conditions would be calm with an occasional boat wake.
you should be fine
I take inexperienced paddlers out on trips, and you should be fine, even in a loaded canoe. Plan on 4 hours, but you might get it done in half that, if there is really no wind.
Here goes the “cover-my-ass”–if that four miles is an open water crossing, I would recommend a trip where you can have the safety of shoreline closer at hand. A 15 mph wind creates some big water in the middle of a big lake. Have fun, be safe, etc.
More Free Advice
Since you are new are this I would offer this free advice. The person sitting in the back seat has the most control of the canoe just in case you hadn’t noticed. Wind, and I mean any wind effects the directional control of a canoe and the big 17’ Grumman will act like a weather vain and try to turn itself with the wind. This is why it’s important to trim or balance the weight of the two persons and camping gear in the boat so that it sits level in the water. The heavier end will act like a piviot point if you don’t and the boat will try to turn with the wind. If not trimmed properly you will notice that you seem to have a fight on your hands trying to keep the canoe pointed in the direction you want to go. Now…now that you know this you and your wife won’t try to blame each other for not useing the correct paddling technique and you will have a long and happy relationship with your new canoe.
Enjoy your 17’ Grumman it’s a classic, and four miles on a clam lake is a safe bet any day. Keep an eye on the weather when canoe camping (carry a wearther radio) and allow extra time to sit out wind days.
I’m sure you’ll be fine…
…just watch out for the lake monster…he seems to have a sixth sense for newbies & he likes to get right under your boat & then suddenly lift his head…
Well, actually, probably the biggest thing you have to fear is the adjustment period as you and your spouse learn to paddle “in synch” (or is it “in sink?”) I’ve been witness to some loving couples taking their first tandem paddles, and it often helps to sign a pre-shove-off pact, ie: We will not raise our voices, we will keep big smiles on our faces, we will preface each suggestion with an endearing “honey” or “darling”, we will use the paddles ONLY for propelling the boat, etc.
Well, actually, welcome to paddling.net & I hope you enjoy yourselves.
…I may come with you, where is it? We can go
together and split up once we get to the campground.
Seriously, you should be fine. One of the
biggest problems is the lack of confidence
tends to make yuou tenative. If you don’t sit on
the seats, but sit or kneel on the bottom as you
paddle, you should be fine.
(Istill sounds like fun. Enjoy and be sure to
post a trip report.)