Help with weather cocking

Sounds plausible
What you seem to be suggesting is something like the old frontal resistance/eddy resistance concept, only with the air (wind) as the medium rather than the water (current).

Maybe, maybe not
With a Greenland paddle, if more turning/corrective force is needed one grips the paddle at one end, adding a very long lever arm to the immersed blade. This magnifies the “corrective force” transmitted to the canoe/kayak. My 94" Aleutian paddle is approaching double the length of a single blade, so it can exert much more corrective force. Need someone with better math skills than me to put this down in numbers, I just know this is true by “seat of the pants” testing.

I use this same technique with my Aleutian paddles when it’s called for. I vaguely remember doing so once or twice when test paddling the Shadow to see if it would work if needed in stronger winds-technique worked fine.

Once when test paddling a Current Designs kayak I went far downwind on a lake and then was almost unable to turn it across the strong wind to return upwind. Must have taken 10 sweep strokes combined with some bow draws and stern pry strokes. Crossed that kayak off my list.


A direct comparison
Once my wife and i were paddling on Round lake in a fair wind. She was in my Kestral and I was in my Osprey. She wanted to cut diagonally across to our campsite instead of hugging the shore. About half was across while I was struggling to keep the Osprey straight,I looked back to check on her and she was practically lillydipping alone without a care in the world.I love both boats,but for those conditions the Kestrel shines.


Makes sense

– Last Updated: Nov-20-13 12:47 PM EST –

The farther your blade reaches out from the boat during a sweep stroke, the more effective it will be at turning the boat. The downside of that is that your muscles have to work correspondingly harder. That's because the "mechanical advantage" is on the wrong end of the lever as far as your own force application goes (but on the proper side as far as effectively making the boat change heading). Still, my own experience and that of some other posters here is that other methods work better, and are more efficient for the long haul, than sweeps.

As far as not being able to turn back into the wind as you describe (very different from the situation in the original post) I've been in that situation of being pinned sideways in the wind with my guide-boat (in winds much too strong to even consider solo canoeing or the advantages of single-blade vs double-blade) where even with all that "effective sweeping action" of TWO long oars sweeping in opposite directions, I couldn't get the boat to turn. The solution was to build up some forward speed to loosen the stern so the stern could be made to skid, which then makes a turn toward the upwind direction a lot easier. In that case, once the turn is getting underway, I can usually spin the boat the rest of the way in an instant to get my proper heading, if done at just the right moment, when balanced on top of a passing wave.

use the blade as a rudder more at the

– Last Updated: Nov-22-13 2:49 PM EST –

end of stroke. Your weight is alright, it's just the distribution is off. If you can't paddle from a more aft position....continue to add weight in the stern until you get issue fixed. RiverDave, an added option would be to add weight everywhere on a windy day, in addition to weighting the stern, to attain more purchase down in the water of the entire hull. Somekind of cover over the stern or having the stuff you're filling the stern with reach up to the gunwales will help with the rearward cavity that catches wind as well.
edit: Agree Turtle....a shorter hull produces a smaller target for wind..

Thanks for the Wisdom
All of your suggestions are appreciated.

The weight in the stern has definitely helped but truth be told, having to deal with added weights on my daily paddle is a pain. Last year I installed a fastrack rudder to address the problem and you are correct Glenn, it worked fantastically! The aesthetic violation of the rudder overwhelmed me last month and I removed the rudder and sought the advice of this community hoping for a miraculous resolution. Might just have to break down and reinstall the fastrack.

remount the seat
If weighting the stern helped and you don’t want to mess with weights, you could perhaps remount the sliding seat 6" or so further aft.

Now there’ sang idea
I hadn’t thought about. Brilliant!

Some situations are no win(d)
Your craft is designed to handle much more weight than you have in it, and it is a fast paddling craft.

I went through something similar awhile back, and I added weight to the bow and stern by adding half a 50lb. bag of concrete into a poly tool bag, and letting the bags harden in the the bow and stern. The bags fit right into the furthest ends, and there they somehow work at their best. I can’t fully explain it, but this puts the hull lower into the water, where some water surface must exist for the hull shape to be “effective”, and I also think that the weight being in the end points makes a difference.

That’s my 2 cents, and it amounts to 2 tool bags with concrete, and there is nothing pure about it, but it helps.

Good luck!

Weight placement

– Last Updated: Nov-21-13 11:13 PM EST –

I'd have to question why putting weight in both extreme ends would put the hull any lower in the water than if both bags were closer to center, but still balanced the same. Actually, more than question it, I'll flat-out say it can't happen, unless the hull is extremely flexible and is "bending down" at each end as a result of the weight distribution. On the other hand, standard wisdom for providing the best ride over steep waves and the best ability to turn quickly is to keep most of the load as close to center as possible, because putting a substantial amount of the overall load out toward the ends makes the ends sluggish to initiate movement in all directions, and also less able to stop such movement, once started. Instead of floating easily over waves, they "stay put" due to all that extra inertia and cut deeply into them, if falling down one wave surface and encountering the face of the next wave, worse than not climbing, that heavily-loaded end will continue to plunge. And instead of swinging easily from side to side in response to turning strokes, again the ends will "stay put" and much greater effort on your part will be needed to initiate a turn. However, and I'm just speculating here, you MIGHT be experiencing a positive effect from putting so much weight in the ends of the boat, in that all that extra inertial resistance to side-to-side motion which is thereby created prevents momentary gusts from adjusting your heading as much. I'd guess that this is more likely to be true if it's mainly those brief, hard gusts that are causing your problems with maintaining a heading. This boils down to F=Ma, where given the same amount of force applied (by you, a wave, or the wind), acceleration (any change in speed and/or direction of movement) of the ends of the boat will be more sluggish when the mass at that location is increased.

Oh by the way, this is a different subject and you probably know this, but if you ever do swamp or tip when carrying that much cargo that's so much denser than water, your boat will probably sink (or maybe you are counteracting that risk with float bags?).


– Last Updated: Nov-22-13 8:52 AM EST –

I'll strongly echo what Guideboatguy says, most certainly with the awful idea of putting concrete in a boat. There is a high probability that with a capsize, or even a heavy wave wash, those concrete shoes will take boat and all straight to the bottom. If you think you need weights, the best would be bags of water, which becomes "weightless" when submerged.

I also agree with weight placement. In windy conditions I keep all weight as centered as possible. I do this in a Rapidfire, and especially in a Hornbeck. I've been in some fairly rough water with big waves in my Hornbeck, and the effect is dramatic. In such conditions I keep the weight as centered as possible (dry bags under my knees, and any extra heavy stuff in separate bags up against the back rest, for example). That way the bow and stern "bob" up and over the waves like a see-saw, even though I have only a very few inches of freeboard. If the weight is pushed toward the bow or stern, then the boat tends to stay much more horizontal and waves will wash over.

I will keep the echo going
I paddle big water like the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Superior about thirty days total each year.

I have to carry a lot of weight ( about 100 lbs) of fresh water for the former. I always center the weight so that the ends ride over the waves and the ends don’t get “pinned”. Its true that mass on a long lever arm has more momentum or inertia than one on a short lever.

It really is quite noticeable that even a skinny fine ended boat rides over waves pretty well. Of course a skirt helps a bit.

I never would add things like concrete to my boat nor unnecessary weight. Its nice to be able to make changes in speed and direction as efficient as possible. F=ma after all.

Mostly agree with Kim-one thought
I have a superbly crafted lapstrake wooden canoe that occasionally weathercocks severely. It’s a canoe based on a 150 year old design, and it has a fixed seat (on bottom) and fixed backrest just behind the center of hull, and yes, it is a canoe. I use a double blade paddle (not a kayak paddle) to propel it.

At times on the CT River I have been in spots where wind, current and tide conspire to produce very strong weather cocking. Paddling through those portions of the river, I have to hold the paddle off center to extend more paddle to the needed side. At times I’ve even held one paddle end and extended the paddle fully to use the long lever arm for powerful corrective sweep strokes. This is not as stressful to the shoulders as might be thought because I use a narrower Aleutian paddle.

Many Mariner kayaks have a sliding seat and a skeg-like aspect to the stern. One engages or disengages this skeg-like aspect by changing where your weight is in the kayak by utilizing the sliding seat. I own a Mariner Express and yes, it does work. I’m thinking of how I could apply this concept to my canoe with its fixed seat and backrest without major alterations to this beautiful wooden canoe.

My brainstorm (or brain fart) is to attach a pulley to the rear deck and the rear of the seat support. In this imagined “fix” I would run a cord loop through the pulleys and attach a gallon jug of water to the cord. The scenario is that I could move the jug of water (weight) to the stern when needed and retract it to just behind the seat for the rest of the paddle.

If I do try this “solution” next Spring, I’ll post the results.


Adding ballast weight: how, where?
The benefits of adding weight near the middle of the canoe rather than the ends have been discussed, and I agree with those rationales. Mostly. However, if you are solely concerned with stopping severe windcocking, and not with end buouyancy, wave lift or swing weight, then putting the ballast at the very end of the hull may be the most effective place.

Rocks have historically been used as ballast both in canoes and ancient sailing ships. You just want to make sure the rock is so-shaped and so-placed that it will fall out of the canoe in a capsize. You obviously don’t want the ballast to sink the boat (though that used to happen to the Phoenicians).

A safer alternative is to fill up large, roll-top, waterproof dry bags with water, and stick those in the end(s) of your canoe. The big bags will be quite heavy when filled with water, and the grab straps make them more carry-able than the usual volcanic boulder. The water-filled bags also have neutral buoyancy in water, so they won’t have any sinking effect on the canoe if it flips over. Finally, you can easily empty water bags before your portage from Lake Superior and refill them again when you arrive in the far superior waters of Lake Huron.

…Yeah’…(lol), like those canoes not
so fancy & expensive are made with…the old wilderness touring rear seat… What a stretch of imagination, usually frowned upon by the upper middleclass as the “less aesthetic than the Advanced, Expensive model canoe”…rotfl

using a partial Canadien-style can

– Last Updated: Nov-22-13 3:42 PM EST –

often help in the wind...and using whatever your canoe has for an edge..can help do the trick RiverDave, although with wind, waves, and gnarly surroundings...can often raise the hair on the back of our necks. Don't forget to use the "other" edge, as a flat-bottomed, edgy, OC-1 would...when needed. Sometimes, if the waves won't swamp you...rolling the hull onto its "other side" edge can give you some stability with the wind. That's where it helps to get a little purchase from the bow or stern. It's not your optimum position for safety but leaning over the gunwale, upwind, for boat stability helps.

Dry Bags
I’ve been wondering what to do with that collection of dry bags up in the attic. Such an elegant solution, thank you!

We Use Honey Buckets From the Outhouse
Placed in the middle of the double Old Towne canoe traveling downwind to the convenience center. Trust me, the upwind trip back is faster and the canoe handles better with empty buckets. Having an extra paddler helps, but adding additional weight is no substitute for improving technique.

vary your weight distribution with your

– Last Updated: Nov-26-13 11:50 AM EST –

boat's design...there is a point where a forward stroke will be efficient, often further towards stern, regardless of the amount of weight, although as cold as g2d can be;-) the wind the right length makes for an easier day...however how true..that you may have to paddle a little more vigorously...that's what paddling in the wind is about anyways...y/n?;-)
Personally, the shallower ponds are infinitely more fun to practice in...can be a lot of fun in the hot afternoons of summer to practice pushing your boat's limits. Finding a line from a lean to a boat's edge, paddling windward side towards stern(per kayamed's), will most always help find the efficient zone and the leeward edge can be a fast edge as long as one keeps the wind from overdoing lift to the hull and keeping upperbody separation in line. Canadien stroke can help keep constant control going.
Rambling off...

Try it before you applaud
You may find yourself with a pond in the boat. Dry bags do not prevent leakage long term… Water will seep out eventually…sometimes all at once as the middle gives way and the ends don’t.

We use a roll top dry bag for a water filter… Its called an MSR gravitiy filter. Loaded you have to be sure to keep the rolled side up… flat it will dribble.