I used Swift Caspian Sea as decked canoe

today - at least I paddled it with a 48" ZRE bent shaft with a pad in the seat that had me sitting about 4" off the bottom. This Caspian Sea is a 1997 fiberglass model without rudder, skeg or thigh braces

I’m 5’6" and 155 lbs and even when sitting 4" off the floor of the boat, the boat still felt pretty stable and I had the added bonus that my knees had better contact with the underside of the deck for bracing. This boat has a deep cockpit.

The 48" bent shaft seemed about the right length for this seat height. A 46" or 47"paddle would probably also work pretty well for me in this set up, but I don’t have either of those.

Hit & switch and control strokes worked tolerably well, but this boat tracks hard and isn’t that easy for me to put up on edge for turning, so it doesn’t respond to control strokes as well as I prefer. I suspect that if I try this in my ruddered QCC 400X (after I get it repaired), it will be a more pleasureable experience with the single blade paddle.

I think I’d prefer a more turny / maneuverable boat for paddling with the single blade, but the ruddered 400X may be good enough.

I was surprised at how stable the Caspian Sea felt with the seat at about 4".

This set up does not even remotely resemble a Kruger Sea Wind or Sawyer Loon - they are both more easily maneuvered.

Hmmm, maybe I’ll try the composite Sea Lion next with the bent shaft canoe paddle. I probably won’t be padding out the seat to add height in that boat, so the 48" paddle will probably be a long, but it should give me an idea of whether or not I’d like to take along a bent shaft single blade as a spare / alternate paddle when out in the Sea Lion. The Sea Lion is quite maneuverable.

The single blade paddle was certainly easier to handle when paddling into the wind than the double blade kayak paddle was - no blade up in the wind when the blade is in the water.

I hope that this is food for thought for you paddling experimenters / cross-paddlers.

Happy paddling.


– Last Updated: Apr-17-08 10:05 PM EST –

I've always thought of the 400x as a decked canoe it's so comfortable. Did pad it out for more hull contact but your idea of raising the seat height is intriguing. I did not like my ZRE bent shaft with the stock seat and using a 47" paddle. For the stock seat a 36-42"works much better. i am thinking of buying a rec straight shaft that size for use in my 400x. However, the seat pad is a good thing to try out first.

If I can pry myself away from my Hemlock Kestrel will take the kayak out for a test run.

Send that Kestrel my way…
so that you can focus on single blading your 400X.

The Kestrel is one of the solo canoes I’d like to try.