Loaded boat control on wavy shore

For all of you who trip along rocky shorelines with loaded boats (canoes or kayaks) weighing anywhere from 100 to 300 lbs, my question is this:

What methods do you use to keep your boat from being damaged on a rocky shoreline when you take a break but are not at your camp yet?

The loaded boat is too heavy to carry over the rocks and no one wants to stand there and have their boat heaved up and down, in and out with waves onto large rocks.

The only think I’ve come up with is a halter with midline loop tied to the fore and aft thwarts that is tied to a “clothesline loop” threaded through a floating plastic bottle’s handle which is tethered to an anchor 10 to 20 yards offshore. After everyone gets out for the break, I pull the boat back out into the water via the clothesline loop … so that it bobs in the waves a few yards offshore and away from the rocks. I tie off the loop to a secure point onshore and then bring the boat back to the shore when we’re ready to board again.

Are there other ways that you’ve developed for temporarily avoiding rock abrasion during a non-camping break (where you don’t want to unpack and repack your boat)?

good topic
But not given a heck of a lot of thought by me. I typically grit my teeth and bear the sound of the gelcoat being sacrificed. However, I don’t subject it to unneccessary damage or damage that could be avoidable.

I usually get it off the rocky area as quick as possible using my paddling partner (my wife). Sometimes we have quickly unloaded some of the heavier gear and hauled the boats on shore. I have been in a couple of areas where you didn’t have a choice but having to load the boat in the water.

Maybe carrying a couple of straps for bow and stern and placing them at the bulkheads for a full boat carry…on glass boats…not poly. Poly would fold up pretty quick.

Yet another reason I love my RM Chatham. I ain’t scared of no stinkin’ rocks! Bring 'em on! Drive up on 'em all the time. Couple of cosmetic scratches, no big deal. And it cost soooo much less than a fancy, schmancy glass, kevlar, composite, etc. Can buy 2 RM, maybe 3, for the cost of 1 of the others. That’s a lot of rocky beach landings!

That’s a tough one

– Last Updated: Nov-14-06 11:39 PM EST –

I've had similar thoughts about the solution. I'd simplify your idea like this, if the wind is blowing toward shore, which is really the time when the problem you describe is most severe. I wouldn't use a floating jug. You might as well run you attachement point right to the anchor because it will do the same thing and that's one less item to carry along. Instead of using a loop, I'd run the rope through the anchor eye as if that eye were a pulley and keep hold of the free end (you could put an actual pulley on the anchor too to make this easier). Drop the anchor as you approach the beach, and when you reach the beach, pull the free end of the rope to "winch" your boat into the wind, toward the anchor and away from shore, and tie the free end to a rock or tree on shore.

There's no need for a continuous loop if the wind is toward shore, and no need for an anchor at all if the wind is off the shore (just let the boat out on a rope and the wind will keep it out there for you).

I've also thought of using a heavy cloth or mesh bag with a rock inside as the anchor so I don't need to carry that weight with me, but if traveling alone, that might mean finding the right rock on shore to stuff in the bag while the boat gets pounded.

So far, I haven't done the kind of big-lake camping I've always thought I'd do (just rivers), and therefor this has only been a hypothetical problem for me.

Sheltered nooks
This is generally not an issue for me where I paddle on Canadian shield lakes. There is always a small cove, shelter behind a point, lee side of an island, etc. to get out of the waves as a place to take a break. But I’m impressed with your rig.

you obviously haven’t been to
Prince albert National Park/Kingsmere Lake yet (that’s in shield country as well):

No coves, no shelter and the lake is merly less than 10 ft deep. A little wind and you get 6ft waves- no way to land dry…

Keeping the “mooring routine” simple
Well GBG, the mooring lines to the floating “buoy” tethered to an anchor is meant to make for an elastic (the float is pulled underwater when wave induced tension becomes high) anchorline … less apt to drag the anchor by waves jerking it. But, you’re right ofcourse … it’s inadvisable employ more complexity than conditions warrant. I guess a long stretch anchorline might work if you could always guess depth and stretching distances correctly. I’ve had to redeploy stretch cord anchorlines (they often allow too much stretch) more often than I’d like. Fixed length lines (with floation) that I can adjust to what’s going on (shifting wind direction, etc.) have worked best so far.

Some of this is being practiced so as to be able to have mooring offshore as an option to deal with ocean tides. Generally though, I always bring my boat in off the water at night. When I have left it out there (to keep a food cache offshore and away from bears for instance), I’ve ended up worrying too much about it (knowing bears aren’t too shy about wading and swimming).

With canoes and kayaks, mooring is less a necessity than with heavier rowing boats. I’d still like to design a mooring system that is so simple, I could rig it reliably in any conditions … daytime lunchbreaks or overnight camping where beaching the boat isn’t feasible due to rocks, mudflats, weather or tides. It’s not really about superficial scratches … it’s about learning how to “park” just offshore in a safe, controllable way … with minimal hassle rigging.

Good Idea

– Last Updated: Nov-15-06 10:12 AM EST –

Yeah, I see what you mean, in fact, I was thinking about that this morning and thought I might qualify what I'd said about that. You are right that if the water is deep near shore, you'd need to drop the anchor waaay out there compared to what you'd have to do if you used a float or the rising/falling boat would just hop the anchor up and down. Having the float along for some situations is probably a good idea.

Here's a question though. Is there a big advantage to tying the boat at two points, as opposed to tying it at one point? Tied from one end, the boat would twist and turn on its tether, but I can't see how that would matter much with only gear onboard (not as heavy as with people on board). Or, tying it from one thwart would greatly reduce the wig-wag, and it would ride kind of diagonally over the waves. Just another thought toward simplification.

Tying the canoe in a “broached” way
The idea of having the canoe moored parallel to the incoming waves just makes it easier to bring it in and out in a loading/entry orientation. If it’s really hairy with wind, I use a halter with an end loop (to keep the tie point from sliding side to side). This halter is tied to the carry handles and acts as a poor/lazy man’s tugeye by lowering the rope attachment point closer to the waterline.

Attached perpendicular to the waves this way, the canoe has so much less windage than broached and is the way to go for mooring longer than just a convenience stop. But for just a quickie stop, parallel rigging using thwarts or grab handles works ok.

So, gbg … if you’re mostly on the rivers, are you in your solo canoes more than your guideboats these days? Wish their Vermont fishing dory was made in an ultralight layup. Too heavy for me to cartop solo easily. I bet it’s a great boat though. I admire so many boats that I don’t have the wherewithal (sp?) to own. Someday … if I ever live right on the edge of some nice body of water, I’ll reconsider all the great boats I’ve steered away from due to transport logistics. That’ll be a scary case of overchoice !!!

Guide-boat versus Solo Canoes
I use both types of boats about equally. Most years, nearly all my river camping is on the Wisconsin River, and that’s a big river ideally suited to the guide-boat, especially in the early spring and late fall when strong winds often make going any distance in a solo canoe impractical. I recently did a trip on the Wisconsin River in the guide-boat with a friend, and I rowed from the front and she paddled from the back, and boy does that boat clip right along with not much effort in that situation. If I remember correctly, you’ve done the row-and-paddle combination in one or two of your canoes, so you must know how well that works. I’ve been doing lots of day trips on smaller rivers too, and that’s solo-canoe stuff.

There’s no shortage of variety around here, but I just haven’t done the amount of tripping and camping I’d like to do at many of the places I would like. Lucky for me, I’ve been making up for that by being on the water a lot, even if the variety has been limited lately.

That Vermont Fishing Dory looks like one big honkin boat - too big and cumbersome for me too, though I’m sure it has some advantages. Apparently it’s their best-selling model now, because the average person gets turned off by the on-center tenderness of a guide-boat or Vermont Packboat.

I got to be an expert on bailing out
of a loaded canoe. As previously mentioned, one persons needs to jump out quickly, usually the stern paddler, so that he can hold the canoe into the waves if possible and away from the rocks. Once both people are out of the canoe, the canoe will ride the waves a lot better. One person holds the canoe while the other unloads. A bailout usually happens when rounding a point and you get broadsided by wind and waves and driven into the shore. When the water is shallow this makes the situation even worse since the waves start to break. An important thing to keep in mind though, is to always be alert when paddling of the shore conditions. Are there cliffs or high banks making a bailout impossible? I got caught this spring in such a situation and it wasn’t pleasant. Another thing to consider is dressing for such a situation. I got a pair of Chota boots after nearly getting hypothermia from standing too long in a cold lake. I respect big lakes a lot more now than I did a couple of years ago. You get caught on a lake during a squall and you will have every thrill you would have running whitewater. This fall on the Bowron canoe circuit up in BC there were waterspouts on Issac lake. I did two bailouts while on the circuit. There was a stretch of awful weather with squalls moving quickly across the lakes. Even if the squall doesn’t pass overhead and it is sunny where you’re paddling, a squall crossing the lake can create big waves that will make you run for shore.