Making upstream Turns with a Solo Canoe

I have recently purchased a Grasse River XL to train with and begin racing in the C1 Stock Class. I have been on some moving water near my home and I have struggled with making sharp upstream turns on moving water. I am struggling with getting my bow around to cut the corner, usually making the turn too wide or not getting the boat positioned correctly and often get sent across the creek and into the far bank. Was hoping to get advice on how I can make cleaner turns on upstream corners without getting pushed over to the opposite side of the river. Any advice would be much appreciated!

My experience in going upstream is that you are always looking for the eddies and slowest flow areas to assist your progress. In a bend (curve) in the river, I will initially hug the inside bend where there is usually slow water or even reverse eddy currents,… then ferry across the river at the proper angle so that you do not get swept sideways. There really is no “use this particular stroke” advice I can give other than work on your ferry angles and reading the slow water and eddy currents. Practice! Good luck!

Assume you are on the right side …
heading up and you want to turn left

Do a quick cross bow rudder on the left and then immediately back to the right and a few forward sweeps.

Do the amount of these as necessary to make the turn.

If you are heading up on the left, and want to turn right, just do the opposite.

Or you can do as the pros do:

“lean and pray !”

Jack L

set the angle to the inside
of the turn before getting to the turn. ie in calmer water at the inside at the conclusion of the bend ( going downriver)is what you want to work with.

Then you will be at an angle to minimize cross stream push.

paddler needs wider creek

– Last Updated: Apr-12-16 4:42 PM EST –

nice hull ! try leaning right or left then hip twisting into a reverse c stroke bringing stern downstream...

use abdominal muscles and shoulders on the shaft push

then paddling upstream

with that straight hull, try leaning forward head down before beginning the stroke.

BTW, is spring...

condition with arm weights see Walmart. Kneel on cardboard n paddle or walk n paddle.

little ex goes a long way here.

see: Cooper exercise and EXRX.COM

What KM said
Begin your turn early. Turn in to the current - not after you’re in it. Remember - your bow determines where you go, not your seat.

And edging your boat on the downstream side helps.

What Yatipope said about eddies bears repeating. If your river does a lot of meandering and you see opposing bends in close succession, it may often be faster going upstream if you ferry across at the bend. Ride the eddy up below the right hand bend, ferry across to the eddy below the left hand bend, etc. The degree to which you allow that ferry will improve with practice, but you must look ahead and plan your moves. Acting is more efficient than reacting.

I thought the OP was race training ?
And figured he would need to practice up river buoy turns.

Seeking out eddies won’t help.

jack L

its not requiring an eddy per se
just the slowest water. Wait too long as you know and your bow gets caught by the stronger current.

sort of the reverse of setting going downriver… keep the stern in the slow part of the water toward the inside of the turn and let the faster water in the middle push your bow around in the direction of the turn.

you might benefit from sliding the seat
back when trying to get the bow to slide over a little.

Racing - oh yeah.
See how short my memory is?

oh no !
slide the seat forward to get the stern over…

the hull is a log not a play boat.

Thanks for the advice!

Thank you!
Thanks for the advice!!!

a response that makes sense to me!( and is what I would try too)

Logged in …

– Last Updated: Apr-14-16 2:19 AM EST –

Pete may not have or forgotten straight keel handling characteristics or has a hull with a flat v stern.

Mods of a straight keel reduce the effect of what I described but that's a learning in the water curve.

When learning my Rendezvous, I approached manuvering with straight hull paddling. Response was minimal..

Mildly amused, I went to the bridge video and LOL zoomed around like a water bug.

Also possible confusing the motions with a stern solo paddling position in a double position hull.

Buoy Turns
I had a J boat for a while, but I could never do a buoy turn - no matter how much I leaned. My solution - pull into an eddy and then stick one end out into the current to swing the boat abound. Not a very good solution, which is why Jack has that boat now.

You may need considerable off side heel
Friend of mine could do buoy turn in a Jensen. He did it here and we videoed it for him so he could become an Instructor Trainer in the USCKA

The key was heel to the outside of the turn… As much as you can.

with a shoe keel Grumman, a traveling upstream back into current from an eddy, is leaned downstream, no ?

leaning upstream would expose a capsize.

but the Jensen is different ? I haven’t paddled an extreme speed hull so just asking you know.

the inside lean runs counter to kayak edging asking for an outside lean. The hull shapes are different. A large canoe offers water significant square footage for pressure so leaning inside both increases speed minimizing hull turning area but increasing hull water force capture area facilitating the turn.

got that ?

back to the garden for snow peas…

Not sure…
…if it’s been said already, pre turn your turn. Meaning, anticipate the turn before you have to and get your boat in the optimum position to do this.