paddling 40inch wide canoe

Can anyone tell me the difficulty in paddling a 40 inch wide canoe. I’m considering one with a trolling motor to get me out to where I want to fish, but I do like to paddle some and will be paddling from dock to dock once in the area, using a kayak paddle. I realize I’m not going to have the kayak speed of my Tarpon. My main concern is that I don’t want to have to reach from side to side just to get the paddle in the water.

Thanks in advance!

Go with a double blade
canoe paddle. I have a Mohawk eight footer that works just fine on a wide canoe.

Yeah, I agree. It would take at least
an eight footer for someone of normal height. But if I had a forty inch wide boat, I might want a nine foot paddle.

You might want to try oars!
If you could put a very low seat in the center of this boat, it would work very well with 7- or 8-foot oars (I myself would go with the 8-footers). Performance-wise, this would be a huge step up from using a double-bladed paddle. Whether this can be done with the existing placement of thwarts is another issue though. The ideal setup that I envision would be a center rowing seat that is easily moved and replaced with a makeshift pedestal for paddling. I know from personal experience that a little six-pack cooler with a cusion on top makes a surprisingly comfortable pedestal, so this concept is not too unreasonable if it can be done with your boat (considering existing seats and thwarts - but of course all that stuff can be modified too if you want to).

I row mine
I row an old Town disco 160K. I think it is called something else now but it is still 40 inches wide and heavy. It paddles like a pig, with a double blade and even with two paddlers it is a pig. I rows like a dream, and the big wide flat bottom is very handy for stading up and throwing a cast net.

You have some options
The main problem you will have soloing a wide canoe is reach. If you center yourself fore and aft to get good trim, you will be at the widest part of the hull. Getting a good vertical stroke on both sides of the boat will be tough.

Several people have already mentioned using a double bladed paddle. I sometimes use a 9’ (270 cm) double in my 36" wide Explorer with good results.

There’s a long tradition of canadian paddling where they kneel in the chine, close to one side of the boat, and paddle only on that side. The boat heels pretty sharply to that side and a J or other control stroke is used to maintain your course. That works pretty well in my Explorer but I can think of some other boats that might be unsteady with that much heel.

You can ballast a boat, with gear or water jugs. If you weight the bow you can move back to the standard paddling position while maintaining your trim. This puts you at a narrower section of the boat which lets you place your strokes easily. It also puts more of the hull in the water which can help when the wind picks up.

Unloaded, paddled solo, my Explorer really gets pushed around by the wind. Load it up with 60+ lbs of camping gear and the wind won’t bother me much at all.

Good luck,