Recently bought a novacraft prospector 16’.
seems very lively…even when bow paddler is
paddling alone for a bit…any tips on paddling technique? thanx!
Recently bought a novacraft prospector 16’.
Paddling a prospector
I purchased a prospector 2 years ago and had a lot of trouble just going straight. I received the Bill Mason path of the paddle videos for Christmas and It made it ten times easier to not only go straight but control the boat on the river or lake and gave me an idea of how to control it in the wind although it is still problematic. I would recomend them highly. Aside from that learn the j stroke and pry and draw strokes. There are tons of sites that describe these
this boat is fairly maneuverable, which means it needs some attention to tracking when trying to paddle along in a straight line. minor corrective strokes, J strokes, and stern draws are the norm. learn these, practice and paddle a lot, and it will all come into place, you’ll be cruising along nicely in no time. the benefit is that when you want it to, the Prospector will respond nicely to turning strokes. enjoy.
Paddling a Prospector
All of these notes on paddling technique are on the button and will be of great help to you (and the Bill Mason series will really make a life-long difference). Here are a couple of other ideas that are specific to the Prospector: 1) Remember that the Prospector was designed essentially as a truck, meant to be loaded down with lots of equipment for (surprise) prospectors. It is almost always happier when loaded (and this issue is, of course, magnified when you are paddling the boat solo). When you are paddling without a load it is easy to add some weight by using dry bags filled with water or even some gallon jugs. 2) Watch for great dispairities in weight between bow and stern paddlers, especially those that result in raised bow. A Prosector (like most canoes) really reacts well to a balanced load, especially in windy conditions. Using some weight in the bow (a water-filled dry bag is again a good option) to compensate for a lighter bow paddler will give an immediate pay-off in tracking and overall control. You have a terrific boat, able to do many things well (and some extraordinarily well), but it takes a bit of attention to detail and an understanding of the boat’s tendancies to wring the most out of it. You’ll find the effort most worthwhile.
What He Said
I’ve been paddling a Prospector for close to 20 years. Loaded it’s a dream, empty it can truly dance…and it’s a nimble partner.
I’ve never used any counter weight in the front when paddling solo. I’ll kneel in the bow seat, facing the stern and lean the boat. This shortens the waterline and makes it even less likely to track straight, but at the same time it increases its manuverabilty, so the corrective strokes need to go straight become micro-strokes. You don’t need a powerful J, draw or pry…just a little flick of the wrist is enough to keep the Prospector in line.
When working in the wind in an empty boat, use the wind rather than fight it. Imagine your boat as a kite and fly it in the wind accordingly.
Surprisingly, the Prospector is also a fine boat to pole, however standing up takes a little getting used to.
I ran accross an old catalog that had a Prospector model for sale. It said they were reluctant to sell a Prospector to inexperienced paddlers due to the performance nature of the boat. I found that refreshingly honest. The Prospector is an outstanding design, but requires a higher level of skill than many popular boats. If you have the time to play in your boat and get to understand how the high volume, high rocker, wobbly hull work toghether, you’ll develop the skills in short order.
And I also recommend the Bill Mason library.
I paddle the Prospector from amidships kneeling for best control…this allows me to flip around so I am in front of the thwart for going upwind to make the bow a very little heavy.
What is most likely happening to you is that you are new to this soloing and there is too much response from the boat…When folks just are learning the J or Canadian there is a little too much brakes put on it and steering is zigzag…give it time it will straighten out…
I have said ad nauseum that steering fron far away from the pivot point is problemmatical when you are learning…the stern seat is way worse than the bow seat however!
I use mine solo but I also use a 240cm kayak paddle. It works great for solo fishing and keeping it straight. I also sit in the bow facing the stearn…mostly kneeling on some knee pads. It really helps to use a 5 gallon plastic water carrier filled with river water in the bow. 5 gallons = 80lbs.
Your water is a lot heavier than ours
Ours weighs somewhere around 8.4 pounds per gallon, I believe.
OOPS on Weight
Our water weighs the same …just a huge math error. Unless I carry 10 gallons in the canoe.