rapids weighted or unweighted

So, tried a R1 in an unweighted canoe the other weekend (took all the stuff out and moved it to the other end of the portage). The canoe was immediately noticeable as rocky.

Anyway, we did the R1 and I’m embarrassed to say that we hit a rock at an angle and depsite leaning into it somehow managManaged to drag the canoe full of water to the bank and reload it - glad it was a hot day!

Is it better to keep the canoes weighted for rapids to keep stability? Obviously, it’s a balance between dunking your equipment and not.

Unless it is a straight shot rapid in which absolutely no maneuvering is required you are always better off running unloaded. Weight in the boat reduces freeboard (which increases wetness) and increases the momentum and inertia of the boat making it sluggish to maneuver and difficult to get into eddies.

I agree with pblanc. People forget that dunnage lowers your center of gravity. Kneel and lower your center of gravity and you will have any easier time unloaded.

The paddler’s secret handshake

Gonzo, do you have any idea why
pnet has several different forums?

Do you ever look at the posts and responses on each of the forums to get an idea where your own wonderments can be fulfilled?

One advantage of unloading is
that your gear stays dry. My recommendation is to practice and learn to paddle in white water in an empty boat - after you develop skill and confidence you will recognize the situations where it might be a good idea to portage gear and run empty - or just portage the canoes as well.

If I think I might dump I’ll portage the gear. Or I’ll portage everything.

I’d really rather not have to recover a boat full of gear or worse loose my home and groceries.

If I’m confident I’ll just go ahead and run loaded. I do hate to portage.

But you do really have to get some experience in rapids to make that call.

Yeah, but one has to have a plan for
getting water out of the boat after reaching the bottom of the rapid.

It’s hard on some canoes to tip the water out when the canoe is loaded.

A loaded canoe may lack room to work a bailer.

A hand pump will get down between the gear, and an electic pump is even better, if reliable.

But all that gear in the canoe will make it harder for the water to flow to the pump, or the bailer aperture.

My solution on the Dolores Slickrock Canyon was to not take on water. But those rapids never got above 2+.

Another issue. WW canoes usually have smooth insides so that water doesn’t get trapped. Other canoes may have water spaces between ribs, or recessed margins around molded foam cores. Often those are just the canoes that shouldn’t be rolled to tip the water out, but they’re also the ones that may be hardest to bail or pump thoroughly.

Then there’s Cookes Custom Sewing and spray decks. But if water DOES get under the spray deck, how to get it out?

canoe size/hull-design will have a lot
to do with ability to travel thru tougher sections. Main thing, if portaging gear & running section in boat, is to leave gear where you can find it!!..lol…by memory, GPS, whatever! Sounds funny but my first time doing that up in Labrador(60s) became a long & nervous afternoon until I found gear…tent…etc, just before nightfall…