single oar sculling again

I tried out the bolt on transom and oar with the single oar sculling technique this morning. I learned a few things.

1: It works

2: A seven foot oar is nowhere near long enough.

3: I need to build a transom that puts the oar further from the centerline of the canoe. I’m too crowded with the transom I built.

4: A slow stroke, with the oar deep in the water, works far better than a shallow and fast stroke. A very long blade would be advantageous.

5: A horizontal stroke is easier and seems to work far better than a vertical.

6: Radius the corners of the notch in the transom.

This article give a picture of a bahamian sculling oar.

After my initial trial, this oar appears to be the perfect design.

You bolted a transom to your canoe? So does that mean you cut off the pointed transom and put on a square one? Or did you bolt on an oar lock to your canoe?

The first one…
is a piece of oak 2"x6"x24" with two pieces of aluminum angle bolted to it. I have clamps on the angle that bolt to the gunwhales against the stern breasthook. It is ofset to the port side and has a sculling notch cut close to the end. It looks like a wooden outboard motor mount. I did not cut the stern off the boat.

The next version will be a piece of 3"x4"x1/4" aluminum angle iron three feet long. It will use the same gunwhale clamps. I am going to use a bronze oarlock instead of a sculling notch.

After my trial run with the first setup, I have figured out how to measure the necessary distance from the centerline of the boat to the oarlock or notch. For me, the oarlock/notch will have to be 22 inches from the centerline of the canoe. That is the center of my sculling stroke. I wish I had forseen that one. It is quite easy to calculate without ever putting a boat in the water. Hey…I just didn’t know till I tried it.

Good for you for tinkiering…
…which I like to do as well. I see you’ve tried poling/double paddle/ etc. I’m too awkward to try poling a solo, but use a double 95% of the time. I’ve read a lot about sculling, but never though of adapting it to a canoe. Right on!

In recent years…
the pain in my lower back has become progressively worse. I suppose that is the price I pay for the kind of work I do.

I’ve been looking into alternative methods of propelling a canoe. I can no longer stay with only a single bladed paddle. The pain is too great at the end of the day.

Sculling looks like a good way to move a heavily loaded tandem canoe solo if I can work out the details of using it in such a narrow boat.

Why off to one side?
Why wouldn’t you center your notch on the stern of the canoe? Would you need a 12’ oar?

Don’t you end up reaching way out to the side with your rig? How do you balance when pushing the oar away?

I’m trying to picture this in my mind and I’m doing lot’s of swimming (in my mind).

Nah…no swimming
I am trying to place the oar so that I can make a relaxed back and forth motion with my left arm while facing forward. I have no problem balancing the canoe. I stand in this boat constantly.

Check the web page I referenced in the original post. Go to the first page of the article and you will see the idea. Just do it in a skinnier boat.

As for over the point of the stern: I believe that it would require an inordinately longer paddle. It would also require me to face the rear of the canoe.