Sit 'n switch, more strokes on one side?

-- Last Updated: Jul-23-12 1:14 PM EST --

Twice now I've been out in a new-to-me DY Special. Both times I was consistently able to get at least 25 percent more strokes in on one side vs. the other. I don't remember having this issue when I paddled sit 'n switch several years ago. I really tried to watch my technique, but I just could not get them close to being equal. I don't think it was the wind either since I was going up and back. My technique isn't perfect, but I didn't think it was that bad.

Suggestions? How common is this?

you’re imbalanced
sorry I had to break it to you; surprised you didn’t already realize this. Have a great day ;-).

I get that sometimes, no matter what boat, 27 pound slalom or 72 pound tripper. Poling same thing. I wonder why sometimes, but then remember I’m also imbalanced.

Was there a breeze?
The wind will do that to me if it comes from the side.

How much depends on the angle and intensity of the wind as well as the hull.

Which side, strong or weak?

– Last Updated: Jul-23-12 12:05 PM EST –

I often get more strokes on my strong (natural) side. I've figured out that I'm so used to paddling with correction strokes on that side that I do unconscious slight corrections even when I'm trying not to.

These minor strong side corrections could be anything from a slight bow draw, a slightly pitched blade on the pull, or a slight correction on my slice-out at the exit. I don't do these delicate corrections on my weak side because I'm less sophisticated over there.

I've attempted over the past several years to become more ambidextrous in my single blade correction stroking as well as my switching.

Of course, if you're getting more strokes on your weak side, that blows that theory all to hell, so I'll try another.

You could be heeling the canoe when stroking on one side and thereby inducing an on-side carve. This carve allows you to take more uncorrected strokes, under the Foster-Wilson inside circle stroke dynamic, than when you don't induce a heeling carve on the other side.

Finally, you could be holding the paddle more vertically and tracking more parallel to the keel on one side than the other.

All this assumes you have ruled out wind, waves, current, tide, alligator bumps, thermoclinic inversions, and a twisted hull.

There was a slight breeze
I was mostly going directly into it or directly downwind. Since I was up and back I thought the wind could “maybe” be ruled out.

And yes, I am iMbAlLaNcED! Apparently it’s getting worse.

Hmmm …

I was getting more strokes on my right even though my “on” side when I paddle WW is my left. I’m pretty much equally comfortable on either side (except for cross forwards!). I too was thinking about subtle corrections and was trying to eliminate or at least be conscious of any of that. But if anything, my subtle corrections should have been more on the left side.

I could have been leaning just a tad. I hadn’t really considered that so much so I didn’t think about it while I was doing it. That could be it since I paddle on my left in WW and of course lean on that side. I may have carried that over to flat water without even being aware of it. I like that theory. I have to try to account for that one next time. Thanks!

I too suspect
that you might have been heeling the boat just a little and tending to carve a circle on one side.

You might want to try deliberately heeling the boat just a little when you paddle sit and switch as it reduces the frequency of the switches.

My vote is healing
Today I was in a new to me white water kayak that I had trouble making go straight. It turns out because of rocker or something that is turns faster with an inside lean. I’ve never seen that except on a planing surf boat and still not sure I have it right.

My advice it to paddle it more while consciously edging the boat one way then the other.

Well Brian…
The hit n’ switch paddler is reputed to possess sensitivities compensating for their strong side strengths, even to the point of developing undetectable paddle blade manipulations. Now, clearly your inability to equalize the starboard and port strokes exemplifies a flaw and would fall neatly into the category of paddler imbalance.

But, what the hell do I know I’m just an ignorant old man!

I’m sure you’re right Paul
I would never take issue with your unconkious and imperceptible finess.

I used to paddle sit 'n switch on a somewhat regular basis. I had no trouble that I remember with balancing strokes from one side to the next. But it’s been years now since I did it. And during that time I’ve paddled WW boats almost exclusively. I think Glen and Pete nailed it. While I wasn’t aware of it, I may be imparting some boat tilt. Now If I could use that tilt on both sides I may be able to get 10-12 strokes on each side instead of just my left.

I’ve got something to work on. That’s the thing what keeps it all interesting.

Could it be the boat’s fault?

– Last Updated: Jul-24-12 1:02 PM EST –

I have a Bell Merlin II, which I think is designed by David Yost. It took me about three years before I finally paddled it on a windless day, but as soon as I did, I thought WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON WITH THIS THING? No matter how much care I took to make my right- and left-handed paddling the same, I'd get little splashing waves off the right side of the bow when paddling left-handed, and no such splashing off the left side when paddling right-handed. When I deliberately adjusted my stroke to use poor technique which would encourage splashing off the left side of the bow, the stern started gurgling, but similar "intentionally bad" stroke style on the left side only created more splashing, and did NOT cause gurgling at the stern. Clearly the boat had a natural tendency to veer toward the right. When I got home, I looked and looked for asymmetry at the bow and found none, but when I looked at the stern, holy cow. The stern of the boat has terrible asymmetrical from right to left, right along the keel line. I did some investigating and found out that every Merlin II made from the "new" mold had the same problem (the "new" mold is the one that leaves a transverse mark across the center of the hull, where the front and rear halves connect). Take a close look at your boat. After all, if one design by David Yost is so sorely lacking in attention to detail, maybe it's not the only one?

A note to anyone who feels like checking their own Merlin II: I THINK I've got the "right and left" aspects of this problem described correctly, but it could be the other way around. I've looked at half-dozon Merlin II's now, and they all look the same, as far as the nature of the deformity goes. Also, anyone who frequents this board knows I'm a guy who notices little details. The tendency for the boat to veer was unmistakable the first windless day I paddled it, but I believe the Bell rep who told me that no one else had ever mentioned such a thing (he confirmed that the warpage is "real" though after seeing it for himself). Obviously, most Merlin II paddlers don't really care if the boat tends to veer.

I considered that
I’ve looked at the boat several times to see if I could blame it. I just can’t based on anything I can see. And I have it hanging right over my work bench walkway so I have plenty of opportunity to study it. Seems the problem rests on the seat …