Solo canoe

Done Deal
She drives a hard bargain, but I’ve worked out a deal with God whereby she will strike anyone putting a rudder on a Magic or RapidFire with lightening.

Just a friendly warning. Rudders are heavier, more expensive, more fragile and induce more drag than paddling lessons.

Using an automotive comparison, the Disco 119 is the Lada of the solo canoe world. Ugh!

Waiting for lightning

– Last Updated: Jun-03-12 2:47 PM EST –

Was thinking of rudder for RF yesterday and how wonderful it would be in cross current and waves in stern quartering seas coming back from Isle Au Haut. 11 water mostly and those wicked tidal currents.

That said both the 119 and Pack float. Getting on the water is important for some. For others getting on the water in a sportscar is most important and the destination less so.

Yes I would consider a retrofit rudder. One that I can fix in the field. Having had more than one let go in the middle of a two mile open water crossing on the ocean in Maine, I am aware of the perils. But also keenly aware of the savings in energy possible. And yes lessons did help. Without them I would be an object in the North Atlantic Gyre.

The only energy I have today seems to be on the computer. Time for a nap again to rest from yesterdays paddle. 25 mph winds and more with 2 mph currents and breaking three second period waves of three feet was quite a bit to cope with for me.

Then the Monarch & Loon qualify as
canoes by your definition. I rarely use the rudder on my Monarch. It carves nicely (nearly spins), goes backward nicely (easier than a non-decked canoe because no gunwale to smack when switching sides for cross strokes) all while sitting and not kneeling and without using the rudder.

The rudder is quite handy in strong winds waves.

Joe does do mostly cruising in his ruddered decked canoes, but I don’t in mine, and we both find them to be fine hulls - he with the rudder and me without.

I find that I get around the small lake that I do laps in in about the same time with or without the rudder when the winds are strong, but I have more fun without the rudder using weight shifts, edging and control strokes.

The rudder on my Monarch definitely adds obvious drag when deployed, but when conditions are bad enough to warrant deployment of the rudder, the energy consumed by the added drag is far overshadowed by the energy saved by the more direct route allowed by the rudder.

I strongly advise trying a particular hull before denigrating it.

Yes, Charlie, rudders do add weight, but that doesn’t seem to bother the people who paddle thousands of miles a year in ruddered decked expedition canoes. But, maybe as you suggest, if they took some paddling lessons, they could make those coastal journeys just as safely and enjoyably without the rudder. But then, maybe not. I don’t make that kind of trip, so I don’t know.

Again, I rarely used the rudder on my Monarch, but the only time I find it gets in the way is on narrow & twisty rivers with a lot of overhang for the rudder & exposed rear deck cables to get caught in the brush.

I see no disagreement here,…
… with Joe OR with you. And I did not denigrate any canoes with rudders, and certainly have never said anything bad about Krugers and the various knock-offs of that design. Perhaps I should have said that canoeing with a rudder is not “canoeing” to me. I’ve talked “rudders” with Joe in the past too, and have never had anything but good things to say about the principle behind them when used as intended, but one must recognize that a rudder is a very single-purpose device which is not adaptable to doing all the typical things which canoes are often asked to do. Expedition boats with rudders are a style I have no use for personally, largely because no sit-down boat could ever make me happy, but that’s not the same as criticizing them.

In the past, I have commented that a rudder really is more efficient than correction strokes IF correction is all you need, and the reason is that the farther toward the rear the correction is applied, the less force is needed to create the correction, and therefore the less energy is wasted in making in happen. In theory, you could mount a rudder 10 feet in back of the boat on an extended framework so that a very tiny rudder could correct your power stroke with an extremely slight amount of angle and create only a miniscule amount of drag. Of course, such a setup wouldn’t be good for much of anything other than illustrating the straight-line-efficiency aspect of rudder use by stretching the principle to an extreme.

finally got out in the Discovery 119
I learned a couple of things. #1 There is no such thing as a little wind in a lightweight solo canoe. It took off like a rocket haha. Once I got my bearings, it just felt great and I was able to maneuver it around. #2 Just like with kids, leave yourself twice as much time as you think it will take - for me this means next time I will have nowhere to be and nothing to do when I head out. At least until I figure out the tides and wind and all. #3 I’ll be leaving the dog home for a good long time. I didn’t feel at all like I might fall in but the creek sure looks bigger from a canoe than from on the shore! Not to mention what it would look like to a chihuahua. Anyway, after one short burst of a trip I can say I have no regrets in getting the Disco 119, it feels just like I had hoped, no stability issues and I think it will only get better.