Stretching a rope on a canoe?

I'm new to paddle sports, this evening when I was exiting the river I noticed a gentlemen stretch a taught rope from bow to stern on his canoe before he loaded it onto his rack. He drove away before I could ask him why he did that. Deductive reasoning would lead me to believe that it helps maintain the shape of the canoe when it is not being used. Is this correct and should I do the same to my canoe?

Thanks, Josh

Maybe his canoe is warped
Nothing of the sort should be necessary. Any canoe that needs “help” maintaining its shape has “issues” that you won’t find in any quality boat. That said, some hull materials can become warped by abuse, and polyethylene is downright susceptible to warping (poly is also only found on cheap boats). Royalex CAN become warped by being too-tightly strapped to a rack, but seeing a warped Royalex boat is a very rare thing. Composite boats should be pretty-much immune to warpage.

Hmmm. Maybe the guy you saw just stores his bow line that way, and pulls it tight to keep it from flopping in the breeze.

Could you tell the construction of
the canoe? How was it loaded, with the open side down as usual? I assume he stretched the rope across the open length of the canoe, rather than along the bottom. (?)

If the canoe was loaded in the usual fashion, with the rope stretched along the opening in the canoe, it is hard for me to see what he was about. When carried on a rack, the canoe undergoes stresses tending to pull the bow and stern downward, and of course most of us use bow and stern ropes which also tend to pull the boat into a banana shape. A long rope from the bow stem to the stern stem is not going to counteract those forces. Rather it will increase them.

Fortunately nearly all modern canoes are well able to deal with the stresses of being “on the rack,” and even with an added rope like you describe. The commonest form of cumulative distortion is getting “hog-backed”, or pooched upward in the center. This occurs on the water, because the boat may not have been designed with enough stiffness in the center. Aluminum boats used to get hog-backed from getting stuck on logs or rocks under the boat center with heavy paddlers in the ends, but that could be hammered out.

If the boat didn’t have a carry thwart, maybe some sort of aid for carrying the boat. Just a guess.

It could have been warped as you say.
Yes, he stretched it across the opening of the canoe and carried it open end down on his truck. Also it was a polyethelyne boat.

…it was a painter and he tied it out of the way.


Driving home he hangs his wet gear on it and by the time he gets home it is all dry



my bet
is it’s his painter as I can’t think of any other reason…do like the clothesline idea though :wink:

I bet Phreon and Steve are right. He probably didn’t want to untie the painter and tied it up out of the way for transport. Been there, done that when the knot was gnarly.

stem to stem
I’ve been hanging around take-outs for for more than 40 years and have never seen this. Sounds like this just might be a way of securing the painters although most folks use them to help tie down their hull.

BTW it is important to tie hulls to the rack and the vehicle both. I use seperate ropes for the rack and the painters to tie the stems to the vehicle.


Creating more rocker?