I was paddling my Mad River Slipper in the Carbonlite 2000 layup and adjustable tractor seat for the first time in about six weeks after paddling my Sawyer Summersong with rudder a couple times a week during that time. I was also trying out my new Sawyer Manta single bend bent shaft paddles for the first time solo. My wife & I tried them out tandem in the Solo Plus Sunday and really liked them.
Here’s my observations:
- Even though I’m only 5’6", both the 50" and 52" Mantas felt good both sitting & kneeling. I had expected them to feel too long and awkward as my other 52" bent shaft does. I could probably even comfortably use a 54" Manta when leaning the boat up on the paddling side to improve tracking. I was sitting in an erect posture instead of leaning forward or hunching, so maybe that’s why the longer paddles felt just fine. I really like the feel of the Manta paddles. I’m sure that having good paddles aids in all aspects of boat control and paddling comfort and pleasure.
- The Slipper tracks better if I lean it up on the side that I’m paddling and it’s much less work to keep it straight. I prefer not to use corrective strokes when I want to maintain speed. When I would switch paddling sides, I would shift weight so that the paddling side was up and I could get more strokes on each side with less effort to keep it on track. Is this a common behavior in solo canoes? Until about two months ago, I was using a kayak paddle in my canoes, so I’m still learning canoe paddle tecniques. This is the first time that the relatively small tractor seat in the Slipper seemed to be beneficial - it kept my butt solid in the center of the boat. A slight lean toward the paddling side and the Slipper turns quickly away from the paddle.
I’ll try this technique in my Summersong next. I’ll probably have to raise it’s seat to it’s highest position to allow easier leans. It’s alot more work to lean it with the seat in the lower two positions.
Does anybody else use this technique of shifting weight away from the paddling side to aid tracking? I’ve usually only used leans to help turn the boat. Or is this unique to me, my equipment and my boat?