Author Topic: Unstable Canoe Advice...  (Read 6092 times)

Offline strangetanks

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Unstable Canoe Advice...
« on: July 08, 2015, 04:26:23 PM »
Ok, so maybe someone with some experience can help me out here.

I just bought a canoe, its a 12ft long older fiberglass one.  I know that sounds short but I wanted something I could just throw in the back of the pickup and take out for spur of the moment very casual fun and a little fishing.  I really like that it doesn't hang way out the back of my 6ft bed and it's light enough that I can pick it right up and toss it in the truck or in the water.

The thing is so unstable and tippy with me and my wife in it that it's exhausting and scary.  I literally feels like you're balancing on a 2 legged chair.    Neither one of us are big people, and the canoe didn't feel like it was riding low in the water or anything.  I secretly took a friend out in it the other day, just to make sure it wasn't my wife that was all unbalanced (hehe) but the results were the same.

I've never considered myself an expert canoe guy, but I've been in them often enough to know that some wobble is normal but this is way too much.  The bottom looks fairly flat to me, not rounded or narrow like a racing canoe.

I just ripped the seats out of it and am going to make new ones that sit much lower than the original ones.  I don't want to install outriggers because they just look completely uncool.  Does anyone else have any advice on making this thing more comfortable?  I really like having the canoe, but am about to get rid of the thing if the seats don't work out.

Offline RSWarne

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Re: Unstable Canoe Advice...
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2015, 05:07:46 PM »
Here are some things to consider:

•   Inherently narrow hull by design
•   Load/occupants riding to high
•   Weight distribution to far forward
•   Bowed or twisted hull

You are on the right track. Lowering the center of gravity as your seat modification will address will improve stability. As a test, try paddling from your knees in the bottom of the boat with you buttocks resting on your calves and see if that improves stability.

Forward/rear weight distribution's impact on stability is a function of the amount of unbalance. We find stability suffers when one of our children paddles from the rear seat with a parent in the front. There is even a noticeable difference depending on which parent sits in the rear.

Fiberglass canoes are particularly susceptible to hull warp when stored improperly. Done it myself.

Offline goofyshooter

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Re: Unstable Canoe Advice...
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2015, 04:54:47 AM »
Maybe your wife should take it out to make sure you're not the problem. HAHA

What are the dimensions of the canoe? What brand is it?

Offline strangetanks

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Re: Unstable Canoe Advice...
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2015, 05:06:28 AM »
12ft long and 33" at the beam.  Its made by the american fiberglass corp.  I tried googling them, didn't find anything.

Offline Carl

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Re: Unstable Canoe Advice...
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2015, 05:19:44 AM »
You should think about a leeboard (Google it) to stabilize your adventure. More effective than an outrigger.

Just a grumpy old mans thoughts.

Offline strangetanks

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Re: Unstable Canoe Advice...
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2015, 05:24:56 AM »
Hmm...that's a really interesting idea!!!  I'm thinking that might actually do the trick if these seats turn into a bummer.

Offline Carl

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Re: Unstable Canoe Advice...
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2015, 05:39:58 AM »
Hmm...that's a really interesting idea!!!  I'm thinking that might actually do the trick if these seats turn into a bummer.

The low draft canoe does not have enough area for side to side stabilization and a simple ,
attachable leeboard is the least costly way to add the stability...like fins on a surf board ...
but with position adjustment.

Out riggers would work too ,but at too much loss of maneuverability.

Lowering the seats and CG will help but does not add frictional stability that leeboard will.

I must add that I have NEVER been in a canoe,BUT that is how I would,and obviously many others have,solved the stability problem.


Offline Perfesser

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Re: Unstable Canoe Advice...
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2015, 11:08:03 AM »
In a canoe you almost never sit on the seat. Lay pads or the old foam life jackets in the bottom and kneel with your knees spread wide and your butt resting on the edge of the seat.
This anchors you to the boat and keeps you from trying to correct the balance from the other persons movements.

Many flat bottom canoes have sponsons along the gunwales. They help and also protect the sides from damage.
You might make some from pool noodles to try out.
http://www.sailboatstogo.com/images/rowing__2.JPG
« Last Edit: July 09, 2015, 11:16:09 AM by Perfesser »

Offline surfivor

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Re: Unstable Canoe Advice...
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2015, 05:07:12 PM »
What is it like with one person in it? Try kneeling on your knees 1/3 of the way from the back (not near the seat) . This can also be accomplished by turning the boat backwards with one person in the boat. 12 feet seems like a very small canoe but I an curious what it is like with just one man. You can not sit all the way in the back with one man correctly as I mentioned. I am a somewhat experienced white water canoeist and have picked up a few things over years and took a couple of lessons at one time ..

update:

 I am somewhat concerned that you may be challenged finding satisfaction with a 12 foot canoe as a 2 person boat. Here are some excerpts from the review of the old town pack 12. It appears some people use it as a tandem boat, but it seems there is a possible challenge involved there. I would expect your canoe would be a very good single person boat however. Old town is a reputable manufacturer. I have an old town penobscot 16. It is a decent boat, but two people and alot of gear, it is not ideal for long wilderness trips and bigger rapids as it gets loaded down a bit.

http://www.paddling.net/Reviews/showReviews.html?prod=27

  For what it is, it is a great canoe. It is a lightweight solo canoe for a leisurely paddle. She is NOT a tandem canoe, and I can't picture using this short boat as such."

..

"   The Pack 12 canoe ruined our canoeing this summer. After 40 years tandem paddling Old Town Oltonar 16 and 18’ canoes, we decided to downsize to a Pack 12’. We loved our 16 and 18’ Old Towns, but could no longer easily lift their 60 to 75#s. The 33# pack with 550 to 600# usable capacity seemed the perfect answer. Our tandem weight was barely 300#, easily within the Pack’s capacity. We dismissed reviews that said the Pack was tippy and tracked poorly. We were experienced lake and river canoers, all kinds of water, difficulties. We found the Pack to be horribly tippy, even sitting on a lowered seat and kneeling. So we bought Spring Creek ethafoam floats. These prevented tipping but also caught waves, splashed water into the canoe and interfered with paddling. The Pack tracked much worse than expected, solo and tandem. So we bought 260cm kayak paddles. That didn’t help tracking much and the shafts hit the gunnels and dripped into the boat. In tandem paddling (300#) we had way too little freeboard. The Pack also oil canned much more than previous larger Old Towns; actually kind of scary how flimsy the bottom was. So after a ruined summer trying to get used to the Pack 12, we got rid of it. We then bought a 42# Ultralight Wenonah. Our love of canoeing was reborn with the Wenonah. It’s beautiful, stable, light, comfortable, fast, tracks like a dream, absolutely no oil canning. So if you’re looking for a lightweight lake or class I-II river canoe, learn from our mistake. Buy an Ultralight, not an Old Town Pack"

« Last Edit: July 09, 2015, 05:39:38 PM by surfivor »

Offline surfivor

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Re: Unstable Canoe Advice...
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2015, 05:55:56 PM »
 Some other stuff (below). The boat I often think about is the penobscot tripper (17 feet) which would hold more gear and two people running rapids in the wilderness. Enough gear for a longer trip. Just one foot longer than my current boat that I have had for 25 years, but I don't really do a ton of these types of trips


http://www.outdoorplaces.com/Features/Paddle/pickcanoe/newcanoe3.htm

Shorter canoes are much easier to maneuver, and are better suited for solo paddlers.  Canoes can be as short as 10' and are good for short jaunts, day trips, and whitewater adventures.  Much easier to steer, shorter canoes typically don't track as well, and require a lot of correction to keep on a straight course in flat water.  A novice paddler can find themselves zigzagging across a lake in frustration.


A good length for a general purpose canoe is 14 to 15 feet.  This canoe will easily accommodate two people, but can be paddled solo.  It can be taken into whitewater, but could be pressed into a weekend trip.  It also has a good balance of maneuverability and straight line performance.


10 to 13 feet:  Good solo canoe length, great for moving water, easy to maneuver, does not track well (straight line), limited capacity

14 to 15 feet:  Good overall canoe length.  Good for moving water and still, can accommodate a solo paddler or tandem crew, good at maneuvering and straight line tracking, capacity for weekend trip or third passenger

16 to 18 feet:  Good touring canoe length.  Not recommended for water above Class II+ or solo paddling, excellent straight line tracking, fair at maneuvering, capacity to handle a lot of gear and multiple passengers.

In excess of 18 feet:  Sometimes called war canoes, typically require more than two paddlers and specific training to use.  Great for groups with heavy loads.  Very difficult to maneuver, and next to impossible for a solo paddler, large group can have excellent straight line stability and may even have the person in the stern seat work a rudder or use a paddle as one


======================

http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/canoe.html

calculate capacity mathematically:

http://www.ehow.com/how_8666119_calculate-canoe-capacity.html
« Last Edit: July 09, 2015, 06:05:26 PM by surfivor »

Offline ID_Joker

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Re: Unstable Canoe Advice...
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2015, 03:05:39 PM »
In a canoe you almost never sit on the seat. Lay pads or the old foam life jackets in the bottom and kneel with your knees spread wide and your butt resting on the edge of the seat.

This

Offline Perfesser

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Re: Unstable Canoe Advice...
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2015, 04:25:06 PM »
I just read the OP's original post again and the part about new seats.

The seats in a canoe have to be high enough that you can slip your lower legs under them easily so you can rest your butt on the edge. There also has to be enough room that you can get them OUT quickly in the event of a roll over.  Everyone will dump the canoe a few times, especially those shallow draft flat bottom ones.
It would suck to drown the first time because you were trapped.

Offline strangetanks

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Re: Unstable Canoe Advice...
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2015, 09:17:43 PM »
Thanks for the advice everyone.  Put in the new seats and finally had the chance to take it out for a spin today.  They might have been a bit low, I'll play around with the height.  But the ride was MUCH MUCH better.  Even with the webbing seats though, I'm thinking some butt padding might be in order, I don't have enough cushion for the pushin on my narrow butt.