A Little Off Trim - and the Wind

When paddling solo or tandem I usually trim the canoe slightly lighter at the bow. This improves tracking under most conditions but it is a compromise since the canoe becomes more susceptible when paddling into or across the wind. With nothing to hold the canoe online in the bow the wind will push the canoe around like a weather vane and you need to paddle harder (and harder) to keep it on track.

I wanted to show how much even a breeze can push a canoe around that is off trim only slightly. I decided to lean against the bow sent (in the clip below) since that is often the recommended station when paddling a tandem canoe solo. This gives a 2 to 3 degree pitch to the canoe, with the bow being lighter. I just stopped paddling and left the canoe to be moved by the wind.

You can see when paddling into the wind it takes a bit of time to catch the port or starboard side of the bow, but then when the canoe starts to turn it accelerates quickly until it is almost turned completely downwind.

Preventing the canoe from being a weather vane is fairly easy by adjusting your forware/aft weight, or adjusting the location of your equipment. When I am out on a day trip I often carry a dry bag that I can fill with water to help adjust the trim. When paddling into a significant wind I sometimes will make the bow heavier, but again this is a compromise again since it impacts control as well.

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April 24, 2021