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06/17/2019 03:48PM
So,
I have had a Kevlar Canoe for roughly 18 years, and have not paddled for a while. IN the past I had no issue without a keel as my wife was an accomplished paddler.

Well on the most recent trip, I took my 7 year old daughter, and noticed there was no possible way to win in a windy condition. I realized going in, that I would be doing 90% of the work, but with her weight, lack of paddling, and lack of keel it was near impossible to go anywhere with even the slightest side wind. It took all my effort, and even that sometimes failed. I loaded all the gear up front, under, in front and behind her but still the front would get thrown.

The aluminum canoe with us, had a similar set up as far as paddling team, but had a keel and they were able to track better, not perfect but better.

As we paddled out with the wind, we noticed the same thing coming in, often sadly with novice paddlers that had little or no experience. Trying to paddle into the wind with Kevlar and a kid up front, and many resigned to paddling backwards. They all looked miserable. I have to imagine with the number of Kevlar Canoes at outfitters this is a regular challenge with novice paddlers, and families.

So in a round about way, I am curious if anyone has tried to put a keel, even make shift on a Keel-less canoe to help, or has other strategies.
 
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06/17/2019 04:26PM
Your problem is weight distribution (trim) not the lack of a keel. A keel on an Aluminum canoe was put there as a structural solution and does very little with tracking. My guess is you had better trim when you had your aluminum canoe. You either need to move yourself more forward or add some weight to the bow area
 
x2jmorris
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06/17/2019 05:59PM
As blatz said it does seem to be proven that a keel does nothing. However I agree that kevlars are not as easy. There is something there. Maybe aluminums are just made to handle wind better or maybe its just that they are heavier or maybe they sit deeper in the water idk. But something makes them more resilient to wind in my opinion and seems to be many others. Does sound like your front was too light though if your front was getting swung around so easy.
 
06/17/2019 07:09PM
I am not an expert, but I doubt a keel will do much.

More weight might help a fair amount.

I sometimes fill dry bags with water and clip them to the thwarts, and play with their volume (weight) & location to help trim and performance.
 
Jackfish
Moderator
 
06/17/2019 08:23PM
You don’t mention how far you plan to paddle with your 7-year old. Without a deep dissertation, you shouldn’t go far. If you’re just talking about paddling around home, my apologies.
 
Othello
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06/17/2019 09:39PM
sns: "I am not an expert, but I doubt a keel will do much.


More weight might help a fair amount.


I sometimes fill dry bags with water and clip them to the thwarts, and play with their volume (weight) & location to help trim and performance."


+1
 
OtherBob
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06/17/2019 10:14PM
Only some kevlar canoes are squirrelly. I once had a Bell Wildfire (now the Yellowstone, I think) solo. I could make it dance all over but it was terrible at holding a course. Now I have a Bell Magic which tracks very nicely. I can paddle all day on one side with only a moderate J stroke. Aluminum canoes seem to track well only because they have so much more drag than a kevlar boat. The keel is more for structure - in the better Grummans, for instance, it permits the skins to be stretched into compound curves. Cheaper aluminum canoes just overlap the skins on the bottom with no keel.

Of course, as others have noted, loading is critical in every boat: weight to windward.
 
cyclones30
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06/17/2019 10:35PM
Put a pile of rocks from shore in the bow. We had to do this with our tripping partners last week. They were over 100 lbs difference with the lighter person in the front. We could see daylight under the front paddler until we put some rocks up there. The handling of the boat was far better after that in windy conditions. (kevlar 17' boat)
 
Jaywalker
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06/18/2019 07:18AM
If having a keel improved the performance of the Kevlar canoe, there's a good chance at least one of the big manufacurers would offer a model with one - but to my knowledge none of them do. Like Otherbob mentioned, canoes vary on how well they track based on how he hull is shaped; how much rocker, differential rocker, etc, but all are intended to be level in the water when paddled. I paddle a 16 foot tandem backwards with my dog, and I really have to work hard to get all my gear as far forward as possible to keep control. When going out fishing I need to add rocks or bags of water, and it's still squirrely, and yet paddling backwards means I'm closer to the middle than you would have been. Think of it this way, your weight minus your daughters weight equals X. If you didn't add X lbs to the front of your canoe - at her seat or forward of it - you were likely paddling with the front of the canoe lifting up.
 
06/18/2019 10:28AM
You could also paddle the canoe backwards, possibly with your knees bent at what would normally be the bow thwart. That will move the person in the front further towards the bow and will move your seat in the back a little closer to center. The boat will be easier to trim then.

Weathervaning is hard to combat, especially when you have lighter & less experienced paddlers up front.
 
WonderMonkey
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06/18/2019 12:32PM
Dry bags full of water and hooked to the bow carry handle will add some weight to bring the front end deeper. Dump at the start of a portage, fill at the end.
 
frankpeach
member (5)member
 
06/19/2019 08:00AM
I've had this exact issue in the past. My solutions were:

1) keep pointed directly into the wind. A 10 deg difference to either angle and the next thing you know your pointed in the wrong direction and there is nothing you can do about it
2) Paddle backwards until you can find a shore to redirect.

I will absolutely try the rocks idea next time!
 
trailcherry
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06/19/2019 08:12AM
WonderMonkey: "Dry bags full of water and hooked to the bow carry handle will add some weight to bring the front end deeper. Dump at the start of a portage, fill at the end."

I like this method also, much easier on the bottom of my Kevlar canoe. I only use this when traveling solo in my 16' tandem UL Wenonah Adirondak, turning the canoe around and paddling from the bow seat.

This would also be a good solution to paddling with a child in the bow seat, will allow for weight up front where you need it without taking up much space.
 
06/19/2019 08:42AM
frankpeach: "I will absolutely try the rocks idea next time! "

I feel like there is a safety issue with the rocks solution. Water in drybags have neutral bouyancy. Suspect rocks might be a concern if you dump.
 
FishBrain
member (32)member
 
06/19/2019 09:56AM
BB, read Cliff Jacobson rules to paddling.
Here is a link to one of his articles.

https://paddling.com/learn/rules-for-canoeing-big-water/
Cliff Jacobson safe paddling

I hope the link works! ?????
 
06/19/2019 10:52AM
When my grandson's were young, we always paddled with them (1 at a time) sitting backwards in the stern seat and me backwards in the bow seat. Of course, the kids would play more than paddle.

 
jwartman59
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06/19/2019 11:38AM
Cliff Jacobson has good advice. I’ll add that paddling with a seven year old is essentially paddling solo. Move towards the center of the canoe and adjust trim accordingly.
 
goetzc
member (14)member
 
06/19/2019 11:50AM
WonderMonkey: "Dry bags full of water and hooked to the bow carry handle will add some weight to bring the front end deeper. Dump at the start of a portage, fill at the end."

Yes - I carry a large(13"x36") Coghlans DrySack for this exact purpose when paddling with my son. It's the perfect ballast as it will not impact the canoes buoyancy, is easy to fill/empty and is infinitely adjustable.

The ease/convenience of a filling/emptying a drysack means I would never consider using rocks. I personally would not want to use rocks for a multitude of reasons. I do use a melon size rock in a net for an anchor... but no rock ballasts in my canoe.
 
06/19/2019 12:24PM
Weight distribution, hull design, how deep the boat sits in the water and other factors have pretty well been covered. I have also found the double blade (aka kayak paddle) allows better management in cross winds and other complex paddling conditions.
 
Banksiana
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06/19/2019 04:53PM
awbrown: "When my grandson's were young, we always paddled with them (1 at a time) sitting backwards in the stern seat and me backwards in the bow seat. Of course, the kids would play more than paddle.
"


Many of the popular kevlar hulls are asymmetrical which makes turning them around ill-advised. Dry bags filled with water is a good way to address weight imbalance. Start first by cramming as many packs and the heaviest packs forward of the yoke. The less weight you have to add the better.
 
cyclones30
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06/19/2019 05:49PM
sns: "frankpeach: "I will absolutely try the rocks idea next time! "


I feel like there is a safety issue with the rocks solution. Water in drybags have neutral bouyancy. Suspect rocks might be a concern if you dump."


I'm not doubting the buoyancy part, but I'd assume if you flip the canoe the loose rocks will be on the bottom of the lake. We didn't have any extra dry bags with us and there were plennnnnty of rocks to be had on shore so they made due with what we had and it may have saved the trip in more ways than one.
 
OCDave
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06/20/2019 03:58PM
cyclones30: "I'm not doubting the buoyancy part, but I'd assume if you flip the canoe the loose rocks will be on the bottom of the lake. ... "

The error in your assumption is that the canoe flips. What seems as likely, is that the canoe tips enough to fill with water but not enough to dump the rocks.

Your canoe filled with water is still lighter than the water displaced so remains at the surface. Your canoe filled with water and rocks is heavier than the water displaced and will settle on the bottom.

I hope this sinks in (little pun there)
 
cyclones30
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06/20/2019 09:37PM
OCDave: "cyclones30: "I'm not doubting the buoyancy part, but I'd assume if you flip the canoe the loose rocks will be on the bottom of the lake. ... "
The error in your assumption is that the canoe flips. What seems as likely, is that the canoe tips enough to fill with water but not enough to dump the rocks.

Your canoe filled with water is still lighter than the water displaced so remains at the surface. Your canoe filled with water and rocks is heavier than the water displaced and will settle on the bottom.

I hope this sinks in (little pun there) "

Yes, true. We told them if it goes over pull it all the way over. They were far safer with the rocks then without in that head/cross wind so I felt better about it.
 
HolyCowCanoe
member (12)member
 
06/21/2019 01:23PM
I bought a Holy Cow Canoe about 10 years ago because I wanted a Kelvar canoe with a keel. The price was right and I got the "OK" to get a canoe. It's been a good canoe, it tracks wonderfully. I had the same issue though with the wind when my son was younger and did not have enough weight in the bow. The keel does get caught up on rock occasionally. If I were to do it over, I would get a used flat-bottom Kelvar from an outfitter for about the same cost.
 
Fortunate1
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06/30/2019 10:16AM
My 8 year old and I just got back from Shell lake. Distribution of weight is important in order to control the canoe I am 250# he's 56#.
On our day trip I piled rocks in the bow. Appropriate trip planning for youth is an important part to ensure our enjoyment. LIS River and a couple small lakes and easy portage's. We had great time.
I have padddled with and without keels and don't believe a keel is a factor in controllabilty. The keel is a structural entity.

I hope you have many great trips ahead of you. We are looking forward to our next one.
 
Mocha
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06/30/2019 12:59PM
There was a Canadian company that made a Bluewater Kevlar canoe, some with keel some without. These were used as rental canoes and guests were just more comfortable with the keeled canoe. Psychological probably.
 
jhb8426
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06/30/2019 03:42PM
There's a very nice kevlar Pinetree (canadian brand) currently on CL for sale. It has a keel.


 
jwartman59
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07/01/2019 11:18AM
Just finished restoring this 1941 peterborough. Originally it had a boot keel. I decided not to use it as it’s function was to protect the canvas from rock damage, the keel added nothing to the canoes performance, in fact it made the canoe slower. Many canoe restorers do not use the keel





 
OCDave
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07/01/2019 02:18PM
jwartman59: "Just finished restoring this 1941 peterborough. Originally it had a boot keel. I decided not to use it as it’s function was to protect the canvas from rock damage, the keel added nothing to the canoes performance, in fact it made the canoe slower. Many canoe restorers do not use the keel





"


Fantastic looking canoe jwartman59.
 
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