Place Your Boat

Less is More Part 3

So how’s that homework going?  I know, I said we were going to work less.  The good news is that now that our homework is done we are getting to the easy bit.

In Recognizing Patterns we discussed how various river features create weak spots in current- ie, slack water behind a hydraulic, that we can use to advantage.  Another one is a wave trough that provides forward momentum to the canoe even when we are facing upstream- oh, that wonderful gravity!  Your homework is meant to put you in the right place to use the easy water, in this case a trough.

Placing your boat into a trough means having enough momentum to cross the eddy line and drop the bow into the trough.   Too much momentum and you will ride up the back of the upstream wave and now you are going up hill, against current- not a recipe for working less.

You will know immediately if you have nailed it as you will actually feel the boat get caught up by the trough and drop in. If you are solo, you can sit back and look like a star, and if you are tandem, the bow paddler can now raise their paddle in triumph- no more need for forward strokes, gravity is doing the work now!

Hey, this trough thing is easy!

By recognizing patterns and then doing your homework you will quickly size up a rapid and decide upon your course of action.  Using a trough to enter current is key to entering under control and therefore working less.  The control you gain is then leveraged to access other areas of easy water or weaknesses in current- a wave trough can transport you to an eddy or slack water behind a feature.

Placing your boat into easy water is key to working less and to successful lines.   One could argue that in an open boat it is crucial or, as one former student said, “when you use these troughs it’s pretty easy; and when you don’t it’s pretty well impossible”.  I couldn’t sum it up any better than that.


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