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Thread: Sculling a canoe?

  1. #1
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    Default Sculling a canoe?

    Is it possible? (and I don't mean a drawing scull stroke)
    I have two sailing canoes and hesitate to add rowlocks.

    I have backrest thwarts which extend a few inches beyond the gunwales, port and starboard.
    I use these "overhangs" by hooking the shaft (whipped of course) of the steering paddle under.

    Thinking that I might come up with a long oar tethered to one of these protruding thwart sections with some sort of strop, enabling me to propel the canoe by sculling?

    Using the stern seems more problematic.

    Far fetched?

    Best, David
    Live and let live

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sculling a canoe?

    Sure it's possible, but I do not think it makes much sense. A sculling oar is more robust than a paddle, one would snap a paddle pretty quick sculling.
    Except for some trick Japanese raceboats, sculling is not really for speed.
    Isn't "paddling" the way to propel a canoe?
    Unless you just want a platform to learn to scull?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Sculling a canoe?

    Are the sticky out bits long enough to allow the oar to swing in towards the hull far enough?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sculling a canoe?

    If it's a canoe, there should be no need or advantage to skulling or to rowing with two oars. Use a paddle and master the "J-stroke." An experienced canoe paddler can move a canoe in a perfectly straight line as fast as the canoe will go by paddling from but one side continuously using a J-stroke.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sculling a canoe?

    Well from time to time I head out on some larger bodies of water and propelling a loaded canoe with the paddle is not the easiest.
    It will get me there...eventually. That said, when there is wind I don't have the problem.
    It's just those windless crossing that one encounters from tie to time.
    I have zero sculling or yuloh experience and it just seems like something that could be interesting to explore.

    The "sticky out things" (like that!) are not so far out from the gunwale that I could reasonably get the sculling oar under the canoe on the one stroke.
    Then there's also the issue of offset...I'd be sculling from port or starboard side ad infinitum.
    Best, David
    Live and let live

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sculling a canoe?

    First of all, if you are speaking of a traditional canoe, the hull form does not easily lend itself to sculling if, you are consiering the style used to propel a Venetian gondola which, uses a lock, called a Forcula, off the stb. side. However the beam length ratio of a traditional canoe does not offer the same amount of stability of hull form as does a gondola which has a flat bottom and is Asemetrical in form to offset the side thrust of the sculling oar. In addition, sculling is an operation that is, most often done from a standing posistion. I doubt that standing in a canoe and sculling with a paddle that tends to tip the boat on each stroke would be an effort of futility. My own sloop, "Red Witch" weights 10,000 lbs. In calms, the Witch is propelled by a 14' sculling oar, a system that works very well. I just can't envision powering a canoe in that manner.
    Jay

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sculling a canoe?

    I was thinking from a kneeled upright position....but it looks as if I am barking up the wrong tree. Just looking for creative ways of propelling a canoe w/o petro or elec outboard. Hobie Mirage drive interesting but now I am hijacking my own thread...

    Thanks all for setting me straight....
    Live and let live

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sculling a canoe?

    I think it would be deathly slow and not very easy to navigate. If a paddle won't do it, think more seriously about oars because canoes will really move when rowed. You do, however, lose the ability to move the boat straight sidways the way you can with a paddle.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Sculling a canoe?

    I have tried it on my balanced lug Oughtred Magreggor with a sort of forcula as Jay describes but it's not a great success, I use either a long single paddle or a break down double, which seems the most efficient.
    That said I do have rowlock mounts but then I like the exercise of rowing and get quite spaced out on a long row in open water.
    Like you I like experimenting, different rigs etc. and I made a sort of long shaft outboard from a recycled brushcutter. The forcula makes a good mount but it's far too noisy and not a little stinky after a while. But it's certainly quick in a canoe.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sculling a canoe?

    You could try a double-bladed paddle. I've done this on solo canoe trips where I anticipated a lot of NW travel (into the prevailing wind). The advantage is that no energy gets wasted in J strokes. It all goes to raw propulsion.

    Using a double-blade was quite common at one time, particularly when partially-decked canoes were in vogue, a little over 100 years ago.



    Most kayak double-blades are too short for an open canoe. You need one nearly 8 ft long. You can make a test-model easily by cutting the handles off 2 el-cheapo paddles and joining them with some kind of pipe sleeve.

    But really, unless you're doing a lot of hauling upwind, it's better just to get used to a J stroke.

    Dave

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sculling a canoe?

    Actually, in terms of the most-enjoyment-per-dollar-of-boat, the kid in the wooden tub is the winner.

    Dave

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sculling a canoe?

    There is a guy in Italy who rows his canoe like a Gondola but it is worth pointing out that this is not a sculling stroke. It is more like a canoeing J stroke but done using a forcola as a pivot. Still, on a boat as small as a canoe it would be much better to use the Venetian style with an oar in each hand 'alla valesana'.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Sculling a canoe?

    Well, I'd second the double-bladed paddle idea. That would seem to me to be the most logical.

    Here's another idea - and you'll think I'm weird for suggesting it, but what about poling the canoe? No, I'm not talking about pushing off from the bottom like a punt. At the Maine canoe symposium a couple of years back a technique was demonstrated with about a 10' long piece of spruce that was basically half the width of a 2x4 with the middle 6 feet rounded over for a grip area. The man demonstrating stood in the canoe, feet spread wide and shins against the back of a thwart. He basically used it like a big kayak paddle, but from a standing position. He cruised along and we were go smacked.

    We were curious and had a trip to Lake George, NY planned. We fabricated a similar pole. The canoe was 16' x 34" with a shallow arch and little rocker. I moved off the dock and stood up with the pole. It works to help you balance like a tight-rope walker. Then I paddled along - absolutly cruising in wind, waves and wakes. Surprisingly stable.

    If you have your rig brailed or stowed, it might be worth trying if you're sailing an open canoe.
    "Anyone who says they like portaging is either a liar or crazy."
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Sculling a canoe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoez View Post
    He basically used it like a big kayak paddle, but from a standing position.
    Sounds like a paddle board to me.

    Speaking of different strokes for different folks. When stalking wildlife (or just being lazy), I don't lift my paddle out of the water on the return (forward) stroke. When feathered properly fore and aft, it presents very little resistance. I use a one-sided j-stoke with it.

    At the complete opposite end of the lazy spectrum is galumphing, which requires no equipment (paddles, etc) what so ever. Merely stand astride the gunwales in the stern and commence rhythmic, forceful knee-bends. I remember loving it as a teenager. Way, way too lazy (old) now.
    Steve

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Sculling a canoe?

    Quote Originally Posted by cybuilder View Post
    Sounds like a paddle board to me.

    Speaking of different strokes for different folks. When stalking wildlife (or just being lazy), I don't lift my paddle out of the water on the return (forward) stroke. When feathered properly fore and aft, it presents very little resistance. I use a one-sided j-stoke with it.

    At the complete opposite end of the lazy spectrum is galumphing, which requires no equipment (paddles, etc) what so ever. Merely stand astride the gunwales in the stern and commence rhythmic, forceful knee-bends. I remember loving it as a teenager. Way, way too lazy (old) now.
    Close, but not with a "single blade". Apparently it was an old guide method.

    BTW - Galumphing is what we know as "Gunnel Jumping".
    "Anyone who says they like portaging is either a liar or crazy."
    - Bill Mason


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Sculling a canoe?

    Some great thinking gents! Thanks.

    I just spent two days sailing at Lake George, the birthplace of the American Canoe Assoc here in the States.
    Safe to say that with the pontoon boats, glamour boats, jet skis and the like, many heads were turned with my 16'6" canoe with a little sprit rig (35 sq ft) and paddle steered. I use a Optimist rig and, if it's blowing anywhere near 10knots or above, it's a handy rig........ short enough to stash the whole thing, with mast, in the canoe.

    I have had summer experiences at Lk G with nary a hint of breeze but, this time, I lucked out.
    Even my 5 AM departure from an island back to the put in from our island encampment found me beam-reaching along at about 7 knots!
    I could have used more clouds but that's another story (sun tolerance low).

    I am also a fan of what has been called the Indian stroke, i.e. bringing the paddle forward while feathered and still immersed. One can even put a bit of draw into that return stroke. Really useful stroke I concur.

    The poling concept is really captivating.
    I carve Greenland style double-bladed paddles for kayaking and I am thinking that one about 8' in length would be phenom......symmetric allowing me to use a sliding hand stroke side to side as required (much like the Inuit use a shortened storm paddle) I could brace my shins/knees against my leeboard thwart and, with a max beam of approx 36", the canoe should be plenty stable going to windward in this fashion.

    Can't wait to try! I don't mind using the canoe as a form of stand up paddle board!

    Best, David
    Live and let live

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