Monday, September 14, 2009

Tying down a canoe without carrying thwarts.

As I have said before, I consider myself something of an archivist when it it comes to solo canoes. There are too many wonderful solos that are unappreciated for what they are, and I consider it a duty to preserve them. I am the Jay Leno of solo canoes.

The trouble comes when I find one of Pat Moore's canoes. Pat was and is a genius, and although he left the industry long ago, his boats live on. Pat had a pretty narrow view of what a canoe should be, which excluded many people who, quite frankly, aren't very good paddlers. They are paddler's canoes, not floater's canoes. You gotta know what you're doing or you are gonna swim.

Pat's boats are what I would call minimalist designs, but his attention to detail within that minimalism was superb. Every line and curve was intentional, and I think he was more of a artist/sculptor than a canoe designer. Think a floating Robert Holmes.

Pat's minimalism lead him to design boats without carrying thwarts. You know, the place you normally tie down boats.

The culprit in the foreground. Note the lack of screws too. Gunwales are laminated to the hull with no fasteners. Genius.

I had to come up with a way to tie them down securely in the bow when traveling longer distances. Short distances don't matter too much; Moore's canoes are generally shorter than most, around 12 feet. But they are built as ultralights, and I didn't want the wind forces of Interstate speeds flexing the hulls and beating the stuffing out of them.

For some reason I thought about a running martingale, a device that keeps a horse (in my experience, a stallion) from throwing his head around. It was the perfect engineering solution.

I decided that I needed to fasten something to the only place on the boat I could...the thwarts. Back 4-5 feet from the bow, it was something to start with.

Next step was to run the martingale over the hull and fasten it with a figure-8 knot.

In order to draw the martingale tight, I clipped in a stainless mini-biner and drew the martingale back toward itself. So far, so good.

You finish the process by tying the loop you created to a bowline. In this case, to a look of flat webbing I fastened to a bolt under my hood, secured with a fender washer. Much easier than crawling around under a car looking for some sort of hook or piece of metal to tie off your bow line. I used too much rope and didn't want to cut it, which accounts for the unsightly hank of rope. Deal, people. I don't cut rope unless necessary.

The results? Works great. There is still some lateral movement but the downforces on the bow more than compensate for the pressures that highway speeds can but on a 25-pound boat.

Respectfully submitted,

Amateur Engineer

1 comment:

Jerry witherspoon said...
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