Free Canoe Building tips

Discussions about the free plans distributed at and
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Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:41 pm
Location: MARSH LAKE, YT


Post by YUKONGEO » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:30 pm

Seat placement on this boat can really affect your paddling fun. Here's how I did it.

I used a 6 inch thick chunk of styrofoam for this. When I started paddling, the boat felt a bit tippy. This is unpleasant, cause you don't really trust the thing to stay upright. I then trimmed off a bit of foam, tried it again, and so on until I ended up with a 4 inch thickness, which felt stable. Of course, one can sit on the bottom, and feel very stable, but that's a heck of a poor position to sit in and paddle from.

Next, I had to determine the fore and aft location of the seat to control weather cocking, which is the tendency of the boat to turn upwind when paddling accross the wind. When stationary, most boats will eventually take a position at a right angle to the wind direction, and drift sideways. But when moving, the boat drags a bit of water on its rear hull and creates little eddies, so the stern slides downwind. Sitting just behind the centre, my boat weathercocked severely, so I kept moving my seat block back until I reached the position where the boat had only a slight tendency to weathercock, which was easy to control when paddling. Marked the seat location on bottom of the boat, and I have my personalized seat position.

This is a simple way to tune your boat exactly for yourself.

BTW, I strongly advise against putting any skeg, and certainly not a full length keel, as they cause drag and wreck the boat's performance.

Sidebar: I've paddled lots of different canoes and sea kayaks. This design has tweaked the "3 board" shape to just about perfection for the type, and the boat performs far better than any big box store plastic canoe (think Coleman) or recreational kayak. It's not as good as a well shaped round or shallow vee bottom hull, but for an inexpensive, easy to build, fun little boat it's the best I've seen.

Hope my tips are useful, and happy building and paddling!

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