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Canoe

Another day at the ranch, working with the other coaches and assistants. We practiced paddling canoes, both solo and double.

I have to say, it’s remarkable what one forgets when it is not practiced regularly.

My J-stroke was all wrong. I’d paddle out into the embayment at Pier 40, get weathercocked by a steady breeze from the east, and then be unable to turn or paddle against it. My C-stroke was even worse. While I did OK on the right, my brain just wasn’t mapping it right to the left. I’d be thumbs-up and backwards.

Fortunately, through some instruction from the lead coach and by practicing with one of the other assistants, it started to come back to me. The wind would still ‘cock me, but I was able to adjust. I got a a point where some edging and a C-stroke would get me where I needed to go.

Edging is different in a canoe. Unlike a kayak, you edge the deck into the opposing force, rather than the hull. That is, if I want to turn right, I tilt to the right, lifting the left side out of the water.

I also learned how much a difference trim makes. Even someone as light as the Cowgirl puts the fore of the canoe four inches out of water when she sits in the back. Paddling solo, I sit in the middle, or ate least further forward.

By the end of the day, I was able to maneuver a narrow figure-8 course set up by our lead coach, around two pilings, and then backwards past a floating dock and two other pilings. It will take some work, but I think I will get the hand of it.

Published in 2013 Backpaddle British Canoeing Coaching New York New York City NYC

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