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 Post subject: Question on Canoeing Speed and River Distances
PostPosted: July 13th, 2006, 5:05 pm 
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Joined: February 7th, 2006, 11:27 am
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Location: Not Thunder Bay :(
hi , can any one give me an estimate on the average canoe speed on calm water? km/hr maybe?

also is there a rule of thumb when calculating the linear distance of a river or creek on a map vs. the actual distance of the creek after all the bends and twists are accounted for? like if a map shows 1 km of creek should i ad in an extra 0.5 km for good measure?


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PostPosted: July 13th, 2006, 9:32 pm 
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Joined: November 22nd, 2004, 8:26 am
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Location: Gatineau, Qu├ębec, Canada
Canoe speed... I think that most people will agree that 4 km\h is a good average for every one (not solo though)...

For myself, I usualy plan 4km\h, that's including portages and headwind, in overall average speed for a whole day... But I would suggest using 3km/h , including everything, if planning for beginners.

As for counting distance of creeks and narrow rivers, I use Google Earth. The free version is great at counting distance and if you zoom in, you'll be able to trace your path very easily.

Hope it helps...

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PostPosted: July 14th, 2006, 10:43 am 
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
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...also is there a rule of thumb when calculating the linear distance of a river or creek on a map vs. the actual distance of the creek after all the bends and twists are accounted for? like if a map shows 1 km of creek should i ad in an extra 0.5 km for good measure?


If it is a meandering river, with lots of loops and oxbows, the old way to estimate was to measure the straight-line distance between points A and B, then multiply by three to allow for all the meanders. Imprecise, I know, but probably on the conservative side which shouldn't result in an estimate that leaves you on the river at nightfall.

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PostPosted: July 14th, 2006, 10:54 am 
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From my experience of paddling and measuring the Obabika River, Temagami, I can report that the straight line measurement is 26 km. while curved meander line is 42 km.

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PostPosted: July 14th, 2006, 11:43 am 
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Sometimes you can measure fairly accurately using a piece of string (try your compass lanyard) as a "flexible ruler" on a topo map.


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PostPosted: July 14th, 2006, 1:01 pm 
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Joined: August 20th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: toronto, Ontario canada
I'd still go by the straight line and triple it or some other means that puts the guess high. On a meander you aren't ever really at cruising speed. It's always draw around, push, pry back, push. Some of the meanders I've been down are hairpins not much longer than the canoe itself and in high water you can get pushed into the bank regardless of your efforts.

God forbid you have a novice in the bow. Did that once. He only knew paddle forward, paddle backward. So many turns, so much lost momentum. It's a canoe, not a tank game!


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