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 Post subject: Towing a Canoe
PostPosted: June 24th, 2017, 1:13 pm 
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Joined: July 12th, 2010, 7:44 am
Posts: 141
Location: Barrie Ontario
The deal is we are heading out for a week base camping and I would like to have my solo with me for a couple of day trips and my evening paddle.
We will be using a small electric trolling motor to help out and I was thinking of towing the solo behind us, maybe with 1 of the packs in it to free up a little more room for the dog in the tandem.
So do I just rig up a bridle similar to lining and attach a 25 foot tow rope to the bottom and go for it? I am guessing that I should load the canoe being towed a little stern heavy?
Anyone have any tips or suggestions or is this just a bad idea?

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 Post subject: Re: Towing a Canoe
PostPosted: June 24th, 2017, 3:37 pm 
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Joined: March 23rd, 2006, 11:21 pm
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Location: Burns Lake, BC
I'm gonna say bad idea.

How about using poles and tying your boat alongside as a load carrying outrigger.
This would free up space and stabilize your craft with the electric motor.


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 Post subject: Re: Towing a Canoe
PostPosted: June 24th, 2017, 6:48 pm 
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Joined: January 27th, 2016, 2:34 pm
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Location: Simcoe County
Hey Rob,

This was common practice for us when we would go deep in the backcountry for hunting. We used a 12foot Langford square stern with a 2HP on the back with a 16ft prospector tied up. I am not sure if it is wise to do but we never had an issue and literally would do it all the time. The idea was the same - base camp then go on from there. Always put the load aft to bring CG forward that way the bow skimmed the water and would always stay on course. Another thing was we used to use no more than 10ft of line. I enjoy the outrigger idea but not sure how well your tracking would be if you couldnt counter act the drag. Disclaimer- we dont "tow n go" anymore, just prospectors and pack as light as possible! Check regs. before you use the this method things may have changed from 12 years ago or so. Cheers buddy!


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 Post subject: Re: Towing a Canoe
PostPosted: June 25th, 2017, 7:39 am 
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Joined: April 21st, 2004, 10:52 am
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Location: Near Ottawa ON
I've done it often as well. Important to put the weight in the back as suggested. I've had more luck with a longer lead - I've found the back and forth swing of the front of the towed canoe has more negative impact with a shorter lead.

I've tried the outrigger thing a few times but the bow waves from the two boats merge high between them and splash into the boat. Even with the boats tied as far apart as was practical. Worse when it's wavy.

Let us know what you end up doing and how it worked out for you.


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 Post subject: Re: Towing a Canoe
PostPosted: June 25th, 2017, 9:09 am 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1675
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
From the experience of a towed canoe mishap I would recommend a tow line attachment that you can quickly and easily release.


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 Post subject: Re: Towing a Canoe
PostPosted: June 25th, 2017, 3:06 pm 
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Joined: November 2nd, 2008, 11:15 pm
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Location: Collingwood Ontario
If you wish to tow an empty canoe, this arrangement keeps the bow up.

Sorry, I could not get the picture to display properly. It showed a rope with a large loop at the end made with a bowline knot. The bow of the canoe is placed in the loop, with the knot at the centre and bottom of the canoe, the top of the loop is brought down past the seat and held in place by jamming a paddle under the seat to prevent the loop from being pulled back up.

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Last edited by shearjoy on June 25th, 2017, 3:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Towing a Canoe
PostPosted: June 25th, 2017, 3:24 pm 
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Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
I don't think the forum likes .tif files, convert to .jpg and they should work.

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 Post subject: Re: Towing a Canoe
PostPosted: June 26th, 2017, 12:22 pm 
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Joined: July 12th, 2010, 7:44 am
Posts: 141
Location: Barrie Ontario
So make sure that I am pulling from the bottom of the towed canoe, shorten up the tow rope and be ready to let out more line if needed and go slow.
Shearjoy that sounds like the rope system I meant, thanks.
8 days of time to fill, I might have to try the outrigger setup. Should not be that hard to come up with a couple of poles to lash the canoes together. Thinking that the motor should go on the inbound side of the tandem.
I should mention that even with the small motor we do not go that fast, more to help out with the paddling than anything else.
Thanks for the tips and warnings.

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 Post subject: Re: Towing a Canoe
PostPosted: June 26th, 2017, 3:19 pm 
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Joined: October 31st, 2016, 9:32 pm
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Location: Missoula, Montana
I once got forced to do the outrigger setup. Five of us were doing a trip on the Wild and Scenic portion of the Missouri River in three canoes. I was paddling my 16 foot Mad River Explorer solo. This worked great until the last day, when we woke up to find a howling wind blowing upstream. Paddling solo, I couldn't make any headway against the wind. I tried everything I could think of, such as sitting in the bow seat facing the bow and letting the stern of the canoe windvane behind me, but I couldn't move the canoe downstream. So we pulled over to shore, found some relatively straight driftwood poles, and tied my canoe and another canoe together like a catamaran. The three of us were able to paddle the two canoes out with no problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Towing a Canoe
PostPosted: June 27th, 2017, 9:53 am 
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Joined: March 26th, 2013, 9:27 pm
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Location: Winnipeg, MB
Use the Highwayman's hitch:
http://www.animatedknots.com/highwaymans/index.php

When towing another canoe it's best to feed the rope through the stern grab loop so it's easier to control. Not sure how that would work with a motor. Tie the highwayman's hitch on a thwart directly in front of you. If the towed boat catches a sweeper you can release it quickly by pulling the tail end sticking out of the knot.


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 Post subject: Re: Towing a Canoe
PostPosted: June 27th, 2017, 11:15 am 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1675
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Rob H wrote:
8 days of time to fill, I might have to try the outrigger setup. Should not be that hard to come up with a couple of poles to lash the canoes together. Thinking that the motor should go on the inbound side of the tandem.


There are a couple issues to be aware of if using an outrigger set up with a motor.

The space between the outrigger and motorized hull need to be wide enough that the bow wake isn’t hitting the side of the outrigger boat. This was the trial run of a kayak outrigger with a 2.5 hp motor on a 17 foot canoe. In any case the whole rig may turn somewhat grudgingly to the off outrigger side.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPErEih ... video_user

A second issue is broadside waves. Depending on the wave height and frequency the main boat may be in a trough and the outrigger boat on a wave top, or vise versa. That can be a lot of strain on the poles, and on the attachments to the motorized and outrigger boats.

One more tidbit. I don’t know what length shaft is on your motor, but a side mount motor works better if the propeller is below the bottom of the hull. When you are turning the motor with the prop pushing water against the side of the canoe from 6 inches away it loses a lot of efficiency.


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 Post subject: Re: Towing a Canoe
PostPosted: July 3rd, 2017, 8:50 pm 
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Joined: July 12th, 2010, 7:44 am
Posts: 141
Location: Barrie Ontario
Never thought of the bow wake off the outrigger canoe and the tandem. Good point thanks.
The motor has a long enough shaft to get below the canoe so no real concern there.
Normally the motor just adds some extra thrust and allows us to relax our paddling. Do not think we reach much over 6kmh on a calm day.
Don't worry there will be pictures and hopefully a good story to go along with whatever I get upto.
Worst case is towing the canoe goes horribly wrong, we head to shore and Bev gets a crash course on how to handle the tandem with the motor and intake the dog in the solo.

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 Post subject: Re: Towing a Canoe
PostPosted: July 3rd, 2017, 10:45 pm 
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Joined: May 6th, 2005, 12:52 am
Posts: 93
Location: Ottawa
Krusty wrote:
I've had more luck with a longer lead - I've found the back and forth swing of the front of the towed canoe has more negative impact with a shorter lead.


Long helps but I find with my limited towing experience that putting a spring in the middle (a pair of bungees with closed end hooks) helps a lot. This absorbs a good bit of the impact of the towed (toad?) swinging off course. This also works well if towing a weak canoe to help paddlers steer across a windy lake, for example. It just starts to pull harder if and as required to keep them following the towing canoe.

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 Post subject: Re: Towing a Canoe
PostPosted: August 9th, 2017, 2:55 am 
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Joined: July 12th, 2010, 7:44 am
Posts: 141
Location: Barrie Ontario
Well overall I would say it was a limited success and in full disclosure , since we were in effect towing an empty canoe behind us and we were base camping for 9 days we went comfortable, I may have used it as a bit of a trailer, putting the bulkier but lighter stuff in the solo. But we were comfortable and ate well.
Leaving we were hit right off with 12+ inch rollers and a decent headwind and I had used one of my painter lines as a tow rope (25 ft) and the canoe wandered back and forth more than I thought it should, even taking the winds and water into consideration. We never got over 5Kmh.
Never did get the chance to tie the 2 canoes together as I have never seem am area so striped of firewood before and I say that having spent a night or 2 on some of the access lakes on Hwy 60. Now a half hour paddle across the lake brought back more dry hardwood than we could burn in 2 days of sitting around.
Coming back we had more favorable winds and water and I shortened the tow rope to about 12 feet and things seemed to work a little better with a lot less wandering.
If I do it again I would probably shorten the two rope a couple of more feet.
I also simplified the rigging a little, tying off a loop from the grab handles and hanging them off the ends of the canoe almost like a grab loop and attaching the tow rope with a carbiner. Probably better ways to do it but it worked.
The only little problem I had was when we got to the take out at the bottom of Poplar Rapids the current grabbed hold of the solo and had to be rained in.


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 Post subject: Re: Towing a Canoe
PostPosted: August 9th, 2017, 7:07 am 
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Joined: April 21st, 2004, 10:52 am
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Location: Near Ottawa ON
I'd have put more weight in the back, keeping the bow out of the water so it'll straighten out easier rather than plowing sideways like that.


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