View topic - Hellman Otter

Canadian Canoe Routes

Hellman Otter
Page 1 of 2

Author:  miker [ January 21st, 2009, 10:15 am ]
Post subject:  Hellman Otter

Seems to be no info around on this boat. Has anyone paddled one?
I'm looking for my first WW OC1 and would like something light, plus they are relatively local. Mostly for paddling local rivers on Vancouver Island. Zephyr looks like a nice boat but they are pricey.


Author:  ezwater [ February 14th, 2009, 9:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hellman Otter

What's your height and weight? That's a small boat and therefore may not be as dry as you want, or as stable. I was not able to tell much about the design from the photos. They indicate it has a relatively sharp chine, good for handling and good for practicing rolls.

I'm a fan of composite boats. I own and repair several. Their choice of construction materials is good, but you will need to acquire some epoxy and some cloth for occasional repairs.

Note that Clipper probably will still make composite Vipers on request. Their 12 footer is chiney and will handle a bit more weight.

Author:  miker [ February 21st, 2009, 10:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hellman Otter

hey ezwater,

I ended up buying one. Got it out for the first time on some very easy water today. Boat handled great, paddler could use some improvement though. I'm about 6' and 185lb and am close to the ideal weight for it. the Otter may be short, but it is relatively wide. The blunt end makes it quit dry. The chimes look sharp, but it doesn't feel too grabby. I expected I'd be going swimming but didn't, mind you I chicken out on the biggest surf wave. This is my first OC1 and I really have little idea what I am doing, but after about 30min, was feeling very comfortable in the boat. Seems to have good primary and secondary stability and is nice and lively, definitely a boat I can grow into for a long time. Really like the weight (30lb).

Author:  Alan Greve [ February 22nd, 2009, 9:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hellman Otter

Hey Mike,
Seems like a pretty sweet ride! But for a beginner? I think its doable but you're going to have a pretty steep learning curve. Idealy to get the most from this boat you'll have to learn to paddle from the front. That said, you maybe a little shy on instruction out west. But to get your money's worth from this boat you'll need to get instruction.
As far as the boat goes..... when you get into that 9-1/2 to 10-1/2 lenght in range you'll find that all the boats are really not all that different. The Maxium, Zoom, Prelude, Solito and to some extent the Detonator. These boats including the Otter are all designed for tech class III/IV water, they're not beginner boats. That said.... I'm not trying to scare you off..... so with time spent you'll do fine. :wink:

Author:  miker [ February 22nd, 2009, 10:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hellman Otter


I have done a fair amount of kayaking and rafting in the past, so am familiar with rivers and currents. I started tandem canoeing last year, mainly ocean/lake with some river, but this is my first foray into OC1. What I discovered paddling it for the first time, is just how bad my forward stroke is. I ordered the 2 Kent Ford DVDs and have only had time to quickly viewed them and there seem to be a lot of good stuff there. (as an aside, if you are familiar with those DVDs, do people really do forward strokes with the T-grip hand up over the head like that?) I would like to take some instruction if I can find a course. It is still early in the year for course schedules to be posted. In the mean time some flatwater work with the DVDs will help.
I fully expect to be doing some swimming and am looking with envy on those with drysuits.
There is a pool session tonight, doubt there will be any canoes there, but at the very least, I can try some wet exits, braces and hip flicks along the side of the pool.

Author:  Alan Greve [ February 22nd, 2009, 10:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hellman Otter

Hi Mike,
Yep those Kent Ford DVD's will go a long way with progressing your skills. Yes it would be nicer to have someone on hand that knows an open canoe roll so as to watch and tell you where to correct though that learning process. Kent was out here a couple of years back and took part in a newer style of teaching open canoe forward and turning strokes at our Instructor recert clinic which was presented by Andrew Westwood. Its called the 2x4 method. Its a much easier method to instruct and it also takes way less time to develop. Its a method that develops the paddler to use mostly bow strokes, and which reduces stern corrections, much like a C1 paddler but slightly different. The idea behind it is to keep the hull speed up as stern corrections slow these already slow boats down.

Author:  yarnellboat [ February 22nd, 2009, 1:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hellman Otter

Hi Mike,

Congrats on the new boat! I'm in an Outrage and I've thought about the Otter too, because for a small boat it would seem to carry my 215lbs much better than things like a Viper 11, Zoom or Solito.

I hope you're finding good rivers and good people on the island. I've yet to paddle there much myself, but my make the Puntledge Festival this spring.

Let me know if you're around Vancouver and want to paddle. The Beaver Canoe Club has a big (for BC) group of open-boaters, including one instructor who paddles an Otter, and if you want to put-in some back-to-back days in mastering your Otter, I highly recommend joining the club's Rivers Week on the Similkameen, Tulameen and Nicola Rivers, which happens end of June into July long-weekend.


Author:  miker [ February 22nd, 2009, 11:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hellman Otter

Alan, I googled 2x4 and Andrew Westwood to find out what you were referring to. Makes a lot of sense, and while not taught that way specifically in the Kent Ford DVDs, all the principles are there to work on.

PY, If you paddle with the Beavers, you probably know my sister and brother in law, the Burnett's.
Thanks for the invite. Actually, I have already been planning on crashing your rivers week ... 7&t=31982#
At this point, I likely won't be in town for the Pundledge Fest. which is too bad. From what I hear, a number of Island OC1 paddlers come out of hiding for that one.

Author:  yarnellboat [ February 23rd, 2009, 12:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hellman Otter

Hi Mike,

I saw D&M's slidesow on the Nahanni last month, awesome family trip! Only they could pull that off.

I look forward to meeting you then! Keep your eye on Dan's Beavertales newsletter for an upcoming article about rolling that you might find useful. In the meantime, I hope you find some willing canoes on the island, the Victoria Canoe & Kayak Club should be able to help you out.

Cheers, Pat.

p.s. Yes, people do paddle with short, vertical power strokes, keeping their top hand in front of their eyes. But not all the time; only when you need to be "on", and need the right burst at the right time. People will be as lazy or as intense with the crispness of their strokes as the current dictates.

If you're alone at the pool and wanting to get a feel for your boat, start with trying various means of accelerating your boat from a full stop and keeping a straight line, like a C-stroke, J-strokes and combinations of on-side and off-side forwards.

And then try some "inside circles" using steady boat tilt. Do them on your on-side and off-side (cross-frowards), and try linking them in a figure-8. This is good for what Al is talking about in terms of using power strokes upfront instead of stern corrections.

If nothing else, that should give you some more to Google anyway.

Author:  ezwater [ February 23rd, 2009, 4:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hellman Otter

I found that either of my whitewater open boats could be accelerated with a short forward stroke, ending at the hip, and no correction. I kinda think "Drill Time" encourages excess correction.

Author:  Alan Greve [ February 23rd, 2009, 5:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hellman Otter

They do and you can get away with it in longer boats that have glide. And if you look at when drill time was made it was still in an era of much longer boats. That said even today some never change.... look at Bob Foote's latest design the Raven @ 11'3", its still on the longer side. This boat has way more glide than the other boats mentioned, but than just look at Bob's style of paddling..... it works perfect for those longer boats.

Me one the other hand, I love short boats....I live in my Taureau! :D

Author:  ezwater [ February 23rd, 2009, 6:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hellman Otter

:o I can't paddle most short boats without sinking them, but the principle of paddling cab forward without corrections should still work with a Taureau. My newer boat is a Millbrook Big Boy, and while it is 13', it sits so light on the water that it really doesn't "glide," it slips and slides.

Actually I find that longer canoes with more glide can be less inclined to control by cab forward strokes, and may need some J or rudder.

Author:  miker [ February 24th, 2009, 10:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hellman Otter

Turns out the pool sessions are Sat not Sun (good thing I phoned). I did get out on the lake after work yesterday for an hour and tried forward steering. I could get the boat to go in circles on the paddle side, both on side and cross forward, and do figure 8s but whenever I tried to straighten the boat out, there would come a point where the boat would just breakaway and veer off in the other direction. It is going to take some practice to find that balance point. Where should your weight be? Should you lean forward or neutral, or does it matter? I really tried to keep that paddle vertical to the point it felt like I was placing the paddle under the boat.
I can see how each boat/person combination is going to be a little different, so it might be difficult to come up with hard rules. I also think I need to not worry about speed at first and slow down.

I have become a member of the VCKC and there are is a small but great group of canoeists to paddle with. On Sat, I think they all would have rather paddled the main run on the Cowichan, but were more then willing to do the lower run with my wife and I.


Author:  yarnellboat [ February 25th, 2009, 2:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hellman Otter

I think they all would have rather paddled the main run on the Cowichan, but were more then willing to do the lower run with my wife and I.

True sign of a good group! If you can't make a big group, you might as well find a good group.

Sounds like you're off to a great start with inside circles and vertical strokes etc. For starters, you also can't go wrong with just paddling your canoe like it's a canoe. Knowing that you might use different strokes on the river, just put in some time paddling around and getting a feel for fine-tuning the correction and avoiding spin-outs. The biggest thing is probably just to develop the anticipation/feel, and to use tiny bits of correction before the boat can veer-off anywhere.

Unfortunatley the Running of the Cows now conflicts with a new paddling festival on the Chilliwack, so fewer Vancouver canoes go to the Cowichan that weekend.

The RCABC has its meeting at Cowichan sometime in April, so there should some instructors around that weekend, could be some opportunities to paddle with them.


Author:  yarnellboat [ January 5th, 2010, 3:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hellman Otter


After another season of paddling, any updates on the Otter (and your paddling). I haven't seen you at Rivers Week?

Cheers, Pat.

Page 1 of 2 All times are UTC - 5 hours
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group