Canadian Canoe Routes

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Author:  Timothyj [ January 7th, 2009, 10:32 am ]
Post subject:  Painters

I've been getting into white water canoeing in the past few years, and hope to get in as deep as I can.

My question is, what is the best length for painter lines? And are they called painter lines, painter ropes, painters? Anyways, I've read some people saying that they have them no longer than the length of the boat, and others say that they use 50'. That's a considerable difference.

Since there are dangers involved with painters, is it necessary to have 50' of rope on either end of the boat?

Also, could anyone direct me to instructions for the best way to tie them. On my last trip on the Madawaska, a friend of mine had some troube getting the painter to release from its bundle after an unfortunate spill.

Thanks. (My first CCR post!)

Author:  Gail R [ January 7th, 2009, 10:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Painters

Welcome welcome!

First post and he puts out chicken/egg; green or red canoe
type question :lol: :wink:

have a search on painters and see what I mean
really Short ones...... enough that someone picking you out of the drink can clip on. Watch where there's a couple boats over and the ones helped first have proper floatation and short painters. Some people have a webbing-like pigtail so it doesn't matter to them, but usually it's only instructors that are paid to pull your kester out....also a short painter will aid in self recovery...a log one is a pita.
search HOOP and painters for a perspective of crusty long haul northern soloists with lots of experience and writing skills. :P
It depends on the river and situation.

Author:  pknoerr [ January 7th, 2009, 11:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Painters

I'm with Gail... I don't think that there is one "perfect" answer.

Personally, I find that around 20 up to maybe 25 feet is about as long as I can actually keep control over a tripping tandem. I usually use less than that on a short playboat... or I just run it and screw lining. Over that and I can't keep enough tension on the canoe, and I'd hate to have to rescue the boat or gear from that far out in the rapid. In addition, you end up with a big mess of rope either on the deck, or under the deck to keep track of. I do like the rope a little longer than the canoe, so I can allow the boat to rotate end for end if the need presents itself (Ie: using an eddy).


Author:  Paddle Power [ January 7th, 2009, 1:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Painters

Just painter, most likely from French.

There is no single easy reply re length but there are several good schools of thought out there. I use a shorter length on the bow b/c it is easy to tie off the bow, etc. without having to worry about lots of extra line. It is 10-20 feet long. I like 3/8 to 1/2 inch line b/c it is easy to hold on to compared to thinner 1/4 inch line. For the stern I often use a longer line, which is most often a throw bag under a bungee cord. Remember that painters are just one part of an overall outfitted canoe.

I often use a bowline to tie a painter to the grab loop. Sometimes I use a carabiner instead of the bowline.

Author:  Rick [ January 7th, 2009, 2:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Painters

The length of painters should be exactly one and one half times the length of the canoe, approximately.

Author:  Allan Jacobs [ January 7th, 2009, 2:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Painters

I learned from bitter experience recently that a simple bowline, even one tied hard, can come apart when the painter is wet.

As to the source of the word, the Concise Oxford Dictionary (Fourth Edition, 1951) gives [?], whereas for painter in the usual sense it gives [f. AF peintour f. com.-Rom. pinctorem ... ]
The point of these remarks is that the two words may have different sources.

Author:  Erhard [ January 7th, 2009, 2:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Painters

I can attest to that as well: because of the handling and general muddle when lining rapids, bow lines can come undone unless you took extra care when tying them.

Another thought: too long a line and any loops, knots and bags etc tied into the painter can spell trouble if the line at some point catches on something. Once, on the French, one canoe in our group was nearly lost when its painter caught deep down between some rocks in the Cedar Rapids and the current then held the boat down below the surface. We got it out eventually, but what a pain...!

Author:  Timothyj [ January 7th, 2009, 4:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Painters

Thanks guys! That's helpful. The opinions vary a bit, but having 50' long painters didn't seem to be really supported. I was leaning towards shorter ones myself.

Thanks for reminding me about the lining though. We did use our painters for a bit of lining, so if I go with shorter ones, I will have to have different ropes available for lining.

I came across one article today that said the The American Canoe Association (ACA) recommends that lines should be 15 feet long. I wonder if the Canadian one agrees. :D

Any thoughts on how to tie them? I remember Bill Mason's idea was to just have it piled loosely in the bow and stern. I doubt that's recommended now. Someone mentioned using a bungee cord, but I can't really visualize how that would work.

This is fantastic, within a few hours I got the perspective of six other paddlers. Cool stuff, happy to be here.

Author:  pawistik [ January 7th, 2009, 4:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Painters

Timothyj wrote:
Someone mentioned using a bungee cord, but I can't really visualize how that would work.

I drilled holes through the end caps, one towards each side, then tied some bungee in creating a loop of bungee on top of the end cap. The rope gets coiled neatly and slips under the bungee. The bungee is tight enough to keep the rope in place, but I can grab it quickly when necessary. I leave a foot or two of the end of the painter hanging loose so it's easy to grab.


Author:  Rick [ January 7th, 2009, 4:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Painters


Author:  Peter K. [ January 7th, 2009, 5:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Painters

I can't resist -- this is one of those "best length of a paddle" type debates. I can only add the following thoughts:
* it depends on whether you are play boating or tripping. Painters are an unnecessary hazard in a play boat. Invest in a cow tail and a quick release harness for it. A lot of us got rid of our painters after a death on the Dumoine a couple of years ago where the fatal error was reported as entanglement in a painter;
* for tripping, maybe short ones under bungees on the deck plates. For lining and tracking use your throw bags if you need something really long;
* NEVER put a knot or a loop in the end of a painter. It is an entrapment hazard;
* an alternative to the bowline is the figure 8 on a bight. It looks cool, will never come undone -- but uses an amazing amount of rope to tie.

Author:  erich [ January 9th, 2009, 12:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Painters

On my playboats, I use short painters, perhaps 12 feet or a little less, tied to a loop that passes through the bow and stern near the deck. The painter gets coiled and shoved under a bungee rigged athwartships on the deck. Painters must float. 5/8 " line is not too big as anyone who has grabbed hold of a painter in current will tell you. I've tripped with some who coil, a la Bill Mason, and others who daisy chain, but I prefer the bungee system. The painters on my tripping boat are the same length, but are usually slightly smaller diameter, just to tie off to trees, etc. Tracking and lining with a tripping boat, I have a separate rope, 60-80 feet, floating line. I always use a bridle to keep the pull low. Using the high mounted painters for lining, except in a very easy circumstance, is a recipe for disaster, as the pull can easily capsize the boat if the current gets it at an angle. I realize if I were on the ball, the latter wouldn't happen, but accidents occur when you least expect them. :-)

Author:  HOOP_ [ January 9th, 2009, 2:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Painters

Tripping: My painters are 2 times the length of the boat, i.e. 32 feet each. I have used every inch of those lines in lining, tracking. When you solo line, the boat gets out in front of you, so you obviously need twice the boat length for the far end line on the boat.

Once I belayed my canoe down a cliff with both tied together and needed every inch. I have also used the entire lenght for tying down boats on the Barrens wrapping around numerous tiny shrubs rocks and boulders. In gale force winds, used them to tie the boat to several trees, should one or more trees get blown down (yes its that windy!). I have had to tie not only the ends, but also wrap the middle of the boat to keep it down. Overturned boats are like airplane wings in strong winds – they want to lift off!

Playboating: short painters, bow and stern, a tad longer than the boat.

Fastening: I use the standard bungee system, like Rick shows. Pull from end to release.

Knot: Double figure eight. No bowlines on loose ropes because they undo.

Rope ends: They should be whipped or burn tapered to be narrower than the rope. No mushroomed burned ends, which can easily jam between rocks.

Author:  Battenkiller [ January 9th, 2009, 7:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Painters

HOOP_ wrote:
Overturned boats are like airplane wings in strong winds – they want to lift off!

Haven't experienced that one yet. My canoe always seems to fly farther away when I forget to turn it over before a storm.

I wonder how float planes can fly with those huge canoe-shaped pontoons pulling the plane downward?

You aren't using canoe physics again are you, Hoop? :doh: :wink:

Author:  Verdure [ January 9th, 2009, 8:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Painters

And as a related aside, a friend of mine says 'where there are ropes, there should be knives'. Meaning, if there are painters on your boat, you should have a water knife on on your PDF.

Something I have seen a few times lately, are people with throw bags bungeed [as shown] on either end of the canoe. I went over last spring in high water on Rollaway in a solo boat. I believe my painters were properly in place, but at the end, the relatively painters were everywhere. If I had gotten caught up in those painters...
I had my knife with me, but since, I have been thinking of the wisdom behind a throw bag at either end.

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