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PostPosted: May 7th, 2008, 7:58 am 
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Hello, everyone, nice forum you have here!

I have a Kipawa 17' assymetrical canoe which I built from plans using 1/4" cedar strip, 6 oz fibreglass cloth, & Cherry. It's a beautiful boat and FAST. The problem I had with it last season was the large amount of leeway that it makes in a cross wind. On 1 test run, we were on a lake, maybe 6" waves, say a 5 - 10 km/h wind, & we found that in order to keep the boat from making a substantial amount of leeway we had to keep the speed up very high.

My concern is that this would be just a wonderful boat for camping, and yet my camping partners are rarely strong paddlers. I was thinking of adding a 1/2 or full keel; but don't even know what the standard dimensions are for a wooden keel!

The boat's supposed to do a trip to Grand Lake in Algonquin park on the 16th. I should modify the boat before this weekend (to allow a week for varnishing the attached keel). Does anyone have any suggestions?


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PostPosted: May 7th, 2008, 9:06 am 
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I can't imagine any practically sized keel helping much with that problem. If you did make it tall enough to make a difference... guess who won't be able to turn the boat?

In a light breeze and small waves you should be able to quarter into them to counteract the effect of the cross wind.

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PostPosted: May 7th, 2008, 10:12 am 
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I have made a Kipawa as well...think the lenght is 16'6". Perhaps you could further explain your concept of "leeway", as I'm not quite sure I understand what you are getting at. I found the boat to be quite responsive and tracked very well. I'm pretty sure the designer John Winters would have an incredulous look on his face if he saw a keel on the Kip. You might want to check your paddling technique, seat placement and load placement. With our school club, I let the weaker kids paddle the Kipawa and the Winisk so that they can keep up with the rest of us. I have also found the Kip to be a nice large solo canoe as well.


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PostPosted: May 7th, 2008, 10:16 am 
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Location: Kitchener, Ontario Canada
I can't speak to the 17' Kipawa, but I built a 15 foot Bob Special stripper without a keel and have paddled an acquaintance's canoe wchich is identical to mine with the exception of a 1/4 inch strip for a keel for most of it's lenght.

I paddled both in a slight breeze, and found there really wasn't much of a difference when going in a straight line or when manouvering the canoe in close quarters.

Battenkiller has the best sloution by quartering into the wind.

cheers and have a great day.


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PostPosted: May 7th, 2008, 10:20 am 
First, have you made exactly the Kipawa design,
as the original is 16'6" long, not 17".
And have you paddled it with or without a load? The Kipawa needs about 200 kg (440lbs) for optimum performance in the wind. Lightly loaded it is indeed somewhat susceptible for side winds, but for an allround touring canoe, it is doing quite well then, in my experience.

Dirk Barends


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PostPosted: May 7th, 2008, 10:31 am 
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Agree with all the others in that its about load and techniquie..and a beneficial one to learn is a wind ferry..all canoes drift in a cross wind..

aim high (at about a thirty degree bow to the wind) and slide sideways toward your goal.. With that technique your drifting ability is a plus..plus its far safer than going crosswind.

Useful in higher waves too..

Unloaded of course there is more effect on hull by wind as there is more surface area exposed.


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PostPosted: May 7th, 2008, 11:04 am 
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Location: Cambridge, ON
I have found that if I have a medium to strong cross wind and a light load in my canoe ..... I push all the weight toward the front. It seems to then use the extra freeboad at the stern to act like a weather vane and turn the bow into the wind. It is never an issue when it is fully loaded. I have 16'6" FG with no keel but a slight V shape.


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PostPosted: May 7th, 2008, 11:11 am 
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When I referred to "leeway", I meant that while the boat is moving forwards under paddle, it is rapidly drifting sideways with the wind. It holds a heading fine, maybe even great, but when there's a crosswind it just slides away from the wind.

Sure, I'm willing to take some blame for technique, and I expected that comment when I started this post, but the boat makes far more leeway than the old prospector - esque canoes that I've paddled before, and yet it has less freeboard (exposed surface above waterline). I had it out on day paddles 4 times last summer, twice with strong experienced paddlers.

Here's another possibility.. Maybe the centreline's twisted? It doesn't look it; and this isn't my first boat, but there's a first time for everything! Tracking straight but drifting lots doesn't sound like a twisted centerline; but I don't think those problems are ever straightforward, either.

RHaslam wrote:
I have made a Kipawa as well...think the lenght is 16'6". Perhaps you could further explain your concept of "leeway", as I'm not quite sure I understand what you are getting at. I found the boat to be quite responsive and tracked very well. I'm pretty sure the designer John Winters would have an incredulous look on his face if he saw a keel on the Kip. You might want to check your paddling technique, seat placement and load placement. With our school club, I let the weaker kids paddle the Kipawa and the Winisk so that they can keep up with the rest of us. I have also found the Kip to be a nice large solo canoe as well.


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PostPosted: May 7th, 2008, 11:23 am 
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LetsPaddle wrote:
When I referred to "leeway", I meant that while the boat is moving forwards under paddle, it is rapidly drifting sideways with the wind. It holds a heading fine, maybe even great, but when there's a crosswind it just slides away from the wind.


Whether you're sailing or canoeing, a cross wind will move you sideways. On sailboats that crosswind is where you're power comes from and in order to harness that power you use a keel or daggerboard that will stick down anywhere from 18" to several feet into the water. In contrast, a "keel" on a canoe is better understood as a rub strip to protect the hull from abrasion.

Regardless of a keel or no keel, and regardless of whether it's a sailboat or a canoe, the reality is that if you want to go "there" you will need to point "over that way", which in your case would be upwind of the destination. Since you are comfortable that the canoe is tracking well ("holding a heading"), then I really think that you just need to adjust the heading to accomodate the crosswind.

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PostPosted: May 7th, 2008, 11:30 am 
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Any possibility that the difference in hull shape between the Kipawa and the Prospectoresque type boats..ie waterline form, and hull shape has any effect?

Prospector type boats generally have a symmetrical shape and the Kip does not. This might have a bearing on the pivot point location under way and its change with speed. It might allow the bow to dig in better as the pp moves forward.

I dont know much about this at all abd am just passing time till a boat designer arrives

This seems to be more of a "why is this happening" question rather than a "how do I compensate" question


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PostPosted: May 7th, 2008, 12:39 pm 
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A couple of observations from my times in the Kipawa....it has narrow entry lines, and when one is paddling directly into very large waves, it has a tendency to cut right through instead of riding over. Reducing speed improves this characteristic. Strong quartering winds from the rear can cause the rear to sweep out on you if you don't get your line right, more so than with a prospector type. However, the Kipawa hull has always outperformed any prospector type hull on flatwater on trips I have been on. Did you fix the front seat or install it as a slider? Have you paddled it with a load in it yet. It's qualities really come out once it is loaded up for tripping.


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PostPosted: May 7th, 2008, 9:45 pm 
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Adjust your ferry angle to the wind until you're paddling directly where you want to go without any drift.

No keel needed.

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PostPosted: May 8th, 2008, 12:14 am 
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As long as you're comfortable in the conditions, sometimes having both paddlers paddling on the same (lee) side can be very effective in dealing with crosswinds. Which side people are paddling on, and how hard, makes a big difference in where the canoe goes. Add in the wind, hull shape, load and trim, and the outcome can vary widely.

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PostPosted: May 8th, 2008, 12:36 am 
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I have always found that we have had to paddle on the windward side in heavy winds/seas. The bow wants to swing upwind anyway.

Be careful if both paddling on the downwind side..the drift of the canoe can well catch both of your paddles under the boat as it slides over your paddles and out you go..

But it is boat dependent..just be aware of what might happen.


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PostPosted: May 8th, 2008, 6:15 am 
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Now for a different type answer.
If i were to add a keel for experimental reasons I would use one of the ceder strips just bonded along the length you desire.
This would give you a 3/4 high keel. I would just bond it on and go test it till you can determine the value of it.
Simply bonded on but not glassed gives you the option if it stays or gets removed again with the minimum of labor either way. If you like it, glass it, if not then shave it off and refinish the bond area.

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