To begin the stroke, the canoeist sits with back erect, bending slightly forward from the waist, in order to get as long a reach forward as possible before dipping the paddle to about two-thirds of the length of the blade into the water. The upper hand now pushes the top of the handle slightly forward, while the lower hand draws the blade back along the side of the canoe until, towards the middle of the stroke, the paddle is in an almost perpendicular line with the canoeist's body, and the stroke is finished by the upper hand being pushed forward while the lower hand travels back. When the limit of the stroke is reached, the blade is turned sideways in the water with a movement of the wrists, and a slight outward pressure brought to bear on it, in order to "hold up" the canoe and to counteract the effect of the force being applied to one side, thus keeping it true in its course. The closer the stroke is made to the gunwale of the canoe the better.
The finish of the stroke, in which the blade of the paddle is turned sideways in the water and a slight outward pressure brought to bear on it, to hold up " the canoe and keep it to its course
Two in a Canoe
This twist of the blade and lateral pressure must be applied at the end of each stroke, the blade almost parallel with the keel of the boat, unless the second canoeist takes a paddle, and works on the opposite side of the craft, when the canoe will only need to have its course slightly corrected from time to time, instead of the boat being "held up" after each stroke of the paddle.
The effect, however, is rather ragged to the onlooker, so that, when paddling in public, the paddles should be used on the same side of the craft, and the lateral pressure applied at the end of each stroke by both canoeists, and, after a little practice, good time in dipping the paddles can be kept, and the effect is very charming and a good speed is attained.
In order to take the next stroke, the blade of the paddle may now be lifted right out of the water, to be returned to it again as at the beginning of the previous stroke, or it may be slid back through the water edge-ways, in order to find the least possible resistance, until it reaches its farthest forward limit, when it is turned, by a swift movement of the wrists, to again present a flat surface of resistance to the water, ready for the next stroke.
Sailing with the breeze. For this two canoeists are needed, since the sheet, or rope, fastened to the sail must always be held in the hand, never made fast, or a sudden gust of wind will overturn the craft
Either method is equally correct, but the latter is, perhaps, more popular, for though a little tricky to grasp at first, once mastered, it takes less energy than to lift the paddle out of the water each time.
In order to keep the boat upon an even keel when paddling, the canoeist should lean the weight of the body slightly upon the upper arm, in order to counterbalance the natural inclination to bend over sideways in the direction of the lower hand, and so throw the weight on to one side of the vessel, instead of keeping it well to the middle
To turn the canoe, either make a slight outward sweep with the paddle during the stroke, and omit to hold her up at the end of it, or else make a stroke in the usual way, but increase the lateral pressure outwards at the end of it, according to whether it is required to turn the canoe to the right or to the left.
In sailing an ordinary Canadian canoe, one can only, of course, travel with the wind, either upstream or downstream, as the case may be; for, having no centre-board, it is impossible to tack up against it as one does when sailing in a boat with a centre-board or deep keel.
Sailing with the wind is a very pleasant and picturesque mode of travel, however, and there are few more attractive sights than that of a canoe, with its brightly coloured sail, casting long, rippling reflections in the water.
To sail a canoe successfully two canoeists are needed, one to hold the sheet - i.e., the rope fastened to the end of the sail (which must never under any circumstances be made fast, but must always be held in the hand, or a sudden puff of wind will overturn the boat), the other to steer at the back of the canoe with a paddle.
There is considerably more holding capacity about a canoe than one would imagine at first sight, and a small compact tea or luncheon basket and the ever - necessary waterproofs can easily be stored away in the bows, together with the other paraphernalia - books and needlework, and even a sketching outfit - which adds so much joy to a long day spent out in the open air. The most charming water byways and some of the deserted canals of this country can be explored in a canoe, owing to its drawing so little water.
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