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Old 06-08-2009   #1
Self-Aggrandizing jackass
heliodorus04's Avatar
The Ranch, Colorado
Paddling Since: 04
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,134
Good paddlers ought to know this but...

I’m not a very good paddler…

The topic is leveraging a swimmer’s boat to shore with my own. I suck at that. It seems to take me twice as long as anyone else I know, so I’m wondering if there are any tips, guidelines, or general bits of advice that I might have missed all these years.

Normally I'm just trying to "T" up with a good ferry angle and paddle my ass off. Is there any trick to keeping that boat at a consistent angle and maintaining my ferry with good leverage on the boat?

Any advice on paddling an empty boat to shore with your own would be appreciated.

"self-aggrandizing jackass" - it says it right on the label
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Old 06-08-2009   #2
Redpaddle's Avatar
Newport, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
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Pushing a flooded boat across the river in anything but flatwater is next to impossible in my experience. Tow rope is mandatory I think.
"Paddle silently, boof loudly"
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Old 06-08-2009   #3
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Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Use the current to your advantage, look for eddies and rocks along the shore to push the boat into. I've rarely been successful at "pushing a boat," but have found timely nudging to be very successful. Float bags are 100% mandatory. Ideally, you have two boaters chasing the unmanned craft. One to nudge, one to jump out downstream and grab the boat.
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Old 06-08-2009   #4
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
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Bull-dozing boats to shore in any kind of whitewater is tough. My general plan is to start working the boat to whatever side of the river seems closest and has the best eddies. In the middle of rapids, you want to stay close, but not so close so that you get worked too. For many continuous colorado runs, you can plow the boat to shore, only to find that you can't get it to stop as it bleeds out of small eddies. One solution to this is to have one boater paddle ahead and jump out of their boat to grab the solo boat as you are plowing it by. This is tricky as well, because many times a boater gets out too early, the boat goes by, and then they are too far away from the chase. Communicate as you paddle, tell one guy to paddle ahead and catch an eddy. Two boaters can take turns plowing as they "lose" the right position to plow and can swap out. Having too many boaters trying to herd in and plow is counter productive. Get the other boaters out ahead thinking of eddies and grab points.

I have also had good experience nudging the boat onto small rocks that the boat can easily pin on. Sometimes pin rocks can be your only hope to stop the boat. Another thing you can do is paddle next to the boat, flip it right side up with the grab loops, and then push and pull the boat with your hands, while the other hand holds your paddle. I successfully floated next to a boat we were chasing for a while, flipped it, grabbed the loop and gave it a good push into pin rocks to stop it. I doubt I would have been able to simply bulldoze the boat into those rocks. Having the patience to float with the boat and nudge in the right direction with your hands can give good directional momentum to stop the boat.

Another technique is to get the boat close to shore, grab one of its grab loops and grab a rock or branch along the bank to stop progress while your buddies jump out and come get the boat. This leaves the grabber in an uncomfortable drawn and quartered position for a few moments, but it can stop boat's progress.

The tow rope is always an option, but its an option I don't particularly like. In mellow water towing a playboat would be fine. In continuous class III/IV towing a creekboat may be your ticket to getting worked as well. Some folks may prefer the tether, but I don't like to put myself in that postion. Seen lots of folks flip and get pulled by clipping into boats, and that may result in two boats to chase.
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Old 06-08-2009   #5
rockinRio's Avatar
Thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
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Tow rope on a rescue vest.
You ARE a soul, you HAVE a body.

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Old 06-08-2009   #6
Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 221
if you choose to clip on to a boat make sure that clip is on a quick release set up. either on a rescue vest or a detachable throw rope. if it is tied directly to the rescuer it could provide a deadly situation for obvious reasons.
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Old 06-08-2009   #7
caspermike's Avatar
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1999
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negative on the tow rope. make sure the boat has a swampped boat has a good ferry angle and keep working... i don't use the tow rope cause most places where there a boat involved you don't want to be hooked onto a titanic going downriver uncontrollablly.
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Old 06-08-2009   #8
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Originally Posted by deepsouthpaddler View Post
... One solution to this is to have one boater paddle ahead and jump out of their boat to grab the solo boat as you are plowing it by. ...
This is the key, in my opinion. It is too hard to reliably get a boat to stick to shore by yourself. I like to paddle ahead, jump out, and get waist deep in a relatively calm spot and wait for the barge to come to me.

I second the opinions that say forget the tow rope. I have one but I'm too scared to take it with me on class IV or higher. I heard of an ugly dragging, resulting in a swim. Those rescue vests have a quick release but I don't want to test it while being dragged upside down across the rocks by a 400 lb sea anchor.
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Old 06-08-2009   #9
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Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
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Train old Rover to jump in and "fetch boy, fetch!" This method may take a couple of months to perfect, and it actually never works, but it does give you time to finish your beer.
-Τὸ χόβερκράφτ μου εἶναι γεμᾶτο χέλια!
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Old 06-08-2009   #10
Arkansas during the off-season Nomadic during the summers! :), Arkansas & Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 950
Cockpit side upstream. I assume your just trying to plow the boat. When you ferry normally you face upstream...well (assuming your facing upstream at an angle) if you have a boat on your bow that means the upstream end of the plowed boat (lots of form drag) is pointing to river center and the curent will try to ferry the boat (and you) to the center. You knid of have to visualize it in your head. Cockpit facing upstream that means you more than likely are able to point the upstream end toward the edge and the downstream end river center using the current to help push the boat over. Of course this is assuming no upcoming rocks and you have a clear channel to the bank.

Also tell your buddy/ies to drink a bootie beer!!

My 2 pennies.
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