Tips from the River Rats:
Knots, Fasteners, Lines
Our Tips section has been redeisgned and is now divided into seven subject headings.
Knots, Fasteners, Lines
Truckers Hitch or Cinch Knot
Form a loop through a simple knot leaving enough rope to loop around the roof rack and back up through the loop. Pull down on the end going through the loop and once it is tight, tie off the end to securely fasten the canoe. Also make sure bow and stern lines are securely fastened. A loose line catching under a tire at speed can do serious damage to the canoe and potentially cause a very serious accident. - Rod Dore, 11/98
Bag the Biners
The very attributes that make carabiners great for rock climbing, make them inappropriate for canoeing. Carabiners are designed to quickly snag a rope and hold it strong enough to catch a falling person without letting go of the rope. This is exactly what you dont want to have happen in a canoe when youre in trouble. A line, branch, or object in the canoe can catch on the carabiner and you wont be able to get it off, even if you know thats what has you caught. The type that need to be unlocked before inserting a rope is not much better in that a branch or rod could snag though the hole.
Although carrying carabiners on the PFD is a major safety problem, having the quick catch kind attached to your boat is also a hazard. As you get in trouble it is possible that it will catch a belt, sleeve, or other part of your clothing or equipment drags you where ever the boat goes.
If you insist upon bringing carabiners on your canoeing trips, keep them in your dry bag for those emergencies when you might use them for pulling a boat off the river. If you need something to quickly attach equipment, water bottles and bailing buckets to the canoe, use the plastic squeeze clips that wont catch you and will break if they do.
Remember Bag the Biners! Tom Todd, 5/98
Cam Cleat to the Rescue
The Cam Cleat is a device used in sailing to quickly attach and detach lines. It can be used for that purpose in canoeing. The cam cleat is small, lightweight, and strong. It does not have any protruding points or arms on which you can be caught. Although it will only hold a rope in a certain direction, one can attach the rope in an instant and detach it even more quickly.
The cam cleat should be installed in the boat in a place easily accessible to the paddler. It must be attached securely to a strong member of the canoe. It has to be placed so the grip is horizontal otherwise the rope will slip out when pulled at an angle. If it is mounted on a strong thwart then one has the advantage of being able to loop the rope under the thwart and then forward so that it can pull from the front in a case where that is necessary. Careful consideration should be given to placement for towing.
Any paddler who thinks that they may be called upon to rescue someones boat should have one of these installed in their boat. They are cheap, nine to twenty dollars. They are very easy to install once youve decided where to install them. Tom Todd, 5/98
Look Ma, No Knots!
Find an old broom stick or mop handle, cut four (4) pieces about six (6) inches long, if you have large hands make them longer. Drill two ½ inch holes in each about one (1) inch from each end. Thread ½ inch rope into one hole, tie a knot, then put on "S" hook large enough to fit into whatever you have on your car that you tie to....close other end of "S" hook. Thread rope into other hole on your piece of wood. Place dog leash snaps on rope with slip knot, so it can be adjusted. Put rope through other piece of wood, attach "S" hook, rope into other hole, tie knot. Make a second one.
To use, hook dog snap to bow/stem of your boat. "S" hooks to car frame or wherever you usually tie your boat. Pull up on wooden handle. Rope will tighten and not let go. This system is fast, cheap and saves tying knots in your painters. Really wonderful when weather is cold and nasty.
[Make sure your bow and stern lines are securely coiled to your boat. If they become loose and fall under your tires while driving, you will do serious damage to both your car and boat and probably yourself.] Sue Keroes 4/99
Tangle Lines are Dangerous,
Attaching these two items with rope or string can lead to a dangerous entanglement is you capsize. I cringe when I see new paddlers with long cords on their bailing scoops.
A much better solution is to attach quick disconnect clips to your mailing buck and water bottles. You can then attach the mating clips onto your boat in appropriate places.
I would suggest getting quick disconnect clips that match the clips on your throw bag, drybag, or helmet that way you can attach these items quickly to your boat. It would best if all these clips are the interchangeable.
Once you have attached a number of the female clips to your boat, you can then attach male compatible male clips to your baling scoop, water bottles, dry bags, film box, waterproof camera, lunch bucket, and similar items you carry in your boat. When you attach the female clips to your boat, attach them in such a manner that you can push the male clip into the female with one hand. I do this by threading the female clips on a piece of web strapping and wrapping that around a thwart so that there is a line of clips on the thwart. By Tom Todd
Bow and Stern Lines
Attaching the lines to the boat is also important. The line should be attached through holes drilled through the canoes hull near the bow and stern. The line should be attached with a bowline (knot) looped through the hull. For added strength, fit a block of wood into the canoe and pass the line through a hole in it.
Dont attach the line to a deck fitting, thwart, or though the deck plate because these are weak points and will pull off the canoe if you are trying to pull the pinned canoe off a rock. Tom Todd with help from Rod Dore and Bill Lowman 3/99
Bow and Stern Bungee Loops