Boating tip - Why are wide turns important?
Both white water canoe and kayak hulls respond well to wider turns that tighten up. Short, highly rockered hulls are designed to spin making wider turns one of the more challenging manoeuvres on the river. In my last article 'Aligning the Stars' we looked at bringing momentum and boat angle together to push through river features such as eddy-lines. Understanding this will help you set your boat up for a wide turn. I'll add some other articles in the future to help you create wider turns, but for now I would like to explore why wide turns are so important.
In the image below I'm entering a cool little off-side eddy on the Soca. The blue line represents the path that I have set my hull on (the boat will roughly follow this path if I don't do anything with my paddle)
Now take a look at the image below. The red line is the path that I would like to take, (note that the path I have set the boat on is much wider that this.) This gives me lots of flexibility in where my final position in the eddy will be, as I can tighten the turn whenever I like with the paddle.
In this last image I am bringing the boat round with the paddle to end up exactly where I want to be in the eddy.
Here is something else to think about: In this instance I have used the context of entering an eddy. The river will often forgive mistakes in accuracy here, but not so much when leaving the eddy. If your boat is spun quicker than you would like when entering the flow above a rapid, you can be left scratching to get back on line. You can make this move much more predictable by setting your boat running on a path that is a little wider than where you intend to go, and pulling it onto your chosen line with your paddle.
I hope you find this article useful,