Leeboards and Push Poles

The more often I head out to sea the more I learn....and the sorer I become. The  pain is due to all the paddling and push poling I'm indulging in afloat.

New muscles are discovered by dint of the effort of conscripting  them into service.

So if you were thinking of tackling a novel workout option go  off shore with a paddle and pole.

That said I'm finding that push poling  may indeed be a more ergonomic means to move across the shoals at tempo...and at low tide. It may be de riguer to refer to 'canoe' and 'paddle' in the same sentence but around the world small craft are often punted rather than paddled, and barges of all sizes always require an on hand 12 foot barge pole.

So standing up -- or even sitting down -- and driving yourself forward by pushing off the bottom has a lot of plusses. And once skilled up, maybe  I could do some of the stuff this guy, Chip Cochran, does: 

At the moment I tracking down a better pole option. While I can purchase some Tasmanian Oak dowel -- I'm thinking I may persevere with harvested bamboo (if I can get a good solid length) because  a strong cane is much lighter than hard wood. So long as there isn't too much flex, it should suit my pushing-off-the-bottom needs. 

I've also discovered that poling by pushing off sand or mud has its challenges and in North America duck hunters and fisherfolk add a splayed end or like dooverlackie  to their push  poles so  that they  don't sink into the mud.  (Example pictured at right.)
That's an option. I presently use a shoe pad and it slips on the bottom. A sharp end would simply embed.
This then brings me to the question of leeboards. And what a question it is. 
Leeboard:A plate or board fixed to the side of a flat-bottomed boat and let down into the water to reduce drift to the leeward side.
If I want to sail across or into the wind I'm gonna have to add leeboards to my rig. It has taken me some time to understand the function of a leeboard in a sailing situation. But experience teaches. Check the definition --reduce drift to the leeward side -- that means to lessen drift away from the wind.  That's a kind way of saying that you can't steer the boat where you want it to go because the wind (or waves) won't let you.

Leeboards seem simple enough but I'm sure they are a pain as when you come into the shallows they'll run you aground unless they are raised out of harm's way or they bounce up.  There are many ways to raise and lower and bounce up a leeboard and herein rests my structural challenge.

The other complication is that 'leeward' keeps changing to either side of the craft relative to the direction of the wind...so I may need two leeboards or I may need  to keep moving one leeboard from side to side. (Whether a leeboard can sometimes be sailed to windward is  question that still confuses me.). However...
The best and most pragmatic solution (and mostly used on both sides of the Atlantic it would seem - by ACA and OCSG canoe- sailors) is to use one good board and keep it stuck in the water as much as possible, by keeping the heeling to a minimum. (Source)
If you use two leeboards, one on each side -- or so the argument seems to go -- you can shorten the depth you'd have to go with one. So there.

There are many advantages apparently with leeboards that warrant persevering with them. Check this out:Why I Love Leeboards.

Drop in leeboard
So after building a few mock ups and attaching them to my Pirogue I think I have settled upon my preferred design -- a drop in leeboard similar to this one (pictured right) which I'll hang off the sides of the craft.

How deep it should go is a open question depending on my sail area and sundries. But I've got my eye on a old wooden waterski that I could adapt to my needs. I'm thinking I could vary its depth by moving the position of the top slot with adjustable screws.

And while it may drop in and rest on the side of the craft, if it bottoms it would be pushed up, and tend to pivot. If I used an axle device I'd be stuck with a leeboard hanging off the sides all the time. But with with this slotted in option, I can drop in the board whenever I need it in place, but stow it away at other times.



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