help-how to load a large woman into a canoe?

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kayakmamma
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help-how to load a large woman into a canoe?

Post by kayakmamma » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:06 am

Howdy from Texas. My friend wants to go canoeing Saturday night. This is very exciting as I just bought a used canoe-yay :)
My concern: my friend is a very large gal, probably at least 300-350lbs.
How should I help her load into the boat? Any suggestions for rigging a PFD? Will this work? She is very excited to go.
Thanks!
Lorraine McPhee

"Catch every eddy, Surf every wave"

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okieboater
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Re: help-how to load a large woman into a canoe?

Post by okieboater » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:36 am

I would want her setting on the bottom front of a big 17 ft tandem canoe (like the big old town cruiser models) not in the bow seat, that will put the center weight down low and reduce the tendency to flip the canoe.

Maybe get one of the big universal fit outfitter PFD's and use cam straps if the built in ones do not reach.

Is she able to swim - if the canoe tips I would want to be sure she can exit the canoe.
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Clif
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Re: help-how to load a large woman into a canoe?

Post by Clif » Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:23 pm

Been there.I had to take over after these 2 ladies had rolled about 4 times in the first 1/4 mile. Put one in the raft and I took the stern with the other in a rental buffy barge.....aka buffalo canoe. I had to watch and anticipate every move she made. I kneeled most of the time, for sure in all the faster water. Made her get on bottom like Dave said, in moving stuff but she could not stay there so would get on the seat in pools until I had a must make turn to execute and would get her to get in the bottom again.

Only lost it once when I was watching another boat that had went over with it's 2 kids. While I was not paying attention, we flopped. I had to go get the runaway boat, too. Still was a great day.
You sure this is on the right channel?

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Re: help-how to load a large woman into a canoe?

Post by GutIt » Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:45 pm

You may need to use some ballast in the stern as well if it looks like you may be down by the bow, kayakmamma. You won't have any fun paddling a bow-heavy boat.

Large H2O jugs (7 gal or so) work nicely as one suggestion to trim the boat. They're pretty adjustable, too.
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Re: help-how to load a large woman into a canoe?

Post by Cowper » Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:18 am

What the others said - if you can get her to sit on the floor on a boat seat cushion, stability will be MUCH improved over any "on the seat" position. Just in front of the center thwart with a second cushion as a back rest would be good, especially if the PFD doesn't already have foam between her back and the thwart.

Another thing to think about - many years ago, I had a plus-sized friend on a Buffalo float. Things were going OK at first, but after sticking on a rock in a shallow spot, while attempting to wade just enough to free the boat, his leg more-or-less buckled under the weight. He injured his knee badly enough that he could no longer walk without assistance, and it pretty much ruined his fun for the rest of the day.

The lessons-learned for me was that walking on slippery rocks with an uneven bottom surface, is a challenging balance act for anyone, but with the extra weight, there was just too much pressure on one leg to deal with that uneven bottom. Don't hesitate to help your friend with basics like getting in and out of the canoe, and get there quickly to help if she has any minor trouble at all. Encourage her to use the paddle as a walking stick if wading is necessary, while getting in and out of the boat, etc. If the paddles don't look heavy duty enough, then find a big walking stick and throw that in her boat.

You said "Saturday night". What kind of fun thing have you got planned?
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Re: help-how to load a large woman into a canoe?

Post by Clif » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:34 am

I got one of those beach chairs for this job. Lawn chair with 6 inch legs or so. Put it in the middle or the boat against a thwart, like Cowper sed. It works well for another friend that back problems limit, too. She loves to go but more than an hour on the seat kills her.
You sure this is on the right channel?

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kayakmamma
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Re: help-how to load a large woman into a canoe?

Post by kayakmamma » Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:14 pm

Thanks everyone for all your advice and insights through your own experiences. That will be extremely helpful.
My canoe is an Old Town, about 15 feet. I think it is too small for a cut off chair, so I am rigging a cushion against and in front of the middle thwart with a donut on a cushion for her to sit on the bottom. I will have a strong board or crutch for her to lean and balance on. Thanks for the heads up about potential knee injury.
We are just going to the lake, for a moonlit paddle (I am not brave enough to try a river this first time out with her).

Will it be difficult to shove the canoe off, once she wades out just a little and gets in?
I usually just seal launch myself off stuff so this is all quite new.
Thanks!
Lorraine McPhee

"Catch every eddy, Surf every wave"

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Re: help-how to load a large woman into a canoe?

Post by kayakmamma » Sat Apr 16, 2011 9:44 pm

:D :D We had wonderful time canoeing! I need to find my camera cord to upload some pictures. My friend said she loved it and can't wait to go again.
She purchased and brought her own PFD, so that worked out well.
She was unable to fit sitting on the bottom of the canoe in front of the center thwart, so she sat on the bottom against the stern seat, with some cushioning. She reported being comfy.
I ended up helping her load in, and then seal launched the boat off a curb into the deep water--I was holding my breath, but it worked! The canoe sank to about 5 inches from the top lip of the boat, but was just fine.
Yay, thank you for everyones help. It was a very fun outing.
Lorraine McPhee

"Catch every eddy, Surf every wave"

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Re: help-how to load a large woman into a canoe?

Post by Deuce » Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:39 am

Sounds like she has an exceptional friend. Glad you were able to provide her with that experience. :clap:
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