During my Yukon trip I was on a smaller river in a section that was fast gravel riffle with only one deep line right beside the river bank while having to make a very sharp left hand turn at the top of the riffle. We tried it once, and was loaded too heavy. I eventually downloaded the lady, dog, and my son which probably relieved the boat of 330 lbs or so. That was easier than downloading all the supplies. With fuel cached at the mouth of the river, and the three of em out of the boat, my weight was probably right around 1,400 lbs.
As I got up speed with the side of my canoe bouncing against the river bank, I hit the fast gravel riffle that was only about 6 inches deep. I grounded out, and started dragging back down the riffle towards some sweepers. I jumped out of the boat scrambling to pull the boat away from the sweepers. In the process, my tiller handle came out of the carabiner tied to my seat with mountaineering webbing. All the weight of the heavily loaded canoe, leveraged the prop against a large rock, turned the boat sideways in front of me, and then leveraged against my knees with me down river of the boat. All I could do was jump in the boat and try to start the motor. I lost my spruce pole, and a paddle in the process. I just barely started the motor to get away from the sweepers. During the mad scramble, I also ripped the wires off my emergency kill switch.
I'm trying to brainstorm about a secure "quick release" mechanism that has one end attached to the tiller handle, and the other end tied to the piece of mountaineering webbing around my seat, that way there, my motor will never be abused like that again. All ideas are welcome!
On my third run, I ran the motor full throttle and trimmed to the water's surface. I held onto the tiller handle as best I could while the skeg bashed over rocks. I made it to the next deep pool, and loaded the lady,kid, and dog back in the boat. Although not certain, I think that all the weight of the heavily loaded boat leveraging down on the skeg and prop, and racking it sideways at a fairly fast speed, cracked a couple spot welds on my shaft housing. Had I thought of a better way to secure the tiller and keep the motor out of the water, that abuse wouldn't have happened. I was lucky, as the only damage was two spot welds that didn't matter and we ran at least 200 miles of river. We got a tig welder to buzz a couple spots for free. The wires were an easy fix as I had a plethora of electrical connectors in my repair kit. No damage to the prop.