Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: towing a canoe behind a riverboat?

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Nenana
    Posts
    58

    Default towing a canoe behind a riverboat?

    I'm thinking of bringing my 19' Grumman back to town and wondered about towing it behind my riverboat. It's a long ways out in the woods so I can't just hitch a ride there and run it back. My current boat is a lot smaller than the one that I used to use to haul the canoe so don't want to haul it in the riverboat if I can tow it safely. I've never towed a canoe and seem to remember that it is a bad idea. Has anybody towed one? Suggestions for doing it safely are sure welcome!

  2. #2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by foamsfollower View Post
    I'm thinking of bringing my 19' Grumman back to town and wondered about towing it behind my riverboat. It's a long ways out in the woods so I can't just hitch a ride there and run it back. My current boat is a lot smaller than the one that I used to use to haul the canoe so don't want to haul it in the riverboat if I can tow it safely. I've never towed a canoe and seem to remember that it is a bad idea. Has anybody towed one? Suggestions for doing it safely are sure welcome!
    Towing it "plain" is a bad idea, for sure. It's going to wander all over the place behind you. When being towed while riding in the canoe, sticking a paddle in the water at the stern takes care of it easily, but there's a catch: You can make small adjustments for trim and course simply by twisting the paddle. Tying a paddle in place will make you nuts, because very small adjustments in its pitch have huge affects.

    Fortunately the solution is easy. Just trail a chunk of rope from the stern of the canoe. There's a tradeoff between length and diameter of the rope. With larger rope you can get away with less. With smaller rope you need more. Experiment beforehand, but I'm betting you can get away with something like 30 feet of 3/4" or 50 feet of 1/2". I've tried putting a knot in the rope to increase drag, but it's a bad idea. The rope starts skipping on top of the water and the canoe is all over the place.

    Two words of caution: Getting under way is a two-person job. Length of rope between your boat and the canoe is pretty critical and varies a bit with speed. You'll have the best luck if you get the boat moving with your tow rope around a cleat but not tied off yet. Let the canoe slip back a little at a time till it's more or less right on the back side of the first wave in your wake with the bow up a little. When it's riding smooth and right, take another turn of line around the cleat and tie it off. Basically you can position the canoe on the back side of any of the waves in your wake, but if you go for #2 or #3 it's going to put the canoe way back there and harder to manage in turns.

    That leads to word of caution #2: If you stop your boat quick, that canoe is going to keep coming at you like a bullet. It just isn't going to slow as fast as you can. It's a good idea to have your pard back there with a buoy or something else to use as a fender if you make a quick stop. Slower stops are lots better, but you have to remember.

  3. #3

    Default

    Here's an additional thought--

    Choosing between positioning your canoe on the back of the first, second or third wave in your wake depends on the spacing of the waves relative to the length of your canoe. My boat doesn't throw a huge wake and my canoe is only 17', so once the speed is up I can get away with hanging it on the back of the first wave. But if the canoe's stern extends back onto the second wave while it's riding on the first, it's unstable as heck. If your long canoe won't ride on the back of the first wave without reaching back to the second wave, I'd plan on moving it back to whichever wave it can ride on without touching the next one. Like I said, it varies with the boat and the speed.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Delta Jct, Alaska
    Posts
    992

    Default

    The Canoe Country guides out of Ely, MN tow canoes frequently. The canoe should be bridled so that the bow rides high......done by looping a rope arond entire canoe near front seat.....the hitch should be at bottom/keel.....hard to describe .....

  5. #5
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    730

    Default towing ....

    How about a cataraft solution. Rig the 19'er beside the riverboat. You won't be able to go fast, but at least you'll have excellent control, where as towing, under the best of circumstances, is hard to control, and risky to go fast.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Nenana
    Posts
    58

    Default I've got 250 miles to tow the canoe

    Rick and others,

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    While the cataraft would be a nice safe way to do the tow, the distance that I've got to tow it is about 225 miles and even running at near max speed on my small flatbottom skiff it is a two day trip. I plan to give the bridle hook up a try first and if I feel uncomforable with that I may put the canoe inside the boat. Since I drive the skiff from just behind the center and have a full width windshield, carrying it inside the boat means that I have to have a few feet of the canoe hanging over the bow of the boat and I would prefer not to do that.

    When I test the tow setup, I'll use the trailing rope trick and maybe also try what another person has told me: put the 15 hp on the canoe but take the prop off and keep the motor in the running position. I guess the idea is that the skag of the prop will act the same way a skag on the Siglan tow sleds works and keep the canoe from fishtailing. From what I have heard, the main problem is to have the canoe start to fishtail and then porpoise with disastrous results for both tow vessel and canoe.

    I plan also to cotact the outfitters in Ely to find out exactly how they tow and at what speeds.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,763

    Default towing

    if you are going that distance use it as a Cat, hook up with the front tied on tight , an THE back a little loose so it can fuind it own track you will have less problems , need space between your boat an the canoe so water won't come in an you can keep an eye on what is going on in it you can use 2X4 for the arms good luck
    Sid

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Nenana
    Posts
    58

    Default advice from Ely

    Thanks for all the help. I did contact the Canoe Outfitters in Ely and was advised to tie it close to the transom. By close, he suggested 6"! That would never have occurred to me and I still don't know if it is feasible with my skiff and outboard. The cataraft suggestion of Sid sounds better but best of all is leaving it there until the price of gas drops to $1/gallon and I can afford to take the big skiff to haul it back.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chugiak, AK
    Posts
    46

    Default Close to the transom

    My brother and I towed two canoes in the Adirondacks a few years ago to trap. We started out and had them tied in tandem. That didn't work at all. We then snugged each one up tight to the transom, one on each side, about a foot if I remember correctly. This worked out real well, though you can't plane out with the motor. This setup even handled a slight chop of about 1 foot on the lake. The way out we had about 7 miles to go across the lake and we decided we would load the canoes and make one trip. We found this worked out ok depending on the canoe type. My Discovery 169 handled a full load of traps and furs good, his 15 foot fiberglass didn't. we almost filled it with prop wash before we could get to shallow water and unload it. My suggestion would be to try it loaded, unloaded, short and long to see whats best.

  10. #10
    New member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Alberta
    Posts
    1

    Default The trick to towing a canoe

    The trick to towing a canoe is to have the tow rope attached to the underside of the towed canoe. Tie a rope around the towed canoe at least 4' back from the bow (front) - just back of the bow seat will work -with a small loop of rope centered under the bottom of the canoe (just big enough to thread the tow rope(s) through). Next tie a rope from the towing boat to the loop under the canoe being towed. By having the rope attachement underneath the bow of the canoe being towed, you prevent the bow from digging in and wandering back and forth. Positioning the load in the towed canoe so it is heavier toward the stern will also help, as will keeping the center-of-gravity as low as possible. I usually tow a freight canoe behind an aluminum boat (or sometimes tow one canoe behind another) and have found this method very effective. Normally I'll have 2 ropes ( one from each side of the towing boat) forming a rope "V" that converges underneath the canoe being towed. I also tie a small float on each of the 2 ropes and use floating rope to reduce the chances of getting the rope(s) entangled with the prop. Hope this helps.

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Kenai
    Posts
    1,888

    Default

    Here's a silly idea.
    How about building a light "rack" on the skiff (like a ladder rack on a pickup) & putting the canoe on top? Just hauling it like you would on a pickup? 225 miles is a LONG ways for towing (I know it can be done).
    I'm sure you could build a rack that is light & cheap & maybe will be used again in the future. Might make a nice roof too if it's raining :-)
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

  12. #12
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Sterling
    Posts
    1,450

    Default canoe rack

    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •