Monthly Archives: May 2018

Reconfigured C2 and re-test

I just measured the height of the seat flange on the previous prototype, and it was 5.5 cms. This plus the height of the seat is: 5.5 + 5 = 10.5 cms total seat height.

The flange in the latest prototype is 8 cms high. 8 + 5 + 3 cms (seat adjusters) = 15 cms.

No wonder I found it twitchy!

I’ve put the front seat adjusters under the flange and set the rear seat static as far back as it will go. This has reduced the height by 3 cms and the seats are now set at a total height of 12 cms, so I’ll see if that makes any difference.

So, today Saturday 5th May, I emailed my mate Pete to solicit his help in another test. Pete often paddles from Odiham wharf on Saturday so I hijacked his training session.

Pete has decades of single blade paddling under his belt including several C2 and C1 DWs in his Wenonah ICF C2 and J203 C1, so it would be interesting to get his perspective on the boat.

We have never paddled together so we started off with him in the front and me in the back. First thing was his paddle cadence, it is much faster than what I’m used to, but I was soon in sync. Next was his stroke, as a seasoned digger he stacks his hands and draws the blade close to the boat. This caused him to catch the gunwale a few times.

As he was used to switching in sync, he started to call hut just before he switched. This proved extremely useful as I knew when he planned to switch and could adjust my paddling accordingly. I switched with him when it was appropriate but often found myself paddling on the same side in order to steer the boat.

The boat maintains a very straight line so I planned the various bends well in advance, but even so I had to ask Pete to paddle on a certain side to bring it round. I did execute some steering strokes but mostly left it to switching independently from the front.

Pete was rock solid in the boat and would not hear any suggestion of instability!

Over the 4 mile out leg we paused a couple of times but still cruised at 6 mph, 10 minute miles.

We changed round for the return trip. I have very little experience in the front of a C2 but found it much easier, more comfortable and much more stable than the back, it is so like a K2.

This time Pete had to adjust to my cadence and stroke. As I was simply the engine, Pete called hut when he needed me to switch. Again this was useful as it prevented me from trying to steer the boat from the front.

The return leg highlighted some big differences in paddling. I tend to use forward strokes to steer the boat, but Pete was so good at pulling the boat round. I could see a clear change of direction as he pulled the stern round. But it was a bit weird when I was asked to switch when the boat was veering “the wrong way”.

Again, he commented just how stable the boat was and after about 2 miles I was aware of more assertive steering as he hung out over the side and even started edging. No way was I used to all this advanced stuff, John and I just paddle it like a kayak.

During our discussion at the end, Pete suggested that we raise the seat height. This pretty much confirmed something that had been niggling me for the past few months, it’s not the boat which is unstable, It’s me.

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C2 – maiden voyage

John and I took the boat out for the first time. We met at Wootton Rivers and put in on the Kennet and Avon canal for the familiar three mile section to Pewsey Wharf.

I mounted the GoPro on a pole and positioned it on the rear deck going out, and the front deck for the return leg.

It was clear when we lowered the boat onto the water and watched it rock, that it had less stability than the Duet but that was expected from the previous prototype tests. We got in and pushed off from the side.

On the water.


Now the thing about John is that he only does full-on training. As he is paddling K1 three days a week at moment, he just dug the paddle in at full power. Although I was expecting this, we still had an instability moment which required a few support strokes, and then we were off.

First thing I realised, was that I had set the seats too high. As the previous prototype had proved quite stable, I got my boat builder to raise the seat flanges 3 cms, and then because I’d implemented a quick seat adjustment method, this raised them a further 2 cms. 5 cms doesn’t seem much, but when it’s close to the limit, it makes quite a difference.

Putting the boat through its paces.


I’d also forgotten how much John moves about in the boat, and it took me some time to relax and let the boat do its thing.

First surprise was how much freeboard there was. When we tested the first prototype, the water level was close to the gunwales, so I build up the decks by 10 cms.

Return leg, more relaxed.


Clearly this has advantages and disadvantages. It means that the boat will support much heavier paddlers than the 2 x 76 kgs of John and me. There is less chance of swamping in rough water especially as the decks are flat. However, there is perhaps a little unnecessary additional weight, the sides are more liable to the effects of wind, and the paddles may have to be lifted a bit higher on the switch. Other benefits include the fact that the spray deck should be clear of even the biggest feet on the footrests.

The boat tracks arrow straight and it is easy to keep it on course. There was an annoying head wind comong in from 10 o’clock which kept [pushing the stern over. I will move the rear seat back a bit to help make steering strokes more affective, not that I was able to get many in due to lack of stability.

The Duet is a devil to turn 180 degrees, but this boat is even worse! John and I are not great at some of the more advanced canoe strokes so about a million sweep strokes later, we brought it round. Not surprising really as it maintains such a straight line.

A couple of K1s tried to ride our wash, but we soon dropped them. I’m not sure that there is much of a ridable wash anyway.

Wash hanging…NOT!


The boat is about 30 seconds per mile quicker than the Duet on the canal and this will become more evident as we get used to it. I will also confirm this by getting other Duet crews to test it. I’d like to see how it performs with a couple of big people.

So, as with all first outings, some things to mull over and some changes to make.

I uploaded a short video to YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10oTbcl7wH0