Going to try to use a kayak paddle to paddle my Snipe racing dinghy - SailNet Community

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Old 02-06-2013
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Going to try to use a kayak paddle to paddle my Snipe racing dinghy

I've had the Snipe now for about 2 years or so and really like the boat. I have used it as a daysailor and have rigged it with external halyards. It is possible to paddle solo with great steering ability with a 4' wooden paddle from the bow with legs overhanging. I want to improve on this idea. I would like to be able to paddle it with much greater force and less effort if the wind dies. I was browsing a canoeing forum and discovered that some canoeists are using double bladed kayak paddles. Most have been happy with the faster, easier results. They are using 8-9 foot paddles. I took an old 7' aluminum shaft kayak paddle I had and cut it in half then added a steel tube to lengthen it to 9'. It is duct taped together and can be made about 6" longer if needed. If I like the results I can buy an aluminum tube and it will be lighter. I then got a Knudsen plastic milk crate and put a plywood cover on it and attached an old adjustable high back kayak seat. When the seat is folded down, it can easily fit under the tiller and be used for storing lunch,clothing and snacks. It can be quickly slid forward to the aft part of the centerboard trunk for paddling. The boom sits about 51" above the deck and the top of my head is about 47" above deck when sitting fully upright in the kayak seat/box. I will need to see if there is anything to push my heels against as I am paddling or add something later. This will simulate the footrests used for leverage in a kayak. The 9' paddle fits nicely fore to aft in the cockpit and can be deployed in about 3 seconds. The main halyard may be right in front of my face when paddling if cleated down in its normal aft of centerboard location so I may have to tie it off some other way but still be able to rapidly spill wind from the main if it is up while I'm paddling. I simulated all of this already in the driveway with the neighbors watching me like a lunatic but hey what the hell. I will post up here in a few weeks after I try it and give the pros and cons. The Snipe is narrow with a 5' beam so this is an advantage and will require a short 9 or 10' paddle to get a nice comfortable low angle stroke. It really looks like it could work. I can get the Snipe moving pretty quickly even in winds and currents from bow paddling with limited leverage and an unbalanced boat so the factor of the larger/dual kayak blades and paddling from the center should really crank it forward. I know the Snipe weighs about 400+ LBS. loaded so I don't expect it to move like a kayak but I think it is going to move like crazy. I plan on using a bungee cord with a center loop as a poor mans autotiller to keep the rudder centered behind me as I paddle.The paddle shaft comfortably clears the rubrails by about 3-4" when simulating paddling using a low angle stroke.

Last edited by Curtisfromcarlsbad; 02-06-2013 at 02:09 AM.
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Old 02-06-2013
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Re: Going to try to use a kayak paddle to paddle my Snipe racing dinghy

sounds like a good plan. Let us know how it turns out.

As an ex-rower (no longer part of a team) I have been looking at Kayaks
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Old 02-06-2013
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Re: Going to try to use a kayak paddle to paddle my Snipe racing dinghy

I assume this is for extended paddling. O/W, in small boats, I would wait for wind, scull with the rudder, or put together a foldable paddle in my Sun Fish.
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Old 02-09-2013
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Re: Going to try to use a kayak paddle to paddle my Snipe racing dinghy

Yes either for extended paddling in no wind or for very quick knee paddling in an emergency
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