Draw strokes – which way to edge?

L2 Training

The question of how and why we apply edge when moving a boat sideways invariably generates discussion when working on skills analysis on coaching courses. We teach that edge is an essential skill we use when turning a boat, so what role does it play when we want to draw ourselves sideways? To my mind the prime purpose of edging the boat while draw stroking is to aid stability; a slight edge away from the active blade increases the resistance under that side of the boat and counteracts any forces that might rotate the hull towards the paddling side and result in a capsize. This can be seen to good effect in boats with u-shaped hulls such as most racing and touring craft. But with wider and flatter hulls such as in play boats and general purpose canoes where stability is not so much an issue do we need to edge away from the blade? In wider boats edging away can led to difficulties placing the blade in the water and many learners find themselves edging toward the paddle instead; while this may achieve a slightly longer draw, this is often at the expense of stability. When moving canoes and flat hulled craft sideways I generally keep the boat flat and reserve my edge for days when I’m out in a boat that needs it!

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