Trimming an Otca (or paddling with my kid)


Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes
I have been reconsidering my approach to this problem after last week's paddle. It went well and with little wind blowing, not too bad handling at all. I think that some of the trouble may be caused by not having enough weight in the bow. The kid weighs only 35 lbs. or so. Overall, I think putting a few 5 gal. jugs of water in the bow will keep the front end down and give the canoe enough weight so that the bow won't weathervane as easily when the wind does kick up. Any thoughts on this? It could make the Otca a cruising machine and just what we need for fishing. I think the experimentation will have to wait 'til next year as the temperature is definitely cooling off. The kid says he wants a paddle and I think I found a source for that. Maybe we will do some canoe camping next spring!
Trimming an Otca

Sawyer makes a pretty reasonable kid-sized paddle:
Look at at the "Youth SPY" model. I've got two (paddles and kids), and the paddles work better than the kids... the 'glass on the blades is a good thing, too.

Other option is to make a paddle for the kid, but it's hard to watch something you put that kind of time into get abused. Been there, don't like it.
If you don't want to put that much energy into making a paddle from scratch,
try what I did for my son.
I took an old kind of spent paddle that was nice and lite and cut it down in every direction, I made the blade shorter by about 3 inches and narrower
by 2 inches and shortened the shaft by 10 inches, then made a new grip.
I painted the bade brite red and the shaft yellow, I left the grip natural.
He loves it, yeh it was a little bit of work and shure it's going to get beat up
but so do my paddles, and that's OK, that's what there for!

There's my two cents
You can also turn around, use the bow seat as the stern and the stern as the bow. This shifts the weight.

Alternately, you can put in some sort of center seat, either permanently, or one of those sling ones.
I may try one of those sling seats, that may be a good way to do it. Azland sells those. The Otca has a thwart right behind the bow seat, so that can be a bit of a problem. I just got to find some good water bags or jugs.
Sling seats

Careful with the sling seats -- I had one some years back (an Old Town, maybe) that had metal fittings that gripped the thwarts. Once somebody sat on it, it left dents in wood gunnels. Ouch...