Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A twisted canoe story - more fun at the Manville Dam - July 9, 2012

Tommy says that poling is tough on boats, and he’s right – at least the way I do it. 

It was beautiful last Sunday, so I decided to head to my favorite poling spot on the Blackstone River.  It has some nice moving water and a couple of easy drops.  I had poled up and back five or six times when it happened – I hit a rock and did a "step-out" (fell out of the boat).  I watched in what seemed like slow motion as the boat filled up with water and pinned against a row of rocks.  I knew there was no way I was getting that boat out alone.

Fortunately I have a few friends (Jim, Paul, Tom and Steve) who enjoy a challenge, and we met Monday night to try to release the boat.  Jim ran the lines – wrapping the boat for rotation and setting up a 3 to 1 pull.  We all grabbed the lines with anticipation and pulled ... nothing.  The boat didn’t move.  We tried setting the lines higher ... still nothing.   We pushed on the boat and pulled ... still nothing.  There was too few of us, and too much water in the boat.

We knew we had to get some water out of the upstream end, but how?  Paul had the answer – an old 2x8 that he used as a lever to lift the boat.  Paul lifted, we pulled, and the boat rotated slightly forward.  Now we were getting somewhere.  We repeated the process over and over, slowly rotating the boat forward.  Eventually, Paul and Steve got bored with this process, and they gave the boat a good push.  Surprisingly, it swung out into the current, taking Jim with it.  The boat was free.

Nothing was broken, but the bottom was warped and the gunwales were bent.  We dragged it up on shore and I stomped on the bottom.  It popped back into shape - amazing. There was a crease in the hull where it wrapped and the gunwales weren’t as straight as they use to be.  Other than, that the boat was in good shape. I paddled it back to the put-in.

The moral of the story is have patience, don’t give up and always have a few good friends to help you out. Thanks guys.

Jim and Steve setting the lines

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