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Open canoeing

I am currently in the process of buying a house near the river Arun in Sussex and, in trying to think of the best way to make use of the location for paddling, it occurred to me that an open canoe might be the answer. This would be ideal for family picnics or for taking visitors out on the river. If it works out well I might even manage to fulfil a long held ambition and do a family camping trip down the Dordogne.

The shameful truth is that I have never learnt to paddle an open canoe so tonight I set about it. Shadwell Basin has a fleet of Old Town Discovery 158s and so I equipped myself with a selection of weird single bladed paddles and took one for a ride.

The sight of an open boat caused some amusement among the hardcore playboaters who took the opportunity to use it as an obstacle for tricks but once I escaped these marauders I had a decent learning session.

The thing that struck me most was how much hard work it is paddling solo and how much energy seems to be wasted in the steering part of the 'J' stroke. I also experimented with different kneeling and sitting positions but could not get comfortable kneeling. It was a good introduction and made me realise that I definitely need some instruction before taking this further. In the meantime I am keeping an eye on eBay for a boat!