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SNEAK PADDLE for GUIDE BOAT

Discussion in 'Paddles and Paddle Making' started by donwells1, Jun 28, 2014.

  1. donwells1

    donwells1 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I am 5' 10" tall and i am wanting to make a sneak paddle for a guide boat. I am thinking otter tail or voyager design but i don't know exactly what the dimensions should be or how to figure them and i figured that there would be a lot more people on here that would know a lot more about that information than I do, so if anyone can help me with the measurements I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks
     
  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

  3. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    A "sneak paddle" is essentially a fairly narrow, and often fairly short, canoe paddle carried aboard a guideboat. It was originally used for short distances, sneaking up on game when hunting from the boat, coasting silently into fishing hot spots, or in other instances where using the oars proved awkward. I don't believe the ones I have seen were wider than about 6" tops, but they tend to have fairly long blades, sometimes square on the bottom, sometimes not. The nicest ones tend to have thin blades for light weight with a raised, V-shaped ridge down most of the blade for strength. Since their basic function is just occasional, slow temporary propulsion and the rest of the time they're just taking up space in the boat, I doubt most of them are longer than 4'-5' overall.
     
  4. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Sounds a lot like the ottertail or Voyageur paddles in the book!
     
  5. OP
    OP
    donwells1

    donwells1 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    so basically what i am taking from this is that a sneak paddle is just a short version of an otter tail. Would that be a fair assessment?
     
  6. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    I'm not a guideboat expert by any means, but that would be my take in it. If I had to figure on a length, I might start by sitting in the boat and measuring the distance between my shoulder and the water - then use that (or most of it) for the length of the shaft and grip section and stick whatever blade I wanted on the bottom to get the total length. Then I'd try to figure out if it will still fit in the boat without being in the way all the time. The real guideboat guys might suggest something shorter, but if you're using it for sneaking, with sculling, turning strokes, and paddling without taking the blade out of the water it would be nice to have at least some shaft length on a traditionally-styled paddle.
     
  7. Billm

    Billm Canoes & Guideboats

  8. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    Well... I'm curious what he has to say on the subject - but not $25 curious, since I don't own a guideboat and likely never will. Do you have any hints or tips to offer on choosing the proper paddle?
     
  9. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Fisher spoke at Assembly a few years ago, and brought several reproductions of "classic" guideboat paddles found in the collection at the ADK Museum. His book covers guide and steering paddles, but says nothing explicit about shorter "sneak" paddles.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    donwells1

    donwells1 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Ok, then what would the common length's of the steering and guide paddles that you are referring to be as an overall average length?
     

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