Physics of the failed ferry flip?

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    • #4329
      davej
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 16

      Had a newbie on the river last Saturday and had him practice ferries. Of course he flipped. I had never thought about the failed ferry flip, but now I realize there may be some physics behind it, or perhaps some psychology. The boater is trying to keep the upstream edge up but then gets turned. Is it physics or psychology that causes them to drop the edge and flip?

    • #4334
      JohnKuthe…
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 272

      It’s inexperience. ¬†Experienced boaters have learned to always lean DOWNSTREAM, beginners and novices not so much. After all it FEELS to natural to lean upstream and let the river have it’s way with you. But remember, we are NOT aquatic creatures, we must learn to be good aquatic creatures. There are a couple of very nonintuitive things about kayaking that one must learn and master to be a good kayaker. My fave is the “head down/boat up” relationship!! It;ps why we can roll a kayak. I taught a LOT of beginners to roll, and while I was doing that I wanted to get a tee shirt that said “Head down and hip snap….dammit!” ūüėČ

    • #4346
      davej
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 16

      Yes, but I started wondering if they leaned upstream because when the boat turns the momentum throws them that way. We’ve all seen this, usually at the Catspaw ferry.

      • This reply was modified 7 years, 5 months ago by davej. Reason: Probably senility
    • #4350
      Curtis Elwood
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 53

      Not having been there in person, it’s hard to say precisely what was happening. ¬†That said, new boaters send to initiate ferries with too much lateral angle. ¬†This, and lack of a quick, aggressive sweep stroke on the downstream side is often the culprit of blown ferries. ¬†How the paddler reacts to a blown ferry can either result in a decent peel out or, more likely, an upstream flip.

      I tell my students that if they blow it, “turn and burn.” ¬†That is, turn their body, look downstream, and just transition into a peel out. ¬†Newer peddlers have a tendency to react to a blown ferry with a rudder on the upstream side which is a sure way to cause a flip. ¬†I’d bet that’s what your student was doing.

      It it all starts with good paddling technique.  I really try hard to make sure my students use sweep strokes to torn their boats instead of using rudders as its a hard habit to break later.

      To sum it up, the student is probably reacting to a blown ferry with an upstream rudder, causing them to flip. Teach them to use forward strokes exclusively at this juncture and to “turn and burn” if they exit the eddy too aggressively. ¬†When starting out and judging water velocity, leaving the eddy with more upstream angle is better than less.

       

    • #4374
      davej
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 16

      Well, this paddler was definitely not aggressive enough, and I should have anticipated trouble, and worked on more peel outs before suggesting ferry practice. Thanks.

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