Monday, June 12, 2006
You got wheels, I got wheels...
A few years ago I blew out my right elbow while throwing hay bails into our hay loft. The elbow seemed fine to paddle with, but lugging my boat to and from the car and the water was a serious problem. I'd heard about canoe carts, but most of them were big and I didn't want to have to stow the thing on my deck. I spent a few minutes in the local hardware store's wheel section and realized I could make a single wheeled 'cart' which I could use to push my boat like a wheel-barrow.
As you can see in the picture, it's made of 4 basic pieces. First is the wheel assembly, which I screwed onto a piece of 2x4 scrap. I cut a 'V' shaped groove into the wood for the keel and added some plastic covered hooks. These help to keep the wheel unit from slipping off sideways when underway. Finally I used a piece of webbing with a clip attachment to hold the unit onto the kayak stern.
Here is the unit attached onto my Boreal kayak, ready to head off to the water. Under way, the kayak wants to tip sideways, so one is obliged to hold it upright. It will work pushing or pulling, however pushing seems to work better (much as it does with a wheel-barrow). To be honest, I have not used it much. It turned out using it didn't seem to help my elbow. I have also not used it with a fully loaded boat, which may be problematic. I don't know.
Having seen Rodem's wheel unit, makes me think the idea could be developed into something quite workable and it being small, it takes very little storage space and can easily be stored below deck.
Now I also have a roll-up plastic sled which I want to try. It slips under the hull and allows one to pull the boat across wet grass, sandy beaches, through shopping malls, airports, symposium parking lots... well you get the idea!