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Heads Up! Site Maintenance on the Horizon

February 16, 2018.  We’ll be doing major site maintenance beginning on Monday, February 26th. Visitors might have trouble reaching TNO for limited periods of time. If this happens, please be patient, we’ll be back to normal soon. During that period, you can contact us through our sibling site — bookmark our Contact page at Back in the Same Boat. Make a note now of how to contact us during the coming week!

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The Hull Truth: Long and Lean or Short and Fat? And Does it Matter?

Many hours go into designing a canoe, and many more hours are devoted to selling it. But how can the prospective customer judge a boat from the published specifications? As Farwell suggests in his latest SameBoat Short, it’s not easy. Then again, perhaps it is. Give Farwell three minutes of your day and see what you think.
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by Farwell Forrest | February 20, 2018

Stripped of all but its essentials, a canoe is just a hull. And what is a hull? A device for displacing water. Of course, it’s not that simple. A quick rummage through any maker’s website will show a bewildering variety of designs. Read enough catalog copy or boat reviews, and things get even more confusing. Phrases like “well-radiused chines,” “awesome secondary stability,” and “shouldered tumblehome” loom up like barely-submerged rocks in a steep drop, each one waiting to waylay the unwary reader.

It’s not that these phrases don’t mean anything. They do. If nothing else, they tell the reader quite a lot about the designer’s thought processes, how he thinks … Continue reading »

Self-Reliance Revisited: Why Does the Slave Embrace His Chains?

Having explored the downsides of bucket lists in an earlier article and then waded into the murky waters of device-driven commercial media last week, Farwell now turns his attention to the devices themselves—and to the effect they’re having on how we experience our world. Do you think this doesn’t have anything to do with canoeing? Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. That’s Farwell’s notion, anyway. Why not see what you think?
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by Farwell Forrest | February 16, 2018

I don’t suppose that anyone reads Emerson anymore. I know I don’t. No, that’s not true. I didn’t. But I do now. And only now do I realize what I’ve been missing. My belated foray into the thickets of Transcendentalist literature began prosaically enough. I was chasing down the source of a quote I’d seen in The Complete Walker, and the search took me to one of Emerson’s most celebrated essays: “Self-Reliance.” I found the quote I was seeking in short order, but I also found a lot more—an exhaustive, eye-opening discourse on the worm … Continue reading »

SameBoat Shorts: You Don’t Always Want to Go Straight, Do You?

Last week Farwell checked out boats’ bottoms. Now, in the latest in our series of SameBoat Shorts, he’s stepping to the side to eyeball their keel lines. Some are straight, and some are not. What’s the difference? And more importantly, does it matter? Give Farwell three minutes of your time, and he’ll answer both questions.
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by Farwell Forrest | February 13, 2018

Seen from above, most canoes taper to a point at each end. But now look at the same boats in profile. Some rest square on their keels from stem to stern — or front to back, if you prefer. Others rise noticeably at both ends. Some rise only a little and some rise a lot, but either way, this rise is called rocker. To see how it got that name, just put a canoe with a lot of rocker on a level floor. Then press down on either end. See? It rocks back and forth. Of course, canoes aren’t cradles, are they? So, what’s the point of rocker? The answer is simple: … … Continue reading »

Devices and Desires: Have I Got a Tweet for You!

Last week Farwell promised he’d take a closer look at devices — the smartphones and tablets that have become essential props in our day‑to‑day lives, on and off the water. Are they really the “fetters on free spirits” that he suggested? Or has he got it wrong? Read his latest column and see what you think. But be warned: This is much longer than your typical tweet.
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by Farwell Forrest | February 9, 2018

Not too long ago, in another place, I had occasion to mention a book with an unlikely title: The Man Who Loved Bicycles. It was written by Daniel Behrman, and yes, I did more than “mention” it.] I praised it to the skies — like the author was my dead brother, to borrow a line from Stewart Pearson. I also tried to explain why a book about one man’s love of bicycles might interest canoeists. I may or may not have succeeded in this endeavor, but I didn’t see any harm in trying. In any case, I hadn’t been paid to … Continue reading »

‘Sno Place for a Lady: An Errant Cyclist Does Battle With a Lake-Effect Storm

Are you hoping to dodge the lake-effect gun’s bullet? Good luck. But you may not always be given the choice. Here’s what you can expect.
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by Tamia Nelson | February 6, 2018
Originally published in different form on January 11, 2014

Northern New York sees its fair share of winter weather. Cold Canadian lows spin across the borderlands from November till April, dragging trains of snow in their wake. But it’s what happens after the lows move on that’s really interesting. Instead of clearing skies, we’re often blessed with lingering clouds and even heavier snows. Cross-country skiers and snowmobilers rejoice — so long as the groomers can pack and track their trails, that is — but motorists and cyclists are less enthusiastic. The morning commute now becomes a white-knuckle slog, and (for the cyclists, at any rate) every trip means dicing with death among the legions of drivers who think their phone conversations are more important than a cyclist’s life.

Happily, the cyclist almost always wins the toss, but it’s still not a game for the faint of … Continue reading »

Bottom Lines: What You Can Tell From a Boat’s Body

The trade press and manufacturers’ catalog copy make much of subtle differences in hull form. And while these differences can indeed be meaningful, they’re of most concern to would‑be racers. Still, it’s good to know what the experts are talking about. So today Farwell tackles one aspect of this rather complex topic, and fittingly enough, he starts at the bottom. Got three minutes? Then you’ve got time for SameBoat Shorts.
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by Farwell Forrest | February 6, 2018

What shape is your bottom? Don’t take this personally. I’m talking boats, not bums. Of course, if you own a canoe or kayak, you’ll probably know the answer to my question already, but if you’re in the market for your first boat, you’ll want to learn the language. Not all bottoms are alike. When viewed from the bow or stern of a boat, sighting along the keel — naval architects call this view the “body plan” — some hulls appear flat, some are more or less round, and some look like a splayed letter “V.”

So why is … Continue reading »