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If when paddling a canoe upstream, you approach a headland, you are not only sheltered from the current, but you are actually sped on your way by a friendly counter current, until you try to get round the point into the next bay.
Now supposing you could simply move the headland further upstream every
time you approached it. You could effortlessly cruise up any river, the stronger the current, the faster you defy it.
This could be done if, at every hundred feet or so along the coast, there was an enormous upright sheet metal plate at right angles to the shore attached to a boom which pivots up and down on a hinged fulcrum with a counterweight beyond the pivot point to make he metal sheet virtually weightless. Using a remote control device, you could arrange for the metal plate ahead to come down into the water, forming an artificial headland behind which you can ride the counter current. As you approach the plate, you lower the next plate upstream then raise the plate in front of you so that you are still in an artificial bay and remain so as long as you repeat the same steps as you spead on your way.