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Ratchet Paddle

Leave the paddle in the water as you row
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Canoe paddle that collapses to a streamlined 'pole' when in resting position or when being pushed forward into the water. When being pulled back, the water resistance will cause the blade of the paddle to 'catch' and expand into a normal paddle formation.

Perhaps implemented with hinges, or something more complex like a parachute-like apparatus.

Eliminates the need to lift the paddle from the water at the end of each stroke. Paddle positioning and stroke form would probably have to be more precise therefore requiring more skill to operate than a normal paddle.

blahginger, Mar 03 2001

Hobie Hydro Sail http://home-1.world...~hbsmits/miscel.htm
Scroll down 'till you get to the animated gif. I know its not exactly what you have in mind, but you can see how the paddles "flap" in the current on the return stroke. [Wes, Mar 03 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Human Powered Water Vehicle Link List http://www.handcycl...hpvlinks/water.html
A comprehensive link list of the many available methods of water transportation. I figured I'd add this from the trampofoil response. There are some equally strange concepts here. You can link to the official Hobie site to see how their special foil system works. Quite neat. Also check out Dave Butcher's pedal canoe -- a combination bike & canoe. Amusing. [Wes, Mar 03 2001]

Human Powered Water Vehicle Link List http://humanpoweredboats.com/
A comprehensive link list of the many available methods of water transportation. I figured I'd add this from the trampofoil response. There are some equally strange concepts here. You can link to the official Hobie site to see how their special foil system works. Quite neat. Also check out Dave Butcher's pedal canoe -- a combination bike & canoe. Amusing. [Wes, Oct 21 2004]

[link]






       I'm sure I've seen something like this somewhere...<net.rummage, net.rummage>...can't find anything, though. May have been a one-off, or I'm just not a 10th Dan search engine ninja...
StarChaser, Mar 03 2001
  

       Interesting idea. It would need to be well designed to minimize drag on the return stroke. One big problem would be that certain strokes for maneuvering (pry strokes and some sweeps) require the paddler to do a backwards stroke with the paddle... this would defeat those strokes.
PotatoStew, Mar 03 2001
  

       You could flip the paddle to do a backwards stroke. Or have a button on the handle that locks it in the "open" position.   

       Of course, you can always turn a regular paddle sideways and slice it through the water.
egnor, Mar 03 2001
  

       Pulling the paddle out of the water will always involve less effort and isn't really difficult or anything. The main features of this technique are that it would involve more expensive, complex equipment, be more difficult to learn, and be noticeably less efficient. Since something similar is possible with a normal paddle, canoeists would probably be doing it if it were preferable.
Monkfish, Mar 03 2001
  

       I like the idea in spite of its complexity because it reminds me of sea creatures - it would be like enlisting two jelly fish to pull your boat! Paddles haven't really changed all that much since they were made out of wood; surely there must be something interesting that can be done in water with new, more durable, more flexible materials.   

       Great link, Wes! The "Trampofoil" just cracked me up.
jutta, Mar 03 2001, last modified Mar 04 2001
  
      
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