An Effortless Ferry

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It can be difficult to maintain a good ferry angle when crossing the current from one eddy to another, or when crossing current in general. Here are some pointers on how to better maintain your ferry angle and make a smooth crossing. Remember, the goal is to make it feel as effortless as possible!

 

1. A good ferry angle is a 45 degree angle relative to the current. You can also think of it in terms of an imaginary clock that is sitting above the current with 12 o’clock being directly upstream and 6 o’clock directly downstream. In this case you’ll be setting your angle at 2 o’clock if you’re starting on river left or 10 o’clock if you’re starting on river right.

 

2. Take the time to position yourself properly in the eddy relative to the eddy line you’re going to cross. Too often paddlers attempt to set and maintain their angle as they paddle from deep inside the eddy. Make sure that you position yourself closer to the eddy line and then set your angle relative to the current.

 

3. Be aware of when and on what side you’re taking your final strokes before crossing the eddy line. If you take a big stroke on your upstream side right before you hit the current you’re going to turn your boat and lose your angle. Try to use strokes on your downstream side only as you enter the current — stern draws being the best stroke. You can adjust to strokes on both sides once you get more familiar with ferrying.