Ever notice how when you pull your kayak or canoe sideways towards a dock, sometimes it doesn’t move parallel like you intended? The bow hits first, or the whole boat moves forward as well as sideways? Some days it miraculously works. This is called the Luck of the Draw.
It’s a magic trick, and some people just seem to have it up their paddle jacket sleeve. Want a magician’s secret? I got it from a fellow in a pointy hat and long sleeves.
The secret comes down to one main thing: center. Kind of like life.
What is the point around which it all pivots? The cockpit, right? If I’m the paddler, it all revolves around me. Like life, as I said. Except there are outside influences.
In a swimming pool, the pivot point may be different from one boat to another, but the pivot point in your boat will be the exact same spot every time, assuming you don’t move that pile of pool bricks from the stern hatch to the bow. You can mark it right on your kayak where to put the paddle for this magic trick. But only if you paddle exclusively in pools.
Take it outside, and evil forces will incant black magic and foil your luck. Wind, current, even your own momentum. It doesn’t take much, as black magic is powerful stuff.
What’s even trickier, is you will not know how the black magic will affect your luck. Will it turn the bow towards the paddling side, or the stern? What’s a budding magician to do?
Back to life. When something doesn’t go quite as planned, what do you do?
A. Cry, scream, beat on kayak
B. Reach out your paddle for somebody to pull you in
C. Look under the kayak to find the source of the black magic
Well, “A” won’t win you too many paddling buddies. “B” is so community-minded of you! “C” may happen accidentally; just roll with it. “D”, as boring as it sounds, is often effective.
Applied to the Lucky Draw, adjusting means shifting the paddle placement forward or back along the hull. Once you’ve got this one securely up your sleeve, you can intentionally bring the kayak in at an angle, or from an angle to parallel. When you succeed, just nod your pointy hat and wink at any spectators.
Knowing where the center is and how to adjust for outside influences usually does the trick. However, it’s the Luck of the Draw, remember?
There are other nuances, like torso rotation, blade angle, and the angle of force relative to the line of the hull. Like life. The deeper one wants to look, the more mysteries reveal themselves. Most folks stop at “good enough for now”, but deeper rewards are also there for those willing to ask.