Lessons From The Trail Episode 4 Rigging Lining Bridles

Lessons From The Trail Episode 4 Rigging Lining Bridles

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Finally through 100-kilometers of headwater lakes, we were in the main flow of the Du Pas River when we took some time to rig up our lining bridles. We needed them to line the countless rapids we’d face in the coming days. It can take a little time to rig a bridle properly, and you’ll save time on your trip if you do this at home before you leave; it’s an important step. The beauty of a bridle is that it enables you to pull the canoe from the keel line, this allows the canoe to slide across the surface of the water when you’re pulling it into shore. Try to pull your bow across a strong current with a rope attached to the pinter at the top of the bow, and your canoe will flip. When lining with two people, I find you only need a bridle at the front of the canoe. A long stern line tied to the top of the stern works fine.

Here’s how to rig it up:

The Double Loop Method – There are two ways to rig a lining bridle. The most common method uses two loops of rope joined with a carabiner at the keel line. The loops go around your front thwart, and should be just long enough to meet perfectly at the keel line. Now tie your lining rope to a carabiner and then clip it to the two loops, joining them at the keel line.

Drawback – This is a good method, but you’ll have to tip your canoe up on its side to attach the carabiner–which can be quite a chore with a month’s worth of gear aboard.

Jim Baird Rigs a lining bridle on the Du Pas River Photo: Ted Baird
Jim Baird Rigs the “one piece” lining bridle on the Du Pas River Photo: Ted Baird

The One Pice Method – I came up with this method years ago and has worked successfully on many northern rivers. It uses one loop of rope passed around the thwart and under the hull, with an overhand loop at the keel line. This creates a doubled length of rope with a small loop at the keel line, to which the carabiner and lining rope is clipped. Using this method, I can clip the lining rope to the bridal before I secure it to the thwart–meaning I don’t have to wrestle a heavy canoe onto its side to clip my line into the bridal. You can tie the ends of the bridle together at the thwart, or join them with a second carabiner as I do. This makes quick work of rigging and de-rigging for lining as the bridle can just be passed under the canoe at the end of a paddle. This is the rig I use in the video.

Drawback – The over hand knot used at the center of this rig can get hung up on boulders when lining shallower rapids.

What Rope To Use? Use strong rope for your bridle and lining rope. This way, should you pin, your rig can be used to free your canoe using a pulley system from shore. Half-inch diameter, 5,000 lb test floating tug boat rope is the way to go. I use 50′ long rope at both the bow and stern.

Drawback – The only draw back to this type of rope is that it gets heavy when wet.

Ted Baird and Will Wilkinson line a rapid on the Adlatok. Photo: Jim Baird
Ted Baird and Will Wilkinson line a rapid on the Adlatok. Photo: Jim Baird

 

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