Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Today's Paddle

I got out of work today at 3:00, and couldn't resist loading 'er up. Went to Haddam Meadows Park, on the Connecticut river. I had sent my "modern" paddle out to be shortened, and used my home made one. I had also made a "Greenland" paddle, according to plans I found on the net, but I never really liked it. First, because I made it from a pine 2x4, and it seems heavy. Reminds me of a cricket bat. It was also wet & noisy. So, I made a slimmer & lighter modified design from cedar, which I prefer. I'm considering trying to B.S. people, and call it a "Baffin Island Paddle" (haven't you heard of it?) In either case, there seems to be a whole lot of technique involved in getting the most from a paddle.
I like my Shearwater more & more. Very wind-neutral- I feel wind, but it seems to do nothing to the boat. I'd taken my old 'yak on the same paddle last year, and it weathercocked like mad.

On The Water

Saturday, the sun actually threatened to make an appearance, so I headed to the Great Island launching area in Old Lyme. First salt water paddle in this 'yak. A little bit of tough going around the south end, so I beached the boat for a rest on this un-footprinted little beach.

Kayak in the reeds.

The rest of the paddle was easy, down the Back River. The cruising pace of this boat is very easy & efficient on flat water.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Maiden Voyage

The Big Day arrives. Cloudy & chilly, but I am undeterred.

The car top arrangement works really well. Rock-steady. I love it when technical plans actually work out!

 Sitting on the shore of my favorite "secret" lake in E--- L----

Surprising easy to carry. Still getting the hang of where the ends are, though.

Great to paddle! I actually shouted back to my friend "Damn, this thing is FAST!"

Odd facial expression due to cool air and cooler water.

I was profoundly impressed with the performance. Either because A: Its a very good kayak, B: Its my first  "good" kayak , or C: All Of The Above. It seemed to slice though the water effortlessly. My "no-work-cruising pace was twice as fast as the old 'yak, and at "sprint" pace, I felt like I could have pulled a water skier. As predicted, the Initial Stability was a little shaky, but that mainly seemed challenging only when getting in & out. On the water, it took 5 minutes to get used to. The Secondary Stability is awesome-I could touch the water with the cockpit coaming & not budge.
I'll have a new addiction this summer.....


Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Project Sees The Light Of Day!

Finished this morning around 10:00 A. M. Practiced getting it out of the basement.It is fairly easy to handle, although I did bump into a few things lightly. Weighs in at 44 lbs.
I had a seat in the cockpit to check foot brace and seat adjustments, and I was very pleased. It almost seems "made for me".
I also couldn't wait to check out the rack setup. I had been a little worried about carrying a long boat atop a compact car, but it goes up there very nicely:


I decided on a minimal amount of deck rigging. I don't like seeing kayaks criss-crossed & strung up with lines everywhere, but I thoght there should be some.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Carrying Toggles

I turned these of Indian Rosewood, because my friend gave me a block of the stuff. She used to own a woodworking factory, and says that it was a leftover scrap from one of the U.S.S. Constitution refits! She originally thought it was teak, but I showed it to some experts who identified it as Indian Rosewood. The next time I found myself in Boston, I went on the tour of The Constitution, looking around for any sign of rosewood, i.e, in the Cabin, but didn't see any. I don't think Bonnie would lie about the wood ( she gave, not sold it to me), maybe some bit of something was retrofit with this wood. In any case, its great stuff, straight & tight grain-I just had to make something out of it.

Back Brace & Adjustable Seat

I didn't like the look of the seat that came with the kit, so I bought a "mild" Hot Seat. I added a layer of camping-pad foam. Instead of gluing it down, I contact-cemented velcro strips to the boat and seat. If it works well, I'll leave it, or I may end up gluing it down permanently, once I decide on the seat location.
While the camping-pad foam was comfortable, it unfortunately absorbs water, so I have since replaced it with what I should have used in the first place: minicell foam. I carved/sanded indents for my tailbones, tried it out today, and it seems comfortable enough.
The Back brace was easy & straightforward to install.