Monday, July 14, 2008

wind and waves

Sunday was supposed to be a "get wet day" where people could come learn some strokes, wet exit, how to get rescued by another kayak, ...

The forecast was a bit harsh for that, with rain, 20-25 kt wind, 3 foot waves, so nobody signed up. The beginners might experience a little too much "get wet" and rescue. We were going to go out anyway (hey, 25 knots, 3 foot waves, what's not to like?)

In the morning it was pretty windy judging from the noise and all the moving trees outside. Tom called around 8:30 and said he wanted to go right away because he was afraid the wind would die down. I was going to meet him at Coast Guard and we'd surf downwind to Leddy beach, meed Dave, and play in the offshore shoal.

At Coast Guard, a bunch of Dragonboat teams were getting their first practice for the festival in August. Lines of 12 people doing "air paddle" as someone counts while waiting their turns in the real boats. You can see that the breakwater does a pretty good job of keeping the waves out.

We headed out into the lake to get a good downwind run. This leg featured an unexpected capsize after which I didn't realize my hat was gone until it was really gone.

At Leddy we went ashore to wait for Dave, then played in the breaking surf for a while and still didn't see him, and we headed home.

WE headed home along the shore for more practice at beach launches into the waves and reflected waves from the cliffs. The don't push you sideways much, but you go up and down a lot:

Friday, July 11, 2008


Charlie's boathouse is a private boat ramp buried in the woods at the end of North Avenue by the mouth of the Winooski River. He's got storage for a few boats, some kayaks and rowboats for rent, and various snacks. Until the bike bridge was built it was also right at the end of the Burlington rail-trail, so perhaps a good lure to get kids to pedal "just a little further" to Charlie's where they could get a soda.

1065 Charlie's Boat House on the bike path in Burlington - kayak, canoe rental and restaurant

Wednesday evening we started at Charlie's. From there there was an unusually clear view of Champ, our local version of the Loch Ness Monster.

Up close, it turned out to be the root ball of a blown down tree.

The exciting part of this trip is I got to try Tom's new SOF for a bit.

As the saying goes for Greenland boats, it fit like a pair of jeans, except for having to slide my feet under the foot beam. After about 15 minutes of paddling and rolling people were making cracks that I wouldn't give it back. Hey, Turner does good work! The downside of fitting like a pair of jeans is that kayaks generally don't have zippers. It took a few minutes of wriggling to get my knees past the masik so I could get out. My lust for that particular boat is somewhat tempered. Maybe just like it... except a little higher masik or lower rear deck beam. And that's what made-to-measure is all about.

On the way back we passed a group that appeared to be a guided tour. The leader pointed us out as "Inuit style paddlers" (oh buy, we count as "local color"). Tom replied "Yes, we really get Inuit big time!"

Monday, July 07, 2008

Hand made boat weekend?

Tail end of the good news/bad news from last time:
I got the stitches out of my hand, but not in time to kayak the harbor for the fireworks.

THe good news is there were organized (as organized as they get, anyway) trips out both Saturday and Sunday. It seemed like most everyone this weekend showed up on home made boats (though not all made in their home.)

Saturday we were paddling "the islands." Not that there aren't islands elsewhere on the lake, but in the north end there are some large enough for towns. We started from Grand Isle (As you might guess, the biggest one. A little larger than Manhattan)

Powerboat traffic was pretty light for a holiday weekend. Many we did see had "For Sale" signs, and most we saw were Canadian. One Canadian interviewed on the news pointed out that marine gas is $1.75/gal cheaper here.

Stave Island is owned by one of our local captains of industry. They seem to have a soft spot for kayakers. We chatted for a while and were invited to come up on shore.

Here's Dave with his chopped North Bay "stealth boat"

Tom is still using his new skin on frame exclusively. The other white boat in the picture is a 45 foot catamaran anchored near the dock on Stave. The width looked like around 30 feet, so the total footprint was larger than most houses. After we went around the island the occupants were snoozing on the netting up front when Tom paddled through the middle.

Going around Stave. The one in the middle is Mark's North Bay, also modified. He lowered his cockpit and a couple of feet behind for easier layback. We got to try it for a while at the end and I managed a 1 hand roll. I want to build a skin on frame sometime, but could be tempted by this stitch and glue design.

Sunday we started from Converse Bay and had lunch at a dockside restaurant on the New York side. Gerd was there with the last hand-built of the weekend, a cedar strip Outer Island. Again, modified from the original, but just scaled for body size.