Saturday, September 20, 2008

Not Valcour

Email said "the gang" was going from White's beach to Valcour Island Saturday. The weather service's prediction tool was saying that stretch of lake was likely to have South winds at 25 and 4 foot waves. Maybe this isn't the best day to take the low volume SOF that would rather spike through waves than climb over them, given that we may do 20 miles. So it's the Gulfstream. I'm not used to having to choose which kayak to take.

At the beach were a collection of opportunistic fans of wind on water. Windsurfers were unpacking their stuff, and a kiteboarder was zipping around offshore.

Kiteboarding on Lake Champlain
Logging air time

The paddlers were mumbling something about Valcour maybe being too ambitious. The consensus finally settled on going upwind out of the bay then surfing downwind to the boat ramp north of the ferry terminal (total about 12 miles). So, first thing, car shuttle.

I had a good hunch that the camera wouldn't come out of the drybox at any time on the water, so there's just one shot of the launch:

As we left the shelter of the bay the waves got a lot bigger. I realized I was spending a lot of time looking up at water. To demonstrate the power of fetch, the waves near Charlotte (30 miles upwind) were only a foot and a half. We regrouped in the lee of Carlton's Prize (picture isn't from this trip!)

The downwind run was entertaining. 2 combat rolls! I instinctively came up with laybacks, then decided I ought do a few storm rolls to see if they work any better. I can see that the storm roll leaves you in a more stable position, but it didn't seem to make much practical difference in these waves.

As usual, going downwind in waves is faster, but no easier, than going upwind. You are constantly either sprinting to catch a wave, or you're on one and trying to stay pointed in the right direction.

The landing was uneventful.. no onshore waves trying to drop us on a concrete ramp.

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