Sunday, December 02, 2007

Good Morning Paddlers!

This is your wake-up call! Contrary to John's post below, Paula and I were on the water just after 7:00 this morning. So while John was posting that no one was paddling, we were paddling.
The water at 6:30 was beautiful--almost glassy smooth. By the time I got Paula up and we got our gear on and were down at the water, there were already some slightly larger waves and the wind had picked up. We paddled across Cadboro bay to the south and looked at the boats, as I'm still trying to figure out what to build this winter (how long, keeled or unkeeled, etc). While we were poking about, Paula had a coot surface about 30 cm (~ 1 foot) off her bow. She'd been paddling so quietly that it hadn't know she was there until it came up and there was this five metre pink shark about to grab it. It had a coot-sized freakout when it's partner came up off Paula's left side so close she could have petted it, and it was clearly asking the first one what all the noise was about. Until it too saw the pink shark. Then we had two coot-sized freakouts on our hands.
By the time we got out to the mouth of the bay, the wind was well and truly up and the waves had increased in size quite a bit. As Paula would ride over a wave, her stern and rudder (on the boat! Geez...) would come completely out of the water and have plenty of time to drip dry. It had also begun to rain, and as forward progress was pretty slow, it was a good time to turn around.
Heading back, the waves were up to a half metre in height, making paddling in a following sea a pain in the ass. My boat really likes to weathercock at these times and it takes a lot of sweeps to keep the bow headed in the right direction. Into the weather, no problem; the boat takes the waves and cheerfully soldiers on. Following sea, not so much. Paula, on the other hand, didn’t mind the following sea so much, not having to work as hard to remain properly oriented. The big waves picking her up, on the other hand, were making her a bit queasy.
So by 9:00, we were back in the house, gear away, and were eating breakfast. A nice morning paddle (okay, I might have kept going had I been alone. I was enjoying the bad weather) that didn't last too long. Contrary to published reports....


  1. I know I'm going to regret asking this but...
    ...what's a coot?

  2. Uhm, those little black ducks that are all over the water. They're American Coot--at least Karl identified them as such, and as he knows a lot more about bird identification than me, I take him at his word.

  3. actually believed something Karl said...?

  4. Hi Kayakyak;
    I built a terrible kayak about seven years ago that weathercocked horribly. It was the Chesapeake Light Craft North Bay, long since discontinued.

    The second best way I found to fix the weathercocking was to fill a one gallon milk jug with water, open the aft hatch, and tilt the kayak up so that the jug slid all they to the stern of the kayak. The extra weight helped the stern dig in deeper and reduce weathercocking.

    But the best solution, in the end, was to sell the damn thing.

    Weathercocking is no joke. It amazes me that so many designers still design their kayaks with the pivot placed so far forward.


  5. Yeah, mine is a CLC Cape Charles. It handles much better when loaded for a week on the water. I'm considering a rudder to help with the problem, or maybe a turnable skeg. It's lovely going into waves, although it occasionally dips its nose. And it handled reasonably well in the metre plus waves I got caught in a few weeks back. It can sweetly side-slip down a wave face and is much happier about dealing with heavy water than I am.
    One alternative is to add outriggers and a sail rig off the front--Chris Kuzelniski(sp?)has published plans for a set. That's something I really think I'll try.