Saturday, 26 November 2011

Loch Lomond - 20th Nov 2011

Water was like a millpond when we arrived. Time for Amanda to let go of her rudder-crutch and learn to use the 16 foot rudder she's sitting in. I drilled her on edges on the shore while we waited for Liz and Gerry to get organised for a short jaunt up to Inchmoan and back. The nights are fair drawing in, as they say. Not much time more more than 10 or 12 miles nowadays given that the boatshed is gone and I hate loading kayaks onto my car in the dark.

Back in the Quest after all these months I decided to try out some rolls, wondering if the rudder (which I haven't got round to removing yet) would cause any problems. Popped up effortlessly on my good side then completely bombed my bad side! Tried another couple and failed on my good side this time. Somehow convinced myself it was the rudder's fault but, on reflection, it was just me being lazy and trying come up to fast with too little hip-flick. I did make a point of jumping in the Capella and doing a couple on both sides. Just to convince myself I still could. Capella does seem a bit easier to get back up but I'm pretty sure it's a mental block rather than a boat issue. Rudder is getting taken off this weekend then my brain will have no excuses.

Fortunately none of this indignity was captured on camera. Phew!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Largs 13/11/2011. Forecast was 2 gusting 3 but it couldn't have been further from the facts which were about 3 with long, 5min+ gusts approaching 6. Plan was to paddle out to millport before doing a lap of big Cumbrae and back to the yacht haven. plan was revised in light of the experience level present to a pootle up and down the shore.

Plan was vindicated by this report Pretty sure we'd have had one of our own if we'd gone for the crossing although there were a fair few towropes in attendance so we might have made it back in one piece. Amanda was having trouble with the conditions so me and Stuart hung back with her and he brought her up to speed with some edging and balance drills then I towed the pair of them round the corner to the lunch stop.

Total distance covered would have been in meters, rather than thousand meters but it was fun, nonetheless (the raft-tow giving me a decent workout for 5 mins or so and the 2* rescue assessment giving us all something to watch during lunch. Congrats to Derek - on his way to becoming a paddling ninja!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Another bloody kayak blog...

So this is my blog. All about Kayaks and, yeah you guessed it, beer. Not much to say about beer, actually (I like most flavours) So it'll be mainly kayaks, kayaking and stuff of that general ilk.

So what about kayaks then? I love 'em. Fairweather touring and sightseeing, wild camping, wild water and surf. It's the sea that calls me. Leave the rivers to the likes of those that enjoy that kind of thing, I'm all about the oceans and lochs. West coast of Scotland mainly, east coast is nice but west is best.

I have two kayaks, at the mo. A glass Quest and a Capella 166 rotomoulded, both by P&H. The Quest is a good expedition boat, comfy and spacious for those week long trips into the wilderness. Cover a lot of ground in it. The plastic is a bombproof nutter, capable of going into those situations that would make the pristine glass boat pee it's skeg box.

In the four or five years I've owned the thing it's had the living shit pounded out of it on numerous occasions and it always comes out with a grin on it's face, begging for more (or maybe that's me) The bulkheads need attention on account of one two many surf sessions. That's right, I surf longboats like a goddamn viking! I'll get around to fixing them sometime and then I can post all about it here. Won't that be exciting!

My paddle is an  N12 Nordkapp by Lendal. Carbon cranked-shaft and a paddlock split. It's not so much a paddle as a detachable part of my arms. Nothing else feels quite right, even it's full carbon sibling is too stiff for my lazy-ass stroke.

Heres a video of me posing about near the shore of Loch Lomond getting photographed by a bunch of tourists. Mmmmm low brace carve turns in HD slow-mo my favourite!

And another one from Loch Lomond, jogging out round I Vow from the west shore getting hit by a little squall but not enough to get a decent run back across :(

So I just got my GoPro and now I'm itching to get out in something fun and post videos that I can watch all week at work to keep me going until I'm next on the water