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Wed. Lunch Paddle 5/11/2022


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As it happened, the continuing prospect of 15 kt NE winds and 6-8 foot swells diminished this WLP’s attendance to 3 people: Bill Voss, Bob Levine and myself. Launching in Manchester Harbor at 10:45 or so (2 plus hours past HW) and heading west to Misery Island, we did avoid the bigger waves, but did not entirely dodge the wind. And we were treated to mild temps and bright Sun as befits spring.

Skirting a large marine construction project at the mouth of the harbor (which leaves something like a 20 foot wide nav channel) we headed south to explore the inside of the ledges near Ram Island. Leaving the harbor we immediately noticed the swell - under 1 foot, but in an area where normally there is almost none.

the gaps in the ledges that open onto Salem Sound revealed a violent picture of the sea state outside: huge swells breaking on the shallows sending cascades of foam and turbulent water through the openings. It was possible to safely approach some of these openings and watch the action. There was enough wave energy that a counter current was flooding in and creating a little tide race with the wind chop in the bay.

From there we headed west to Great Misery intending to stop at Cocktail Cove on the inside which we had already scouted from West beach as being landable. We moved inshore a bit to maintain some protection from the open waters; even so there was a section north of Saulli Rock where the swells were standing up pretty high—but not breaking. So we continued to Cocktail Cove. It was calm and at least partly sheltered from the wind. Bill stopped for a quick break. Then we decided to go around the lee side of the island to see the Misery Gut and perhaps find a better spot along the way. 

The west side of Misery was almost idyllic: no wind, low swells. We passed a couple of nice beaches and continued to the gut. The beaches there were landable but more windy and exposed so after a brief excursion outside Little Misery to check out the conditions again (big non-breaking swells, very windy) we headed back to idyllic beach #2 for our warm sunny lunch spot.

Post lunch it was heading back straight into the wind to gain some lee from the shore, as Bill took off in his skin-on-frame boat leaving me in the dust. Along the shore it was less windy but needed balancing between avoiding breakers and staying in the lee. Finally back to Manchester at 2:10. 

Great paddle!

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Was Bill in his Cape Falcon F1 or LPB that he was thinking about building? A friend is building me a CF LPB so I can have dreams of leaving you in the dust . . .  (Not really but I am looking forward lifting 30 lbs instead of my ~62ish Cetus MV)

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3 hours ago, Karen Volkman said:

Was Bill in his Cape Falcon F1 or LPB that he was thinking about building?

I am still paddling the 14' long beat up Cape Falcon Kayak F1 that I built in my garage back in 2014.  This fall I did build the bending jig for a new coaming, and purchased most of the wood for a new LPB.  Then free time became scarce, then winter shut down my unheated shop (aka garage).  Now the dear wife, the new dog, the garden, and paddling all demand my attention.  However, I still hope to resume work on actually building a LPB, as soon as I finish ...

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3 hours ago, Joseph Berkovitz said:

I have no idea what the name of Bill’s boat is, it’s the one I’ve always seen him paddling… it has some age on it. I believe a substantial part of the leaving-in-dust action may be due to Bill himself!

A short kayak with a low wetted surface area has a definite drag advantage when paddling straight into a wind strong enough to make hull speed irrelevant.

Paddling all out because two stronger paddlers were behind me, and to minimize how long I had to paddle into the wind also helped.

Using a Greenland Paddle also helps in heavy wind in my opinion.

Edited by billvoss
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