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What a difference a day makes!


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Many of you have already read about Emilie and I putting in Portsmouth and heading north along the ME coast as part of our prep for the Blackburn. We did 20 miles of not so flat water in about 5 and a half hours. I returned unhappy with how much of a dent the seas had put in our pace and my comfort in the boat. I asked a bunch of questions on this forum and got some great insights. Thank you!

The following week we rented an Epic V10 Sport and Epic V10L from CRCK and put them in Ipswich Bay for an afternoon. Since both of our solo boats are quite stable (mine especially), we owned no equipment for learning balance an seas without the "aid" of an other paddle twitching at the other end of the boat. The time spent in the Epics was a great experience. ...though I have no idea why anyone would ever want a boat that can't be rolled. They had no leg straps or provisions for installing them. We both had little trouble with the 'Sport, but took turns swimming from the 'L which was 1.9 inches narrower and had a higher seat. We both found that if we where relaxed and comfortable, we could paddle the 'L, even doing some surfing. ...actually, surfing was the much easier than putting in a good forward stroke instead of bracing when in chop. However, as soon as we got a bit tense and went for a swim, we had a very hard time staying on the 'L. We'd swap boat so that the 'tense' person was in the Sport, relax a bit and then get back into the 'L with little trouble.

With the surfski experience under our belts we put our K2 in at Pebble Beach with the goal of putting in 20 miles on the southern shore of Cape Ann. The short version is that things went poorly and we only did about 12 miles. It turned out that my backband was mis-adjusted and causing lower back pain. We where both tense. There was no swimming, but our pace was abysmal. We managed only about 3.5mph average with no significant apposing wind or current. The seas where rather choppy though and I was very tense. I spent more time bracing than paddling. Fortunately, the WSB Bullitt is fast enough that Emilie was able to make it go while I was being tense, cranky and bracing. We made it down to the end of the break water at the entrance to Gloucester Harbor and back. When we landed I found the loose, mis-adjusted straps on my backband which caused my lower back pain. I was demoralized about performance far worse than our trip from Portsmouth north when we should have improved. I was ready to sell the boat to the _lowest_ bidder and give up on the Blackburn. I felt like we could do anything with the boat in rough water. We could surf, roll, etc. Anything! ...except paddle it.

Based on our experience in the V10's showing that we needed to be relaxed, and knowing at least some of what caused us (me esp.) to be tense on Friday, Emilie suggested that we skip out on some of our planned 4th festivities and go down to Ipswich Bay. I curmudgeonly agreed. I suggested that we just work on edging and paddling the boat in what seas and chop we could find and not worry about distance. I wanted to explore the limits of the secondary stability of the boat since it seemed to have no primary stability.

We put in at Pavilion Beach around 11:30 or so. It was a little after high tide. We headed out, did a couple of practice rolls, and then I decided that my back-band wasn't quite adjusted right. We stopped on the south end of Plum Island and adjusted. Then we played with a bit of edging, surfing etc. We paddled out to red nun #2 east of the south end of Plum Island. Landed south of Crane Beach so that I could stretch and loosen up a bit. Headed SE along the coast, played in the surf a bit, crossed Essex Bay which was choppy, parked for a rest and bite to eat at the beach down there and then paddled back. The winds picked up to about 15kt running on the nose and either side of it. Covered about 13 miles. It was like a completely different boat. By being comfortable and relaxed it was like we added 3 inches to the width of the boat. We still managed only about 3.5 mph, but that was against a substantial head wind, against a bit of current and with a fair bit of chop. The difference in our experience between Friday and Saturday was like night and day. I swear it was a different boat.

...the boat is no longer for sale. :kayak-surfer:



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