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Lanes Cove (well, not exactly) Sunday 10/3/10


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Prologue: You can paddle in rough conditions if Bob Levine is with you.

Per the trip reports page, Bob Levine, Ern and I met at Lanes Cove. As expected there was a strong NE wind blowing (probably about 15+ knots) in Ipswich Bay, with significant bump.

Being CAMable Leon, I insisted on a complete beach briefing where we discussed, among other things, the "Go" or "No-Go" decision, where to paddle to, VHF and towlines and risk in these conditions, etc. We usually like to paddle upwind so the return is with the wind at our backs.

For this trip paddling upwind would mean paddling in the Halibut Point direction. We decided this direction would be risky since larger swells usually prevail once you pass Folly Point and start hitting deeper water than in Ipswich Bay and also the scarcity of takeouts. On the other hand, paddling in the Annisquam direction would require a hard paddle upwind to get back to Lanes Cove.

So the initial decision was a no-go. But, since I really wanted to at least get in some fitness miles, we decided to paddle anyway but do it in the Annisquam River. So we all drove over to Corliss Landing, put-in and then paddled towards Ipswich Bay from there. Although there were breaking waves coming from the Bay towards the mouth of the river they dissipated prior to reaching the river. At the Annisquam lighthouse we decided to give it a try, turned right and paddled towards Lanes Cove, keeping fairly close to shore and knowing that there were numerous safe take-outs. Bob was leading and I paddled sweep behind Ern. Soon the going began to get tougher and I decided that we should head for the safety of Hodgkins Cove to have lunch and then turn back.

I sprinted ahead to tell Bob and asked that he and Ern follow me around Davis Neck into the cove (I know this area very well and wanted to lead the other two along the safest track). About three or four minutes after starting towards Davis Neck (with me in the lead now) I heard a cry (not sure, but I think it was something like HE’s IN THE Water!!). I turned around and noticed that Ern had gone in for the last (hopefully) dip of this year. Obviously, I sprinted back and watched in awe as Bob executed a perfect T-rescue in very “sporty†conditions (the second such performance by Bob in my last two paddles with him). Again, I played a supporting role … after seeing that everything was going like clockwork I responded immediately when Ern yelled out that his paddle had floated far away. I retrieved the paddle about 100 feet away from the rescue action. Then, Bob or Ern (not sure which one) yelled out that Ern’s $40 chart had floated away too. I paddled around looking for it and noticed it was very near the rocks of Davis Neck. I headed there hoping to grab it, but by paddling parallel to the rocks because I knew from prior experience that it’s very difficult to turn away from those rocks when coming in straight (especially in my Seda Impulse which is very hard to turn anytime … it’s more for racing).

Moving this story along, I paddled in close to the rocks and then turned to a parallel track that would get me to the floating chart. I grabbed it and just noticed (Bob did too, since he came in to watch) that I was heading for a submerged rock with surging water all around it. I couldn’t turn out fast enough, but was able to break and back out enough to give me room to turn (it was the fastest paddle backwards I think I’ve ever done).

To make a long story even longer, we went into the beach at Hodgkins Cove, ate lunch and blah, blah, … After lunch we decided to go back to da riva.

On the return trip to the Annisquam we had nice following seas and they were easily surfable, but we decided (in the interest of safety to avoid broaching) to forgo any fast rides. Once safely in the Annisquam I convinced my two paddling buddies to put on some more miles and paddle to Gloucester Harbor. I sprinted most of the way there and waited for them by mooring myself to three Banks Dorys that were anchored in front of Gloucester HS. I think I fell asleep for a while waiting because I almost had to execute a low brace as my head drooped to the side. No biggie, but it adds color to the story. Oh, that reminds me; when we turned into Ipswich Bay there was a guy paddling a Banks Dory out about 200 yards farther from shore than us. It was an amazing sight. He was bouncing around like on some carnival ride. I was actually thinking of paddling out to speak with him, but decided that the three of us should stay together (didn’t want to break any CAM rules either).

Anyway, back to the main story line. We all paddled one at a time against the tide through the Blyman Canal and into Gloucester Harbor, rested there a few minutes and turned and paddled back to Corliss Landing. There were no significant incidents on the way back except blah, blah, blah…and finally blah, bah …

All and all it was a great trip, Bob again demonstrated how to perform a rescue in rough conditions and I demonstrated a brilliant but idiotic rescue of Ern’s precious chart (I think it was handed down from the original French explorers of Cape Ann). And I even got a fairly good fitness workout to boot.

Epilogue: Corliss landing is nice except near low or high tide. At low tide you have to trudge through muck and at high tide you have to disembark from your kayak in deep water to step onto a steeply sloped boat ramp. Yours truly played a critical role in this. On the way out it was low tide and I led the way through the mud. On the return it was near high tide. I got to the ramp first and jumped out of Mr. Impulse, surprisingly without capsizing. I then helped my two buddies disembark by holding their kayaks.

P.S. I’m shaking in my boots here in anticipation of the coming shark attacks. Especially, since not one tow was performed (but I did have my towline).

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[Oh, that reminds me; when we turned into Ipswich Bay there was a guy paddling a Banks Dory out about 200 yards farther from shore than us. It was an amazing sight. He was bouncing around like on some carnival ride. I was actually thinking of paddling out to speak with him, but decided that the three of us should stay together (didn’t want to break any CAM rules either).

Seeing that Dory in the waves made me appreciate the seaworthiness of a kayak! Also, although it was too far to tell for sure, I don't think the guy had on a pfd.

Great paddle - good distances, some conditions, brisk air, nice views around the Annisquam and Gloucester harbor, and best of all, very little boat traffic.


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Channel 16 yesterday one lady toik a 30 foot sailboat motoring and hit a ledge and got stuck on it. She had two kids in the boat and twice avoided coast guard question whether they had pfds. The ledge she hit was falled irony ledge...

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You'll be glad to hear that in gratitude for YOUR heroics, Le Consultat General du Canada in Boston is willing to honor you with La Medaille Pour Le Protection des Cartes Nautiques.

Unfortunately I told them that you couldn't attend the ceremony at 400 Copley because you were afraid of elevators. One of them then snickered that the last time they offered this award the smell of the recipient's wet neoprene played havoc with le foie, ruining l'ambience de la ceremonie anyway.

However, one of the guards did think that you're falling asleep during a pee-break was pretty funny, though.

I reminded them that it was Bob (aka Le Savieur) who was truly deserving of une medaille, but they remarked that rescuing an offspring of old ex-pat French-American Canadians had been too common...they'd run out of those awards a long time ago.


Funny thing about this Vaag: its slippery ass keeps it remarkably on track when climbing wave faces and surfing down them (it really doesn't want to broach, Leon); however, when on beam seas this sliding stern is trickier than expected.

Although I didn't capsize despite several HOURS riding the 4-6 footers on our beams a couple of weeks ago, and I felt quite comfortable with the occasional 4-5 footers we were engaging on our trek toward Lane's yesterday, once we turned east along their beam c'etait deja vu....

I thought to stay loose-hipped, and managed good progress without much bracing, but was VERY surprisingly "slid" sideways by what I only would estimate as a TWO-footer on my stern! The speed of this slide didn't allow a quick left-side low brace, so I mysteriously went over. I was more pissed than anything else, as I had handled the bigger ones easily. This almost "banana-peel"-like

slide I've experienced only several times, but it's unmistakable.

I had been told by Mark at CRCK to expect this sliding-stern behavior. Useful as it is when trying to stay positioned on a wave face when surfing, I just can't yet figure out how to handle it when on beam seas. It's like the rug's pulled out suddenly, or instantly slipping on ice as I push the Miata too hard.

One thought I have is that the stern becomes momentarily dry when twisting a bit on a beam wave, thereby instantly removing the 1/2-deployed skeg's bite, allowing the stern to slip around.

Make sense?

I'll ask the Maelstrom and Boreal guys when they visit on the 23rd....

Can it make sense that what makes a great surfer or rock-player makes a lousy beam-sea rider?


This was also the FIRST time I'd paddled without a paddle leash, having transferred it to my wing for a previous paddle ala Leon. (I KNEW there was something different when we launched, but couldn't figure it out.) I'm now going to put a leash on all three of my paddles....


Maybe we should post re heel-hook reentry continuous spiral vs the more conventional "facing" twist on a separate thread?

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All wrong, all wrong! The elders would have done it totally different. Oh wait, Leon is a card-carrying elder. No matter. You guys outta give up kayaking and take up knitting in a rocking chair... nope, too dicey; make that doing crossword puzzles on a couch.

;-))) --David

PS -- sounds like a nice job all around. CAM may really work if we actually try it! Just keep Ern leashed to his paddle and chart.

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