Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Coach update

Time for a visit to the 'Church of the Double-Bladed Paddle'. We dutifully gathered on Sunday morning at Hatston slip as the bells of St Magnus Cathedral rang out over Kirkwall Bay.
Strictly Euro.
  Great weather for our coach update day.

And for a sail around the Bay.

Kirkwall Bay with St Magnus Cathedral in the background.

The congregation.
photo: Mags
Thanks Steve and Mags.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Independence Day

The day arrived. The weather looked good, no more than a F4 wind, and nil chance of lightning (that's what it said yesterday during the thunderstorms). There might even be some watery sunshine. My mission - to get the TaheG to Scapa, spend an hour or so rolling, and get back entirely independently (including drysuit zips).

This may not seem like a big deal to most of you folks out there, but when you are 5'6" and your boat is 17'10"  and the car roof is above your head, there are techniques to be learned and independence to be regained. The wind is hugely important, not for sea state but for boat control in the air. Tide times have to be checked - not for speed of flow but to make sure the tide at the launch will be out far enough for the slip to provide the crucial angle to get the boat on and off the car. Just the right size and style of deck is required - the one that will stay put above the rear window. Finally it helps to have a tube of black T-Cut to hand at the end of the day...

made it!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

A gentle start

The first Tuesday evening paddle of the year and a calm night, exactly what I wanted to try out  the Tahe on a journey with the Greenland paddle. I was hoping that I would be able to keep up with everyone in a sustainable way using the GP (stick not doctor). Even with my inefficient novice techniques the boat made this possible, in fact, quite easy.

this way...

Unused to having to think about what to do in wind, I was concentrating hard on counteracting weathercocking even in a gentle breeze. With feet firmly wedged in the tiny hull I realised moving my feet around was a natural reaction to aid direction control - now impossible. Without a good fitting deck I was reluctant to edge too much, extending the paddle was the easiest option. It was a good lesson for the beginning of the coaching season to have to think about it all over again.

photo: Peter Fay
I worked hard at the paddle entering the water without a splash or plop, keeping the angle of the stroke efficient (trying to make that elusive little line of bubbles travel out and away from the boat) and keeping the stroke 'longer, lower and later' than the Euro forward paddling stroke. Rotation was a bit inhibited by the loose deck travelling round the cockpit rim.

photo: Johnny Johnston
As the light failed I realised how black I was and how useful lights would be!

paddling and chatting - chaddling?
A good start. Next - turning in the wind and waves.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Easter weekend

Time to get the Tahe outside while opportunity, boat wrangling services and weather window coincide. Feels faster than the Isel with the GP and absolutely solid on edge. I had to remember all about weathercocking - not an issue with the Isel.

 Boy it was cold though.
After a couple of rolls a hood was a necessary addition.

Now you see me..

Now I'm just another seaweed covered rock.
Looking forward to a journey soon and, when the sea temp rises a little, applying the rolls in conditions.