Thursday, August 2, 2012

If only we had sails...part 1

It's been a windy week, and I'm not talking about the effects of our post-race night hangovers (sorry to be gross).

We had grand plans to paddle 20 miles for the first time on Sunday. We set off from Calshot and headed over towards the eastent shore of the Solent, intending to travel up towards Portsmouth. Within about 5 minutes I was in trouble, bouncing around all over the place in what were, I think, the strongest winds I've been out in....but never before on the sea kayaks. Jon and Stu didn't seem phased, but I was pretty uncomfortable in heavy chop and not seeming able to keep the boat straight.

I came as close as ever to capsizing, although in reality simply learned yet again how stable these kayaks are. I zig-zaged across to the other side where, because it was low tide, the situation deteriorated. Not only is the eastern shore very shallow (meaning rolling breaking waves), but it's also on the side of the Solent which the wind is blowing towards. It wasn't long before I called Jon and Stu back, who were quickly progressing up the coast ahead of me. This wasn't my idea of a pleasant but challenging day on the water...

I guess I stuck it out for about 20 minutes, but I didn't fancy 20 miles of it. We headed back along the coast and then, amazingly, saw our boats come into their own. We paddled back into the wind and waves head on, aiming back to Calshot, and the kayaks performed fantastically well. I remember Sam from Liquid Logistics telling me that this was what they were designed for, and he was spot on. It was actually very enjoyable.

After an hour or so paddling in the general direction of Lepe, we stopped at a cafe for a bacon sarnie and a cup of tea and then headed back. The day was a bit of a write-off with only 8 miles on the odometer, but we resolved to try again on Tuesday with a minimum of 10 miles after work.

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