Monday, May 12, 2008

May The Force Be With You
No one showed up for our Sunday paddle yesterday morning. No one, that is, except Tim and myself; but we were on a mission. The gusts out of the north east were about 35 mph, and the flag on the yacht club was a blur. We were there because Tim had graciously consented to allow me to test paddle his Impex Force 4.

As most of you know, I paddle a Romany and love it. It is agile, seaworthy and an ideal boat for teaching, day paddles and rolling. Because it is not a long boat (16 feet) and has a good deal of rocker (which probably shortens its waterline more), it is ever so slightly slower than the boats my water-mates paddle. On longer slogs, therefor, I feel I have to work just that much harder to maintain speed. That, in essence, has sent me on a search for a longer boat.

A few years back I had paddled an Impex Outer Island and liked it. I cannot find one in the area to see how it would feel to me now at my improved level of paddling. Last week, however, I was able to paddle a Force 4 while in Madison. It behaved wonderfully and felt as if I was in the Romany as far as stability goes. It was, however, a nearly windless day and the water was flat.Yesterday was just too good to pass on, so Tim drove into town with his Force 4 and Looshka IV. Once on the water, I found that the boat asked for more attention than I think the Romany would have required. Initial stability was a bit less than the Romany, but the 4 tracked well on all points, especially with a tad of skeg deployed. I was surprised how relatively well I could turn her in the long as I gave it a little edge.On shore, the boat does appear to have some rocker, and I am still undecided. I would still like to paddle it in large swells, andwaves when the wind is not as strong. I wonder, still, how the Outer Island would feel to me now. The process continues.

Paddle safe...


JohnB said...

The process never ends, we just get content, but always wonder is there something else, something better . . . be it sea kayaks, paddles, whisky, jobs . . . and the list goes on!

May you always be exploring!

JohnB said...

As I was reading a "back channel" email on this topic, I started to put this thought together, and thought that perhaps I should share it with others--

I'm thinking that one can drive oneself further into insanity by continuing to test paddle a boat, or boats, to the point of being as confused about a boat's handling as one can be about which paddle to go for.

I think one tends to find something that is acceptable on most points, and is the correct colour, then buys it and grows with it as though it is puppy. If after several months (or longer) one decides that this ain't for me, my skills and the boat's abilities don't match, you get rid of it and move on to the next one.

Selecting the perfect sea kayak is a lot like selecting the perfect spouse, you gotta try them out for a longer period of time than you have, and the conditions are always changing. A sea kayak is easier, and cheaper, to get rid of--and if you decide to kill it (dropping it off your car) and collect the insurance monies, you stand a lesser chance of going to prison.

I love my boats and my paddles, and am very content with my choices, just as I am with my spouse who has put up with me for over 33 years, though I'm sure there are times that she'd like to "drop me off the car!" :)

Silbs said...

think I will let your spouse answer all that:)

Ron said...

I've also paddled both the Outer Island, and the Force 4. Ny nod would go to the Outer Island. But like John mentioned, spending a short time in each boat doesn't give you much of a chance to really learn the habits of each boat.

derrick said...

I'm with JB on this too. You'd almost have to have each boat for a season and paddle it in lots of varied conditions, loaded, unloaded, big seas, currents, winds etc., until you really have a feel for it. Even then most of us as paddlers are just not efficient enough to make the often micro-differences in each kayak really stand out.

Dubside sets a good example. By any standard his boat is NOT the best rolling kayak out there. However, he makes it look like it. Kayaks have lots of variations but the single biggest factor is probably the paddler. :)

Silbs said...

Thanks, Ron. When JB and Derrick agree, I start to worry!
I know it takes a lot of time to really know a boat, however, it would be foolhardy to take on a boat that doesn't satisfy in some condition one is likely to meet when they paddle. some trial and research has to go on in order to eliminate the ones that simply won't do. I agree that there are probably a lot of boats that will meet any given paddler's needs.

Anonymous said...

Why not simply add an Explorer? You already love the Romany. The Force 4 I tested was neat but my Explorer is more sea kindly.


Silbs said...

I have considered and paddled the Explorer, and I agree with all you've said. Having a similar rocker, how much speed might I gain?