Tuesday, May 05, 2009

As I was saying...yesterday...

As I finished the class on Sunday, someone remarked about how the keel strip on my Romany needed some refreshing. I turned to see Brian Day, the original owner of the boat and the man who published two Sea Kayaker articles, one showing how he did the strip and one on how he patched a hole in the hull. Turns out, he's going to work with P&H so, naturally, he had one of their boats lying around. In this case, a Cetus. Could I try it? Of course.First thing I noticed was the 4th hatch atop the fore deck. I am sure you've all read about it and what it's for. On the water, the fit seemed right and the chair comfy. The "knee" braces, I was happy to note, were authentic thigh braces, back where they belong. The boat accelerated easily and had a good turn of speed. Edging turned out to be an interesting activity.

With the skeg up, it didn't much matter which way it was edged as a sweep stroke initiated the turn in either direction. Then I did what I hoped would be a hanging draw stroke, but it turned into a telemark turn...well, kind of. The boat actually turned away from the side of the stroke (probably because I was up on the paddle side edge). With the skeg down, however, it performed more as I would have expected in response to a hanging draw. I don't understand that dynamic at all. But, then, there was much more going on.

In spite of every computer program and every expert telling me I should be using a 220 paddle (which I have been doing), I tried 215's and 210's during the class. Turned out, the shorter the better. Go figure. I am thinking about a Werner 210 with a Shuma blade for a bit more bite.

What I hope to do, is repeat the test paddle at the Door County symposium in July to see how the Cetus acts in rougher conditions. Hopefullly, they will have one in a different color. Meanwhile...

Paddle safe...




SandyBottom said...

Funny, as your going shorter I find I"m going longer. In Euro I'm still paddling a 220, but in Greenland, I've just gone from 86" (218) to 90" (228) though now I'm wishing I went the full 230.

The real message is probably to experiment around, and expect your preferences to change, as other things change.


DaveO said...

I paddled the Cetus in Grand Marais last year and wasn't overly impressed. Mr Blades, as usual, had some succinct comments on the boat but I wound up with my beloved Q boat. Very appropriately for our sport, its different strokes for different folks,both with paddle and boats.

Silbs said...

Interesting comments, thanks. One of my students this weekend had short arms and did much better with a 220 than a 210. I have never measured my two Greenland sticks.
So, DaveO, what didn't you like about the Cetus?

DaveO said...

Its probably just me. Wait...isn't that what you say when you're breaking up with a girlfriend?? Actually it was mainly fit. As you know, I'm a lanky fellow and it kinda fit like an irregular shirt, one that looks pretty good on the hanger but once you put it on you know why its on the irregular rack. As you said, it just didn't edge like I thought is should and I wasn't enamored of the 4th hatch under my nose. So there you have it. But I'm sure someone will love it.

avital said...

A hatch on the fordeck? Why, What for? And how?

Silbs said...

It's for small items you might want out on the water. You can get them without opening up the skirt. You can put a piece of matzoh in there, or a camera.

Alex said...

I'm definitely in the shorter is better camp for Euro blades but I tend to have a fairly vertical whitewater stroke. My whitewater blade is a 191, I use my wing paddle usually in the 206-210 range, and my standard Euro paddle is 215 but it feels too long.

My GP is 213.4 cm (84 inches) and that's perfect for me as well.

Silbs said...

Makes a lot of sense to me now that I've tried shorter ones.

Brian Day said...

I think that the Cetus feels a lot like a whitewater boat in some ways. With the skeg up, you can give the boat either edge and initiate a turn with the paddle. Hold the edge and the boat will continue to carve, inside or outside.

With the skeg down, it turns away from the edge, but with the skeg up you have a lot more flexibility. The Scorpio feels a lot like this, too.

RoyM said...

The shorter paddles come into their own on the moves like draws etc...anything where the overly long paddles just don't gracefully clear the water...until paddlers start to demand the ease of the paddle handling on things other than just forward stroke, they don't find the real joy of a shorter paddle.

I've been searching for the perfect paddle for many years.

with a euro, I use a 214 lendal with nordkapp carbon blades (crank)

with a greenland paddle I'm settling around 86 inch...getting close to my perfect paddle....just working on a few details.....but getting very close....wish You luck in Your search :)

Best Wishes

BTW...Hi Brian

Brian Day said...

With paddles, I am full in favor of going shorter.

First sea kayak I had (a Romany) I paddled for a while with a 204 Werner Wenatchee whitewater paddle. Thought that I had to go long for the sea kayak so I went up to a 220. I have been coming down ever since. I paddle the Lendals in about a 215, but I am really liking the Werner Ikelos, which I paddle in a 210. I have even played around with the Shuna/Cyprus in a 205. Pretty much full circle.

When you are trying them, check out the shaft length, too. You might decide you like one paddle in a 210 and another in a 215. Sometimes the length of the shaft is more important than the overall paddle length.

For instance: a 220 Camano will have a shorter shaft than a 220 Shuna because the Shuna has shorter blades. They will be the same length overall, but the Shuna will feel longer on the water because of the longer shaft.

At least, that is how it seems to me. :)

Hi Roy. Nice chatting with you guys. Dave I haven't forgotten about the grease pencils.