Monday, December 31, 2007


It's what the director gets to say when the last piece of film has been shot and the project is "in the can". It is done, over. In films, however, there is still an opportunity for the cutter and the editor to make sense of all the raw footage that has accumulated. So it is with life.

2007 is about to go into the can or, as we say, into the history books. It is a time for us all to edit, in our minds, what we have done, seen, tried, wished for and failed to do these past 12 months. It is time to use that info to formulate a script for 2008 when we again get a chance to do, see, try wish for and...yes, fail. It is a healthy learning process when done properly. If, on the other hand, you chose to make it a time of regret and self incrimination, it is likely that you will not write a better script next time around. After all, we are all the directors of our lives.

For now, however, it is a wrap and, as at the end of any film, time to roll the credits. Among them I list my wonderful family and the cadre of fine friends who are all a blessing in my life.

Scenery and lighting by Mother Nature.

Special effects by The Great Out Doors

Kayaks by NDK, Mark Rodgers, CLC and Peter Strand.

Cameras by Canon and Pentax.

Stunt men and women: Kayakers all over the world.

Wardrobe by Kokatat and many others

The part of Silbs was played by himself.

All film was shot on location...and in my house and garage and local parks.

So now, I wish for you what I wish for myself: Happiness, to find what we need more than what we want, to be surrounded by good people (we are all related) and peace.

Paddle safe...


Sunday, December 30, 2007

A rose By Any Other Name...

Derrick has a nice post up (yesterday's) about the new contraptions being produced for long open water passages in "kayaks". The problem for me (as I commented on his blog...but I digress) is that these things are not kayaks.

Look, we have a generic word for certain vehicles. We call them cars. But we note the different models with words like compact, hybrid, SUV and the like. When the vehicle gets too big to be called a car we use the label truck. Even here we distinguish between a pick up and a semi.

Now kayak/qajaq, at least for me, specifically means a skin on wood framed one man canoe-like-with-covered-deck boat. Common convention, however, now has the word referring to any like-designed boat regardless of its composition. Still, we talk about glass boats and ones made of Kevlar or carbon or wood. We talk about three piece kayaks and folding ones and inflatable ones (not to mention sit on don't mention them). All of these crafts adhere to a basic design with only subtle, albeit important, modifications to hull and deck.

The boats featured in Derrick's post are designed specifically for long open water passages (check the photos on his site). These awkward tubs (my judgment of how they look) are to kayaks as yachts are to row boats. In either case, specific names are in order so we all know what we are talking about. I submit, however, that these new hybrids should not be called kayaks. Perhaps a hyphenated word, like kayak-yachts, or kayak-tubs would be more appropriate, although I would rather not see the word kayak in the nomenclature.

I don't mean to bad mouth these crafts or the adventures their owners take them on. In the end, however those things have little use other than to make those open water passages. Then what? I don't believe we will be seeing ads for racks to car top these things. I wouldn't choose one for a day paddle and wouldn't want one for a short passage. They have their own place in the scheme of things, and they should have their own names. Ideas?

Paddle safe...


Saturday, December 29, 2007

If you can't beat 'em...

...join 'em. Sure, it is winter, and going out the door (not to mention out on the water) may have less appeal to you than when it is warm and balmy outside. In addition to leaving your skills on the shelf (re: last blog) you may be tempted to leave your life up there as well. Now, if you live in a year round warm climate this won't make sense to you. Up north, however, the short, cold and gray days have a way of sucking the ambition out of a body (I've written about SADS elsewhere...but I digress). It gets too eay for folks around here to sit indoors watching the tube while medicating with vast amounts of comfort foods. Subsequently, the skills and muscles slowly get replaced with sloth and flab.

Know that winter has a beauty all its own, a beauty that is revealed to those who take the time to find it. Many of the blogs this month, including Wendy's, have had wonderful images of winter scenes. Hopefully, these will stimulate us to get out there...appropriately dressed...and enjoy Mother Nature's winter art show. Oh, and when you do, take a camera.

Paddle safe...


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Shelf Life
Shelf life. It refers to how long a product can sit on the shelf before it is considered outdated, useless and/or spoiled. We see it on foods as a label reading best if used by..... So, we know that after such and such a date that we best replace that bottle of milk in the fridge. Same with medications that bear labels instructing us to discard after a certain date. In all these cases the food or medication has become useless or ineffective, possibly even dangerous. Same with paddling.

Our skills have a shelf life. We don't have labels to help with this, however we do know that awkward feeling we get when we go out into rough conditions after having been "on the shelf" for a while. Around here that is a problem each winter.

Many folks here put their kayaks on the shelf for the duration of the cold weather. Unfortunately, their skills go right along side the boat up there on the shelf where they slowly lose their freshness, become ineffective and, eventually, dangerous. Pool sessions help a little, but they cannot reproduce the conditions we need to be able to cope with out on the open water. The real solution?

Find a way to get out there this winter. Yes, dry suits are expensive, but think of the total amount of hard earned cash you already spend on other stuff. I see people who a second boat and then say that a dry suit is too expensive. These folks then have 2 boats (and their skills) on the shelf each winter. Often a short road trip can get us to waters warm enough to paddle in the gear we already have. Another option, not available to all, is warm water around a nuclear power plant. These areas are generally shrouded in fog. One such area near Madison draws several groups to an annual new year's day paddle.

Speaking of groups, find one to paddle with in the cold weather. Here, in Milwaukee, we are generally on the water every Sunday morning, year round, weather permitting. It makes things safer, is an incentive to get out there and generally leads to coffee and good fellowship afterwards.

How ever you do it, use those skills during this time of hibernation. Don't let what you worked so hard to obtain dwindle away past its expiration date.

Paddle safe...


Wednesday, December 26, 2007


The house is quiet. Everyone else, including Ansel our German Shepard, is asleep. I boogied with grandson Joseph for a while. Now he is conked out on the family room floor. The sky is pink and the moon is still large in the west. Snow expected tonight. Nothing to do but be. Life is good.

Paddle safe...


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Good Art

I may not know art, but I know what I like. And one of the things I like is this rare work of art given to me by my friend and mentor JB. Knowing my interest in traditional paddling, JB acquired this work from a little known museum that features Inuit art. I will especially enjoy it today as a reward for the work out I am about to do.

I may not know art, but I know what I like. And one of the things I like is chocolate.

Paddle safe...


Monday, December 24, 2007

Battle Stations

(photo by mom)

Just back from an hour and half work out at the gym. Taking vitamins. Meditating. Getting ready to go back onto the battle field. It happens tomorrow.

Lady Linda and I will be driving down to the Chicago area on Christmas day to our youngest daughter and son in law's place. Our eldest and her husband will be there with the much treasured grand son, Joseph. Joe will be coming home with Linda and I for 3 days of bonding while his parents go into parental rehab and rest therapy.

You should know such joy.

Paddle safe...


Sunday, December 23, 2007

What A Difference A Day Makes

Just back from walking Ansel. It is mild out there (32F), but the wind is blowing with gusts up to 50mph. A big moon is playing peekaboo with the patches of clouds that are scudding across the sky. It was a lot different 20 hours ago when Sherri Mertz and I launched at South Shore on Lake Michigan.We paddled south into a light wind. While inside the break water things were flat. We saw some 2-4 foot swells near our turn around when it got a bit shallow. It was blissfully quiet (except when I gabbed...but I digress) and the swans were out (they stayed too far off to get a decent picture). It was, obviously, foggy. All in all a pleasant paddle and, possibly, the last of the year.

Paddle safe...


Saturday, December 22, 2007

All The Best

It's almost time for me to leave for a paddle but, before I do, please accept my best wishes as we wrap ourselves in the the holiday season. Regardless of our beliefs or practices this is the time of year when the world seems to chill out, relax and take note of the good about us. Often, Mother Nature helps by providing a blanket of white powder that pleases the eye and muffles the noise that normally pollutes our ears.

What ever your practices or beliefs, my wishes for you are these: That you find yourself surrounded by friends and families, that you and those you love enjoy good health, that in the coming year you finally realize and get what you need rather than what you want and...if I may dream for a moment...may we all, along with the rest of the world, finally know peace.

Paddle safe...


Friday, December 21, 2007

Wall Paper

Wall Paper. You know, the stuff you put on your walls so you won't have to look at the cracks. Someone spends endless hours shopping for the stuff. They get samples and bring them home, tape them to various walls and "live" with them for a while. After a time, a decision is made and the swatch turns into rolls which get pasted onto one or all the walls in a room. Everything is suddenly and magically changed.

The room looks better, larger, opens up, flows and fills in. It is a triumph of interior decorating. Folks sit and admire the new look and guests and visitors offer offer OH MY's and IT'S LOVELY, IT MAKES THE ROOM. Every one is happy, and you are proud of your work...for a while.

It may take months to years but eventually the wall paper that rejuvenated you so much becomes old hat, passe, so yesterday. The pride you had originally felt with the project has left you. After all, you haven't done anything with it all this time. So, the whole process begins anew. This is true of another kind of wall paper.

Some folks collect degrees (I talk of others of course...but I digress). They get diplomas, certificates of completion, awards and declarations of something well done...and they paper their walls with them (after suitable framing). This kind of wall paper does more than make the room. This kind of paper also makes you feel good and embues within you a sense of accomplishment.

With each additional piece of wall paper you grow, expand your horizons, become more competent and sometimes you even gain a title such as teacher, doctor or minister. The wall paper becomes an archive of your life and accomplishments to the point where you may identify yourself by the labels on the paper but can't remember what it was you had started out to accomplish in the first place. Alas, like the pattern of lilies in the dinning room, this wall paper eventually loses its impact and, like an addict, you needsanother fix...another diploma...another certificate.

At the end of the day it is all about symbols and keeping records. Lack of interest, practice and due diligence slowly chips away at the competency so proudly claimed on the wall. That is, and unless, at the bottom of the certificate there is a date of expiration, a time at which a new certificate must be earned to replace the now out of date wall paper.

I need to get 30 CME (Continuing Medical Education) credits every two years in order to keep my license to practice. Not surprisingly, I take pride in the fact that that piece of wall paper is current. I also have to re certify every 4 years with the ACA to keep my level 4 open water instructor's certificate current. That one stays up there too. The two of them keep me on my toes, keep me motivated and make me safe for those with whom I work. My wall paper is cool because it is always in style. And I am so cool, I don't even put it on my walls but, rather, keep it all in a box in my basement. In the end, it is only important that I know they exist and that they are current.

Paddle safe...


Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Candy Store...
It Will Come To You

Just in time for Christmas, the Chesapeake Light Craft catalogue arrived in the mail. For those who might not know, CLC sells kits from which various kayaks can be built. I can tell you that the product is excellent and that even I can do it (although it looks like I did it all over my Arctic Tern, a wonderful Mark Rogers design...but I digress).

Complete, except for tools, most kits use a stitch and clue method with the holes already drilled in the preformed pieces of wood. Most boats take about 60-100 hours (not in a row) to complete and, if one works carefully, the results can be awesome. If you are just a bit more ambitious, consider a hybrid kit.

The hybrid boats use the easy and fast stitch and glue method to lay up the hull. The decks of these boats, however, are strips (also supplied in the kit). This lets you combine the ease of the original construction (hull) along with the beauty of a strip deck. With some creative staining one can produce a work of art.

You can also get other types of boats to build. This year they have added a kit for a 8'6" surf kayak (not for white water). And there is much more, including lots of accessories. If you want a catalogue, go on line at and contact the candy store.

Correction: Mark Rodgers designed the Artic Hawk.

Paddle safe...


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

(It's more than a kayak)

This isn't about kayaks. At least not exactly. It's about how we perceive things and one another. To begin, take a look at the masterful piece of art I've created through the miracle of PhotoShop. (Gorgeous, isn't it?) This one-of-a-kind and unnumbered work comes with a question. Answer it quickly with your first gut reaction. Is this a ramp with steps going up to the right or down from the right to the left?

Now, I can tell you that the vast majority of you (all 3 of you who have continued to read this far...but I digress) have answered that this is a set of stairs that goes up toward the right. If, however, you are multilingual, and your primary language happens to be a Semitic one, you will have said that the stairs starts at the right top and comes down. Why? Because most of you read English and do so from left to right. Consequently, you also "read" pictures from left to right. The opposite is true for those whose primary language is read right to left.

This is simple stuff and points out how our cultural backgrounds form our perceptions of one another. This simple phenomena can be further broken down into the components of our culture. Your religious beliefs or non beliefs will have a say in how you perceive my beliefs or non beliefs. Same for our mutual temperaments, style of dressing and, for that matter, life style. The thing is that in all these situations we tend to start with the premise that our (my) way is the right or, at least, the normal way. This can only result in perceiving one another as different, odd (well, that one may be true)'s where it becomes a problem...wrong.

More over, if you are different, odd and wrong, it takes just one simple step (call it bias) to conclude that you are dangerous, in which case I better not sit around and wait for you to discover the same about me and act out on it (Do unto others as they would do unto you. Just do it first).

Societies have experimented with segregation as a way of solving this problem (this only works when you keep the play boats at one end of the pool and the sea kayaks at the other). This, in turn, only led to isolation and re enforcement of the original premesises and fears. Call it prejudice.

It's a big ocean/lake/river out there, and it is filled with all sorts of plant and animal life that make it work. Kill off one species and others soon suffer. Dick around with the organisms and plants start to die or grow unchecked.

It's also a big world out there, and it is populated with all sorts of plant and animal life, not to mention minerals. Screw around with any of it and...well, Mother Nature will just stand for so much.

Padle safe...


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Is It Spring Yet?
I suspect not. In fact, winter hasn't officially begun, but it is already getting to me. In spite of increasing my exercise time (indoors), I am gaining weight. That is not healthy. In addition, I feel more bummed out in the morning (read: now) knowing that most of my day will be filled with boredom and inactivity. My fault.

Pool sessions offer some relief yet, even there, it gets old fast. I enjoy helping others work on their rolls more than I do spending time in the boat. After 30-40 minutes I've done all the rolls I care to do in one night. Alas.

There is something to look forward to: Joseph will be staying with us for a week. Lady Linda and I will be picking up our grandson in Chicago on Christmas day and bringing him home with us. His mom (a.k.a. daughter #1) will join us for New Year activities and then take him home to Cincinnati. At that point, I suspect, I will be ready to sleep long hours.

In February, we will be going somewhere warm with another couple, but it won't involve paddling. I am already looking forward to Canoecopia and the spring symposiums. Surviving between now and then and not becoming frankly obese will be my more immediate goals.

Self pity session over. Thanks.

Paddle safe...


Monday, December 17, 2007

When Good SEA Kayakers
Turn Bad

(JB before symptoms appeared)

Maybe it is the winter, I can't say, but I am seeing things change and people change. JB, a long-time SEA kayaker has recently gone Hollywood on us. Not content with being one of the finest teachers around, he has come to believe he has creative needs (everyone wants to direct...but I digress). So now he spends his pool time taking deep breaths and looking for bow-legged women in the shallow end of the pool. The YMCA has posted extra guards outside the women's locker room.

(Greg before symptoms appeared)

This is Greg in a beautiful strip SEA kayak which he built from scratch. He has also built other wooden boats as well as a couple of skin on frame boats. The only compromise this SEA kayaker has ever made was to go to a Euro paddle when he decided to become an instructor. The ultimate traditionalist, wouldn't you say? But then winter came, and old Greg (like JB) lost it. Thought he was a spring chicken pains me to report...turned up at the pool in (gasp) of those toy boats (made by Mattel?). There he was, this ex-SEA kayaker, spinning, rolling and just generally flopping around.

It's just me now. Winter hasn't affected me at all. I remain steady and sane, and I know it is meant for me to save the world of SEA kayakers from going off the deep end or, for that matter, the shallow end. You who live in the northern climates can help by watching for signs of insanity and digression amongst fellow SEA kayakers frozen off the waters.

Watch for changes in personality, practices and dress. Be especially wary of the ones who think they can put down the SEA kayak and pick up a pen (or a key board) and become writers.

Paddle safe...


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Stuck In The Snow...
For Now

Well, I won't be going south to paddle, at least not this month. I have an opportunity to do some work with an educational company here, and I need to go to their offices next week. Besides, I pulled my right trapezes while in the pool last evening (more on that tomorrow). It is in spasm this morning. I couldn't effectively paddle even if I wanted to.

I now look forward to the end of the month when my daughters and grandson will be here for a visit.

No one is paddling this morning...that I know about. So, off to meet them at the coffee shop. It seems I have nothing profound to say today (but I digress).

Paddle safe...


Saturday, December 15, 2007


As usually happens around this time of year, I've begun to reflect on the year about to go into the history books and wonder about what the new one will bring. Like the man who jumped off the sky scraper and, as he passed the 15th floor, was heard to say, "So far, so good."

This was the year my youngest daughter married and my older one had her first first grand child. Lady Linda and I had no real health problems, and for that we are grateful. I got many many days on the water, camped for the first time in years (and loved it...thanks, JB, Greg, Jennifer, Doug, Sherri, Bob), continued to improve my forward stroke (thanks, Gary), re certified and upgraded to open water ACA instructor (thanks, Sam), taught many classes and a few symposiums (thanks Nancy) and took many slow and frequently interrupted walks (thanks, Ansel).

As December brought cold and dreary days, I began looking for new and productive ways to fill my days. I recently made contact with a medical education firm, and we are going to see if I can be of value to them. This is totally new territory for me. I finally joined a gym so I would have somewhere open and bright to go to, some place with other people around. Time to whip the aging body back into least a different shape. I weigh 10 pounds more than I did when I was in college and when I competed in Judo, and I don't like it.

This is our original city hall here in Milwaukee (I actually now live in Glendale, an adjoining city...but I digress). There is a new one across the street, and they had thought about tearing her down. It was decided to give her another chance. Like myself, the building is a part of the landscape, showing her age and in need of some maintenance. Like myself, she is a long term project. Like myself, she has survived another year...and is still of some use.

Paddle safe...


Friday, December 14, 2007

The Falcon Is No More

For those of you who a new to this blog: The Falcon was a boat built in Milwaukee by a man who intended to sail her across the Atlantic. He never made it. Instead, he ran her aground close to the Milwaukee shoreline and left her to the elements. She was stranded for weeks, and the man could not be found. As it turns out, he had gone back to his home country somewhere across the Atlantic.The two photos above were supplied by Leslie Jahnke, one of out local kayakers (and Cajun-style accordionist...but I digress).

The Coast guard took a hands off position as the craft was not a hazard to navigation. The latest, as reported in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, is that a company was hired to get the corpse ashore and haul it away. Laden with ice, chains broke, and the hull would not go easily. Finally, she was cut into thirds and taken to a less than glorious finish. As I had said in one of my earlier posts, this ain't no way to treat a lady.

Paddle safe...


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Winter Is For The Birds...
and paddlers
(sorry if this reads like a diary entry)

What a difference a little sunshine makes. Yesterday found temps in the upper 20's and the wind calm. So, off to Lake Michigan, another mini seal launch and a peaceful paddle.Not much to say about it other than it does my head and soul good to be out there and not just sitting around the house. Next week promises to be warmer. This Saturday will be a pool day. Things are looking up for now. Meanwhile, I am thinking about getting away for a few days near the end of the month. I just need to be home at the end of the month as my oldest and my grand son will be here to party in the new year.

Paddle safe...


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sometimes It takes Balls
(and JB has got 'em)

The lowly tennis ball can play an interesting and valuable roll in a day on the water. This is true whether paddling alone or in a group.

An otherwise lethargic outing suddenly comes alive when a tennis ball comes out of no where and splashes just ahead of a paddler. Suddenly, there is energy in the group as we race to get the spherical missile in hopes of tossing it for someone else to fetch. I, too, like to chase the little devils since it requires good boat control and quick maneuvers. I don't, however, toss it very far as my rotator cuff doesn't tolerate such activity.

When paddling alone where there are no markers such as buoys on the water, a tennis ball can serve as a target to help tell if that hanging draw is really moving you side ways. Float a couple of them and you have a figure-8 course to go around...forwards and backwards.

Then there are the racers who show up in what I call thong boats. They tend to cruise at about 40 knots and make it hard for the rest of us to keep them in sight. Sometimes, however, they troll two balls, one on either side, thus producing enough resistance to bring them down to the speed of mortals.

So, consider adding a pair of these fuzzy wonders to your day hatch stash. Tennis any one?

Paddle safe...


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Okay, Rene'
No More Whining
(see comments on yesterday's post)
It wasn't the sunniest day of the year, but the temps were in the high 20's F. So, I took the Romany down to South Shore where it appeared I had inherited the entire area. At least it was easy moving the boat/sled around, and I did get to do a mini seal launch.
The wind was calm with a gentle roll on the outside of the breakwater. Here and there a buoy waited for spring to return.
The recently repaired break wall got its first taste of winter. The wall is even now, so I couldn't find the one rock that used to stick up. We used that rock as a landmark to help find a wreck that is in the area.

In any event, my mood and the day seemed brighter afterwards.

This just in...Rene' has developed a web site where several kayak oriented blogs (including this one) get published daily. It allows one to scroll through them all at one site. You will need to go to the indivual sites to post comments. Give it a try:

Paddle safe...


Monday, December 10, 2007

I Remember
The Good Old Days

In my many years I have experienced much and have created a storehouse of precious memories. Best among them are the visions of the good old days. Even my shrinking brain can remember back to when friends gathered at the shore of Lake Michigan, floated their kayaks and, like a small community, paddled off to enjoy what ever the weather and the water had to offer that day. Back then, as best as I can remember, we watched out for each other, practiced rescues and did the occasional roll. Some even brought waterproof cameras so that images like these would never be lost. So special and unique were these times that none of us wanted to see them slip into the past. And so, like myself, we began the oral history so that the next generation would know what we had done.And, upon returning, we helped one another empty boats, get them ashore and onto cars. These are the things I remember with great fondness, back then, before the chill factors went below 0 degrees F. and there was no dangerous ice to negotiate on the way to launching. Ah yes, I remember, with a tear in my eye, that wonderful November of 2007.

Paddle safe...


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Building a Picture

Work Flow: Part I
So here is a grab shot shown just as the camera captured it. Mildly interesting and blah, it needs work. It is not a technically good image, but I am using it to illustrate some basics that I've been asked about (via e mails).


In the second image I have used the clone tool to cover up the many small white floaters, especially around the bird. The eye is naturally drawn to bright spots in a picture, so the specks were detracting from the main subject. The photo has been cropped a bit.
Here some edge burning has been done and over all contrast has been adjusted.


In 4, I've burned in around the edges and slightly increased the contrast over all. The image has also been sharpened, something almost always necessary after manipulating an image. Am I happy with the picture now? Not really. I think the composition is a bit weak from the start. It could be cropped many different ways and manipulated to the extreme.

Like so. Paddle safe...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Old business
Ned, a local paddler, wrote to put me onto Enlightened Kayaks web site which has a good discussion on hull design, hull speed, displacement, etc. I recommend it.
New Business
Winter Strategies
The chill factor just now (at 5 is just above zero, and I may change my plans for paddling this morning. I am just sick of the cold (and it is only December...but I digress). I have been thinking what other (read: indoor) things I can do to occupy my time and thought I might start rummaging through old negatives and digital files. There must be a thousand images that I've never printed in a wet or electronic "dark room".

I started with some files of images shot in Italy, these at Lake Como. I have so many others. Perhaps I will do some step-by-step presentations of how I got from the original shot to the final image. I have several cold months in which to play with this idea.As you can tell from all my images, I am not wedded to any one type of subject but, rather, I will record anything to which my eye is drawn.

Winter is just starting.

Paddle safe...


Friday, December 07, 2007

Just For The Hull Of It
The Need For Speed

Of my four boats I mostly paddle my Romany. At 16 feet and with a good deal of rocker, it is a highly responsive craft. At the end of the day, however, it is only 16 feet in length, and I paddle with folks who are in boats as long as 17.5-18 feet in length. It seems that when I am amongst them I have to work a wee bit harder to keep up. Therefore, I have reasoned, I "need" to add one more boat to my chaotic collection in the garage. I need just one more, a long and sleek cruiser so I can more easily keep up. Turns out that I may be only half right.

The hull speed, or top speed, of a displacement hull is determined by its length. The longer the kayak or sailboat the higher the speed at which it will top out (tow it faster and it will start to climb out of its hole...but that is a digression for another discussion). Now, with kayaks we talk not only about hull (top) speed but also cruising speed, the speed that can be efficiently maintained over the long haul by an "average" paddler. I have been thinking that my top speed is more around the cruising speed of the long guys and that I was working much harder to keep up. Then I read an interesting article about hull designs on Sea Kayaker e-articles.

The article discusses tests on hulls that reveal that, while length does determine ultimate top speed, the resistances of all these boats going through the water is about the same up to speeds around 4-4.5 knots. Ergo, it takes about the same effort to keep a boat of any length around the cruising speed mark. Above 4.5 knots, the friction of water against the skin of the boat becomes the major factor in resistance and, hence, effort to maintain speed. Consequently, it takes lots more effort to drive a boat from cruising speed up to maximum or hull speed...regardless of its length but about the same effort to keep all hulls around 4 knots.

As it turns out, the best way to reduce the effort needed is by reducing the wetted surface and making the boat narrower. This, of course, may result in a design with less initial stability and make some paddlers uncomfortable. I wonder if Impex's Force boats fit this description. In any event, it appears that the modifications I had planned for my Romany won't solve my problem. Back to the gym.

Paddle safe...


Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Walk In The Park...
A Stroll On The Beach

Lady Linda is away and, not having a parakeet, most of my conversations yesterdat were with Ansel. The day was a cold but sunny, so the two of us decided to go to Doctor's Park for a walk (I drove...but I digress). I strapped on the snow shoes, and we headed down the slope to the beach.The wind was biting and out of the north (left on this photo). Mother Nature was using it to put on an art show.We took the snow covered and irregularly spaced "stairs" back up the bluff. It was a steep climb and had I been wearing a heart monitor it would have read TILT. At the top I paused to admire the view, wheeze and wait for the dizziness to pass, then headed for the car, home and hot coffee.

Paddle safe...