Carbon vs Glass


I really like my Werner Little Dipper because it is so light and easy on my body.  I did have to shorten mine but it does come from the factory in 215cm which seems about right.  I think I shortened mine down to 213 cm.  I noticed the NRS having a sale so they are a really good buy right now.  The premium for a full carbon is about $75 for about two ounces.  I got mine used, but if I was buying one new I'm not certain I'd notice the difference in the two ounces.  Even on a 20 plus mile day I think paddle length and shape make a lot more difference than weight.  

As far as paddle shape goes, nothing is more comfortable in warm weather than my Lumpy Paddle. I really wish I could get a two piece model.  It's getting a few big lumps on it so maybe some day I'll modify it.  In the mean time it is winter so I'm paddling with a single blade most of the time to keep my hands warm and dry.

Are they real?

Check out the story here:

Those seem a lot bigger than any humpback whales I've seen.  The closest I got was less than a half mile off the beach from Ocracoke Island.  I'd say the whale was about 40 feet long, but it is hard to estimate the size of something that big swimming under your boat.  The ones in the picture above have such big heads sticking out of the water they must be over a 100 feet long!  I've never seen them feed like that. It must be pretty special to watch.

I have to admit that because I spend a lot of time outdoors I'm pretty indifferent to most wildlife I see, but I'm always excited to see whales and dolphins.  Here is some more info about the North Carolina humpbacks that I have seen on our coast between December and February:

Am I canoeing or kayaking?

Recently I got into a very short discussion of what constituted a canoe vs. what was a kayak.  A very experienced friend of mine said that the blade is what makes the difference. So whenever I switch to a single I'm canoeing. And whenever I use a double I'm kayaking.  Too bad there are no canoeing instructors around as I'd really like some tips on my forward single blade stroke.  I bend forward and back with the single blade stroke doing little ab crunches as I go along.  With the double blade the core movement is rotating side to side.

By the way I think the ideal kayak touring blade is a 46 to48 inch bent shaft single blade.  I like to use that whenever I am not using my Lumpy Paddles Greenland Paddle.  I prefer the double when it is really rough, but the rest of the time I keep up with groups just fine with a single.

The advantages of the single are:  light weight, change of motion provides a rest break for some muscles, no useless second blade catching wind over your head, and DRY HANDS.  Try one this winter!

Thanks for letting me tag along!

I had the most wonderful time sailing with my Tarpon 160 and my Flat Earth Kayak Sail this weekend.  From the boat launching beach at Shell Point on Harker's Island it was a mostly down wind run out to the light house.  The wind was opposing the tidal current so the were places with really fun waves and I did stuff the boat all the way up to my knees a few times.  Luckily I arrived with dry hot dog buns and dogs to share with those who had been there since Friday afternoon.  You never saw people like hot dogs so much! The whole pack disappeared quickly.

The wind howled all night but I still got about five hours of sleep and then plenty of rest.  The next day we walked around the beach and then paddled back against the winds. It was mostly in our faces all the way back and it was the usual 10 with a few gusts to 20 mph you get out there but a lot of time is was steady winds at just enough speed to keep up the chop and the whitecaps.

I wish I could do it all again every weekend, but it is a lot of work for a short trip.

I figured almost seven hours driving, almost seven hours paddling, two hours beach walking, a few hours by the campfire, about two hours packing all the gear, and about four hours getting all the gear rinsed and dried and repacked and getting the salt spray washed off the car.

I'm really hoping you share a comment below about any ideas you have for making the rinsing and drying and repacking part faster.

Excellent Incident report!

I think everyone who paddles in a group should read this wonderful report here:

I don't know how many times I've been on trips where things haven't gone as planned, but I think careful analysis can help us prevent problems like this in the future.

In the real world I often hear that we are going to stay together and the strongest paddlers should paddle sweep. In this case the strongest paddlers did stay out to help those in trouble. But I have been out a number of times where the winds pick up the group spreads out and the strongest end up at the take out.

I hope sharing what can happen will help groups realize that they are only safer when they stick together and keep track of each other.  If you cannot talk to all the paddlers in you group you may be too far apart. So let's paddle together or at least realize when you are not in clear hearing range of each group member you are each paddling alone.

Sail Problems

I really like this sail rig because it is large enough to help on most days and it can be easily reefed, but when I do reef it is sometimes comes loose at the boom.

As you can see in this sail the sheet actually attaches to the front of the boom to keep the deck over my legs clear of lines. So on the boom I have fashioned a large hook from and aluminum strip that clips the sail to the mast.  The hook allows me to pull the boom back and then roll up the sail and quickly reset it at the mast.  However this hook does not have enough sprint to keep on the mast at all times. And as you would expect it comes off of the mast at the worst times.

Now that I've got my rudder rebuilt for this boat, I'd like to get this reefing system more robust. If you have any ideas to make this better, I'd sure like to hear from you.

 Until then I think I'll just use my Tarpon 160 with my Flat Earth sail as we have had plenty of wind lately.

Rudders can be a pain.

Mostly I think rudders are very handy. Especially when I'm sailing or paddling with a single blade. But they break in the surf and they are a hassle in shallow rocky rivers or weedy areas.  I don't want it for turning the boat I just want it to work as a trim tab.  Mostly they work great, but I'd like one that did not break.

In my quest for a better rudder for my Cobra Expedition. I have taken a page from Mirage kayaks and fashioned a lower aspect rudder with a much longer cord length.  It always stays down and is very strong.  It is a flat plate so there is too much drag. Maybe I can have someone make a thicker one and shape it like a foil for less drag.

I think the ideal one might be very close to what Mirage has already done.  I wonder if they make any boats out of plastic or that are Sit on Tops since that is the type of boat I like most these days.

An old source for big paddlers has been rediscovered!

Over on Pnet a post showed an internet archive of a website by Wes Boyd that is no longer available!  Here it is:

I had no idea you could find archieves of old websites with all the information.  It is a really great source for Sea Hogs who are looking for a new boat or gear.

Water Tribe Race and a Cobra Kayak Blog

I've been following the Watertribe North Carolina Challenge this weekend.  The weather has been windy and colder than other years but they still had record attendance and great times.  I cannot wait to hear and read the racers stories. Check it out by clicking on the Watertribe link:

I've been working on my Cobra Expedition and making a new rudder.  I'm planning for one that is always down and very strong inspired by the design I've seen on a friends Mirage Kayak.

Also I found another Cobra Kayak paddler that really likes his racing Cobra Viper.  Check out his blog at:

And finally I went paddling for about the fifth time in our new to us Wilderness Systems Manteo.  It is a pretty nice do everything rec boat.  I took my instructor training in it because it was the only closed cockpit boat that I thought I could sit inside all day.  The front deck is very low but very wide.  The boat is 27 inches wide but paddles faster and handles well because of the v shaped hull and the hard chines.  I don't think it would be an easy but to roll but cowboy rescues are easy with it.