15 December, 2010

Update, Late but better than never

Well, it has been several months since I updated this blog. Sorry, but I have been very busy and I am already making new plans.

At the end of September I participated in the Watertribe North Carolina Challenge. This was my first time in a Watertribe event. Since early Spring I worked at modifying my 14.5' Wilderness Systems creek kayak to compete in Class 3, Kayaks with sails and outriggers. All the practice and work on the boat paid out. I came in sixth in the race and first in Class 3. (22 Hours, 37 Minutes) The weather was challenging but far from the worst that I have seen in this boat. The first leg to Cedar island had no wind. I made the mistake of putting my sail up at the start. See the above picture. The Neuse River was all head winds. This is the worst situation for this boat because of the poor tracking. At Harlowe Canal I caught up and passed my chief Class 3 competitor, Whitecaps. We just caught the end of the tide and got a small boost throught the canal. In the Newport River I took a short cut through the marshes gaining a full half hour on Whitecaps. After we turned the corner in Beaufort the wind was 15 knots with us. The run down Core Sound was very fast. I should have reefed much sooner. Running into a Pound Net did not help and I had to flip the boat on purpose to keep the outrigger from getting torn off. It is not much fun to bail the boat in breaking seas at 2AM after paddling all day. I made it back to Cedar Island before sunrise. I will be doing the NCC again next year. This is a good fast race, a perfect way to get into the Watertribe experience. The logistics are much simpler because it starts and ends in the same place.

Now for the new plan. I will be doing the Watertribe Everglades Challenge in March. The boat will be a Hobie Tandem Island. It is a much more stable platform. I will run much further off shore. Practice runs will be through the winter. More to come.