Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Portland Harbour to Weymouth Beach - 24th December 2008

Paddled out from Sandsfoot beach through the north channel of the breakwater, across the mouth of Weymouth harbour and on to Weymouth beach by the clock. Returned via Weymouth harbour (nearly went as far as the bridge). About 1 hour 45 minutes on the water.

Wind about F3 Easterly, slight swell once out of Portland harbour.

Saw a seal on the small reefs just off Sandsfoot Castle. Not seen a seal in Portland Harbour before.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Portland Harbour - 22nd December 2008

90 minute paddle from Sandsfoot beach. Went south to the southern entrance, then turned east and went on the outside of the break waters to the north entrance to return to Sandsfoot beach. Water dead calm on E of breakwater, very small waves in harbour.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Macclesfield Canal - 14th December 2008

Training paddle - Clark Lane to Higher Poynton and back. 63 minutes out, leisurely 75 minutes return. Pretty tired on return, bit unfit.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Walney Island - 16th November 2008

Second day of NWSK end of season meet.

Another sunny day! Wind died down to more a F2-3 NW.

Launched from the end of the road at Roa Island crossing to the S of Piel Island and then on to the S tip of Walney Island. Tide was running at about 2-3 Knots on the flood, so the crossing to Piel was an upstream ferry glide making use of eddy on far side of channel. More wildlife this end of Walney - saw a number of seals and a large number of birds on the preserve on the S tip.

Had lunch on a pebble beach (landranger ref SD208619) - interesting landing/launching in small 2ft dumping waves.

Paddled back round S side of Walney, but by this time the tide was ebbing and quite a flow was against us on the S tip of the island causing a small race at one point. Visited Piel Island on the way back to see the castle (pub closed!). Finished around 4pm in the sunset. Again paddled with about 7 other NWSK'ers.

Walney Island - 15th November 2008

First day of the NWSK end of season meet based at the Duddon Sands Hostel & Ship Inn, Kirkby-in-Furness. Sunny, with a F4 Westerly.

Launched from just N of the road bridge on to Walney Island, on a slipway on the island side. Paddled N up the channel stopping for a bit to eat on the N tip of Walney Island before venturing out round on to the more exposed side. Tide was running quite fast when we launched again creating small standing waves just off our lunch spot.

Fairly bumpy conditions rounding the N tip, then paddled S just outside the surf zone. Landed on a small sandy beach near to where the cars were parked (end of W Shore Road) and then prepared for a surfing session (i.e. put helmet on!). Wave height may be up to 3ft. Quite a few rocks just under the surface and these came out of the water as the tide went out.

Quick roll at end of day. Must have been on the water about 4 hours. Accompanied by about 8 other NWSKer's.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Storm Gathering - Anglesey 27th October 2008

Final day of Storm Gathering symposium.

Launched from Porth Dafarch and paddled out to Penrhyn Mawr. NW F4-5 winds. When we started out the tide was still ebbing, so no race was present but conditions N of the headland were very choppy with fairly large swell occasionally breaking (not steep, so easy to just brace on if necessary).

Paddled back through the rocks off the headland doing some rock hopping negotiating small channels that were quite exciting with the swell/breaking waves. One member of the group capsized in one of the channels and failed to roll due to being pinned to rocks, so I performed rescue.

Stopped for lunch at a small beach just S of the headland. After lunch we returned to the headland as the tide had turned and the flow was now moving through the rocks. The flow running against the swell was creating large waves. Group was surfing and playing in the waves for about an hour. Waves were generally building in size and getting steeper and breaking more violently. One member of the group looped, capsized and rolled, so they must have been quite big. After that, conditions were too exciting to have a large number of people out so the coaches got us all out of the race and paddled back to the beach.

If anyone had fallen in on the main race it would have been quite exciting to rescue them with the wave train going on for a long way. Likely outcome would have been that rescued person would be back in their boat, but with breaking waves likely to have swamped the cockpit while getting back in and putting spray deck on. Wobbly boat then needing lengthy assisted tow to calmer water to empty rest of the water out and then to paddle back up to the headland....

Coached by Tony Hammock initially, then by Nick Cunliffe (who runs surflines in Llanberis) in the rough stuff. Tony commented that my forward stroke did not seem to go deep enough, so I concentrated on a deeper, longer stroke that seemed to increase my speed into headwinds. Typical problem with ex-slalom paddlers apparently...

Storm Gathering - Anglesey 26th October 2008

Second day of Storm Gathering symposium.

Wind had died down to only F5-6 W. Mainly sunny overhead conditions, but with the occassional heavy shower passing through quickly.

Launched at Porth Eilian. Nice sheltered pebble beach.

Paddled out to Point Lynas to play in the ebbing tide that was creating a small race off the end of the point. W'ly swell was against the E -> W flowing tide creating (small) waves that could be surfed.

After playing for about 30 minutes, turned round to paddle W into very strong winds. Had lunch stop in Amlwch harbour. After lunch the tide had turned and we attempted to carry on to Bull Bay but were battling tide and wind now and not all the group were strong enough to get through the channel between East Mouse Island and the headland (I got through with 3 others but had to turn round to rejoin main group with the coaches).

Group returned quickly to Porth Eilian. We were coached by Sid Sinfield and Guto Wyn.

Storm Gathering - Anglesey 25th October 2008

First day of the 3 day "Storm Gathering" symposium based at Anglesey Outdoors on Holy Island. The event was organised by Mark Tozer who arranged a number of coaches to attend to run sessions over the 3 days.

Inshore weather forecast was for F9 SW gales, so the only sensible place to paddle was in the Menai Straights. Launched from a slipway in the village of Menai Bridge, just a couple of hundred metres NE of the bridge on the N side of the channel.

Coached by Phil Clegg on basic technique obviously adapted to cope with the wind conditions. Wind was still gusting along the straights, but still just possible to paddle into. Some moving water in the area between the two bridges allowing break-in/break-out practice. Didn't get to play on the "swellies" wave just slightly nearer to the Britannia Bridge.

We were on the water for a couple of hours.

Prior to paddling we had a indoor session on route planning. Involved looking at charts, plotting routes using tide flows etc.

Friday, 17 October 2008

New purchase!

Bought a typhoon Multisport dry suit for the winter. Going to the Storm Gathering symposium on Anglesey next weekend and needed something more substantial if we will be doing rescues.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Abersoch and St Tudwal's East - 12th October 2008

Returned to St Tudwal's but in calm and sunny conditions. Seals and Cormorants present again. About 4.3 miles round trip.

Nice caves...

Returned to Abersoch beach to paddle with Kieron Hudson, Andy Smith and Stephen Gunby. Andy and Kieron had a go in my Capella and appreciated its performance compared to the rotobat and SoT that we had with us. Converts?... maybe next time.

St Tudwal's East and West Island - 11th October 2008

Launched from the town beach in Abersoch. Paddled round the coast to Trwyn Yr Wylfa before crossing to St Tudwal's Island West then on to St Tudwal's Island East and then back to Abersoch. About 6.5 miles round trip.

Launched around midday, low tide was 13:19, returned 13:40. No appreciable tide.

Weather was overcast with moderate visibility to start with, worsening in rain such that compass was used to return to Abersoch as mainland was not visible.

Wind about SW F3, about 3 foot swell near Twryn Yr Wylfa. Quite confused waves due to reflection from cliffs. Much calmer once round to E of St Tudwal's East which was a lee shore. Woman on moored yacht offered me a cup of tea! (refused because I was needing a pee already....)

Cormorants and seals around St Tudwal's East along with more interesting cliff scenary. No place to land easily on either island. One seal followed me closely for 500 metres from St Tudwal's East on return to Abersoch.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Fleetwood Seaquest - 20th September 2008

Format for this year's seaquest was slightly different from previous events. In the past there have been a number of controls to punch (orienteering style) that necessitated getting out of your boat. This year the event was more of an out and out race with only a punch at the turning point.

I entered the longer "seaquest" event that was advertised as 22kms round trip. I finished 2nd single kayak in a time of 2:07:43, just over a minute behind the winner, Glen Parry. Glen was paddling an Epic 18 which is a lot faster than my Capella 163. Might need to spend some money if I'm going to take these events seriously!

Weather was great and the event was very friendly with a BBQ afterwards at the outdoor action group base in Fleetwood.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

RYA GMDSS course - 16/17th September 2008

Just spent 2 evenings in class getting my Short Range Radio qualification. I can use a VHF marine radio legally now. Just need to think of a name for my kayak now when talking to the coastguard...

Monday, 15 September 2008

Macclesfield Canal - 14th September 2008

Training paddle on Macclesfield Canal. Clarke Lane to High Lane and back.
Clarke Lane to Higher Poynton Marina - 61 minutes
Turned at 88 minutes, back to Higher Poynton at 112 minutes.
Higher Poynton to Clarke Lane return - 65 minutes. Total 175 minutes.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Macclesfield Canal - 8th September 2008

Training paddle on Macc Canal. Clarke Lane to Lyme View Marina and back. 7.44 miles total. Approx 41 minutes on the return.
Talked to Mark Finch from Macc CC and had a quick go with some racing wing paddles. Funny to start off with, but once going seemed more stable. Need to try some out properly (left handed might help too!)

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Macclesfield Canal - 1st September 2008

Training paddle on Macc canal. 59.00 minutes from Clark Lane to Higher Poynton Marina. 10.4 miles round trip.
Usual chat with Macc CC on return.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Kimmeridge to Durdle Door and back - 23rd August 2008

Return trip from Kimmeridge to Durdle Door and back. Hw Lulworth Cove 11.29.

Weather sunny, wind about F4 from the SW. Sea state 3, confused waves by cliffs between Mupe Bay and Lulworth and from Lulworth round to Durdle Door. Pictures make it look calmer than what it actually was!

Departed Kimmeridge about 10am, arrived Durdle Door about 1.15pm, stopped for lunch in the cove to the east of Durdle Door. Departed lunch spot at 2pm, arrived back at Kimmeridge 3.30pm!

Outward paddle was against perhaps a 1 knot tide in the first part. Return trip was in quartering sea from the SW requiring continual correction, though skeg seemed to work well.

Loads of other kayakers/SOTs around.

Paddled with Julian Trigg. Julian sprouted a sail for the return trip!

Photos courtesy of Julian - see his website.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Portland Harbour - 20th August 2008

Another session with the kids. I did a few rolls in the rotobat. RH rolls fine, LH not so good - first one was fine, second roll went deep and pushed off bottom. Need to practive some more! - couldn't find my noseclip though which would have made a prolonged rolling session more comfortable. Allen is looking pretty good, and Gavin was much improved from yesterday.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Portland Harbour - 17th August 2008

Another session introducing my two sons to canoeing. We launched from Castle Cove sailing club beach. This time Allen (9 y.o) had his first go in the Rotobat and took to it fairly well. He also had a quick go in my Capella and appreciated how well it kept going in a straight line. Both boys did a capsize drill but without spraydecks. We spent at least an hour paddling with Allen being in the boat most of time. Conditions were a lot more benign compared to Saturday.

I did a few rolls - left and right handed, but I'm still concerned that my rolls are OK when I set up, but when I capsize and put the paddle into position afterwards they aren't so good. My theory is that my "instinctive roll" is used to 90 degrees feathered paddles, not the 45 degrees I'm now using. Since my paddles are left handed, but my preferred roll is right handed, I don't have a shaped shaft on the RHS. Need more practice...

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Portland Harbour - 16th August 2008

Introduced my son Gavin (age 7) to his first kayak session. He played about for 15 minutes in some very small surf paddling forwards and trying to keep the boat straight with backward strokes. He liked it when waves pushed him towards the beach, and he didn't fall in. Bit too windy (F5?) to be able to do much with, I was standing alongside him and helping him paddle out and to straighten the boat up. Gavin was paddling my old Rotobat. I had a quick play for 15 minutes in the Rotobat afterwards while Gavin played with a foam belly board. I hope I didn't put him off! He seemed quite happy afterwards and was talking about it when he got home.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Macclesfield Canal - 11th August 2008

Training paddle on Macc canal. 61.40 minutes from Clark Lane to Higher Poynton Marina. 10.4 miles round trip.
Usual chat with Macc CC on return.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Macclesfield Canal - 28th July 2008

Training paddle on Macc canal. 63 minutes from Clark Lane to Higher Poynton Marina. 10.4 miles round trip.
Stopped to talk to Macc CC members on return.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Penrhyn Mawr - 26th July 2008

Low tide Porth Dafarch approx 10.21. Tidal range at Treardur Bay: L 1.2m, H 4.5m. Sea state 2. Wind variable F2. Estimated max tidal flow at Penrhyn Mawr 3 knots.

Launched from Porth Dafarch beach at about 9:45. Reached Penrhyn Mawr about half an hour later. Tide race starting to run, small 1ft waves initially, but later built up to max 4ft on the outer race. Played around crossing the different waves/flows. Returned to Porth Dafarch about 2.30pm. Paddled with Adrian Pullin, Paul Taylor, Dave Lynch, Richard Barratt.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Pre-blog outings

September 29th 2007 - Short paddle off of St Bees. Small surf, no wind. Tried out Capella 167, Aquanaut and Alaw Bach kayaks. Found the Capella the most comfortable. Paddled with Phil Cheek and Annette Morris.

September 30th 2007 - Paddle around Ravenglass estuary. Tried out Romany HV. Paddled with Phil Cheek, Annette Morris, Chris Cripps and Polly.

December 26th 2007 - Launched from Sandsfoot beach. Paddled across Portland harbour to southern entrance, then back around the outside of the breakwaters returning to Sandsfoot beach. Sea calm, weather sunny, no wind. Accompanied by Clive Joyner from the Portland Canoe Club.

April 12th 2008 - Ravenglass seaquest organised by Annette Morris and Phil Cheek. 3 hour score orienteering event. Sunny and still conditions. 5th male solo kayak.

April 13th 2008 - Wastwater. Sunny with a light wind. Paddled circumference of lake. Accompanied by Phil, Chris, Annette and a few others from the seaquest.

May 3rd 2008 - Kimmeridge bay to Bat's Head and back. Fair weather, SE wind perhaps up to F4 made return paddle tiring. Paddled with Kev Robinson, Jean ? Glen Parry, Jean Brown from NWSK.

May 5th 2008 - Launched from Sandsfoot beach. Paddled across Portland Harbour to southern entrance and back via inside of breakwaters. Solo. No wind, sunny.

June 2nd 2008 - Paddled from Bhaltos Pier, Isle of Lewis. Circumnavigated Pabaigh Mor and Eilean Bhacasaigh, though missing out the northern most tip by paddling through the lagoon. N and E sides of the island more exposed with moderate swell and clapotis. Wind about F3 from SW. Solo.

June 5th 2008 - Paddled from Bhaltos Pier, Isle of Lewis. Paddled round northern tip of Pabaigh Mor, across west Loch Beag to pass round Greineam to then have short stop at Tobson. Returned via Eunaigh Mor and back to Bhaltos. Met two female kayakers back at Eilean Bhacasaigh. Solo. Light wind from SW, small swell. Again "lively" rounding N tip of Pabaigh Mor.

June 6th 2008 - Paddled from Bhaltos Pier, Isle of Lewis. Paddled round N tip of Pabaigh Mor, then NE to round Seana Chnoc, S to the E of Bearasaigh and Flodaigh, then back to Bhaltos via S side of Pabaigh Mor. Saw small school of porpoises - scary when paddling solo! Birdlife spectacular - razorbills, eider ducks, gannets, terns. Light swell crossing Loch Beag, confused water of N side of Seana Chnoc. Light winds from SW. Solo.

June 26th 2008 - Sea kayak rescue practice at Brereton lake. Macclesfield CC. Performed self rescue and re-entry and roll. Performed group rescues using various re-entry techniques. Practiced rolling, but failed to do a reverse screw!