Saturday, 23 May 2009

Macclesfield Canal - 22nd May 2009

Clarke Lane to High Poynton Marina and back.

Finally got the new boat (Epic 18X) on the water. Noticeably fast than the Capella. Using the GPS it was cruising at 5.2-5.5mph and could get it up to over 6mph. This is compared to the Capella that cruised at under 5 and felt disproportionately hard work to get it to go much faster. On the way out I stopped to chat to Neil from the Macc CC which must have been for a few minutes, but still broke the hour. On the way back on a timed run I was just under 56 minutes. So although on shorter sections I was over 10% faster than the Capella, this wasn't reflected in a longer run.

Handling of the boat was interesting. Although it has a rudder I didn't really need it because the boat responds well to leaning. I need to tune the seat/footrest position as they are slightly far apart. I'm not used to having both adjustable. I also need to tweak the rudder cables - bit slack.

I'm using the new wing paddles and still getting used to them. I think my speed varies a lot depending how efficiently I'm paddling. A smoother stroke that makes less splash seems to make the boat go faster. I'm also trying to get a smooth "catch" - the initial placement of the blade in the water - again it seems to respond to a slightly deeper stab than I normally do. Trouble is keeping up good style over a long period. I need some coaching from the Macc CC marathon paddlers...

Monday, 18 May 2009

Macclesfield Canal - 18th May 2009

Launched at Clarke Lane and paddled down to Adelphi Mill to say hello to the Macc canoe club. I was using the wings again paddling with my GPS. I managed to get up to a top speed of just under 6mph. No idea how accurate the GPS is though. Really feels as thought you are trying to push the boat uphill so it will be interesting to see what speed I can get to when I get the new boat on the water.

Stayed out for abour 90 minutes doing short prints and longer intervals trying to get used to the required more vertical stroke.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Macclesfield Canal - 16th May 2009

Clarke Lane to Higher Poynton Marina and back. About 68 out, 63 back...

Tried out some new paddles - Bracsa VIII wings. I think they are going to take a bit of getting used to! Wing paddles require a stroke that keeps the paddle more vertical, but also moves out away from the boat. This forces you to rotate your body/shoulders rather than using your arms. I have been practicing a stroke like this, but it is more obvious with the wings when you get it right or wrong.

I'm also not sure what feather angle to use... I tried 45% and 90%. One thing I found was that I had to grip the handle tightly in my left control hand. Reason being that the paddle blades are angled away from the line of the shaft, and hence if you hold them loosely the centre of gravity of the paddle blades wants to rotate the paddle such that they sit at their lowest point. I found this a bit uncomfortable and I hope I get used to it. The shaft is round, not oval, and this may make this more difficult. Time will tell...

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Macclesfield Canal - 11th May 2009

Launched at Clarke Lane with Allen in the Rotobat. Paddled down the canal to meet the Macclesfield Canoe Club at Adelphi Mill. Allen had a session with one of the coaches (Pauline) and did very well. It was a bit cold though, so not sure if he enjoyed it that much. Paddled back to Clarke Lane.

Ravenglass - 10th May 2009

Paddle up the Esk estuary for a few miles with Gavin. Quite a few other boats on the water paddling the seaquest course and collecting the controls in. We drifted down the estuary to start with as there was quite a flow. Gavin was a bit wary (thoughts of big fish that might attack him!) so after a mile I put him on the tow rope and he was much happier. Played on the sand dunes (big cliffs of sand to jump down) before returning to Ravenglass. Wasn't really paying attention to the time, must have been out for a couple of hours. Lovely weather, total contrast to the day before. Nice cup of tea and a plate of chips in the cafe in the sun afterwards. Great weekend.

Ravenglass Seaquest - 9th May 2009

This is a 3 hour "score" type orienteering event that takes place in the 3 estuaries that converge at Ravenglass. Format is to punch as many controls as possible in the 3 hours. You get points for each punch, but the controls farthest away score more. If you are late back, you get time penalties.

You are looking for these...

Either in the water or on the bank. Here's the event map...

And they're off...

I was hoping to paddle my new boat, but the rudder pedal assembly is missing a part that the supplier is trying to track down. So I had to use the Capella, which in the circumstances was most likely a good idea anyway. The weather was mixed to say the least, with sun, rain, hail, moderate winds but ocassional squalls and downpours. This created some interesting conditions in some parts of the estuaries with waves that required crossing or gave assistance surfing. Only at one point was the weather really against me, as a squall hit me at the end of the Irt.

I came second overall with a score of 320 out of a possible 360. I missed 2 controls, one intentionally, one from not quite getting my navigation right. Thanks to Annette Morris and Phil Cheek for organising the event. Thanks to Gavin for taking the photos.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Macclesfield Canal - 2nd May 2009

Training paddle on the canal, Clarke Lane <> Higher Poynton Marina.
63 minutes each way, a lot of canal boat traffic though, so more like 61 each way. Not too bad since I've not paddled much the last 6 weeks.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Macclesfield Canal - 24th April 2009

Bit inactive at the moment - car has been off the road, been on holiday to the US for two weeks, and I'm just getting over a cold... or is it 'flu?....

Anyway, met up with Macc Canoe Club last friday night for a session on the canal. Needed to borrow a boat because my car wasn't going. Did about 4 miles in a "strimmer" - essentially a K1 trainer. Still tipped it over when I first got in it! - seemed fine after that.

Watch this space for new boat/paddle developments...