Saturday, 20 November 2010

Puffin Island - 14th November 2010

Second day of the NWSK end of season meet. Although the wind had died down a fair bit, there was still plenty of swell on the W side of Anglesey, so most opted for the sheltered paddle around Puffin Island.

We launched from a beach just short of the toll collection point on the road to Trwyn Penmon and paddled out to the wreck that lies just off shore on a sandbank. At low tides you can actually paddle inside it, but the tide was not low enough today.

We headed out around Puffin anti-clockwise and on the SE side there were many seals and cormorants. The seals were in playful mood and following the boats pulling on toggles and showing a lot of interest in us.
As we rounded the NE end of the island the conditions were a lot rougher with waves of a couple of feet. The Xplore handled the conditions nicely and it was good to have a boat that felt responsive and that is a snug fit for me. The skies at this point were very dramatic with double rainbows and dark clouds.
We landed on the pebble beach just to the W of the lighthouse for a quick snack and then made our way back to the cars and stopped off in the excellent "Big Red Boat" coffee/ice cream shop for a cake and coffee.
Just over 8km paddled.

Moelfre to Point Lynas - 13th November 2010

First day of the North West Sea Kayakers end of season meet, and also first day on salt water for the new boat!

The weather had been pretty wild the day before, but was calming down on the Saturday. We still opted to paddle on the more sheltered NE coast of Anglesey as the forecast was still up to F5 from the W. High tide was 3pm Liverpool, which meant the tide was flooding as we paddled north. In theory this should be against the tide, but the tide eddies around Point Lynas to create a N'erly flow.

The sun was shining and the conditions were quite pleasant in the shelter of the small cliffs on the outward leg.

In the more exposed bays the sidewind was noticeable and the Xplore had a tendency to luff towards the wind if the skeg was not deployed. This is normal handling characteristics for most boats, but it still seemed strange having to use correcting strokes or a bit of lean compared to using the rudder on the Epic.

We had a lunchtime stop a couple of kilometers short of Point Lynas, shuffling around on the rocks to keep in the sun as it moved behind the slope behind the beach.

Heading off again we made quick progress to Point Lynas and once around the tip we were exposed to rougher conditions with some confused swell of a couple of feet.

On the return paddle we rounded the small island of Ynys Dulas with it's tower and seal colony. By this time it had clouded over slightly giving dramatic cloud/light. The return paddle was against the tide and at times we were only making 2-3kph as a group.

Paddled as a group of 8 singles and one double. About 20km.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Macclesfield Canal - 7th November 2010

Clarke Lane <-> Higher Poynton Marina.

I've been thinking about re-organising my "fleet" of boats, and when I noticed Knoydart were having a sale I jumped at the chance to buy a boat at a (slightly) discounted price!... so I'm now the proud owner of a Tiderace Xplore S. Just so happens that the colour is my usual - white hull and deck.

So I paddled the Xplore on the canal instead of the Epic and made the outward trip in 57:54... slower than the Epic as would be expected, but seems to be faster than the Capella. I hope that is the case, since that's one of the reasons I bought it. I've tried a number of boats in this class, but to me it seemed to have the best cockpit ergonomics for my short legs with a very positive feel as my knees fit comfortably under the thigh grips. Just need to see how it handles in rougher water at Anglesey next weekend.

The Capella is now for sale on a number of forums...