Sunday, 26 July 2015

Brereton Lake Rolling Sessions - July 2015

I went to Brereton for 3 of the Thursday night club sessions and worked on my rolling to various degrees. As I improve my right-sided rolls, my left-sided rolls still do not get any better. On my right I have done the traditional lay-back roll, storm roll, butterfly roll and pry roll. Still struggling on the forward finishing rolls, but having a few successful attempts at the pry roll on my last session was encouraging.

Macclesfield Hasler Race - 12th July 2015

Last year I did all the electronic entry and results for this race, so I wasn't able to paddle. This year my services weren't required, so I had no excuse.

There were 11 boats in my class, so I decided to hang around at the back of the start to avoid the mayhem of everyone trying to get through the narrow gap at the first bridge. This strategy seemed to pay-off as a I gradually then picked off my competitors one-by-one. As I got nearer the front this started to prove to be a bit harder, and I settled down in fourth place.

The canal was quite busy with barges that caused us to wait at a few of the bridges which broke the race up a bit. When you know you are going to have to wait, it's not very sporting to overtake as people are slowing down, but then once the blockage has passed the people in front get away first and can establish a bit of a gap again. And so it carried on for the return leg (the race was 4 miles in total, 2 miles out, turnaround, 2 miles back) when I got close, the boats in front would get away again at the next restriction. I got into 3rd place, but run out of time to improve on that position.

So my tactics were too cautious - I should have partaken in the sprint at the start and hopefully got to the front. Oh well, maybe next year.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Coquet Island Race - 28th June 2015

Race bibs drying after the event
After our exploits on the Farnes, we set off early to make our way down to Amble where the annual Coquest Island canoe race takes place. On our arrival we were suitably impressed with the new clubhouse, fully equipped with kitchen, showers and toilets that means the event is a lot more civilised now - no more peeing in the hedgerow!

The conditions for the race were a moderate breeze that created some small waves, but nothing too desperate.

I was paddling my Xplore rather than my Epic, so I wasn't expecting to be too competitive, but so long as I beat Jim I didn't mind!

As we headed out from the harbour into the more open water the surf skis and a couple of the faster kayaks started pulling away, but I was having my own race with a few other boats nearby. As we approached the island we were greeted by a large number of seals plus the entertainment of one of the skis struggling with the conditions.

On rounding the southern end of the island there were waves breaking on the reefs and I tried to cut it as close as I could without getting caught in the break. Having not learnt my lesson from 24 hours previously, just as I paddled over the reefs, a bigger set of waves came in and I found myself bongo-sliding towards the rocks again. I managed to pull myself off the wave, but had to paddle backwards to get out of the area of breaking water. By this time I had lost about 6 places, and also provided some laughs to those that saw my misfortune.

The return leg back to the harbour was just off being downwind, so I could surf some of the waves and I managed to regain all the places I lost from my excursion onto the island. I was 9th boat back, 2nd "traditional" sea kayak. Interesting to note all the first 4 places were taken by over 55s... where are all the youngsters?

Oh, and I beat Jim.