Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. the Buddha

Church day (two bladed paddle style)

Domestics day, and I decided that since I had managed to get a lot of that done yesterday, seeing how it was a total rainout for anything else, Self and Ghost-boat hit the lake today.   The local one, not the one 30 miles away that is more lively.   

Earlier in the week, I had a running conversation with a guy in Europe (amazing what we can do with internet, ain’t it?)  about my boats.   This guy has been paddling kayaks since I was a wet spot on the sheets; He has probably paddled every boat made or some variation on it.  Somehow, the discussion turned to performance (any conversation of a machine will ALWAYS turn to performance, be it a car engine, or computer, or some 3000 year old boat design) and Ghost-boat was brought up.  I mentioned that she felt sluggish on edge.   His first words after that: your seat is too far back, move it up an inch or so, and see if she improves.

So I pulled Ghosty up on to the porch, adjusted the seat forward, had to move the footpegs forward as well, and immediately noted two improvements: First, the cables for the rudder no longer try to wear a hole in my upper thighs.  Second, I was able to ‘roll’ her on edge and while I couldn’t hold it, it was so much easier.    Ok, Improvements mean water test.   

And today was perfect for it.   

The level at the lake was up 5′ from the last time I had been there.  Water at the shore is  now in the overhanging branches of the trees.   It wasn’t at its warmest, but then, we just had Noah’s Tribute dumped on us over the last three days; but the water was very clear (except at the head water, that was pretty murky.).  Water test time.

Immediately I noted that she was not Sluggish at all now: a little knee raise and that side rolls right up to the secondary point and locks in.  thats about 25 degrees of list.   I can hold it right around 10, but then I start getting shaky, but thats me, not the boat.   Paddling around the lake handling was even better than the last time I took her out, when B and I did our 34 mile sprint down the Cumberland lower.  I never needed the rudder, not once.   I don’t normally use a rudder, but there are times where wind or current gets you in the behind and you need that rudder (or skeg, if the boat has it) to help keep you pointed in the right directions.   Today, I would edge ‘out’ and the boat would just keep right on moving were I wanted to go, and that wind be damned.

She is touch slower though.   Maybe two points on the MPH scale, and I did note that to match Selkie, I have to put in an extreme amount more effort; definitely not a racer.  But then, Ghost is an expedition boat, meant to go for days/weeks without support and has the cargo space for it.  Her cruise speed is hovers right at 4 which is not a slouch of a boat by anymeans, but to get to 4.3; which is what Selkie averaged in that race, I had to double my efforts.  Really hammered down, I was able to get to 6.2, but that was a dead sprint and my arms were noodles after 100 yards of that.   And she didn’t hold it at all, watched the gauge on the GPS and as soon as I stopped paddling, it was like applying brakes and she was back down to that 4mph range in a second.   And then my wake caught up to me.  She can really make a wake at that speed.   Thats not something Selkie does: Selkie cuts in and out of the water with barely any wake, even at speed.

Slightly slower in speed, but better handling, in an expedition boat, that can operate as support and logistics for 3 people.  I didn’t try rolling today; shoulda, but didn’t, and never thought about it till just now.  Besides, I have rolled Ghost, and she was and should remain one of the easiest rollers I have.  Very forgiving of bad form, and now, with the seat moved forward, I CAN lay my head on the back deck without lifting my butt off the seat, or having the coaming dig a hole in  my kidneys.   And with how much easier it is to edge, I can safely assume that she will be even easier to roll up.

Gotta say, Dude really knew what he was talking about on this.   Ghost acts completely different, but better than before, and I only  moved that seat 1 inch.   That goes hand in hand with something I learned building these boats: One inch is HUGE when it boils down to a change in design.   There is a reason the Inuit built their boats for each individual: it was a proven design and everybody is built a little differently.

A couple hours on the Church of water, and I feel much more capable of dealing with the world at large again.   Took some pics, but signal around here is spotty, so y’all gotta deal with words only today.   And its spring, so while it was warm and sunny for a bit, the weather has been all over the place today and I started getting a little chilled when the clouds blew back in, so I called it good at that point.    Solo water day, and sometimes those are best.   Today was pretty good for it.


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