Sunday, April 02, 2006

A Sunday morning paddle

Newcomers can ask difficult questions. After yesterdays' pool session Suus asked me what the joy of kayaking is for me. I was struck dumb: that's what I am writing about in this blog... I can't give one simple answer to this. Kayaking has so many different aspects. But how do you tell someone who hasn't got the slightest clue of what seakayaking is about? I was just about to take my chance and tell Suus all about it, show her my kayaking pictures, Justines' videos, my kayaking library, and... ;-) But as Janine saw that glance coming up in my eyes, she took action and saved her sister.

So what is the joy of kayaking? Sometimes it's a social thing: having fun with friends on the water, in a pool, at sea or at shallow waters. Today however it was a private thing. This morning I got up early, Woerden was still asleep. I left the Pintail on the roof of my car after yesterdays' pool session. I drove 15 minutes to a little place called Noorden at the Nieuwkoopse Plassen, unloaded the kayak and paddled ahead. First in the lee of the bushes and last years reed. The water was like a mirror until the rain started dripping. The drips on the kayak and the water created an intimate atmosphere. I was alone with the waterbirds. After a few miles I entered another world, the wideness of the Noordeinder Plas. Wind was increasing, gales force 5 and 6 made the water lively. I forgot about the world around me, now it was the kayak and me, and I coursed different directions to test the behavior of the Pintail on windy conditions, paddled to lee shore to find some short steep waves. The Pintail is a playful boat but tracks surprisingly well under these conditions. When I got ready with playing I paddled back to Noorden. Packed the kayak on the car. And had a cup of tea with appletart in the café De Klinker. Here I met the first people: I had been paddling two hours without seeing any other boat on the water. I love being alone, once in a while!


derrick said...

you could have taken that top picture right here. Our worlds look a bit a like sometimes.

René van der Zwan said...

Hello Hans,

I can imagine you paddled your new Pintail in the rough conditions of a windy day. After all you will have to get used to a new kayak en its characteristics. This is a wise approach.

You write that "it tracks surprisingly well under these conditions" and under diferent courses compared to the wind.

I am just wondering if you used the variable skeg in doing this? Did you also try to paddle in different directions without using the skeg?

I ask this because in the early days of seakayaking, in the time the variable skeg was not yet invented, the Pintail was known ,as I recall it (just like its brother the AnasAcuta, that I still own), that it would turn quite a lot into the wind (weathercocking being the official description for this).

I think it is interesting to know if the Pintail can be managed during a long time while correcting the weathercocking Without using the variable skeg and without becoming too exhausted. (Just in case the skeg is letting you down some time sooner or later).

Susanne said...

The way you describe it, kayaking is like biking! I love to be the one that asks the simple questions that make you think.

And hé.....that's what sisters are for...


Hans said...

1. Hi derrick!
Wisconsin must be a great place too!
2. Hi René!
The Pintail was good to handle without using the skeg. Weathercocking was limited under these conditions and easy to correct. But the distances were to short to point our how fatiguing it will be on a long open crossing.
3. Hi Suus!
Keep on biking!