Saturday, November 26, 2005

What's up with the Kruger?

Many of my kayaking friends don't quite understand my interest in the Kruger Dreamcatcher, it is certainly a different type of boat than those I've paddled before. But I have enjoyed paddling it so much that I've retired my NKD Explorer till after the Challenge. The Dreamcatcher is the very same boat as the Kruger SeaWind but it has a stern bulkhead and is more decked resulting in a smaller "seakayak like" cockpit. A recent review in Paddler Magazine's Nov/Dec 2005 issue on "Decked Touring and Tripping Canoes" explains it all quite nicely.

The following are excerpts from the article, parts from the review of the Kruger SeaWind:

"The SeaWind is impressively competent in rough water conditions. The hull is affected so little by adverse conditions that it almost felt bland, tempting the paddler to become detached from the usual on-water awareness. If you want to cover serious miles, a lively boat can be physically and mentally tireing. For eating up distance on an expedition, bland is good."

".... the SeaWind reached a comfortable cruising speed with ease and held it with little effort. It's not a sprint boat, but if you like to paddle the SeaWind won't give you reason to stop."

"The shallow arch and slight rocker make the SeaWind surprisingly maneuverable for a 17-foot boat, especially with the rudder engaged, it was easily the most maneuverable of our big-boat troika."

"The seating comfort was superb. Kruger professed that his number-one requirement was comfort and he designed his seats to be comfortable for long days on end."

"The SeaWind is cavernous. Many small cars won't haul as much gear as this hull..."

"The construction is bombproof. The busy appearance of the hull may not win any beauty contests, but it's put together for a purpose - to be comfortable, efficient, and not to fail."

"The SeaWind is the culmination of 80,000 miles of expedition paddling and the end result of Kruger's experimentation with 48 canoe designs. He called it the ultimate solo tripping canoe. He was right."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Other Watertribe Member Websites

There are a few other WaterTribe members planning to participate in the Ultimate Challenge with websites that include information about thier training and planning.

Nick Hall (aka Pelican) is a Kruger Canoe pedal-er/paddler registered in the Ultimate Challenge. His SeaWind was outfitted with the Hobie Mirage Pedals. Pelican has entered 5 and completed 4 previous WaterTribe Challenges, including the 2003 Michigan Challenge. Check out the pages "Pelican's Poop" on Pelican's website it's his journal as he prepares for the UC, informative and entertaining, his sponsors must love him (unabashed promoting).

Marek Uliasz (aka Wayfarer), is known to many as Mountain Wayfarer among those who search out kayaking websites. Wayfarer's website and new blog is one of the nicest around, his photos are inspirational. His site also hosts a continual virtual kayak race, a great resource for training and boat comparisons. Wayfarer also paddles a Kruger SeaWind in the WaterTribe Challenges (are you asking yourself yet, "what's with these Krugers?"), and he reports in his blog that he is planning to roller blade tow the 40 mile portage.

Mark Przedwojewski (aka ManitouCruiser) is the most decorated of all WaterTribe Members, entering and completing 7 WaterTribe Challenges. Mark is also the owner of Kruger Canoes, and is sponsoring me in this race by lending me his Dreamcatcher. Please visit the Kruger Canoe website, to learn more about these great boats. My website and this blog will also continue to report on my experiences with the Kruger Dreamcatcher, I'm really loving this boat.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Weekend Paddling Trip Lea Hutaff Island, 11/19/05

Lea-Hutaff Island

Measuring roughly four miles long and just a couple of hundred yards wide, Lea-Hutaff Island, situated between Figure Eight and Topsail islands, is probably the best example of an undeveloped barrier island in the entire state

A last minute trip to the coast with Dee and Kristen, paddling from Wrightsville Beach to Lea-Hutaff Island. I had paddled to this Island (actually was 2 islands until a Hurricane removed the inlet seperating them), about 10 years ago, and recalled the beautiful white sandy beach. It's a great camping beach.

My goal for the trip was to get in some paddling on the ICW, to play in some boat wakes and current with the Dreamcatcher, all continued training for my Watertribe Challenge, and to have fun. We left early Sat am returned later Sun evening. Weather reports were perfect, the 15 kt winds gave us a good workout.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

My First Blog

I've decided to take Wayfarer's advice and start a blog (the logo on right links to his great website and blog). My blog will be a new page added to my website, to allow easier reporting as I prepare for the Watertribe Ultimate Florida Challenge.

I've got a lot to learn to customize the template format, but this is at least a start. The goal is to have a forum to publish trip reports and other training paddles, my route and navigation preparation, other general plans and preparations, and rantings and ravings, as I prepare for the big challenge.

This blog will also eventually offer reports on my progress during the challenge (March 4, 2006). At that time, my husband will provide daily updates, reporting my location using maps and charts, document weather conditions, and post my comments from our daily phone calls (24 hr reporting rule).

Check out my website pages (links in sidebar) to learn more about the challenge. My training page is updated daily and is a log/diary reporting on my physical exercise and training.