Monday, February 05, 2007

Windy, Windy, Windy

Winds in my face all day. I'm glad I got to the lake early, because I eventually bailed around noon when the wind really picked up. It was just a bit too wet and cold. And though paddling into the wind would have been a really good workout for the day, I just wasn't into it.

I spent my time experimenting with sailing angles again. Mostly tacking back and forth trying to head up at various angles. It was a wet and cold ride today. The downwind return was fun, easily getting speeds 7-7.3 mph. I'm also learning to use the sail to help a bit with steering, as when I get up to these speeds, I find steering with the foot controlled rudder sometimes difficult.

I feel pretty comfortable sailing now, and enjoy the higher speeds when the wind is at ideal angles. I still have lots of frustration with the lack of speed when attempting to sail somewhat into the wind, at angles that should be somewhat doable for motor sailing. One would think that if I can get 1-1.5 mph sailing upwind, that paddling (motor sailing) would even it out, giving me at least my regular paddling speed. But my paddling with the sail rig up is so much slower than without the rig, that motor sailing under these conditions is still slower than just taking the rig down and paddling up.

I'm not a particularly fast paddler anyway, a day paddle for me in a Kruger averages about 3.8 mph, during these EC Challenges, my overall daily averages range from 3.0-3.5, unless going downwind with the PAS.

Now I need to think about strategies that will work for me. Since I am first and formost a paddler, I will likely start each day with the full rig up only when weather reports are for ideal conditions for me, winds directly behind or at right angles.

Paul said I need to think more about the overall benefit over the long run. I may find I'm slower paddling with the rig during a morning of no wind, but as even mild winds develop and pick up over the day, I could end up with an overall advantage. This same advantage could be lost if I have to find a place to land and take the time to set up the rig. In some ways it's a bit of a gamble.

So I will work on strategies and think more on this. There will be no time during the challenge to agonize over any of this. My previous successes in finishing the EC have been based on my ability to just simply, and methodically keep paddling, hard or easy. I occasionally hope I'm not messing up a good thing, fixing something that's not broke.

Except for practicing packing and storage of the rig, I'll likely spend my remaining training time just paddling now. If winds aren't favorable during this years Challenge, I think this year's gonna hurt. I've not put in even half the paddle training I have in the past. I keep telling myself it's a mental challenge anyway :)

I'm so pleased that 'The Rise' and 'The Fall', team RAF's canoes passed thier float test yesterday. Getting these boats on the water should certainly have been some payback for all the work they have been doing.

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