Thursday, November 29, 2007

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

I've previously posted about our sailboat building project that's going on in the basement. Alan and Paul are building a Core Sound 20, which they will race in this years WaterTribe Everglades Challenge, and which will then become Paul's and my sailboat for week-long and weekend sailing camping trips on our NC coast.

Alan posts regularly on his blog about this project, and there is a continuing tread on the B&B Yachts Forum on; ours is Hull #103.

The building may be physical work, but lots of emotional and mental thought go into other things, especially in the decision making. In addition to figuring out some modifications to the original design (we are building a small cuddy cabin), we are also trying to decide on color. It's time to order the epoxy-paint, and the boats sails. Lots of discussions, emails, and ideas being passed around.

Here is a picture of a Core Sound 17 with both sails and a mizzen staysail (these boats are cat-ketch rigged).

I'm a bit more adventurous when it comes to color, but we've agreed to paint our boat a classic white like the photo below, and include some natural wood trim.

We also have agreed on white sails both main and mizzen (though I lobbyed hard for color sails). So all our color will be in the staysail. Paul put together some ideas for us to consider. Naturally we all have different favorites.

Check back later in February (when it has to be done) to see what we've actually got.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Vacation to Hell Update

Unfortunately it's not my vacation :(

You might remember an earlier posting in October about Immersion Research's 2nd annual IR Vacation to Hell contest. This year's trip, a 300 mile sea kayaking expedition, starting at Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, paddling northward to Devon Island, then ending on Ellesmere Island. Included is a 60 mile open water crossing, a 45 mile over-land crossing, finishing with a 45 mile open water crossing.
The trip was won by Team Sweetwater, and they have set up a blog to follow their preparation and challenge, it's a great read, postings have included: "Why should we be the ones to go" and "Personalities and planning".

This will be really interesting following their training and planning, with the team being in four different cities and three different time zones, (one of which is 6 hours ahead). They are already dealing with logistical issues.

Another posting; "Devon Island a small obstacle" talks about how to get 4 fully loaded sea kayaks across 50 miles of barren land where some sections are covered with ice, water, or rocks that can make even walking difficult. Remember, it's a Vacation-to-Hell.

To see the progress for this crazy and challenging expedition, see their blog at

Monday, November 26, 2007

SOF Progress Report

I know Michael (Canadian Seakayaker) will be looking for a progress report on the skinning of my kayak, so this is for him. Sorry, no skinning progress photo yet.

It was definitely slower going than I had thought, still much more to do. The canvas is much heavier then the polyester I had originally started with. I found I needed to experiment a bit with the sewing and with the needles (broke a few) and size cording I needed to use. I quickly realized the seam finish I had hoped for wasn't going to work with this thicker cloth. I probably should have followed Michael's lead with the double corded seam, but, I didn't have the cording and it was a holiday weekend.... In the end, I stayed true to the Bob Boucher video.

Then, once I actually started sewing, I realized the skin was not pulled as tightly as it could be, this after much pulling and struggling with both Paul and Alan. They eventually helped rig up a vice-like contraption while and I tightened up the lashings.

I've got the bow end sewn from the cockpit to where I'll add a bow deck line (my paddle park). After all that fussing around, it got late and I just couldn't bring myself to cut a whole into the cloth, so I stopped here (I already had pre-drilled holes through the gunwales). I'm very pleased with how tight the skin feels, and how well it's forming to the boat, no puckers so far. I'll finish this seam first before doing the stern. It will take another pass to fold the raw edges under and tack it all down. Pretty slow going on my part, and next weekends calendar is already looking pretty full.

So far throughout the whole building process, I've found the skinning the hardest and most stressful. I just can't stop sweating the small stuff, it must be the sewer and quilter in me that's agonizing on stitch lengths, and finishing details. A very different process than the sailboat building that's going on in the basement, where Paul and Alan just keep moving to get it done.

Of course we are all now agonizing a bit on color options. I'm pretty sure I'm going with black for the SOF. The interior of the sailboat will likely be an off white, but we haven't decided yet about whether to paint the hull a color.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'm Totally Stuffed

We had a small traditional Thanksgiving dinner here at home, just the 4 of us on Thursday, then we did it all again on Friday over at Paul's parent's place, with about 15 extended family members. Lots of fun and fellowship, lots of food.

We all still managed to get in some boat building. Paul and Alan continue to make progress on the sailboat (see Alan's latest posting), while I've been working on skinning my kayak.

I've got all the temporary stitches in that hold the lashings, and I've lashed the skin nice and tight. Tonight and tomorrow I'll start (and hopefully finish) the actual stitching.

Today though, I'm going paddling.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thank You

Thanksgiving is a reminder to be thankful. Not just for the turkey and dressing around the table, but for who we are, and the blessings we have.

There is much in my life to be thankful for. But mostly I am thankful for my family. I am blessed with a loving and supportive husband, two wonderful grown children, and parents and siblings who love and enjoy each other (I love you guys). All my other blessings are just frosting on the cake of life, and overshadow any of my problems.

Oh yea, I'm also blessed with another birthday, 55 years.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Team Kruger

Photo of me in my Kruger Dreamcatcher during the 2006 1200 mile WaterTribe Ultimate Florida Challenge.

I've been extremely proud, and quite humbled to be listed on the Kruger Canoes website as a member of Team Kruger along with other fellow WaterTribe challengers/racers Marek Uliasz (Mountain Wayfarer) , Nick Hall (Pelican), Dexter (ThereAndBackAgain) and Brian Weber (Capt'n of the "O" Dark 30) . All of thier websites and/or blogs (links are in blue) are worth a visit.

The real stars, and more in that adventurous mold of Verlen Kruger, are three other members of the Team, Reinhard Zollitsch, Larry Hoff, and Norm Miller. Please please visit their websites. These men are incredible, and inspirational. They are what I am hoping to be, active, adventurous, and living their dreams through their old age.

Reinhard Zollitsch a lifelong athlete, began paddling and sailing in the late 70's, including marathon kayak and canoe racing. But it is the change to expedition in the mid 90's that is most interesting. After a serious health scare in 1994, and looking for something new, he turned to the ocean in a Kruger Sea Wind (a sea canoe, with rudder and spray skirt) on long, solo, unassisted trips along the shores of New England and the Canadian Maritime Provinces. The articles in this website are a collection of trip reports of his 4000-mile circumnavigation of that area, plus a few extra paddling related articles. The ocean trips described above were done between 1996 and 2007 at the ages of 57 to 67. He's still tripping and racing, including racing in the Blackburn Challenge this and last year in a solo outrigger canoe. An academic and teacher, his articles are a great read and well published. His website is Zollitsch Canoe Adventures.

Larry Hoff, another active retired senior, began his solo adventures in 2002, by first hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (a 2,658 mile hike across the mountain ranges of Washington, Oregon and California, stretching from the Canadian border to the Mexican border), followed by a bicycle trip around the perimeter of the U.S.A in 2004, and then just completing this year, a paddle and portage Kruger canoe trip 6,200 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific by way of the Potomac, Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, Snake and Columbia Rivers. His website with trip reports is Larry's Ultra Long Distance Adventures.

Norm Miller, another Kruger Canoe adventurer, completed a 3600-mile adventure with a 21st century replica of the the infamous Lewis and Clark expedition . He began in March 2004, paddling solo the length of the Missouri to Montana. From there he backpacked over the continental divide to the Columbia River watershed where he once again took to his paddle for the final leg to the Pacific Ocean which he arrived at in September '04. This trip is documented on 'In the Wake of Discovery, Lewis and Clark 2004 Bicentennial Expedition'.

These guys are AMAZING, and they aren't even BCU* coaches with British sea kayaks, heck they didn't even use a sea kayak :) It's all about living your dreams.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

No Complaints

Training went pretty well this week in my Kruger Dreamcatcher. I got in a 12 mile paddle Friday night (brr). Lyman showed up to join me, and I silently groaned a bit upon seeing him; he's such a fast paddler. He had his Feathercraft K1 with him, preferring the more stable of his boats this night since he also had his brand new wing paddle to play with. I groaned again. Actually it was a great paddle, and I really enjoyed the company. He probably pushed the pace a bit more than I would have alone, but that was a very good thing. I'm hoping he comes out often on these Friday night paddles.

I returned to the lake Sunday morning and got in 8 miles before joining up with the Meetups groups 8 mile afternoon paddle. Lyman showed up again, and so did John March (one of my 2003 Newfoundland expedition paddling partners), who I just don't get to paddle with enough these days. The more regular Meetup paddlers, who are now all becoming great paddling partners, Heidi, Camille, Trisha, Dan, Chris, and Dave were all there too, as well as Donna, a friend of Dave's whose just getting bit by the paddling bug. It was a beautiful sunny warm day, in the 60's, and still with great fall colors along the shore.

This meetup paddling group has been a great find for me. Very active, and very social, and they love weekend paddling/camping trips. We've even started a small skin-on-frame building group that will meet in a couple weeks.

This week I also managed two 4 mile trail runs, and 2 weight training sessions. Another business trip earlier in the week to Maryland put a crimp in my swimming plans, and the cold weather kept me off the bike. Next week I'll need to sign up for a regular spin class, and work on how to better schedule 2 swim sessions per week.

Alan was home for their weekend sailboat building with Paul. Saturday morning they took off for their weekly trip to Lowes Home Improvement, and I suggested they make a list of all the materials they needed and just do one big trip. They both looked at me like I was crazy, "What, and miss going to Lowes every weekend". What was I thinking :)

We were lucky to see Tana for a few minutes too. She and some school friends from Boone had driven down for a concert Saturday night, and stopped in for a quick hello.

Life is good, no complaints.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fun Fun Fun

This past weekend's paddling/camping trip with my local kayak group was great. We camped at Goose Creek State Park on the Pamlico River (fed by the Tar River), the camp's water site is worth the visit. I had not paddled this specific area of the Pamlico before, sound-side, about 50 miles from Oakracoke Inlet. There is lots of water here, and many paddling opportunities. The Pamlico River feeds into the large Pamlico Sound, as does the Neuse River to it's South. And there are many smaller River's and Creeks perfect for exploring.

Paul and I have started to look around for a retirement location near/on the Coast. This area will certainly be worth researching as it's a prefect sailing and paddling spot, and without the huge tourist base found at the beach. Saturday's paddle had us paddling into the Sound over to historic Bath, small craft advisories prohibited the return paddle, which I was lucky enough to shuttle back on a 24 ft sailboat. Sunday morning we paddled a few hours up the River over to Brandt Creek and historic Washington. Great paddle, good people, good food.

This week, things get a bit more serious for me. WaterTribe training begins, with run/bike/swim cross-training (starting my base for the Louiville Ironman next August), and I've got to finish the skin-on-frame.

Friday starts my regular 15 mile winter night-time paddles. I'm really looking forward to getting back in the Kruger Dreamcather. Except for the Halloween paddle, I've not paddled the Dreamcather since last June's Missouri River 340 mile race. It's really the perfect cold weather and distance boat, so comfortable. I noticed Marek posted on his fitness paddling blog that he's back in his Kruger SeaWind this winter as well.

Kruger Canoes has done some work updating their website, it's worth a look. Reading about Verlen Kruger's paddling is both an inspiration and very motivational. I'm amazed at how many paddlers I meet who have never heard of him.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Busy Busy Busy

I’m in the middle of a 4 day business trip to San Antonio Texas. All work and no play, but I am getting in some nice early morning jogs on the River Walk, and of course enjoying some great food. Still, I envy KiwiBird’s exotic location, visiting family in her New Zealand.

Last Sunday I had to miss the clubs Boat Demo day, but, staying home meant I did get in a good bit of work on my skin-on-frame. Once Paul and Alan let me have my saw horses back, I removed the old poly skin that wasn’t working for me, and managed the longitudinal stretch of my canvas across the bow and stern. It turned out to be a 3-person job; luckily Alan was home for ‘the big build’ so Alan and Paul both helped with the pulling, lots of pulling. I also managed to get in all the loops needed for the lacing that will pull the skin together for my stitching. I understand that’s another 2 person pull.

The kayak will now have to sit and wait in our living room (I was booted out of the basement, our new sailboat workshop). I’ll get home just in time to pack for a paddle camping trip on the Coast. It lets me get out of the way while they build their sailboat late into the weekend nights (or should I say mornings), and I’ll get a weekend vacation. Car camping, paddling, great company, great food (oyster fest), etc…; it doesn’t get much better.

On Saturday, we’re planning an 18 mile round trip paddle to historic Bath, North Carolina’s first town going back to the late 1600’s. Sunday will be shorter explorations of the many creeks near and around Goose Creek State Park (where we are camping). Look for pictures and a trip report later next week.

After that it’s time to get really busy. I’ll officially start my training for the 2008 WaterTribe Everglades Challenge (EC) after the weekend. As in years past, my training will consist primarily of 15 mile Friday night paddles, and with a longer paddle on Sundays. For cross-training, I’m following a triathlon maintenance plan given to me by Laura, a triathlete, triathlon trainer, and co-founder of TriBabes. Laura, the Captn’s other half, is an accomplished Ironman Triathlete, who has not only offered to help me train for the Louiville Ironman in August, she’s decided to run the race too.

And to make it even more fun, Alan (along with Paul) and his friend Adam will also each be competing in both the WaterTribe EC and this Ironman as well.

Once the EC finishes and I'm recovered, it’ll be all about distance swimming, running, and biking as I get ready for the Ironman. I haven't had the nerve to ask Laura about a few paddling races during the training :)