Thursday, October 30, 2008

More Sailing

My Balogh Retreat Weekend was followed by a weeks vacation with Paul and our sailboat, a Core Sound 20 named "Dawn Patrol".

We headed down to the coast to BayBoro NC off the Pamlico River on Tuesday, and spent the next 5 days sailing and camping (on the boat). This was all part of a B&B Yachts Messabout, planned by the designer of our boat.

Video of Paul and I sailing in "Dawn Patrol".

This was a wonderful vacation. There were some incredible sailors and boat builders there, all the boats were hand made, wooden, and primarily B&B Yachts designs. We sailed and partied and had a great time. I got in some great sailing lessons. Camping, both anchored or docked on our little boat was great fun. The smile on my face below says it all.

Graham Byrne's owner of B&B and his wife Carla put on a great event with some help from friends. While there, I also tried out one of Graham's new rowing boat designs (in progress), and his newest kayak design the Grand Diva (which I'm quite interested in).
There are lots of stories and many more pictures and links to photo albums of the event on the 3 page "messabout thread" on the Messing-About websites B&B forum here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Balogh Kayak Sailing Weekend

A quick stop home to switch boats, and a short report. The Balogh Sail weekend at Cedar Island was so much fun. It was also very wet (constant rain Fri and Sat) and very windy, 20-25 kts on Sat, 30-35 kts on Sun. Many went out Saturday, all stayed on shore Sun.

I went out a little on Saturday and worked primarily on some upwind sailing and tacking. During my WaterTribe challenges, when upwind, I usually just paddle. Mark Balogh thinks this is a mistake especially in big winds, and suggested I spend a bit more time working on my upwind skills. He also offered other suggestions for me to work on. I'm determined to return next year a much better kayak sailor.

There were so many great tips shared, both sailing and outfitting. I can't wait to add a push-pull tiller to my Dreamcatcher.

The very varied range of boats was somewhat surprising, incuding recreational, white water, singles, doubles, canoes, you name it, all with one or more Balogh Sails. One double kayak had 3 masts, and custom made 10 foot amas, when fully reefed he still flies more than 100 sq ft of sail. There was also an old fiberglass white water slolom kayak, with it's rocker, it was sailing figure eights around me, so much fun to watch.

Camille had a great time too, and a great sail with “Mad Dave" on his 3 masted double sea kayak. Her smile on the return, in photo above says it all.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kayak and Canoe Sailing

Yahoo, it's a go! Check it out, Kristen and I are registered.

My Bear posting generated quite a few offers to teach me how to use a gun/shotgun, and I thank friends for that. I'm not real keen on taking a firearm right now, I'd likely just get the bear even more mad. An funny addition to this topic is another local rule regards field dressing any wildlife that are killed in self defence. Seems if you killed a bear between Dawson and Eagle, it is illegal to leave it in the bush, you have to take it back to Dawson.

Moving on........

Coming in at the finish of the
2008 WaterTribe Everglades Challenge

I’m off early Friday morning to the 18th annual BORN TO RAISE SAIL© kayak and canoe sailors gathering, hosted by the Red Oak, Virginia Chapter of the Sails Angels© at Cedar Island.

I’ve packed both my Kruger Dreamcatcher Canoe with its Balogh Sail Rig, and my NDK Explorer sea kayak with its PAS downwind sail.

The event flyer said “The previous years gatherings brought friendly, interesting people from Colorado, England, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin among other places. Boats ranged from canoes to hardshell, inflatable and folding kayaks. Although we have intentionally kept the size of the gathering small, this has certainly become the sailing kayak/canoe event of the season.” Sounds like a really great time.

I happened upon this event 7 years ago, October 2001. John, Eric and I, regular paddling partners at the time, were there to paddle the 20 mile crossing from Cedar Island to Portsmouth Island, and spend the weekend camping on the beach at the historic and now uninhabited barrier island on Core Banks.

It was a long hard paddle, we made Portsmouth at dusk, and though prepared, we were still completely overwhelmed by mosquitoes, the buzzing sound of millions and bazillions of mosquitoes was deafening. They say “Mosquitoes visit other places in the world, but they are all originally from Portsmouth Island”. It was so bad, that upon awakening the next morning, we dove from our tents into the water, and planned an immediate retreat, paddling over to Oakracoke Island, and then taking the ferry back to Cedar Island.

It was while on the ferry ride back, that I met a few family members of some of the kayak sailors who were visiting for the sailing retreat weekend. Two women told me of their husbands adventures, kayak paddle sailing and camping the entire East Coast Intracoastal Waterway. We were invited to join them for the Saturday night dinner, but feeling a bit like intruders we thanked them and went on our way.

I’m pretty sure these stories of adventures were the real beginning for me related to kayaking. A year later I turned 50, and kayak trips and expeditions became an important part of my life. Just goes to show, your never to old.
Friday also begins a little vacation, so a bit of silence on the blog. Should have some great stories and pics when I'm back.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I had decided I would just refuse to worry about bears in the Yukon 1000 Canoe and Kayak Race next July. But as much as I try not to think about it, the topic keeps coming back.

When I first told Paul about the race, and mentioned I would be in Grizzly country, he responded “well at least it’s too far south for Polar Bears”. He followed this up with a Google search only to discover that a Polar Bear had made his way into Fort Yukon (right on our route) just this past March, and had to be killed.

Peter Coats, the organizer of this event, spent time this summer paddling part of the route, and his trip report is full of bear pictures and encounters.

Today Peter posted on the Yukon1000 forum that the racers will be paddling through Yukon Charley River National Preserve, and they have strict rules that all food on every boat going through the Preserve must be stored overnight in a bear safe way.

There are bear containers, but the problem is that the kayaks may have difficulty carrying enough containers to hold the food requirements of the race, less a problem for the canoes. In this race each racer must have a minimum of 20kg food weighed at the start of the race.

Organizers are now thinking about the possibility of supply drops along the way. Personally, I'm really hoping this race stays "expedition style", no support teams, no food drops. All the planning and logistics is part of the challenge and the fun, else it's just a very long paddle.

They are also asking folks what they think about allowing firearms. I don't even know how to use one, maybe I need to think a bit about that :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thank-you Tom

It sure has been a busy couple of weeks, last weekend I spent 3 days paddling and training in the Potomac River and then Sunday in the Chesapeake Bay overlooking the Thomas Point Lighthouse.

Tom Nickels, ACA Instructor Trainer extraordinaire, through Potomac Paddlesports, lead a 4 day ACA Instructor Development Workshop and Certification Exam, which I, along with friends Camille and Craig had signed up for.

It was quite a bit of work, AND, a huge learning experience, AND lots of fun. Tom’s a great instructor, and we had a great class. Yes, I passed, I'm now a certified Coastal Kayak Instructor. I’ve still got a bit of work to do on my delivery, a little less talking and a lot more creativity, but Tom also said I’ve got a beautiful paddling stroke :)