Friday, May 29, 2009

New Toy

I bought a new paddle. Yes I’m still very much into my Lumpy Greenland paddle, and will likely always be a GP paddler at heart. But I did find I had lots of fun working with the Euro last year when I took the ACA Coastal Instructors class. It had been a long time since I’d actually played and paddled with one.

In fact, my friend Jane had to nudge me with an email earlier this month, “I didn’t mean for you to keep it” she said, after lending it to me last October.

So I decided to buy my own. I like having a 2-piece Euro as a spare, and kind of like my bike, I like the idea of having a low and high gear available.

I’d been reading Silbs postings about his trials looking for the right new paddle. He surprised himself by preferring a longer 230cm touring paddle. My GP is already quite long at 90” and it is my low angle distance touring paddle, so I opted for a 215, mid-sized blade, high angle paddle, the Werner Cyprus. In fact I got a great deal buying the older model, a big closeout sale, online from NY Kayak Company.

The paddle arrived last night. I won’t get to try it out till Saturday morning, when I’m also teaching a clinic on “Mastering YOUR Forward Stroke” for the Carolina Kayak Club.

That works out perfectly, as I’ll be student and teacher. And just in time for some surf work at the Barrier Island Kayaks Outer Banks Symposium in a couple weeks.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wish Lists

I’ve always liked wish lists. I’m sure I’ll never get to do all on my list, but it’s a list of paddles and dreams that help me plan and look forward.

One of the things on my list is paddling the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, a trip I added to the list after I got my Kruger Dreamcatcher, a perfect boat for this. It’ll certainly be a big trip if done as a thru-paddle. It’s listed as one of those trips for “after retirement”.

I also have hiking the Appalachian Trail on the "after retirement" list, it’s been there forever. But, the more I think about the hike, the more I worry that I’ll just hate being off the water for as long as 6 months. And, not to be morbid about it, I may have to choose carefully about what all will fit into my "after retirement” period. I’m now considering modifying this to hiking the shorter North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail, finishing with a long NC coastal paddle.

So, I was pleased to see a new blog out there called the ‘Voices from the Northern Forest Canoe Trail”. This blog was launched to share news, events, and insights along its 740 mile “blueway”. It’ll make the waiting more fun.

And I’ve joined the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail Association too

I’m always planning ahead. It even seems a bit of a conflict that while I’m adding great adventures to my wish list, I’m also planning to put myself on a waiting list to eventually live in a retirement community.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What? Still not Done?

Yes (she says with much embarrassment), I'm still not finished with my skin-on-frame. Even after watching friends build theirs in a week, during 2 Brian Schultz classes that were held here locally, and then hearing about Bill Bremmer of Lumpy Paddles building a Black Pearl SOF after that.

But it was seeing Bill's launching of his beautiful kayak last night (sorry this picture does it no real justice), and then his letting me try it out for a paddle that has really motivated me again.

NO MORE EXCUSES. Maybe I can get it done in time for the Barrier Island Kayaks Outer Banks Sea Kayak Symposium next month, I've got 3 weeks, stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Need to Get on the Water

I can't believe I was at the Georgia and Florida coast last weekend and never dipped a paddle in the water. But we had lots of fun watching the Tybee 500, and Alan and Trey come in 2nd in the fleet of Nacra 20's. Here they are above coming in at Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island. Watching the race has me really wanting to get back in our sailboat this coming weekend.

But first things first, I'm off to the lake for the regular Wednesday night paddle; sort of a community event with lots of different paddling group joining for some early evening rolling and then a 6 mile paddle. Fun, fun, fun.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Arm Chair Spectator

This is the week I get payback for the stress my family goes through when I’m kayaking in a WaterTribe Everglades Challenge. For the past 3 years, Alan has raced in the Tybee 500, a 500 mile staged extreme ocean catamaran race, starting in the Florida Keys, and finishing in Tybee Georgia.

This year one of Trey and Alan's big sponsors includes Sailing Anarchy, along with the other 5 boats under the Team Velocity logo. There is a great article about the race and Team Velocity on today's Sailing Anarchy website.
Paul and I always go down to see the last 2 exciting legs of the race, but, during the week, we are forced to follow along on the blogs and SPOT trackers. I'm not enjoying the role of "arm chair spectator".

The Tybee 500 is a distance endurance race, with all the dangers, pain, and discomfort that goes along with it. A sailor who raced the event a few years ago, described a day in the race as:
“Nobody was designed to hang in a harness for hours on end pulling on sheets and ropes until they had holes in their fingers. Equally they were not designed to do stomach crunches for 6 hours a day while a salt water fire hose blasts into your face. Yes any romantic notions you may have about this race turf them to one side – is about pain and endurance”.
Yup, a little chip off the old block :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Boat Demo and Social

It’s been a busy weekend, starting with Alan’s graduation Friday night, then on Saturday Alan flew to Florida for the Tybee 500, and Tana returned to Boone to start looking for a summer job between school years. Once everyone was settled and on their way, Paul and I spent the afternoon at our kayak clubs boat demo and potluck social at Falls Lake.

The Carolina Kayak Club is a new kayak club that has just started up in our area. The club will be a large full service club; monthly meetings with guest speakers, a monthly newsletter, lots and lots of day and weekend paddling opportunities, and training clinics and workshops. This year I’m a member of the clubs Board of Directors and the Chair of the Safety and Training Committee. I'm really looking forward to all the social and paddling opportunities a club like this can offer to the paddling community.

For the boat demo, I brought Paul’s seakayak, with rudder, and with my Pacific Action Sail, and my Kruger Dreamcatcher set up with the Balogh Sailing Rig.

It was quite a party, more boats than paddlers, and a great barbecue and potluck. Eva, did a great job of documenting people and boats and gave me permission to post a link to her slide show of the day.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Where Does the Time Go?

Last night was graduation at North Carolina State University. Alan, our oldest, received his Bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering.

Next year, his sister Tana graduates from Appalachian State University.

What happened?
Seems only yesterday they were just little guys :(