Friday, January 29, 2010


Warren Richey has finished his book, and your going to LOVE IT.

The first 1200 mile WaterTribe Ultimate Florida Challenge (UFC) had 10 participants (all with a previous history in WaterTribe) and 7 finishers. Warren Richey (SharkChow) won the race in 19 days, 6 hours, and 48 minutes. And race it was for the top 3 finishers, all coming in within 5 hours of each other. The next 2 racers came in a week later, the remaining 2 finished 3 days after that (taking the full 30 days). I was one of these last finishers. Race results can be seen here.   Warren averaged 60 miles a day, and of course there was also that un-supported 40 mile portage. Definitely an Ultimate Challenge.

Warren first wrote an article on his UFC published in SeaKayaker Magazine, in June 2007 . I blogged about it then in a posting titled 'One Minute of Fame'.  Since then, Warren’s been a pretty busy guy, he paddled in the 2007 EC, but after that we hadn’t seen or heard too much from him.

WELL, HE’S BACK. Warren is back and registered for this years EC March 6th, and he’s been offering up daily advice on the WaterTribe Forum as we count down to this years Challenges, including the 2nd UFC to be held.

But what about Warren’s book?  The book, titled “Without a Paddle: Racing 1,200 Miles Around Florida by Sea Kayak." is being published by St. Martin's Press and will be in bookstores nationwide and on on June 8, 2010. It is 320 pages.  He's planning the usual book promotion tour once it's released.  I'll make sure to let you know the schedule later.

Warren described the book to me as:
“The book is part travel narrative and part memoir. It isn't just about competing in the Florida Challenge. It is also about what happens to you physically and mentally while trying to compete in a race around Florida in a sea kayak. The book is loosely based on the magazine article I wrote for Sea Kayaker. But it goes much deeper into who I am and where I've been. All that time alone in the boat gave me time to reflect on my life, a failed marriage, a possible future relationship. That's what the book is really about. It is about overcoming fear and all the other challenges of life. And there's some paddling too." 
Warren also said  “As I say in the acknowledgments section, you are all heroes to me. If this book accurately reflects even a fraction of the spirit of the WaterTribe and Chief then I will consider it a success.” 

Just like I've been telling you all since this blog started.  If you love the water, and have an adventurous spirit, you've got to do a WaterTribe event.  Challenge or race, it's doable, and it's worth it.

It’s starting to get pretty exciting and active on the WaterTribe Forum these days with only 37 days before the 3 challenges begin; the  67 mile Ultra Marathon, 300 mile Everglades Challenge (EC), and this year is the 2nd 1200 mi + 40 mile portage Ultimate Florida Challenge (UFC).   If you can't do one, follow along and visit the forum and website during the races.   All participants will be tracked online using SPOT Satellite Trackers, and forum updates provide information from family and friends.

And of course you'll hear lots more about the Challenges here. I'm registered for my 7th consecutive Everglades Challenge, I'm a lifer :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Single Blade

One of the things I'm most looking forward to with my new kayak, is that the rudder will allow me to simply "single blade" it. I fell in love with using the single blade with my Kruger Dreamcatcher.  Many will argue I'm not really canoeing, as my interest with distance paddling is more in using the marathon stroke and with a rudder.  I don't even know how to do a J-stroke, so I don't call it canoeing, I just call it single blading.  I've found that the single blade with rudder, offers an efficiency that reminds me why I also love my Greenland Paddle, smooth and efficient.

Justine Cugenven has a new CD coming out in March, "THIS IS CANOEING”, showcasing top single-blade paddlers in their pursuit of remote wilderness journeys or challenging white water.  Just watch this trailer and tell me this doesn't look like fun.

Hmmm, maybe my next foray into boat building should involve a canoe.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sanding Sanding Sanding

I thought we’d finshed sanding the hull, but then Paul told me what we’d done was just fairing, and that there was more fairing and sanding needed inside the hull too. So Saturday was spent sanding

and sanding

and sanding.

Saturday was an absouletly beautiful sunny warm day, perfect for paddling, but we needed to make some good progress on my Grand Diva this weekend. Only 5 weekends left before the Everglades Challenge, and I need at least one of them to get to know the kayak, and make sure its customized and comfortable. I did manage to sneak out for a bike ride later in the afternoon, but we worked all day and into the night.

We also got the footpegs figure out, which meant I got to sit in the kayak :)  for the first time to check on placement. It’s more canoe than kayak right now. We’d decided not to drill through the hull to mount the footpegs, opting instead to add some wooden supports and use that and a footbrace mounting kit to mount the screws on the inside of the hull.

And as planned we got the stringers cut out and fit. The cockpit will be 1” higher both fore and aft, compared to my NDK Explorer (which is a perfect fit for me). I’m just not an LV sized girl, so 1” doesn’t seem much to me, and it’s certainly not anything I can’t work with regards cutom fitting it.

Sunday, still unseasonably warm (60’s) , was a cloudy dreary day, with rain predicted. The supports for the footpegs needed scraping and another coat of epoxy, and Paul thought it a good day to do an endpour in the stern (this to add more struture for the rudder mounting.

So with nothing for me to do on the kayak, I went paddling :).  Winds were predicted, but I found the lake calm and glassy. The Carolina Sailing Club  (CSC) was having one of their winter series races. I wasn’t even sure the sailboats would get away from the dock, but very slowly the six winter sailors managed to make it out to the race boat to start a very slow race. The CSC is the club that Alan sailed in for a couple years when he had his Isotope sailboat a catamaran designed specifically for our local lakes.

I’m quite excited that the CSC has just started a Day Sailors group, it’s been primarily focused on one-design bouey racing. It’s just the kind of group that Paul and I have been looking for for our Core Sound 20, the “Dawn Patrol” .  Just what I need, another club :).

By the time I’d returned to the car, I’d paddled 25 miles, a fairly good training day (still need to get in a couple 30-35 milers), and managed to return home early afternoon, just as some rain started, and the end pour was hard enough to bring the kayak inside.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Back At It

It’s been over a week since we’ve worked on the B&B Yachts Grand Diva. Yeah I know, that’s not the way to get it done in time for the Everglades Challenge. We even missed out on the 3-day weekend. But Paul had some big deadlines, and we were at a point where I couldn’t really proceed on my own (meaning I didn’t know how).

So Paul caught up with some work, and I spent last weekend paddling and camping with KiwiBird and Floatsome, both of whom posted trip reports about our paddle on their blogs.

Then this week’s evenings were all about the Carolina Kayak Club with Board meetings and Web Tech Committee meetings, and plans for the Spring Symposium the Club is putting on.

But we’re back at it now. The slide show below shows some pictures taken over the past month of building. We’ve pretty much got the hull finished; all stitched, inwales in, glassed (outer hull and inner cockpit), bulkheaded, epoxied, and all sanded.

This weekend we’re putting in the SmartTrack toe pilot foot pedals. I’ll be using a FeatherCraft rudder, don’t much care for the SmartTrack’s rudder sticking up like that, seems a bit dicey to me when surf lauching or landing. I’m not a rudder person, personally think they are a bit dangerous overall, but this boat is planned to more easily accommodate my Pacific Action Sail, and even eventually my Balogh Sail, so the rudder should simplify steering. We’ll also get the deck stringers in place and start sizing and working on the deck.

I still think it’s all doable, but we’ll need to stay on task. And I’ve still got to find time to keep up the training.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Slow Start

Happy New Year!

With the Holidays, the build had a bit of a slow start, but all is well and in progress.  We've now got the hull stitched up, bulkheads fit (I'll be adding a day hatch), hull shaped nicely, and inwales glued.  It's getting really exciting as it's now taken shape.   Promise to post progress pictures next time.

Last week we made another visit to Grahams B&B shop to pick up the deck, and what a wonderful surprise, he volunteered a beautiful piece of African Mahogany.  This boat is going to be incredible.  As will the 45 ft custom catamaran he's designed and is in the process of building, which unfortunately is going to keep him from the WaterTribe Everglades Challenge this year.  He'll sure be missed, Roo (Tribal Name) has been a regular showing us all just how fast his various (CS17, CS20, and EC22) sailboats are, and what a skilled sailor he is.

You can see the beautiful red color of the Mahogany against the more bland Okoume wood below.

And how excited was I to see this comment on my 'Christmas Came Early' posting:
"I hope you love your grand diva as much as I love mine! I have built and raced a lot of canoes/kayaks and it is my favorite all around boat. Great in the big water of New Port RI and quick down the Missouri/Mississippi River where I am now. I too changed Grahams design to a CLC style cockpit and flush hatches. The speed a which I was able to build the boat based on Grahams butterfly was amazing. I had the boat built and on the water in 10 days. I wish you the best and congratulate you on your good choice in boats!"
Not too surprised as we are definitely big fans of B&B and Graham's work, but it was great to hear anothers accolade, very affirming.  Wish we had the free time to get it done so quickly, I just can't wait. 

We are searching various ways of recessing the hatches.  I originally liked this method for it's looks and practicality, but we don't want to add all the additional weight, the hatches alone will likely add about 3 extra pounds.  We are thinking to build a similar "ring" out of fiberglass, but welcome all comments and ideas.