Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Kayak Sail

My new sail has arrived, and it’s a beauty.  A big big thanks to Mick MacRobb, owner of  Flat Earth Kayak Sails in Austraila, for sponsoring me with one of his sails.  A downwind kayak sail, but not the V shape that is more commonly seen around here and within the WaterTribe.

Future posts will cover how I mount the sail, and my experiences sailing with it, both on my NDK Explorer with skeg, and my new home built B&B Yachts Grand Diva with rudder.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another Challenge Finished

Well the WaterTribe North Carolina Challenge is now one for the record books. I would consider the weather to have been mild for our area, yet it was still quite a formidable challenge for all. The challenges in this race are the distance and large fetch getting the Harlowe, then the current and tides getting into and past Beaufort, then the shallow water, winds, and nets on Core Sound.

Sailors found themselves rowing most of Day 1, until the winds finally came through around 3pm. Unfortunately by the time they all got to the filter (narrow and with low bridges) of the Harlowe Canal, they’d missed the tide and now also had a slight headwind to row against. Paul said they were lucky to get to .5 knots rowing the Canal. Many of the sailors didn’t make the Checkpoint about 2AM and continued on through the night getting in on Saturday afternoon.

Paddlers of course have to paddle the whole 100 miles, and with the winds Friday night and Saturday, they had some great following seas as they surfed up the sound. The few that did the challenge non-stop finished early morning on Saturday; those camping came in early and late afternoon. All but 2 camped Saturday night and came in early Sunday Morning.

There was both exciting racing among the classes, and there were those who cruised the event as a personal challenge.  And we did have a challenge for all, 29 boats finished the NCC, and 4 boats in the NCUM, 3 total DNFs.  This is a great finish percentage, but don't be fooled in thinking it was easy for anyone. 

It’s the members of the Tribe that always make these events so much fun for me, even if I didn’t participate and took race manager duties instead. These are not your average kayak or sailboat racers or cruisers. The few pictures below give you an idea of the variety of boats, from kayaks of all sizes and shapes and Kruger canoes, both without sail, with downwind sails, and with outriggers and bigger sails, and including monohull sailboats and catamarans.  It was all there.


Monday, September 20, 2010

There's Always Next Year

Well there won't be a North Carolina Challenge for me this year.  What started as a simple cold, then sinus infection, has me left with an exhausting and debilitating cough (irritation to my bronchial airways).  It's looking like a couple more weeks before I"m back to normal.  So I'll be there managing the race, enjoying as much of the festivities as anyone can (whose not paddling :(

The new kayak had come along quite nicely, the painted hull s quite beautiful.  Only need deck varnish and some deck fittings.  When I decided to drop from the race last week, I told Paul he needed to start getting ready for his race.  We'll finish it up when we get back from the coast next week.  This is the kayak I'll paddle in next March's Everglades Challenge.  There's always next year.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I’m still sick. I’ve been down now for 2 full weeks, and am missing some great paddling. I’d planned to do a 60 mile circumnavigation of Emerald Isle this weekend with my kayak club (some great ocean paddling and distance training for the upcoming NCC Challenge). So terribly disappointed to be missing this trip.

It seems my horrible summer cold turned sinus infection has not been relieved with the initial antibiotics I started a week ago. Then a slight detour thinking the coughing might be asthma also set me back a bit (lukily no bronchitis or pneumonia, yet). Right now all I can do is drink my cough medicine to help stay asleep most of the time to avoid the non-stop painful coughing when simply breathing or talking (caused by irritation), while waiting for some relief from a new antibiotic. Too much information?

I’m just not sure what effect this is all going to have on my race, certainly there won’t be any racing involved, but I’m still hoping to at least cruise it, or possibly do the shorter 50 mile Ultra Marathon (NCUM).

Paul’s still working on the new Grand Diva Kayak, with little to no help. He plans to get the hull painted this weekend, all the priming and smoothing is done. If it’s not faster with me, it’ll certainly look like it is, with its black hull and deep mahogany deck.   I'll post a picture after the painting is completed.

We’re pretty sure the kayak will be completed enough to paddle in the NCC, but it’ll be a tough decision about whether to take it.  I’ll not have had much chance to really paddle it enough to learn it, or learn what outfitting is needed for distance comfort, this is pretty important for a race like this.  I recall paddling a bit with Sundance in this past March’s 300 mile Everglades Challenge. He had his new QCC700, but was visibly uncomfortable as he was still adjusting to a totally different hull shape and feel.

I know I can paddle my Explorer in just about anything, and with my eyes closed.  The Diva has the hardest chines I’ve ever seen, I’m just now sure how different it’s going to feel.  If I'm not racing, the slower Explorer won't really matter.

Hopefully the new sail should arrive next week. It’ll be easy to set up for the Explorer as I know other's have been able to use it's existing fittings, but time will be needed to set it up right on the Diva. I'd planned to set it up for both kayaks anyway, and hope to use it for the Challenge.

What new sail you ask? Stay tuned, I’ll be posting all about it as soon as it arrives, but here's a sneak preview.

Monday, September 06, 2010


Still laid low with this horrible summer cold (I"ve already missed a whole week of work) and still not feeling 100%.  Even with my new fast kayak, the WaterTribe North Carolina Challenge will likely now be a cruise rather than race for me this year.

Of course we're (mostly Paul) still building it, but it's looking like it'll be done on time.  The cockpit coaming is finished, and Paul was able to finish sanding it.  Now time for the finish work.  Paul's really done a great job.

Here she is outside drying off after a good washing, ready for painting and varnishing.  The deck is beautiful, thanks Graham for the African Mahogany.

Friday, September 03, 2010

North Carolina Coast

I’ve been down all week with a bad cold, and am still trying to shake it. I’d hoped to get to the Coast over the weekend for some paddling (training/scouting), but just don’t have the energy. I just got an email from Scott who lives in Beaufort, he knew I had hoped to come down, he said Hurricane Earl came and left fast without much of a trace in Beaufort. I’ve yet to hear how they all faired in Cedar Island.

Scott (Lenscap) was the only paddler/finishers in last year’s WaterTribe North Carolina Ultra Marathon (NCUM - 50 mile race). Last year he didn’t have the full weekend free to paddle the NCC (100 miles), but he will this year. We’ve emailed a bit about the race over the past year. He’s ready, but I’m starting to worry about how well I’ll actually do. I found another to help manage the race this year, so I’m paddling! Somehow though I seem to have forgotten to train.

After reading Scott’s email about the weather there, I checked out his website which was listed at the bottom of his signature.  Scott is a professional photographer who I knew was working on a book with Bland Simpson. I’ve previously posted about Bland Simpson's book “The Inner Islands
Well it seems their book will be available in November. “The Coasts of Carolina - Seaside to Sound Country”, By Bland Simpson and Scott Taylor.  “…. a visual and textual portrait organized around coastal themes… the collaborators venture beyond the familiar to show us swamp, marsh, river, sound, and seashore, uncovering places of uncommon delight that most visitors rarely lay eyes on.”
I didn’t know Scott also had his own book of photography called “Coastal Waters – Images of North Carolina”, by Scott Taylor. A book of black & white images taken over a 20 year period along the coast of North Carolina from the Northern Outerbanks to the Southern coast and in-between.

And it seems Scott has worked on a few other books as well, check it out here.   Well done Scott.