Saturday, October 6, 2007
In terms of performance I thought my kayak did real well today. It's the first time I've paddled it for more than thirty minutes on a lake. There was a stiff wind from the South that created some 1 to 1.5 foot waves. It wasn't that rough but the roughest water I've been on so far. If I turned the kayak so the waves were hitting the side, the kayak felt stable. Orienting head on into the waves caused the bow to spear into the larger of them and water cascaded across the deck. I can see that more buoyancy at the bow would be a good thing for rough water conditions. I purchased a waterproof, closed cell foam, camping mat and used that for a seat pad. One layer wasn't enough so I doubled it. On the way back it scooched out of position and it didn't do its job very well. It was a definite improvement though over the last pad I tried. I think I'll try to make a seat with some minicell foam at some point.
Today I joined the Missouri River Valley Paddlers on DeSoto. The picture above is showing American Lotus going dormant for the winter.
We got real close to pelicans a few times. They're beautiful large birds. We also saw: osprey, king fishers, cormorants, great blue heron and a bald eagle. I think it was the first time I'd seen an osprey. I wasn't sure they were osprey at the time but after looking at a few pictures and seeing they're listed on the DeSoto bird checklist, I'm positive. We saw a few with fish hanging off their talons.
Here's a picture showing the relationship of the size of the skeg to the rest of the kayak. Note the sagging skin. Moisture gets inside the kayak from my feet when I get in. The water condenses on the inside and the ballistic nylon gets moist enough to wrinkle a bit. It doesn't make a noticeable difference while paddling. Cooler temperatures also make the skin loosen some. It will tighten back up as it dries.
I more permanently mounted the test skeg I made the other day. I spread a little goop between the keelson and the skeg where the screw holes were, and tightened it down. It didn't seem to leak during our four hour paddle on DeSoto today. I scraped it on the boat ramp as I was pushing off as you can see in the picture. It's made of pine and not very strong. I'll reshape, sand and maybe coat it with marine epoxy. You can see how crudely the skeg is made and I'm sure it violates many hydrodynamic rules, but it does the job. The craft tracked real well during the paddle and still remained very responsive to turns.