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July 31, 2007

Futura II -- this better be fast . . .

Picked this up in Austin from a very experienced paddler who knows some big names in kayaking. She's good friends with the founder/main-organizer of Texas's Colorado River 100 (CR100), she hangs with the likes of Carter Johnson, who recently set the new world record 24hr distance paddled in a kayak on calm water (152 miles! well, unofficially; officially, 150 miles, with a moving-average speed of 6.55 mph!), and she knows some very well-respected boat builders. (she mentioned a guy named "Steppe" at North-Texas-something here in DFW, I think; apparently he owns an auto shop and a boat store) She (I'll just say E.M.) even remembered the names of the previous two owners of the boat I just bought.

EM is hard-core. She recently completed the Missouri 340, and she's "kinda-sorta" obligated to run the CR100 (I think she's one of the organizers. That's a lot of paddling.

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(notice how the Ser. No. starts with "FT ASS . . ." I'd love to know the story behind that one. Lol. Get it -- the story 'behind' the 'FT ASS'?)

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Random tidbits I learned from EM, while I paddled in small circles around the river next to the Cesar-Chavez Holiday Inn and inadvertently drained my car battery by leaving my lights on to light up my paddling path (yes, I had to thank EM several times -- for the advice, and then for jump-starting my battery-dead car):

1) The close-fitting, leather, Footjoy golfing gloves I just bought to use while paddling -- I'm not the only one! Many other paddlers have come to the same conclusion, according to EM! So I'm not totally goofball . . .

2) Resist the urge to sports-tape your hands and blisters in the middle of the race, and DO NOT duct-tape any part of your skin, either! What may act as a second- or substitute-skin in the middle of the race may very well become one with what was left of your original skin, and if you try removing the "second" skin, you might be left with no skin at all. Very gruesome sight.

3) if you start blistering, try not to stop for very long breaks, because it may become too painful to start again after giving your wounds a chance to start healing.

4) peeing in your boat? get over it. Everybody does it. Let yourself do it during training so that you can perfect whatever plan you develop, and so that you can get used to your own, uh, 'aroma.' EM has seen some hard-core stuff . . . catheters, urination condoms, etc . . . she didn't address any specific feminine solutions, and I wasn't about to ask, either. Her friends have noted that urination condoms (that's what I call them, dunno the proper term) don't really work for long distances, especially if you get in and out of your boat.

5) keep your hands as dry as possible. some people actually coat their hands with Vaseline or other water-repelling agent. Some even use whatever they use on babies' bums to keep their hands dry.

6) have a crazy-tired-and-sensitive-hands-safe plan for removing any water that may undesirably collect in your boat. For example, wringing out a sponge may become too difficult over time, especially when your hands and arms already feel like they're about to fall off.

7) when it's uber-dark and you're trying to navigate down-river, there is apparently a temptation to head for where there appears to be light. EM recommends to aim, instead, for the darker parts rather than the grey parts. The lighter, grey parts are usually obstructions that are illuminated by the available light, whereas the water (except for reflections, I'm guessing) will be dark.

8) something (seemingly) always goes wrong with one's bow and/or stern lights, so be prepared to moonlight it. (okay, so EM didn't say "moonlight it." I'm the editor, though, so I gets to sezs what I wants to be sez)

9) EM recommends placing your insulated camel-back hydration pack on the surface of your 'yak rather than on your back b/c it may get in your way if you fall in the water and have to swim (extra weight, plus it tends to chafe your sides with constant torso twisting). PFD's can be irritating, too, but I didn't get a clear answer on whether to actually wear your PFD or just have it on the kayak somewhere.

Posted by will at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2007

Lake Ray Hubbard, July 28, 2007

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Posted by will at 12:32 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2007

White Rock - Kayak Training, July 26, 2007

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Posted by will at 11:27 AM | Comments (1)

July 24, 2007

White Rock Kayak Laps, July 22 and 24

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Sunday, July 22 -- straight across the lake and back

Tuesday, July 24 -- a lap along the perimeter of the lake
(consumed: two bottles of water -- Fiji and Nestle; a Power Bar; and a granola bar)

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The Hurricane Tracer 165 is a fast kayak and is easier to paddle than my Perception Shadow. Too bad the Tracer 165 isn't mine.

So far, my max paddling speed in the Perception Shadow is 6.18 mph, and my max in the Hurricane Tracer 165 is 6.30 mph. I think John was able to hit 6.6 mph in the Perception Shadow, if I remember correctly.

Posted by will at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2007

First Few Paddles in a Touring Kayak on White Rock Lake

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Posted by will at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2007

Trimaran Fishing

vid.

Download file

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Posted by will at 07:39 PM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2007

White Rock Lake -- Trimaran boat testing

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I woke up really early this morning -- 6am -- and took my home-made trimaran watercraft to a popular nearby lake, White Rock, and successfully paddled for about an hour. I mounted my GPS and digital camera (placed in Tupperware to keep the water out) so that I could track my paddling speed and review it later (which would be at this very moment, as I write this entry).

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Side note: I should exercise early in the morning more often. There are so many healthy and beautiful-looking people (ahem, with particular attention to the ladies) out there jogging, biking, etc.

I wore my trusty PFD ("please-keep-me-floating" device) in case my ride fell apart . . . like it did once during pool testing.

I really like how my watercraft is super-narrow and allows me to keep my paddle strokes very close to my body. Unfortunately, I think I underestimated the amount of drag that would be introduced by the various protruding and/or blunt shapes throughout my otherwise-narrow craft. On the positive side, the waterline was pretty much where I expected it to be. Basically, my butt stayed wet the entire time, which I figured would happen if I wanted the two center pontoons to stay submerged in the water. I like the custom seat I fabricated to conform to my very own behonkas.

No matter how hard I paddled, I couldn't get my craft to move faster than 2.5 mph. Arrgh. Maybe my butt dragging in the water caused too much, uhh, drag. What a drag. Dag-nabit.

At rest, 0.0 mph:

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about 2.5 mph:

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almost 3 mph? I couldn't quite tell what the GPS was reading:

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I noticed that the foam blocks in the front and on top of the primary (center two) pontoons were creating lots of disturbance. I could see lots of water being pushed forward and to the sides.

I guess it's time to build version 4 of my personal watercraft. Or is it already version 5 or 6?

Back to the drawing board.

Oh, another side note. Here's my first lawyer-joke T-shirt:

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Posted by will at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2007

Trimaran pool test #1

First watercraft -- catamaran -- fell apart and sank in the pool.

After redesign to a trimaran, I finally got a craft that floated well and was stable enough for me to paddle around the pool for an hour.

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Here's a short video of my paddling session in the HOA's pool:

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I fixed some leaks. I tried to further reduce weight (from 26 lbs) and also tried to move the outriggers further back to give me room to paddle, but that didn't work. I took the modified version to White Rock Lake (the perimeter roads of which were infested with bicyclists, making driving around them a real pain. arggh!). The outriggers weren't sturdy enough, which I could tell as soon as I tried sitting on the craft in the boat-launch area, so I didn't bother trying to paddle anywhere and simply packed up and went home. I dunno what's in the water, but it certainly made me smell funny afterwards. I think I've fixed the outriggers, but I'll have to try it in the pool first before taking it to the lake again.

I think I've got the weight down to a mere 20 lbs. When I'm done (need to add some kind of a seat), it'll probably weigh 25 or 26 lbs again, but maybe this time those few extra pounds will be worth it.

Posted by will at 11:54 PM | Comments (0)