We are getting in shape for an interesting paddle and we are testing out some new pieces of kit. The most dramatic change will be the type of kayaks we are using. I have logged in many miles in a Necky Chatham 17. And Sunday I paddled a NDK Greenlander Pro that has a keyhole cockpit and rear rope skeg. There are several differences but the most obvious was the rocker. The Chatham 17 is like an Eastern Greenland design; where as, the Greenlander Pro is modeled after a West Greenland design.
My float plan was to leave from Dunedin Marina with 30 pounds of gear and paddle north to Anclote Key then paddle back to the marina. Sunday was a cold (37’F at sunrise) morning with 10-15 knots north-easterly winds, and seas 2 to 4 feet with mild chop. I started just after sunrise. It was low tide and I chose to paddled north into the wind and against the incoming tide.
The wind and water gave me the opportunity to play with the edging of this kayak. Compared to the Chatham it was a very dry ride with no need to use the skeg. In the Chatham with the same load, wind, and seas, I would have had a wet ride. The Greenlander effortlessly glided up over the seas. Looking at my GPS I was also surprised at my speed. I maintained an average of 4.5 miles per hour with no change in my cadence. That is a mile faster than my Chatham.
For those who are curious I used a Scottish made 215cm modified crank Lendal Paddle with Nordkapp blades.
With little effort I was getting great speed, but I was getting worn out. I was overheating. My current spray jacket is worn out and did not breath. It is time to make the investment in a gor-tex jacket. There are several types of touring shells and all of them are going to cost me money. But they will work better than the alternative. It was 37′ F at sun rise and the temperature peaked at 52F. But the wind made the feel like temperature hover in the low 40’s. And with no cloud cover + physical activity I actually found myself sweating. I took off my fleece, I took off my wool, I was left with just a thin wool t-shirt with the shell and I was still sweating. This was the first time I had this type of gear failure.
If I was paddling with a partner I would have forgone the shell. But because the water temperature was also in the low 50’s I did the next most practical thing. I stopped at an island ate, rehydrated, and took a nap. I only rested for 90 minutes because I figured that it would take three hours to get back to the marina. And I wanted to get back around 6pm because the Pittsburgh Steelers were playing.
At 3pm the tide was still coming in. The wind had not changed and the seas remained the same. And the sun was not so intense. It was time to play with the rope skeg. With a wire skeg I know just how much is in contact with the water. The rope required me to be more aware to the feel of the boat. It took about 45 minutes to get the feel. I could have easily paddled the kayak without the skeg, but I wanted to play. And I will say that I am now closer to being a rope lover. I also traveled faster that I expected I averaged 5.5 miles per hour.
I got back to the beach and loaded this kayak in plenty of time to see the Steelers play. It was a win win type of day. I had a good time with the NDK Greenlander, and the Steelers won! I am also replacing that spray jacket with a mango Kokatat GORE-TEX® TecTOUR Anorak. The one I have just is no longer safe in the day’s direct sunlight. – Jeff
PS. There is only one thing I would change about the kayak. I want it with a melon-yellow deck. – J