Monday 30 October 2023
Monday 23 October 2023
We are locked in a great family discussion about buying a 'family' tandem sit on top Kayak.
My daughter has taken up surfing and wants to learning to stand up paddle board as well. She was as a youngster and teenager, a water baby, to be fair. Happiest on a beach - mainly rock pooling with her old Dad. And now she is an ecologist! Her husband is an 'outdoors' kind of guy. He prefers walking and camping but is happy to be on top of the water rather than in it. But, a double sit on top that could be paddled solo as well - he'd be up for that! He could accompany his wife whilst she was on the paddleboard.
My son is a mountain walker and he also loves wilderness canoeing. He has done canoe expeditions down our river Wye. He would be definitely up for a sit on top kayak as would his partner as well. She is up for anything outdoorsy as well. They live near some great large river systems over the east of the UK. Plenty of kayaking opportunities over that way.
As for me and the boss - well - when I was in my twenties, I was actually quite into kayaking and gained some level three BCU qualifications and participated on an instructor training course as well, although it was so long ago now that I cant quite remember all the particulars, other than I did courses at Calshot, somewhere in Pembrokeshire and Plas Y Brenin - along with a whole host of training and courses on summer and winter mountain leadership across the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia.
The boss enjoyed her paddle in a double sit on top across parts of Lake Powell and parts of the Colorado river when we toured the SW USA states last spring. She would accompany me for a paddle on days when it was 22C+, the water temperature was 18C+, there was no wind whatsoever and the sun shone all day. Through in a coffee, a wine bar, a beach and a good view - she'd be well happy.
And we have such great areas to paddle. The whole of the Tamar and Lynher river systems. Then there is the Erme, the Avon, the Dart and the Fowey, all within easy driving distance. All of the Kingsbridge estuary. The whole of Plymouth Sound. Along the coast, from Wembury to Cellars Beach; or around Burgh island.
So to cut a long story short - I've been out and about looking at tandem sit on kayaks and what an investment in one might mean for us and the family budget.
Anyway, getting back to the more modern versions. We have narrowed a new sit on top kayak down to two possibilities, although if you know of a third we should look at over here in the Uk, then do please drop me a comment in the box at the end of this post:
- the Feel Free Corona
- the Feel Free Gemini Sport
- the sit on top kayak
- two paddles
- two seats
- portage trolley
- scupper bungs x 4
- small kayak anchor
- roof rack ties
- roof rack pads
- a kayak jacket with adjustable neoprene waist, neoprene cuffs and a decent adjustable hood - breathable of course
- Neoprene trousers with a higher waist/back cut (I don't like full wetsuits or sleeveless wetsuits or wetsuit shorties)
- wetsuit rock boots
- a new PFD for Maggie - I will continue to use my old but perfectly functional Palm Kaikoura - famous in so many of our videos
- Possible invest in a 2mm neoprene rash vest
- some thin 1 or 2 mm neoprene gloves
- and, optional, depending on whether I go coastal rock gully and cave exploring or not, a helmet
- The aquaglide Chelan 140 inflatable kayak
Tuesday 17 October 2023
The new trailer is working well on steep ramps. It needs to have the 'rope' treatment on shallower ones i.e. I have to chock the wheels, tie a rope between tow bar ball and snubber arm on trailer and then draw forward and let the trailer fall back on the rope. The trailer has to be almost fully immersed and then Arwen floats off easily. Its just an extra five minute job at a shallow ramp and I've become quite practiced at it. On steeper ramps, it isn't necessary.
I always rig up and allow the wheel bearings to cool before immersing the trailer. I also pump in additional grease into the bearing hubs using a grease gun if need be. I always do this after washing down the trailer after a launch and before putting the boat back on the driveway. Such quick tasks will look after the bearings and prolong their life.
Occasionally on a launch, Arwen gets stuck on her trailer. Not always, but occasionally and I've worked out why. Her centre case bottom slot area is quite wide and it occasionally sticks against one particular roller so stopping it from rolling off. Thus the trailer needs one more quick modification. All I need to do is to move the snubber arm assembly aft by around 10 -15cm. This means that the wider slot base will then sit firmly on the last but one roller. This will also increase the rear overhang of the boat and so the stern will get into the water and float off more quickly. Hopefully, I won't then need to use the 'rope' trick on shallower ramps. I just need to find the time to make the adjustment.
Retrieval has never been a problem. Arwen comes on straight if there is no wind and cross currents. The water level has to be just below the base of the first roller onto the trailer.
Getting a trailer for Arwen was a difficult task and as you can read in previous posts, I looked at lots, consulted a few companies and only Admiral trailers came back with ideas and thoughts on how to adapt one of their stock trailers to meet her 'unique' bottom and hull configuration. They did a good job!
As always, at the end of a sailing season, Arwen will need some maintenance over the winter and into spring. The list this winter is as follows:
- touching up the hull bottom in places where there are odd scrapes and dings from beaching, odd contact with rocks etc. A sand to the undercoat, and then three top coats should do it.
- sanding down and re-varnishing the inner coaming area. It is looking 'worn'. Doesn't need to be done but cosmetically it would look better
- the trailer modification as outlined above
- a re-varnish 'top up' coat on the mast - done every other year
- rubbing down the rub rails and resealing with burgess sealer - done every other year
- a thorough clean before 'wintering her'
- Not necessary but I might just do it - is to take off the centre board top cap and lift out the centre board so I can check the centre board casings. I did this during COVID lock down but that is now two years ago and little bits of gravel etc will work their way up the sides, so it is always worth checking every couple of years. May need a quick repaint on the inside of the centreboard slot.
Part One of three about a recent cruise up the Lynher. You can read the blog posts about the trip at https://arwensmeanderings.blogspot.com/2023/09/mud-larking-at-midnight-up-river-lynher.html and about day two at https://arwensmeanderings.blogspot.com/2023/09/mudlarking-at-midnight-part-2.html
This link https://youtu.be/Mvb4UonvaNw will take you to our YouTube channel and the video below if you cant play this one underneath in your browser.