Harbourfest and more

Dispro #1 – Putt Putt
Originally uploaded by Big Dadoo

This weekend it’s Harbourfest in Kenora, Ontario an there are lots of activities all weekend long. Today, I took in a couple of my favorites, the Wooden Boat Parade and the Car Show.

This little boat has to be one of my favorites. It’s a Dispro, short for Disappearing Propeller, a true Canadian masterpiece. You can read about the boat and the company here, and about a guy building a “new” Dispro from scratch as well as restoring the Lindsay Dispro and the Water-Ford Dispro. My photo essay this year is well, focused mainly on the stern of the boat an what people are naming their floating works of art. Take a look.

After getting back to the cottage and doing some miscellaneous cleanup stuff, I took the kayak out to experience some serious wave and wind action. Today there is a strong wing out of the west and once you paddle up past the tip of our point you get the full force of the breeze as there is a good 5km of open water for the waves to pick up some good size. I estimated that the typical wave was 1.5 – 2 feet with some in the 3-3.5 foot range. Paddling into the wind was not too hard but you didn’t make a lot of headway per stroke. For the first pass out beyond the protection of the point I kept the bow into the waves and wind. It was quite an experience to have the waves wash over the entire front deck and onto my lower chest. This is where the spray skirt was really earning it’s keep. A quick 180 between large waves and I ran with the wind back behind the shelter of the point. I was able to “surf” the boat on the waves. Wow, was it fast and exhilarating!  After another couple of forays into the waves I tried some sketchier moves like paddling perpendicular to the waves which worked out not too bad, but probably not recommended practice. You really need to keep an eye on what’s coming and  counter the rolling action of the waves. The  Looksha handled it all really well, so I’m very pleased with the boat.

Back at the dock I thought I’d get  familiar  with  just how far over I can lean the kayak and what a wet exit would be like and to find out if I could self rescue. It turns out that you can lean it over pretty far and in conjunction with high and low bracing maneuvers you can keep it upright most of the time. But the next thing I knew I was upside down. Good think I read a few articles on this. Number one, don’t panic you have lots of time. Grab for the sea skirt release handle, push on the cockpit edge and lift your hips out of the boat and voila, your free.

Now of course an important part of the safety & self rescue gear is in the boat house. Somebody decided that we didn’t need the paddle float nicely stowed on the back deck. OK, scramble up on the boat behind the cockpit and straddle the boat. Gee, that was easy. Opps, spoke too soon and I roll off back into the water. It turns out kayaks half full of water are even more tippier and unstable that you’d think. OK, try #2, I’m on the boat, and it’s tippy – where is my paddle? Aggg, out of reach at the back of the boat, back into the water. Try #3 is the charm and I’m in the cockpit, pumping out the water.

Note to self – always take all the safety gear. This was fun, but the water was warm and I was close to the dock in a calm area. You wouldn’t want to be making multiple attempts if the conditions were nasty!

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