Sunday, 10 September 2017

Trying out the paddle

First outing on Stithians Lake
Short and not that satisfactory in rather shallow water so as not to get in the way of the windsurfers etc. Thus the boat was quite hard to push through the water. Although the paddle was quite long at 227 cm it  seemed longer: there was a lot of power to use. Not so good was the way it roughed up. It shouldn't have done that. I realized that this was due to the fact that the existing and near empty tin of Deks Oljie had thickened up through evaporation etc and the application had not penetrated like it should. A new tin at a Brexit Sterling price was a stark reminder of a dismal future but its contents did the trick.

Second outing in Mounts Bay

Had I not been testing a new paddle I would have launched at Godrevey on the North coast. There was a beautiful swell 4ft plus that had all the hallmarks of hurricane origin but I didn't like the look of it and I opted for the south coast so as not to risk breakage on landing. I later heard that thirty miles to the north two fishermen were swept from rocks to their death that same day.
The picture shows the boat and paddle at the end of the paddle on an ebbing tide. I had launched from the high water beach of fine gritty shingle which jammed the skeg in its box. The wind was a F3 and there was the ghost of the north coast swell coming through from the west so although lively the boat was manageable.
I tried to record speed and distance on my smart phone; once again it would not work with wet fingers on the outside of the cover. I will not try again, but instead make more effort to remember to put new batteries in the GPS and also revert to my old push button model which did work in a cover, is lighter, and would be able to make important calls when required.
I paddled straight out from Long Rock and then turned towards St Michael's Mount, the swell which had wrapped round Lands End increasing proportionately as I moved east.
I was much happier with the grip on the paddle, grippy but not rough, as it should have been. I frequently turned the paddle over in my hands for reasons which I will explain later and there was no discernible difference in handling.
I couldn't help thinking that this was the ideal stick for paddling a fast boat like the Inuk, being the most powerful GP I had used. I was particularly pleased with the catch.
I consider the poor performance in this area the chief drawback to what is - as far as a Greenlander is concerned a design classic. Speed was not an issue when it came to hunting seals. However for recreation, we have come to expect power at the catch from modern paddle designs.
I had hoped to remedy this somewhat in the GP with this design. However to substantiate any claims I would need to test this or another paddle again with a GPS and heartbeat monitor against my other modern paddles.
The good length of the stick also helped remedy the vagaries of a flat bottomed skegless boat.
The paddle design
Replacing the ornate hardwood tips with epoxy class reinforcement provided an opportunity that previous paddles had not, which was to thin the tip considerably:
so that it is thin and flat as shown below.
This gives two advantages, ease of entry and increased power from the flat section which with a powerful downward component to the stroke (on which modern racing technique is based) a ram effect is produced to lock the blade momentarily whilst the boat is pushed/rotated past it. I was able to eliminate flutter by going straight from flat to a rounded "V" - this can be seen on an earlier picture in the process before the tips were fully thinned.
I will concentrate on building this kind of paddle in the future. A quality modern interpretation of the classic Greenland design.

 There was just one problem with this particular paddle though, which did not become apparent until I studied the picture of the completed paddle shown below:
The blade nearest to you has a slight bend to the right! As I found on the trial this has no effect on performance, but.......



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