Saturday, December 27, 2014


Tim 3 posted a show and go from Wickford Harbor to Rome Point for the Saturday after Christmas. It was a mini present to go along with sun and mild temperatures. Who am I to pass up a gift?
I thought I planned for enough time to get to Wickford in plenty of time for a 10am launch. I forgot to plan for the slowest Starbucks on the planet. I also forgot to account for my dependence on electronic enhancements.
I decided to forgo my external brains handy mapping features and rely on pure memory. I was doing great until I got on Route 4 and realized I had no idea which exit to take. I knew there was a 2 involved and that I would eventually drive past an ice cream store. Luckily I guessed mostly right. The intersection of 1A was another challenge. I failed it a lot when I frequented Wickford and I failed it again. Then PB called wondering if I was almost at the put in….
Once at the put-in things went much smoother. Packing the Q-boat and donning the drysuit was fast and easy. I didn’t even let the unnatural heat sidetrack my cloting descisions. The water was cold and I dressed appropriately.
The paddle was pleasant and relaxing. The weather was mild and sunny. The wind was minimal. We paddled out of the harbor and hugged the shore over to Rome Point at a lesiurely pace. It was nice to just move and chat. We saw a few seals and a duck hunter.
For lunch we went to the southern beach of Rome Point where the trail from the parking lot emerges onto the beach. It was pleasent. One of the paddlers had yummy “hot chocolate” cookies left over from Christmas. They looked like little cups of cocoa with handles and everything.
For the return trip we paddled around Fox island. As we passed Rome Point we saw a lot of seals in the water and a few on the rocks. They checked us out while we floated around. Then we made our way home at a laid back pace.
It was a pleasent Christmas present from the paddle gods.

Monday, December 01, 2014

New Boat Ideas

The Q-boat is showing its age. All of the hatches seep water. The day hatch is so leaky that I need to mop it out at lunch. The other hatches don’t seem to be as bad, but their size could be making masking the amount of water in them. The floor of the cockpit has pretty deep grooves were my feet sit. The keel strip is worn through. Some of the gel coat patches have patches.

I’m sure there is nothing that cannot be fixed. The question is if it is worth fixing. At some point an old kayak, like an old car, should be retired. The Q-boat has seen eight years of hard service.

If it is time to retire the Q-boat, what do I replace it with?

The recommedations I’ve gotten so far are to get a Cetus. They are the kayak-du-jour in my local kayaking circle. I’ve tried a few of them and not been impressed. They felt plenty stable, had decent speed, and were manueverable for a long kayak. They were easy enough to roll. In all that competance hid a lack of character. It was like driving a Camery or a Celica. Maybe the Q-boat’s quircks have messed up my expectations, but I want more than bland competence.

One other suggestion was a Tiderace Xcite. They get excellent reviews, but are also positioned as a jack of all trades kayak. I will definitely try one out, but based on the description it doesn’t excite me.

While checking out the Xcite, I saw that Tiderace has a new series called the Xtra that does excite me. It is billed as a rough water play boat for the ocean. At under 17’ it is a little short to be a great expedition kayak, but I rarely do more than day trips. It also gets great reviews.

The other kayak I’ve considered is the Greenlander Pro. I paddled one when I was looking at the Q-boat and liked it. It is a fast kayak and handled pretty well for a long kayak. It also looks good.

Both the Xtra and the Greenlander Pro are hard to find in my area, so I may be out of luck. Are there any other kayaks that I should put on the list to consider? I basically want a kayak for day trips and rough water. It also needs to be OK for the occasional overnight trip.