Saturday, June 06, 2015

Chasing the Cetus

The family lucked into an open camp site at Winslow Park in Freeport, ME. The Benders had an extra site and offered it up and we couldn't say no. The park is a hidden gem. Our sites were right on the water, spacious, clean, and level. The park is only a few miles, an easy bike ride, from the outlet Mecca. There is also a huge playground for kids.

In the morning, the women took a ride into town to do some shopping. Bug and I explored the park on our bikes for a little and then hung out at the playground.

The afternoon was set aside for PB and I to do some paddling. PB decided to take out KB’s Cetus MV. It would be a perfect chance to see if the Aries could hang with a real sea kayak.

The wind was picking up, but the bay offered plenty of places to hide. We headed NE past Pumpkin Knob and along the east side of Wolfes Neck Woods State Park. The shore line kept the wind to a manageable level. The water was mostly flat and the paddling was relaxing. It didn’t feel like I was working extra hard to keep up with PB, but we were taking it easy.

We crossed over to Bustins Island. Once we left the shelter of the cove the full strength of the wind made itself know. It was blowing hard and the wrong way to help us crossing back to camp. Once behind Bustins it was mice paddling again, but it wouldn’t last long.

It was a two mile crossing from Bustins back to Winslow Park. The one warning Carl had about the Aries was that it didn’t do well with strong beam winds. This wind was quartering, so not completely beamy. All in all the Aries handled well. I would’t say it tracked well, but with proper attention it didn’t weather cock either. The truth is that the Aries is so easy to turn that it was easy to zag when the wind forced a zig. I did drop the skeg for part of the crossing to take the edge off.

In terms of speed, I did OK. PB and the Cetus definitely had an easier time getting across in the wind, but I’m not sure how much easier. I kept up and didn’t feel like I worked extra hard. When asked, PB said he wasn’t taking it particularly easy on me. We weren’t paddling hard, but I was happy with the Aries performance.

Despite the windy return trip, it was a good day on the water. Casco Bay is a pretty place to paddle and a nice place for a relaxing early season paddle.

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