Aside from the little things, like the whole lunch thing and what to pack on long day paddles (a small cook system for heating water in case of hypothermia or for cold hands/feet, heat packs are perfect for placing in gloves, why a storm cag is handy), there were a few others:
The human factor
We maintained a good pace…18 miles in 5 hours of paddling works out to just shy of 3 and 1/2 knots. A decent pass with no current to assist. I thought initially my overall endurance and conditioning would be my biggest issue with the distance. Better wind endurance would have helped and I need to get back to running, but lack of experience made it worse.
My stroke was my weakest point. While it is good, it clearly isn’t good enough to maintain it over distance…especially when tired. For all of my time on the water, that still needs plenty of improvement and practice.
The other big factor may have been my kayak. I opted for the Whiskey 16. I had the most recent ‘seat time’ in that one and felt more confident taking it out in unfamiliar waters on a long paddle. But that kayak is a bit heavier dimensionally than my Shadow at 3.43lbs per ft vs 3.17. It was also designed to play, not cruise. The bow was built to ride over, not cut through, it’s 2 feet shorter, and plastic. After a discussion a couple of days later….I would have fared better in the Shadow. At 17′ 10″ with a longer waterline, lighter weight dimensionally, and less rocker it was designed for this type of paddle.
I am not sure whether there was an issue here, other than me being inefficient. While the Greenland Paddle is still new to me, I never felt it hindered me. If anything the Euro blade did. It’s possible a longer Euro blade, one suited for low angle cruising would have been better. No way to know until I get one before one of my legs (and by then I might have the Greenland figured out to not need it).
It is clear I need to learn how to more efficiently paddle with the Nuklick.