On the Water
Launching out of Nisqually (late at 0935), I was less relaxed than I should have been. I got a bit into my own head. It wasn’t the distance this time. I knew I could handle it. I also knew we’d have a current assist so it should be easier.
Several thoughts were on my mind. I hadn’t had much time in the Shadow’s cockpit. I joked at launch I would need a minute to get reacquainted with her. Although the same 22 inch beam as the Whisky, the Shadow is a bigger boat. Aside from the length, she’s cavernous. Load capacity sits at 425 lbs. There is more space under the hatches. The roomier cockpit means a less tight fit. More comfortable but leaving a feeling of less control for me given my size.
While I can and have handled her, the hard chine, and flat hull did make her less stable. I also knew her skeg wasn’t working. I didn’t expect it to be a problem, but if the wind direction shifted from following, it could be an issue.
After a few strokes, I was feeling comfortable again, but still aware of my limits.
As we headed north, the wind was light and from the southwest with small wavelets. Rather than following seas, they were quartering. The combination was just enough to make tracking an issue. I could feel the wind acting on the stern, pushing the bow to the left and into the wind. The waves were enough to push the kayak to the right. Keeping course, even in the mild conditions, became a problem for me.
No skeg and a weak stern pry and draw stroke turned something which should have been easy and turned it into work. Now frustration joined the nerves I had at launch.