Wednesday, December 27, 2006

About My Drysuit

I was fortunate enough to be telling a friend of mine about my interest in Sea Kayaking. They enquired as to the type of wetsuit I wore and I replied that I wore a 'longjohn' and a dry cag, but that I was looking for a drysuit. They had one in their locker at work which they hadn't used and I could have it, I told them I would give them something in return.

-For Tech Info On The Suit-

The locker was on a north sea oil platform, I had no idea what it would be like. It came home two weeks later and I gave them four bottles of single malt for it.

The suit is a three layer affair.

From drysuit

Polychlal knit outer, whatever that is, then a Goretex middle, and a fleece inside, very nice.

Now the fit isn't great as my pal is bigger than me but it does the job. Prepare for some great posing in the next two pics !

It has a cork screw style zip starting at the top back and ending where it can be used as a relief zip.

Heres the nice soft fleece inner, there's also loads of space for thermal base layers and fleece's if it's really nippy.

Here's the collar which occasinaly lets a drip or two in, but makes my normal touring cag feel like a sieve.

Not sure what this thing would cost to buy and I don't know if other sea kayaking drysuits have fleece liners ? I get the whisky for nothing so it didn't really cost me anything :-)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Another Nice Wee Paddle

I went out again today, from the slip to a place we call the donkey bridge. There was a steady breeze, 10mph according to the met office. The tide had benn ebbing for about one hour, going with the wind. I sauntered along at a steady 5kph.
Everything was nice and the boat was doing well. I reached the harbour and was now in the full wind and full tide, the water was bouncing off the harbour wall so I had to paddle through some very interesting clapotis, it was fun.
I passed by the Queens Dock where I saw these two characters.

From Birds

Now these things were brown and I think they are Shags but if anyone reckons they are Cormorants please put me straight.
After the Queens Dock I had to turn right, this had the waves hitting me side on for a while but the boat was fine. I carried on to the donkey bridge where I had myself a wee rest.
I started back knowing that I would now have the wind and tide to help me. I looked at the GPS which reported 8kph. When I approached the point of the Dock again the clapotis were a lot bigger than before although I managed to avoid the biggest ones. Paddling along by the harbour now and I was doing 9.5 kph ! Ahh this was great, the boat was rocking about but making great headway at normal paddling. After the harbour I only got a wee bit more wind then was sheltered from it the rest of the way home.

Before I got out of the boat I carried out some edged sweep strokes, feeling confident I decided to go for a roll.
Bingo ! rolled up no problem, but the water is getting cold now so I didn't bother doing anything else after that.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Seat Lowering V2

I wanted to put blocks inside the boat between the seat and the deck where I had only a bolt and lockniys before, just to relieve any strain on the deck.
Something very stiff was needed but with a tiny bit of flex, something that wouldn't corrode. Blocks of wood were considered and high density foam but these didn't quite fit the bill, metal was right out.
Then it came to me, plastic pipe. I found a length in the shed and it was a perfect fit.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I had toyed with the idea of fitting a longer piece so that I could add mat to make thigh pads but it would have been a job getting enough padding on and being able to fit it between the pipe and the side of the boat.

I'm going to get thinner pipe, make up some hip pads then slide it into the pipe I have fitted, make adjustments then glue or screw into place.
I also added a foam block behind the seat for more stability.

And for good measure a big one under the front of the seat.

Now if that isn't stable I'm going to have to weld in a metal one !

Monday, December 18, 2006

Black Isle Stability Check

Today I was able to have a wee paddle over to the Black Isle.
I set off from the slip, my usual departure site for trips in the firth.

I noticed the difference from lowering the seat immediately, much better stability. I was quite surprised how much better the boat felt.

Paddled under the 'smelter pier'.

This used to have a conveyer belt running from the end right into the Aluminium Smelter. Now wagons roll up and down to load and unload various other cargoes.

I then headed towards the end of the Admiralty pier to make the crossing.

Near the other side I manged to get some shots of the other stuff in the firth, it's usually rigs in for repairs.

Here's the view back to the Admiralty Pier.

On the Black Isle I stopped for a coffee.

Then headed back. On the way into the tide and a wee breeze the GPS reported 6.6 - 6.9 kph. It was now telling me 7.5kph this is similar to what I was getting before the seat lowering. The twitchiness I felt last week seems to have disappeared too. I got some pics on the way back.

You can see Ben Wyvis behind this rig.

I also spotted the object that I hit last week when it was submerged, a big bloody tyre !

And that was it, I am happy with the seat lowering results. No, I am very happy. There seemed to be no movement, the seat is quite frimly pinned hard to the hull against the additional foam. I may still put blocks between the seat and the deck just to be on the safe side.
A nice paddle.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Lowering The Seat On P&H Sirius

After reading Douglas Wilcox' writings about improving stability on the P&H boats fitted with a plastic seat, I decided to give it a go.

The first problem was removing the seat. After removing the securing bolts I was able to slide the seat about so it was not glued to the hull but I simply could not get the thing out. I wonder how P&H ever got the thing in there, maybe it's heated up to make it more pliable ?

Drastic measures were needed, I cut it in half !

I then removed the excess foam from underneath. I bought some more M8 bolts, nylock nuts and washers. The seat was replaced and taped back together.

I then added more foam to the front to stabilise the seat, 'glueing' it to the seat with silicon sealant. I think the front part of the seat is close to what it was originally.

The bolts were put in and in the absence of nylon washers I used PTFE tape to make a seal. I screwed nylocks and washers on the inside to fasten the bolts and then another nylock and washer before passing the bolt through the seat, this was to keep the seat pushed down.If this proves too unstable I may add small blocks of foam or wood.

You can see the gap between the seat and the deck in the above pic. There used to be no gap here with the seat bolted hard up against it.

I fitted one more set of nylocks and washers to the underside of the seat.

A small piece of foam was needed at the back.

Everything was tightened up and the seat pad replaced to hide the tape. My butt now sits 40mm nearer the bottom of the boat.

From Seat Lowering

I couln't get out to see the difference today as the weather is crap again.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Found Some More Winter Ones

Ach, I couldn't resist when I found these in another directory on the PC.

Now do you know that gash you often see on pictures of Ben Alligin well here's my mate Spike standing next to it.
From Winter Walking

OK here's one of me but I wasn't going to include it because I seem to have developed buck teeth and a strangely shaped head especially for the photo.
From Winter Walking

Here's another of Spike that I think is quite good, the name of the hill escapes me but I could take you there if you're interested :-)

From Winter Walking

There's nobody in the next one but there's a feature you may have heard about.
The pic is taken from Ben Wyvis and down below you may be able to see the dam and Loch Glascarnoch bending around to the left. Hidden behind the hill at the west end of the Loch is the met office weather station for Loch Glascarnoch.

From Winter Walking

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Lollypop Stick

I decided to have a go at making an Inuit paddle following the general intructions found here

I have to say that I ain't no joiner and I was a bit, no a lot rough. I chewed a lump out of the end with the circular saw then over egged the depth of cut in several places with the wood saw :-)

It all started with a piece of scaffoling board. First cuts were made witha circular saw then not very tidied up with a wood saw, surplane, spokeshave and sandpaper.

The result was something like this.

From Inuit

The sandpaper for the loom is still attached.
As I said the thing is ruff ruff, I forgot to mention the attacks I made on it with a chisel and an axe !!

From Inuit

Anyway here she is after a few coats of Danish Oil.

From Inuit

I don't think I will be trying it out until I have paddled the new boat a wee bit longer.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

C. C. C. Cold

Went for another wee paddle today. Bloody cold. Nearly tipped the boat too when I hit something beneath the water, think it was some old wooden posts.
Managed to get into a nice rhythm on the way back, efforlessly gliding through the water.

Highland Weather Today.

Oh yes did I say it was cold ? A nasty northerly wind was blowing, despite this I thought I might try a roll. When my brother appeared by the slipway I went for it. DOH, I didn't come up right and instead of having another go I pulled the ejector cord !

Now I don't mind. In the back of my mind I was maybe thinking, this deck is on way tighter than the deck on my last boat, hope I can get it off OK if I have to. So now I know, there's no excuse for not rolling up next time.

Did I say it was cold ? I swam less then 20 metres to the shore and my hands were pretty numb by the time I got there. Imagine if I was out farther and had to deploy the old paddle float. I think I will be heading to enclosed waters during the holidays to practice.

Oh, thanks for lifting the boat for me bro' :-)

Oh aye, it was bloody cold today.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

On The Second Day

It was less windy.
Wind from the northeast so less wavy too. Not a normal wind for us. Very nippy though.

Set off with an easy beach launch today, after yesterdays debacle it was welcome. The first thing I had to do was get my pogies from the day hatch, I managed to get around enough to tackle the hatch but my hands were so cold it was a struggle getting the hatch off. Got it sorted and oh my what a great product the Suzy 40 belows are, hands were toasty in no time.

Set off again and checked the GPS, over 6kph not quite into the wind. Found myself edging a wee bit here and there and twitching a bit more.
From On The Second...

Had a couple of wee rain showers but I didn't really notice, having too much fun paddling.
From On The Second...

I paddled to the harbour then turned and paddled back. A quick look at the GPS and I was doing over 7KPH now, I can live with that for normal paddling.
From On The Second...

Well that's it until the weekend, maybe I'll do some bracing and rolling then !
From On The Second...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

She Arrived Today

Well I went and picked her up today.
From Boat Arrives

I took her out in the wee window I had before having to go get the kids from school. I shouldn't have bothered. The tide had just turned but was still lapping up onto the sea walls. I had to walk down the slip into thigh deep water then lift the boat down. I tried hopping in but the wind was throwing waves across the boat an it filled with water.

Got it back on terra firma and pumped it out. Had another go on the other side but she kept hitting the rocks that were beginning to appear in the ebbing tide. I think I scraped the poor wee thing.
From Boat Arrives

I finally got her going but it really was quite windy and the waves were rebounding off the wall and were pretty confused, so was I !! It was twitching about and was like someone shaking the back of the boat, quite scary at times but still fun.

I paddled into the wind and it was great going through the chop,I noticed that the bow cut through the waves instead of going over like my last boat, I managed to turn her about and it was OK with waves hitting from the side although a few went over the cockpit looks like this is going to get wetter than my previous one.
From Boat Arrives

I hope the forecast is a bit better for tomorrow as I should get a few hours in her before the nightshift.
From Boat Arrives

Friday, December 01, 2006

It's Getting Chilly. Blast From The Past

Well boys and girls it's getting cold again and it's time for all you winter walkers to dust off the ica axe and crampons. I enjoy the odd winter walk myself and have been looking out some of my old snaps with a winter theme.

This is a nice one, REALLY freezing but crisp and clear. This was the cold winter when lots of people suffered burst pipes. I think it was 1996 ?
From Winter Walking

This was that very same day.
From Winter Walking

From Winter Walking

Now a nice day in the Fannichs
From Winter Walking

Ben Alligin
From Winter Walking

Now for some nastier weather

This was on A Chralaig,
From Winter Walking

And this is shortly before we turned back due to poor vis and several more pinnacles !
From Winter Walking

And now the 'What the hell are we doing out in this' photo's.

It's cold...
From Winter Walking

Too bloody right it's cold.
From Winter Walking

So have fun and be safe out there. Don't be afraid to turn back or even not to start out on a hill, use your loaf and live to walk another day.
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