Mainly kayaking photographs taken on the Isle of Man and beyond.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Leaning on the wind!




The weather today on the Isle of Man is much the same as yesterday, with force 6 northwesterly winds, gusting to force 7 . I couldn't wait any longer - I really wanted to paddle. I chose to paddle from Port St Mary to Gansey , a trip which I describe in the guide section of my website as safe for coached beginners and for skills sessions. This was not the case today. Much of the time was spent either leaning on or battling with the force 7 gusts. At one point my kayak resembled a speed boat as the wind to the rear and the tide on the bow meant that the Rockpool raced through the water. A bow wave built but the standing waves were low in height and so the bow failed to bury; one of my least favourite things too happen.
When the sea is like this the surface becomes a map. You can see the wind as the circles of ripples race around. I picked my way between these and set the bow up into the wind before turning. Steering can be nearly impossible in this weather and you don't want the wind to hit the bow from the side. It's worth remembering that if you do get caught out and need to turn your boat back into the wind it can be easier to spin the kayak the long way round, bringing the stern to wind first.
Later on I was taught another salutary lesson. I always practice rolling on every trip. I can roll on either side. In winds like this it can be impossible sometimes to roll up on the downwind side. If you can roll as easily on the left or the right side, rolling on the upwind side is effortless. Today I had to rely on this for the second time in recent months, resetting my hands and paddle underwater, and letting the wind bring me back upright.

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