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

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Kayaking Isle of Man - Intercontinental Kayak.



A 3 piece kayak such as the Rockpool Alaw Bach really is aimed at those of us wishing to take our kayaks aboard planes for overseas exotic paddling. But is it of any use as a day to day kayak, which you can pack into the back of your car and paddle locally? Would you leave it in your car ready for that unscheduled paddle, and is it of use to those who may struggle to lift a boat to and from a roof rack? Well I decided to find out.
I dismantled the Rockpool and stuffed it into the back of my short wheel base Isuzu Trooper. Taking it apart on your own is not difficult but you do have to manipulate the boat extensively to undue the twelve clips holding it together. 4 of these are located on the underside of the hull and so the boat must be turned on its side. I managed this on my own, and I even prevented the segments from crashing to the floor but I wouldn't say that this is an easy task. To be honest, if you think that this may be easier than lifting the entire boat onto a roof rack, using a step ladder in my case, then think again.
You can see from the photos above that I did manage to stuff the three segments into my car. This was not easy however, and by the time I had slid the passenger seat forward, there was no space left for much else, let alone another person. Mercifully I will be taking delivery of a larger vehicle soon, but this is a big boat, and even in three pieces each segment is about 1.75 metres in length!
I had a great paddle and put the boat through it's paces off Peel. It is much more twitchy than my standard Alaw Bach. It wants to tip over and challenges you to play every wave or suffer the consequences. But after a short while this changes from being a problem to a positive feature as this playful rough water kayak becomes a joy. It can be hard work but if you put the effort in it rewards you with brisk, precise manoeuvrability and can surf even the smallest waves.
To get home I was tempted just to place the kayak on the roof rack in the usual way but there was a lamp post in the way and so I dismantled it and stuffed it back into the car. Its portability is not a convenience locally. This boat is a truly intercontinental kayak, or for long car trips where driving may be easier without a 17 foot kayak on the roof. It's a joy to paddle however, and reminded me a bit of the new Tide Race Xcite which is an evolution of the Rockpool Alaw Bach!
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