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Monday, April 06, 2009

"On Approach"


It happens all the time when you paddle on the ocean and want to return home. When conditions change or maybe don't you still have to determine an approach. An approach in a kayak is sometimes I guess like landing an airplane, not that I ever done so or ever will, in my mind just seems similar to some degree. There are calculations probably most done subconsciously, like what stroke to employ or what edge to take, now these calculations may be more important near shore. Granted most bodies of water, coves, bays, inlets, tickles, harbours etc you enter when returning from sea have pretty big entrances to a kayak. Sure, but things like clapotis, shoaling, current, covered hazards (rocks)that may expose and cover with swell and or waves, huge cliffs with down drafts, gusting winds,or constricted entrances (such as Quidi Vidi) can all provide interesting and challenging passages at different times of day during different conditions such as fog, wind, rain, snow sleet etc. If you use rudders or skegs there may be parallels to similar components of an aircraft but certainly not as complicated. Now the paddle in concert or individually with skegs or rudders can provide degrees of lift when needed and certainly propulsion and depending on the paddle, employ similar lift characteristics as those of wings on a plane, well we do have winged blades.

Things such as viscosity(solute concentration in H2O), drag (imperfect surfaces), flutter(improper paddle stroke), not to mention boat design all to some degree influence an approach. Skill as in flying anything especially a kayak by the seat of your literal ass is most times fun, challenging, calculated, engrossing, enjoyable and able to be done at a pace suitable to your skills and suitable to conditions hoping you have one to meet the requirements of the other.

Negative G's are most likely to get you wet but proper skill and maneuvering will only allow that to be a temporary sensation with the execution of a quick roll to keep you going on your way.

In reality on this paddle we were trying to stay afloat and enjoy the scenery of Cabot Tower on Signal Hill approaching the entrance of the Narrows to St. John's Harbour, Newfoundland, with good pal Tony!!! lol
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