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The GOSSIP

Number 207 / March 2009

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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talking to via the Internet, the American Canoe Association. We went to their summer meet and enjoyed sailing with them although they took their racing very seriously - one comment overheard, while we were all applauding the second boat over the line for the fight he had put up, was that "he was the first of the losers"! Definitely not the British way of doing things. Their boats were interesting to us. Some of them were set up very professionally with Mylar sails, self-bailers etc; it was all very instructive. Of course we were well entertained, their hospitality was generous to say the least but when we wanted to take them to the pub to say thank you we had to drive some twenty odd miles to find one. Only one or two came with us, most of the US sailors seemed to go to bed by 8 or 9 o'clock - not the OCSG style at all!

In the autumn of that year after our return it became apparent that a group of the Americans intended to come to Britain the following summer for a return meet. Once the excitement had died down we realised that there was a great deal to do in preparation. We were able to hold the meet at the Lakeside National Centre on Windermere, accommodation would be under canvas and we would all eat together in the mess hall. Most of this organisation fell on KeithM; DaveS, DaveP and myself were principally concerned with getting six new open boats and rigging them for sail. Pyranha were kind enough to let us have the six canoes on sale or return; Solway Dory contributed six new 44 square foot rigs for them. There were of course many other helpers, whose names I have forgotten now, but it was a combined effort of us all really. All we had to do now was await the arrival of the Yanks… "The Yanks are coming!" (Read Part 3.)

 

Book Review (MalcolmC)
A Speck On The Sea (Epic Voyages in the Most Improbable Vessels)
William H. Longyard: MacGraw Hill. Softback A5 size, 375 pages.

This is almost a reference book of voyages in small boats but it is no less an interesting read for that. It is divided into eras starting with 63AD to the 16th century and then working in decades right up to the present time. There are many weird and wonderful creations as well as conventional vessels ranging in size from under 7 feet to just over 20. The voyages of John MacGregor are covered, as are many other epic canoe and kayak trips. There are many well-known journeys such as Shackleton's and Bligh's and lots more that you have probably never heard of.

Each voyage has only a few pages devoted to it but there is plenty of detail and photos (although only in black and white) of many of the vessels. If you wanted to explore a particular one in more detail the excellent bibliography will point you in the right direction. It is an enthralling book that makes you think, "why?", "how?", "they must have been mad, but very tough"!

A good book for picking up, reading about a voyage or two, and then putting down again. It could keep you going for ages.

 

Book Review (MalcolmC)
Inshore Britain
Stuart Fisher: Imray, Laurie, Norie and Wilson Ltd. A4 softback 357 pages.

This book was actually produced for sea kayakers planning a voyage anywhere around Britain.

The coastline is split into 62 sections with a chapter covering each one. A map, plus colour and black and white photos gives a real feel for what the area is like. The text gives plenty of information including historical facts, geology, agriculture and wildlife. It is not meant to be a pilot but more to whet the appetite and make you want to visit. However, there are lots of photos of what the major coastal features, such as headlands, look like from a sea kayak.

Self-contained chapters make this another book that can be picked up and read for 10 minutes and then put down again. Or you could just browse the many photos and dream!

 

Outing In Shorn (DaveSe)

On Sunday morning of the Winter Meet John very kindly offered me a sail in his micro canoe, "Shorn". This is a canoe made from one 8' x 4' sheet of plywood, so only 7' 6" long overall. Beam seemed to be about 30", but this is enhanced by flotation tubes mounted outboard of the gunwale on each side. They are only in the water when heeled, so don't add significantly to the drag. It has a usual drop down rudder operated by a push pull tiller, a lee-board bolted through the port side of the hull and a small lug sail mounted on a mast forward. After installing myself with one foot either side of the mast, I paddled away from shore to find some wind. Being so light it was very easy to paddle, even my J stroke worked! It didn't take long to find confidence in the

This photo of DaveSe sailing 'Shorn' at the winter meet was taken by RodL.

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