Number 219 / May 2010

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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Lots To Celebrate At Rutland (SteveR)

The first meet of the season is always an exciting time. People you have not seen for a while, and of course the opportunity to see what changes people have made to their boats over the winter. This year didn't disappoint, and I was particularly interested to see that AndyW had taken his sleek plywood decked canoe to Solway Dory and had it fitted with a set of mini outriggers on a 'gull wing' beam. Because of the crowned foredeck on the boat Andy had asked for the beam to be attached to the flat aft deck just behind where he sits. Having sailed Andy's boat quite a lot when I owned it, I am sure that the addition of outriggers will extend its already impressive degree of seaworthiness, while having little effect on the boat's impressive turn of speed. Andy was a little unsure of how the outrigger beams would affect his ability to paddle the boat. Experiments with a double paddle and long single bladed paddle suggested that neither of these paddles were an effective solution, but Andy seemed to have more success with a short single bladed paddle. It will be interesting to hear how Andy gets on with the boat on his forthcoming three lochs trip. JohnS has also been busy making modifications with a view to exploits on the west coast of Scotland. John has outfitted his boat with extensive buoyancy compartments, which contain hatches for carrying gear. Decks and hatches would seem to be very much in vogue, and Gavin commented to me as we stood on the beach that he had counted up and noticed that the majority of the boats present had decks.




Eddie in the antique Peterborough.

The brass leeboard bracket.

Another boat whose recent changes caught my attention was PaulL's antique Peterborough canoe. Paul has furnished the canoe with a very attractive brass leeboard bracket, which he had mailed to him from a supplier in Michigan. The boat looks superb and it was nice to see Paul out sailing with Eddie, the 10-year-old son of a family friend.

Saturday morning encouraged me to try a different method of organising on-the-water activities. Rather than encouraging people to buddy up I suggested that all members should restrict their sailing to a small area of the reservoir up until 1pm. This enabled newer members to get to know people while having the security of sailing in company. In retrospect I would not be inclined to encourage others to replicate this approach without putting out marker buoys, as I found that the group quickly spread out over a wide area.

Saturday afternoon saw many members travel in small groups on the inevitable pilgrimage to the Fisherman's Café, and refreshments continued later in the Noel Arms. (A tip for future meet organisers, distributing the phone number of the local food-serving pub at the morning briefing proved to be a successful strategy.)

Sunday morning's racing was delayed to allow some members to assist Oliver who had collided with a metal bar while out cycling on his recumbent tricycle with Jan and Ellen. Seeing the air ambulance land from where I stood on the other side of the lake was unnerving, but fortunately reports began to filter back that Oliver was not too seriously injured. Oliver was admitted to hospital for a few days with a broken nose and is now on the mend; he will need a small operation in the future to reset the break. Some members not involved with the cycling incident put the time to good use by practising capsizing. I was impressed by how smoothly this went, although that is not to say that nothing was learned, John found that the addition of buoyancy to his boat has made it harder to right, and he is considering employing righting lines. By the time the racing got underway the winds had become very light and shifty, which made the race something of a challenge. Given the challenging conditions it is remarkable how close the racing was; DaveS still won, but he had a number of people finishing very close behind him, and the first 8 finishers all came in well within 15 minutes of Dave. 15 minutes in 2 hours is a very close field compared to days of yore, and it shows just how well the average standard of sailing within the group has progressed in recent years.

So Rutland featured fast sailing, a competent and responsible approach to capsize, a well-attended meet and some interesting developments in technology. It looks like it could be a good year for canoe sailing.


Le Golfe Du Morbihan (KeithM)
(the 'little sea' of south Brittany)

I had heard about the Gulf of Morbihan for years from various sources, mostly personal recommendations but also books and magazines. It is widely known as a small boat sailing playground/paradise, albeit with a reputation for some tidal action, more of which later…

Having visited the area a few years ago on a touring holiday, Ann and I had already managed to 'recce' the area with a view to finding a suitable campsite that has access to the water for canoe

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