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 Justine's Journal

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Special Delivery to the Isle of Man
Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Sometimes things just come together in a mad last minute plan! Last week Barry mentioned to me that our friend Keirron needed a double seakayak delivered to the Isle of Man. Normally the Seakayaking UK Triton would be driven from Holyhead to Liverpool and put on a ferry, but that just seemed a bit of a shame when you look at all the options! I've long had an urge to paddle the 45 nautical miles to the Isle of Man from Anglesey, Barry's made the crossing 3 times already but never in a double, we both had some free time, the forecast promised Southerlies..... We were going for it!

Yesterday morning, the forecast had changed to Easterly ( a side wind instead of a following sea) but we decided to stick with the plan. Phil kindly dropped us off at Bull Bay on the North coast of Anglesey and at 8.30am we set off in pretty calm conditions. In the double, we found we could maintain a paddling speed of just over 5 knots, so we'd paddle for 5 miles ( just under an hour), rest for a few minutes to eat & drink, then do the same again. The wind gradually picked up but the skeg worked well to keep us on track. Then after about 20 miles, the wind picked up and swung slightly towards North-Easterly. Suddenly we were really struggling to make the boat go towards the Isle of Man. It wanted to head straight into the wind and we were fighting really hard to keep it going NW. In the end we paddled North for a bit then turned and paddled downwind to the West - anything inbetween was too hard. Barry was stern ruddering all the time and I was feeling the pressure on my shoulders when I had to power the boat as he turned us. We struggled on for 10 miles, our average speed dropping considerably.

WHAT BARRY HAD TO LOOK AT
Suddenly after a food break, Barry said coyly 'I've got a confession to make.... and it's a really bad one". I said nothing, waiting for his revelation. He was obviously nervous of telling me because he just said 'How's the boat going now?'. The kayak was in fact heading NW with no problems at all. Barry continued " I've had the skeg UP for the last 10 miles instead of DOWN, I got up and down confused on the sliding control". Now he'd put the skeg down, the boat was tracking perfectly. Having struggled and cursed for over 2 hours with the stuborn kayak, my reply is far too rude to print, but fortunately we were both soon laughing with relief that the kayak was easy to handle again! We picked up a bit of speed once more and enjoyed the last 15 miles of the journey. By this time the wind had picked up to a force 5 and continued to rise to a force 6. It was mostly side on, with a small element of head wind so it wasn't too bad, although it was a very wet ride in the front for me! It was my first trip of any length in a double and I was amazed how easy it felt to handle and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would ( considering I usually like to be in control of my own kayak!)!

Finally after 46 nautical miles, and EXACTLY 10 hours ( to the minute!) we arrived at Castletown in a force 6 and pretty choppy seas. Neither of us had been worried about the conditions because we were going well and feeling good ( once the skeg was down anyway!), so we were surprised to find out that the coastguards in Holyhead, Liverpool & the Isle of Man had been alerted about our crossing and were looking for us. We phoned Keirron when we arrived and he came to meet us at the same time as the Isle Of Man coastguard turned up, looking for us. We're grateful for their concern and they were glad we had arrived safely. As they left the coastguard just said to Keirron, "The things some people do to avoid paying for the ferry"!



WHAT I HAD TO LOOK AT

5 Comments:

Anonymous Axel said...

Well Done! But what to say about the new slider skeg control? Was it Hydro? Probably, because Keirron only wants the best! Now Keirron can sell this Triton at a premium price for it being paddled by the best of paddlers ;-)

3:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Impressive, nice going.

Mark R

5:45 pm  
Blogger Michael said...

I gather that the trip was sponsored by 'Snickers', or at least Barry seemed to be! LOL Good stuff. Who get to do the return run?

1:23 am  
Blogger derrick said...

hard to say who had the better scenery! LOL! Great job guys!

7:04 am  
Anonymous jeff c said...

barry, confused by up and down? bless, oh look, now he's trying to eat his snickers with the wrapper on.

2:28 am  

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