Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Watercraft Smorgasbord

In addition to the intense competition and healthful post race activities, the Island Lake Triathalon also features a number of interesting watercraft. There is no shortage of water toys on the lake and most of them are fun to play with. Think of that word, 'most', when we get to the air chair.

First up on the list is the ever popular Hobie Cat catamaran. The wind was really nice and those things can really move, even when hauling UncleRick, NieceLaura, and the Voice of Reason. It was so much fun that I was late for the crucial Fantasy Football draft. Fortunately my buddies had my back and drafted Michael Vick for me in the first round. Thanks guys!

More sedate than the Hobie is the venerable paddle boat. A few years back on this very paddle boat Uncle Rick and I were sitting just off the beach, enjoying a beer and watching the Hingemaster attempt to perfect his screw roll. SisterDeb, known from hereafter as MrsClean, could not see her beloved son the Hingemaster catching a breath everytime he missed a roll. All she saw was the bottom of a kayak lurching around, her son trapped by the spray skirt, and two grown men close by on the paddle boat laughing, oblivious, and swilling beer. The next thing we knew she was running toward the lake ordering UncleRick and I to, "Help him you assholes!". The beauty of the situation was that it was all caught on tape by a neighbor.

Next up on the list is the unique and almost undescribable homemade pontoon/houseboat known as the Windsor Castle, named for the beverage that is consumed in substantial quantity on its voyages. This boat has been on Island Lake since the early sixties when PeteS built it from scratch. It has a galley, sleeping quarters, fore and aft decks, and you can even picnic on the roof or jump off it into the lake. It is a pain in the rear end to get in and out of the water (it weighs about 5 tons) but everyone loves it.

And now for the infamous air chair. This is a piece of gear that is towed behind a boat like a water ski or wake board. You sit on it....actually you're lashed to the thing so the large steel fin doesn't split your skull if you and the device become separated in the inevitable crash. I tried to encourage novices to give it a try so I could get some good crash shots. It was not really necessary. Even the expert riders can bite the water in a spectacular fashion.

Since this is primarily a kayak blog I guess we have to have a kayak. This gem is a complete mystery. It was purchased sometime in the late '60s and is a fiberglass boat. It has no decals or any sort of identification. Its fairly light, has a small keel which makes it track decently, and is in great shape for being 40 years old. The cockpit coaming is roughly the size of an ocean cockpit and is screwed on to the deck. Any feedback from anyone as to who made this thing or where it might have came from would be appreciated. I need to solve the mystery.

And finally, heres that air chair crash I promised you.

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