Thursday, January 3, 2008
A rolling boat?
I can't remember whose blog I made the comment on about needing (wanting? Lusting after?) a good rolling boat. The response was amazing. Several people had a pretty good idea of what a 6'4" 225# guy needs in the way of a good boat to develop my traditional rolls. Anas Acuta, Outer Island, Greenland Pro, and a vintage Pintail were all suggested. In fact I paddled and rolled a '92 Pintail at the last pool session I attended. ChrisG had his Pintail, complete with ocean cockpit, at the pool for a SKOAC rolling session. It is fitted out and foamed for the perfect fit....once you get into it, that is. Getting out was interesting too. I flipped the boat, popped the skirt, and waited to fall out. Except I didn't fall out. I wound up wiggling out; its a good thing that I am used to being upside down under water while holding my breath. I remember my initial unfounded trepidation about kayaking involved being trapped upside down and unable to free myself from the spray skirt. That thought did flash through my brain as I was wedging myself out of the Pintail. It is however, a very responsive and nimble boat.
I also thought building a skin on frame would be interesting. I watched my friend Pat from Thunder Bay, ON build a beautiful skin on frame at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN. No2 son and I built a Chesapeake LT 17 so I have a bit of an idea about the time and effort needed for a SOF. Something tells me that the VOR might not be receptive to the idea of stitching a SOF in the dining room, an excellent construction technique that we implemented with the CLC 17 while in the bachelor mode.
After watching Dubside roll everything up to and including a garbage scow, I decided that modifying my Feathercraft Big Kahuna might be the cheap, efficient, and space conserving way to get a good rolling boat. You can just see the yellow Feathercraft on the left in the photo of the three Olson boys (my two sons and I) off Shovel Point, north shore of Lake Superior. I spoke with the helpful folks at Feathercraft out on Granville Island in Vancouver. They suggested retrofitting the boat with thigh braces and a low profile back rib to have a craft similar to the black Kahuna that Dubside uses in his videos and for his commando kayaking forays. Out came the trusty VISA and the parts are on their way to Minnesota. It was suggested that I wait until spring and fresh water because chlorine is not good for the urethane deck.... or for the human skin and mucous membranes, as far as I'm concerned. Anyhow, we shall see how this experiment works. Even though the snow is perfect and I had an excellent skate ski tonite, I know I'll be just a little bit excited for the spring thaw when my rolling parts arrive from Vancouver.