Monday, May 26, 2008

Wood making and Capella rolling

Memorial Day weekends means wood splitting and stacking at CampO and we headed north Friday evening to join in the fun. Since CampO is indeed a true camp and not a modern home that happens to be in the woods, there is no central heat, just a number of wood burning fireplaces and stoves that have a voracious appetite for fuel. The master mind and chief chainsaw operator, the WoodFondlingBarrister, cuts a huge pile of yellow birch, hard maple, oak, and cedar and we peons cut and stack it on Saturday morning with the help of the gas operated log splitter. The division of labor is both rigid and efficient and no mere log stager or pile stacker would presume to take over the GurneyGranny's position of splitter operator. In a short few hours the five and a half face cords were split and stacked, prompting the satisfied smile on the face of the WoodFondlingBarrister, shown leaning on his ski pole a mere six weeks after his rebellious hip was replaced.

As with most CampO events, including the famous Bark Bay Fishing Invitational and the Annual Grouse Slaughter, work is liberally mixed with fun. For this event the Karl O Rohlich Memorial taproom had both Leinenkugels Original and Point "Its not just for breakfast anymore" Bock on tap. I knew that putting the P&H Capella 169 through its paces needed to take place before any tap handles were pulled so I saddled up and headed out into the rapidly warming lake, which had reached a balmy 62F (18C) since the ice went out 3 and a half weeks ago. No ice cream headaches this time like RonO and I suffered when we were rolling a week after ice out.

The P&H Capella with no gear in it is a very tender craft. When noted SKOAC author and raconteur, Bill Newman, paddled RonO's new Nordkapp his first comment was that it was, "diabolical". The Capella seems to be the same and I was glad I had not strapped the Nikon on the front deck as leaning forward to grab the camera would have felt a bit dicey when I first started paddling this craft. Its a fairly quick boat in the carbon/kevlar layup but it took a bit of fiddling with the skeg to get it to track straight in the 10-15mph wind. It knee turns very quickly and readily and from watching GalwayGuy surfing the waves on Superior it seems to be a surfing machine. Secondary stability is rock solid however and I would guess if I threw a bunch of gear in the boat it would be just fine; this is not a beginners kayak however. It did roll very well, and the classic Greenland lay back rolls worked quite nicely on both strong side and off side. I was able to lay back all the way on the deck and moved to the angel and crook of the elbow rolls. These also came around nicely but I went over a few time because either my brain still had not processed the balance thing with this boat or my unwelcome spring head cold has my inner ear screwed up. I'll need to play with that a bit, which is not tough duty now that the outdoor rolling season is in full swing. GalwayGuy did mention that we need to do some outfitting because his right thigh was black and blue for a week. I attributed it to the fact that he was rolling about 4 boats that day for two hours but now my right leg is black and blue and appears that it will be so for about a week. Go figure! It is a very intrigueing kayak and I hope to play around with it a lot more over the summer, if I can pry it away from GalwayGuy. It is significantly lighter and more nimble than my main boat, the Valley Aquanaut HV, affectionately referred to as the ore freighter, but I guess thats why we need so many boats. They all have interesting and endearing characteristics that make them more fun and more focused for different aspects of the sport.

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