Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Too nice for Grumpys
On most 'regular' Tuesday nights either RonO or I will fire off an email with the single word, hotdish. This refers to the Tuesday happy hour tradition of fine microbrewed beers and a dollar bowl of hotdish at Grumpy's Bar in Northeast Minneapolis. Such fine traditional Minnesota hotdishes such as Tater Tot, Wild Rice, or beef noodle can be had for a buck. You never know which one will be in the giant roaster but you simply can't go wrong. Today however, I made the mistake of venturing outside for lunch.
It was likely one of the last 80F days of the year, sunny and a light breeze. When I came back to work, the email I sent had 4 words; Rolling at Long Lake? Ron said he had exactly the same idea after he ventured over to the hanger over the noon hour, but I had beaten him to the punch. We arrived and launched a bit before 6pm and began to loosen up.
We had both learned a number of new techniques and refined some old ones at the Traditional Gathering in Akeley the weekend before last. We wanted to practice and work with them a bit before the water around here become too stiff to practice in. The day after Thanksgiving has always been the traditional first day of ice fishing and that's about 9 weeks away. Everything was working, except maybe some of the newer 'other side' stuff but the static brace still eluded me. I had just been corresponding with Stevie in Brooklyn (note his lovely static brace in his blog photo) and that was one of the topics. He said he had practiced for years before he finally got it and claimed that tall and broad shouldered guys had more trouble with the maneuver. Since I am the former but could never be accused of being the latter, I had at least a half of an excuse. Nonetheless I keep attempting it and keep slowly sinking like the Titanic until I'm in the perfect position to angel roll back to the surface. Last night was no exception. Until Ron had me try his carbon fiber greenland paddle. He claimed it had more flotation that my basswood version and, by god, he was right! Not only did the elusive static brace appear but I could feel my paddle hand floating to the surface as I lay on the water, free hand pulling on the bottom of the boat in an attempt to keep my hull flatter on the water.
I had heard of 'cheater boats', the most famous of which is the Yost (above) built by ChrisG and now owned by Alex. Ron said he was doing stick rolls, hand rolls, and all sorts of things he had no business doing in this amazing craft. I have never heard of a 'cheater paddle' though. One of these days when I have a few hundred spare bucks laying around (yeah, right!) I'll need to get in touch with RonS at Novorca and explore the carbon fiber possibility once again. Until then, when I need a dose of static brace confidence, I'll just borrow Ron's stick. I suspect that will occur this very evening on Calhoun as the weather is carbon copy of yesterday.