Saturday, 28 May 2011

A Day in the Sticks

We had our second Greenland day today, following a successful morning a couple of months ago. A group of paddler s who had attended Ginni Callahan and Axel Schoevers’  training sessions back in February (and for some, March he preceding year) had decided to try to keep meeting to maintain the skills. Once again, Dee organised this.

Cathy and I set out from home, meeting Matt Bezzina on the way. Matt didn’t join us for the day but came to Watson’s Bay to say g’day to the others and the people  who were heading out with Sharon and Rob.
This was another chance to give the new Novorca blades a stretch. I lashed the red GP to the deck but paddled with the Aleut, trying to make sure to adapt the normal shallow canted GP stroke to a  the steeper and more square stroke.  Opposite the bridge and Opera House stopped for a few pix, to send back to Ron at Novorca.
Aleut #221. That's GP #228 on the deck. I'm not really that fat. 

When we reached Watson’s Bay we proudly showed off the carbon sticks, to admiring noises. I have learned that first people are struck by the colour and then by the lightness and feel, and so it was.  Ron may find himself with a few more Oz orders.

Susan Day had thoughtfully brought along the notes from Ginni’s workshop last year, and we all went over them again. Much discussion about balanced bracing, I was sure you engage the upside knee but was completely wrong ( might explain a thing or two).  We decided to try forward strokes around to Vaucluse bay and then get wet there in the shallows.
Claudia in Rock Melon and Dee in Orca.

Dee doing her Greenland thing from Ian Vaile on Vimeo.

Ann did not have a Greenland stick. I initially didn’t think to give her the Aleut, because it doesn’t really behave like a GP, but at Claudia’s prompting did so and Ann just took off. She was really amazingly fast to pick it up – a little later she was experimenting with the angle of canting  and went over, and nearly managed to pop back up again, less than twenty minutes after touching a GP for the first time.

Ann with the Aleut - the first day with a GP , amazing. 

And so we buggered around practicing braces and rolls. My butterfly roll  has flown, I’m back to a  caterpillar, with only one success in a dozen attempts. I still have trouble holding a balanced brace. Ken day stood for bloody ages thigh-deep in the cold water and helping first Cathy and then me in getting into that brace. Very generous.
Cathy and Susan 

Ann asleep  in a balanced brace

Tony did brilliantly, Dee got her brace and butterfly nailed, and Ann also pulled off a balanced brace. Success all round.  The water is getting pretty cool now though and after a couple of hours Cathy decided she had to get moving to warm up. I reluctantly  retrieved the Aleut from Ann and headed off to catch her at Bradleys.

Dee has decided to form a group in  the NSWSKC to pursue this admittedly  fringe activity, and we are calling it the Splinter Group. 

On the way back had a close shave with the usual blind deaf incompetent sailor, unable to keep a straight line or a lookout. I’ve never had a serious close call  with a stink boat driver but I fins sailboat skippers and crew to be highly hazardous. But that’s another rant.

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