Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Keeping Ahead of the Storms

Slipping into a 'hole' in the ravine's wall long enough for a drink.

On the third day at Steed, the wind was gusty from the south.  With all the hills along the south end of the lake, the wind would funnel between them creating unpredictable gusts in the acceleration zones.  The forecast called for strong and severe storms the next couple days.  Before packing up to head home and get the RV under rented indoor storage, I decided to sneak in a couple hours of paddling back down the west arm, but stayed closer in to shore.

The ravine that leads south to the dam really accelerates the wind.  I decided to play with the Falcon Sail in the stronger winds.  I paddled down the ravine dead into the wind.  Just before reaching the dam, I turned and sailed both broad reaches jibe on jibe as I ran back and forth across the channel.  There were a couple side branches in the walls of the ravine, and I sailed in and out of them.  I would be in behind the ravine wall and in the wind shadow one minute, and then suddenly take off on exhilarating reaches as I stuck my nose back out in the open again.  I’m getting much better using a hip roll to get the boom to jibe when I want.  Before getting the sail, in spite of my sailing experience, I was a bit apprehensive about the heeling moment that may be created by the tall mast.  So far I have found the rig to be extremely manageable.  It sets in an instant, and is quick enough to stow and furl that there is no excuse for not using it every opportunity that the wind permits.  I made a couple runs up and down the ravine, but still, it was just a short 5 mile sail before I decided to head back for lunch.  Then we cleaned up, packed up, and got back on the road ahead of predicted severe weather.
(Kayak & canoe sails: Falcon Sails at

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