Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Escaping Planet Harbour

Onshore wind was back in force today which helped breaking up the ice in the harbour. The ice floes are currently around 1cm thick and I don't want to risk the kayak by smashing my way out.

I launched the Escape Pod and soon faced a heavy and confused sea at the harbour entrance with the jetty being washed in spray. As for my balance I was going to the limit. In my pre-Moskito days I wouldn't have had a chance staying upright in this boat in such a sea. Slowly and super concentrated I worked my way towards the coast and soon faced a more regular sea. Then I could relax and power on down the coast. No swim today.

It's March, it's bitter cold and I've taken a liking to paddle in mostly the same gear I use when running. Not sure what I'll do in case I capsize. Most likely I'll just run for the club - since I'm wearing the running tights already..

The Escape Pod performed admirable. Sure the bow was sometimes deeply buried in the waves - more so than with Miss M. - but I don't feel this had a noticeable slowing effect. The rudder worked like a charm. The tiller control is way better tuned than those in the Inuk and Moskito.

The onshore wind may continue - the pod and I are ready.
Escape Rudder

Escape Pod understern rudder

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Escape Pod Arrives


Spaceship One

Monday afternoon I took Miss Moskito on a short paddle in a lazy swell. I was able to enjoy the delicate balance act while still paddling agressively. When doing a stroke in one side I tilt the kayak ever so slightly to the other side. It might just be my imagination, but I think I'm able to feel a tiny resistance at one point. This is the Miss' way of telling me that from here on I'm on my own. If I keep tilting her I'll either have to convert my forward stroke into a brace and lose speed(bad) or take a swim(exceedingly bad in march). At just the right moment I must finish the stroke and slightly shift my weight to other site. This tilting/swaying motion in the forward stroke is a thing of beauty. This is when paddling the Moskito is at it's best.

Tuesday I bought a new kayak...

Truth is my balance for paddling the Moskito in real waves isn't there yet. Way too often I'm restricted to staying inside the harbour doing lanes which is getting on my nerves. It has become a running joke in my kayak club, that we've had onshore winds ever since I got my Moskito.

Now I could switch to my cheerfull little Inuk for wave paddling and that would be fine. But I've become somewhat spoiled by Miss M. I'm addicted to the speed , acceleration and balance game. Sure in nasty conditions or going ofshore I'll be back the Inuk in a second. But for regular fitness paddling I don't want a 4WD.

Introducing the Escape. Two years ago I got to test paddle an Escape. It's a K1-Trainer designed by Danish Bjørn Johansen and is currently build by German Neumann for the Scandinavian market. At that time I thought it was both highly unstable and one of the most beautyful kayaks I'd seen yet. I started fantasizing about an Escape which could be rolled.

Tuesday I found a second hand kevlar Escape for sale and I didn't hesitate for long.


Spaceship Two - Escape - 12kg - 520x51cm

While the Moskito is a sharp and mean looking kayak which barely accepts anyone rides her in waves - the Escape is a softer and more rounded K1-Trainer designed for waves. I love the shape, which looks like it was out of some Sci-Fi flick. It's my Escape Pod that'll take me out of the harbour. This thing is going to take some poundings in the waves!

I had three trips already and found it super stable compared to Miss M. Much easier to turn. Build in an ocean sized cockpit and I'm ready to take it to the open sea. For now I'll just be tracking the coast. As for speed I still have to do some trials. The Moskito should be faster(it better be!).

At any rate - my goal to be able to master Miss M in real waves haven't changed. If anything the Escape is going to accelerate that process.

Escape Pod with passenger in icy water


View at the futuristic bow design


Inside view at the tillerbar rudder control