Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hugh Heward 25

This past weekend, Emily and I participated in the Hugh Heward Challenge. This "race" follows the supposed 50 mile sprint down the Grand River followed by Hugh Heward in 1790. We didn't do the whole 50 miles (not enough time or training) so we did the "Half Hugh" at 25 miles. A great amenity this year was carspotting provided by Trailspotters of Michigan. We dropped the boat off at the starting point in Grand Ledge; I drove the car and trailer back to the finish in Portland; I was picked up by Trailspotters and driven back to Grand Ledge. An awesome system! Once back in Grand Ledge, we got the boat down a long steep bank down to the river. This was no simple matter given the weight of the XCR, thank goodness I built it tough! Next time I'm bringing portage wheels... We got underway a little before 9am (there did not appear to be an official start...) paddling mostly by ourselves. We passed and were passed by a few kayakers and a couple guys in Superior Canoes Expeditions. One of these guys was Scott Smith who is the owner of the company and the builder of the canoes. We chatted for a while about the XCR which he really admired. We enjoyed a pretty leisurely paddle, taking breaks to eat cookies and other snacks. We finished sometime before 3pm with only a couple of kayakers in front of us. It was really fun to wait at the finish watching everyone else come in, especially the super-fast racers in their carbon / kevlar canoes. These guys (and girls) are AVERAGING over 7mph... wow! Another highlight was to see Hugh Heward himself come in:

This was a genuine birchbark canoe, pretty cool!

Here are the rest of my pics:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Macatawa River Paddle

A few weeks ago, we had an unseasonably warm day. So we decided to take the XCR out for a quick paddle. We drove up the the launch and almost turned around. The wind was very strong from the south west and was driving some short chop right onto our launch beach. Not an issue for just Emily and I, but we had the kids with us... what to do... We decided to give it a whirl; packed everybody into the boat and set off. Once we turned off the lake into the river, things calmed down pretty quickly, so much so that David fell asleep. Every time he is in this boat, he falls asleep! We paddled a bit then pulled up on shore and moved him into the covered bow section of the boat, where he slept until the end of our trip.

Sara wasn't happy sitting on the bottom of the boat, so we put her up on a dry bag and she loved it. She was pointing at the "alligators" and "elephants" but told us "it's OK, they are just pretend." We paddled up the river a bit, went around Windmill Island, then turned around and went back to our launch site. Landing was a blast! We paddled out away from shore a bit, then turned downwind and literally surfed the boat in. Very fun! Sara really enjoyed herself, and how could she not?!?! She sat on a soft drybag eating an apple, what a life. Here are some more pics:

I'm still around!

Wow, it has been a while since I have posted!

Well, my dad and I successfully completed the WaterTribe UltraMarathon in March. It was a great experience, and we both had a lot of fun. We finished in just under 24 hours, with about 21 hours of paddling. We took breaks pretty consistently throughout the day, just to stretch legs, eat snacks, etc... The boat was great; handled well in the wind and waves, paddled well. I just wish we had had a sail! We ended up having a tail wind for most of the day and a sail would have really pushed us along. Oh well, next year.

Speaking of next year... I am slowly getting things going on the sail rig. I ordered a set of inflatable amas from Attila at Custom Inflatables. These are not something you will find on his web page, but he as made them before, a couple of pictures are here. Mine are going to be made from red 32oz PVC.

Over the next month or so, I hope to get the rest of the sailing rig built and assembled. The major steps:
  • Modify Escape Rumba sail
  • Shape leeboard and rudder
  • Build leeboard bracket and rudder box
  • Assemble mast and akas
  • Install running rigging
Sounds easy! We'll see... watch this space!

But for now, here is a link to my dad's UltraMarathon trip report.
And here is a slideshow of our pictures: