Sorry about the long period between posts. I’ve been busy starting my new position at work and on the road. Fortunately, I was able to get on the water a couple times while I was in Michigan.
My first outing on the water was between the beach at Petoskey State Park and the waterfront of Harbor Springs, MI. This route is seen in the plot below:
Note that this route does not show the return leg. This is because I lingered in front of Harbor Springs too long to make some adjustments to my cockpit coaming. This lack of movement caused my GPS to shut down, and I failed to notice. The roundtrip was about 8.2 miles in length and took about 3.5 hours.
Some of the notable points during this journey:
- Petoskey State Park to Harbor Springs, MI:
- The initial northward leg wasn’t too tough
- However, I did forget to don my paddle leash from the outset, d’oh!
- Turning west I faced a breeze of about 5-10 kts. This would eventually strengthen to 15-20 kts as I reached Harbor Springs.
- The Cooper did very well paddling into swells and waves I made at about 3 feet. The skin-on-frame design slithers over the waves easily.
- Two waves in rapid succession were a challenge, but this would be true regardless of kayak type. The Cooper did fine when the second wave broke over the bow deck.
- Thank goodness I was able to hop out near the public boat launch in Harbor Springs and resecure my cockpit coaming.
- The return leg would prove much more interesting.
- On the return leg the wind and waves originated from the SW
- Again the Cooper did well in 15-20 kt winds and 3-4 foot swells.
- The key to not capsizing in such conditions is rolling your hips into the oncoming swell. The lower center of gravity provided by the original seat is also of great help providing stability in these conditions.
- Another simple, yet key modification, of the original Cooper seat is the addition of a Seal Line Discovery Kayak Seat Cushion. Let about 1/2 the air out and you have a massive improvement in seating comfort!
- The leecocking of the Cooper did get a bit annoying. I really need to install my rudder one of these days.
- If I had a track of the return leg it would show I cut across the “corner” present in the outgoing leg. I did this to shorten the period of time I was getting pounded by waves
- Upon arriving at Petoskey I had to turn the Cooper so the bow was pointing W/SW, into the waves. Trying to ride the waves into the beach is a recipe for disaster.
- I timed my exit from the boat almost perfectly, but the bottom was a foot deeper than I thought! Fortunately, I was able to get my other leg out of the boat and get away with a little hopping around using my paddle and the kayak for support.
- After that I got washed up on the beach and I stowed my kayak near a Hobie Cat. The next morning I would find the cockpit full of wind-blown sand. ALWAYS turn your boat over if you’re going to leave it assembled overnight!
- I celebrated my expedition with a delicious 1/2 lb. perch dinner straight from the Great Lakes and prepared by my friends at Scalawags. I washed this awesome grub down with a couple bottles of Bell’s Pale Ale.