Offshore tandem paddling in strong wind – learning the hard way, by Denise Guilbault-Langworthy

I love my Wavewalk!!
The first trip out was a bit rough. We took it out offshore on Greenwich bay on a pretty windy day. We (Chris and I were in it together) struggled to keep it straight in the strong current and wind. We were exhausted once we finally made it back to shore.

The next trip out we decided to take it to Roger Williams Park and try it out on the lake. We had a much more pleasant experience! Had no problem keeping the kayak straight and no undercurrent to fight so we didn’t have to work as hard.

We have been out on Greenwich bay many times since but we make sure to look at wind and tide factors before we go. I am considering adding a motor so we can go out on the windy days as well.

One question about the car top carrier – is there a brand that works better than others given I would have to be able to get it up on the roof by myself?

Chris made me a little dolly so when I want to go out alone I can simple pull it down the street and put her in. I am feeling more confident that I won’t tip the kayak so I may take my camera out to take some “in action” pics.

Love everything about it!

Thanks!

Denise Guilbault-Langworthy
Rhode Island

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3 Comments

  1. fish kayak

    Thanks Denise!

    I guess you guys have learned your lesson, but for the sake of the readers who don’t go to the bottom of your story, here is what happened:
    We tell new W kayak owners to paddle first by themselves (not in a tandem crew) and do it on flat water, in order for them to get used to paddling, tracking, steering and so on in optimal conditions.
    Chris and you tested the kayak as solo paddlers on flat water, but you forgot that paddling in tandem is an advanced application in kayaks, and offshore paddling is yet another advanced application, and in your case, you placed yourselves in a situation where you had to learn how to paddle this kayak as a tandem crew in particularly difficult conditions.
    -I’m glad you made it! 😀
    The logical and cautious way to go was to make trip No. 2 before trip No. 1, but hindsight is 20:20 as they say, although I had warned you about these things, didn’t I? 🙂

    Tracking in strong wind and current is easier for solo paddlers than it is for tandem crews. The W kayak allows you to track easily and without ever needing a rudder as a solo paddler, and here’s how you do it: http://wavewalk.com/blog/2009/07/16/w-kayaking-in-strong-wind/
    Paddling and tracking in tandem in strong wind and currents is harder since none of the paddlers can relocate fore and aft along the saddle, and they have to rely on their paddling skills as a tandem crew, and such skills can be acquired only through practice.
    Practice makes perfect!
    You’re doing the right thing checking tidal currents and winds in that area before going out paddling… – after all, Rhode Island is called the Ocean State, and the ocean is too powerful to be taken lightly, especially when such small boats are concerned, and even more so when the only source of power you have on board are your muscles, and no motor.
    Adding an outboard gas motor would increase your mobility and safety, but you may not be able to go in tandem with a motor on board since by doing so you could exceed the maximum load we recommend for this kayak.

    As for uploading your W kayak on top of your car, there’s no need for a special kayak rack, and we guarantee that it would fit on top of any car rack, from any manufacturer – Just slide it upward from the car’s side while protecting the car paint with a towel or a blanket, and then rotate the kayak so it faces forward, and attach it to the car rack with straps or ropes.

    Yoav

  2. 1formidable

    Like they say, the ocean is unforgiving. Glad you got out of that hairy situation.

  3. Fish Wiz

    Yep, the ocean is unforgiving, and it’s always ready to pull a nasty trick on you…
    FW

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