Today I took my kayak to lake Massapoag, for a paddling trip.
This time, I was able to get it inside my midsize SUV almost all the way in (see picture), which made its transportation even easier than attaching it to the car rack.
We had 15-20 mph wind, with gusts over 25 mph. Lake Massapoag is about 1 square mile, which means we had white caps. There were no kayaks, canoes or paddle boards on the lake, except a kayak outfitted with an electric trolling motor whose driver did the smart thing and drove close to the bank where houses and trees offered him some protection from the wind. No fishing boats in sight either, naturally, since you can’t cast under such wind.
I launched my kayak at the northern beach, and paddled standing to the other side, taking the short road through the center of the lake. That was pretty easy, considering the wind was blowing generally in my back and my side, and it was so strong that sometimes all I had to do was just stand and steer with my paddle and make sure the waves don’t play a dirty trick on me while I’m taking a free ride.
But then came the second part of the trip – the way back…
I decided to take the same way, through the center of the lake. There was no way I could have done it standing up and paddling against such powerful headwind, of course, so I sat down on the kayak’s saddle, and started paddling against the wind, thinking that if I had a paddle board instead of a W kayak, the only way for me back to the car would have been getting out of the lake and walking…
Paddling was slow and hard, but I got a chance to practice various paddle strokes and paddling styles, including different positions such as riding while leaning forward (more ‘umph’), kneeling with one knee all the way down to the bottom of the hull, canoeing (paddling on one side), Greenland kayaking (sliding the paddle sideways rather than pushing it backward), rotating the torso (traditional kayaking), etc…
It was fun, and the fact I could track effectively saved me both time and energy.
Another important thing worth noting was that being able to switch positions and paddling styles improved the effectiveness of my response to variations in the wind’s direction and force, as well as to the waves that reached 1 ft on several occasions.
I’m not in great shape, so I was thankful for being able to make these changes, since it minimized fatigue and prevented me from getting injured.
This time I remembered to cover the front part of the cockpit with the cockpit cover, so I stayed bone dry, although the waves were breaking on my kayak, and the wind was pushing spray all over it. Only the top of my head and my face got wet from drops of water that flew from my paddle – I should have worn a hat!
After I beached, I attached a strap to the two front handles of my kayak, and dragged it through some grass, so by the time I got to the car, I didn’t even have to wipe the sand from the bottom of the hulls – You live and you learn! 🙂
I just tossed the kayak in, lowered the rear hatch, and used the strap to attach the door handle to a hook at the bottom. It took me less than a minute.
Needless to say that it was easier than attaching the kayak to the car rack.
Here’s more info on one aspect of kayaking in strong wind > – tracking and steering.