Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We're gonna need a bigger boat . . .

I'm sure many of you remember in the movie Jaws when Brody uttered that unforgettable line "We're gonna need a bigger boat"? I felt myself thinking that tonight as I watched Cheryl paddling my boat about St. Philips tonight. We went there to test out the latex neck gasket I just put in her drysuit. My boat was already on the Jeep so we took it along anyway. After watching Cheryl paddle the smaller 14 foot Pelican Elite Strait 140 XE we have, the first thing that struck me about my boat is that it's really a heck of a lot longer. At 17' my BorealDesign Baffin is pretty standard so I never paid much attention to its length but when I saw Cheryl in it after seeing her only on the 14' - I realized that 14' is a bit short.

Cheryl's current boat has a rudder while my boat does not. Still, she managed to turn my boat as well or even better. I'm sure it has a fair bit to do with hull design but it was nice to see her using paddle strokes to maneuver the boat rather than rely on the rudder.

Another feature of my boat that Cheryl really noticed and liked is that my foredeck is very low while the Elite's is very high. This is a real pain for her as it forces a higher paddle angle to clear the deck. I could tell that her paddling was just much more natural in my boat right from the get-go!!

What will come of these discoveries - only time will tell!!


  1. Right on you guys. You seem to be enjoying the great sport of kayaking. Beautiful night to be on the water Sean.



  2. Awesome that your wife is getting out with yah. Your a lucky man!

  3. So, Sean, when are you getting a new boat for yourself *lol*

    Tony :-)

  4. Thanks guys. It is pretty cool and I think she better understands the fascination now - especially after being on the water a few times in varying conditions. Plus she now knows that her physical abilities are much higher than she thought they would be prior to even hitting the water.

    Tony: Cheryl half jokingly said a while ago that she needs a new boat. Maybe now she realizes that even more. I think it will be just that though - a new boat for her. While it's no Nordkap, I think my boat may be just a bit beyond what she needs right from the get-go. There's still the future, though!!!

  5. A school I teach for occasionally, has a Baffin, it's a beautiful boat. Yeah, at 14 feet, you are only starting to see the benefits of a 'touring' kayak. I call it 'taste of touring'. It is a shame that they put rudders on boats of that length, and I know that they do it because at that length boats start getting more difficult to turn, but it teaches new paddlers, that rudders are for turning, when really they are for going straight, just like a skeg.


  6. It was the lines of the Baffin that first caught my eye when I saw it in the store. I still think it's a beautiful looking boat as well.

    I'm letting Cheryl settle in a little bit more (still only three paddles under her PFD) before I really start working on weaning her off the rudder. I've told her from the get-go that rudders are not for steering and she is consciously trying NOT to use it. She did use it Sat but there was a little bit of wind that was pushing the boat. Once her paddling gets stronger I'm sure she'll be able to compensate with strokes and not a rudder.