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!!