Saturday 26 April 2014

First Trip in the Pace 17 Tour

In upgrading from the Nordkapp to a new expedition boat, there were a number of boxes that the new sea kayak would need to tick:
1. It would need a rudder, but with the ability to respond and turn well to edging.
2. It would need to have the capacity to carry more gear.
3. It would need to still paddle well under a full expedition load.
4. It would need to have a faster hull speed than the Nordkapp.
5. It would need to surf well and not bury the nose.
6. It would need to be stable in all conditions and not sacrifice stability for speed.
7. It would need to be lighter than the Nordkapp and strong enough to withstand the rigours of expedition paddling.

After a week of paddling this boat in all conditions I must say that I'm a happy paddler.  I wasn't shy about throwing some gear at the boat and had it fully loaded.  With either current assist or following sea, it wasn't difficult to get it sitting on 9-10 kms per hour.

When down wind paddling, I was able to link waves together and paddle over the top of waves to break into the set in front without digging into my reserves to do so.  It ran true and straight and never buried its bow so to loose momentum.

Surfing was a treat with the boat responding well to edging and a stern rudder.  Given it ran well on the waves, I was able to get some 200+ meter rides when surfing the Pancake Creek Bar.

I did some tentative rock gardening without leaving any gel coat behind.  It had great stability and was comfortable sitting in the wash off Bustard Head with 10-15 knots of SE wind pushing the swell up leaving us bouncing around.

Rolling the boat is very easy and you feel well attached to the boat given the thigh braces.

I haven't had a boat with a small hatch forward of the cockpit before but found it very helpful.  Managed to fill that up as well!  I was still able to access the day hatch on the ocean, though I tend to avoid using the day hatch where possible.

The only water ingress I had was into the rear hatch.  I'm not sure if that was through the hatch cover seal or via the rudder cable.  This only happened once on the trip so I am assuming some sand under the hatch cover may be responsible.

The standard rudder worked well but I will revisit this once I install a sail.  The only other modification I will make will be to install a pump and I will consider replacing the existing seat with my "bumfortable" seat as the back-band was not comfortable.  The current seat doesn't have channels to allow water to flow to a pump set up behind the seat so I will either have to make some channels or consider some other option.

Looking forward to my next paddle!

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