Monday 15 December 2014

Downwinder with wind and a swim

Its time to get out the lawn mowers in BrisVegas with plenty of summer storm activity producing rain, hail and the humidity to make mowing a weekly affair.  The weekend saw the wind swing to the south to bring in some cooler weather with 20-30 knots of southerlies to herald the change.

With that sort of wind blowing the lawn can look after itself for another week.  Instead we grabbed the kayaks and headed out for a downwind paddle from Wellington Point to Redcliffe.

With family commitments for lunch, we took off early for a 33 km paddle/sail around the outside of Green and St Helena Islands before crossing the shipping channel for a lumpy downwind ride to Redcliffe.

The swell started picking up around Green Island and the runners kept growing in size as we made our way past St Helena and Mud Islands - without paddling I was still travelling between 10-20 km/hr.

I ended up going for a swim whilst we were waiting for a container ship to clear the shipping channel. We had turned beam on to the wind, whilst letting off the boom ropes to clear the wind out of the sails when the wind whipped the sail around the mast on a gust as some swell pushed me up into the breeze and over I went.

I dropped the sail under water but my paddle had become entangled so had to pop out of the boat to sort the mess out.  Rather than do a re-enter and roll I called my paddling partner over for an assist as I don't have an electric pump in the boat.  It has been a long time since we have had to practice some of our rescue techniques in rough water so whilst it wasn't orthodox- I was back in my boat in short order, pumping the remaining water out as the container ship cleared the shipping channel.

We kept the sails down whilst we crossed the shipping channel as the conditions were still building and gusting around 28 knots with swell coming from all directions - very much a washing machine.  We paddled back towards the coast to get a good line into Redcliffe and then put our sails up for a fun trip back.

We had some hootin' rides and had an average speed over 10 kms/hr including the time I spent having a swim and sorting myself back into the boat in adverse conditions - thanks to Jono for the assist.

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