There I was but a few days ago zipping along beneath my newly built lateen (settee) sail with my chilled wet behind upon my sit-on-top plastic kayak (which I call a paddleski). The wind was up to 14 knots and a few white horses broke over the gunnels (if you can imagine such edging on plastic boats).
It was as I had expected. I was sailing as I had hoped. Close hauled before a north east wind and making good headway.
You'd think that would suit me fine. You'd think. But afterwards I got to thinking that maybe I'm coming at this sailing lark the wrong way. While I set out to convert a cheap short stubby plastic 'paddleski' (with a cat like hull) into a sailing craft -- and I've done that -- it struck me that I had inadvertently been sentenced to this kind of boat as it is presumed that to paddle the salty sea -- in my case the bays and estuaries -- one needs a kayaky thing under them.
Those Inuit know their seagoing onions, right? Seawater equals kayak.
But the problem with kayaks -- even sit-on-top ones -- is that you are sentenced to sit in one place while you make the best out of what is on offer to move your journey forward. Once seated you don't get to move about at all.
It is a very sedentary activity.
The alternative to this is, of course, a canoe -- but the canoe in Australian thinking is traditionally considered a lakes and rivers vessel -- not something you take paddling on the Big Blue with its waves and cross currents.
That all of Oceania traverses its archipelagos on open shallow dug out canoes - despite the swells -- says a lot for open boating: none of this sit-on-top stuff at all.
My experience with Canadian style canoes is that they do catch the wind (because of the high sides) but then if you are optionally sailing, that's a plus. Why paddle when you can sail?
Water over the gunnels? Is only a problem (a) if you want to stay out boating in all weather (ie: be stupid) and (b) you swamp up big without crew to bail.
Of course if you capsize...granted there may be design advantages in kayak mode. But as one that looks upon the Eskimo Roll as a masochist's indulgence, maybe it's better that boat and crew separate in the water and start their business from scratch (once the gear is retrieved and enough water is expelled for forward motion to proceed).
If you haven't noticed -- the standard kayak made from plastic or fibreglass is often much heavier than a Canadian style open canoe. So think about them apples when you come to turn the capsized craft upside again, or lift it onto the car roof...
So I'm thinking my next canoe sailing craft will, in fact, be a canoe. A simple all rounder canoe that tracks well and offers enough perch options for me to start rigging a sail. A canoe I can, if I have a mind to, move about on; shift my tail about -- and one that can carry two humans out to sea.
|The sailing paddleski|