Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Shoreline Report

Here is a report from Rob Avery, River and Ocean's 'newest' team member who has been out testing the Shoreline by North Shore Sea Kayaks:
Deception Pass, WA
This morning I headed north to Deception Pass, a narrow slot between Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island in north Puget Sound. Skagit Bay fills and empties twice a day through this narrow gap into the Straights of Juan de Fuca. Today the tidal flow was predicted to be a modest 5.1 knot ebb. With the weather forecast blowing 20 knots from the west down the straights all last night and this morning with wind waves of 4 to 5 feet it promised to be a good formula to test the new North Shore Shore Line kayak in an environment conducive to its design (the opposing wind and wind driven waves against the ebbing tide can make quite large standing wave in The Pass). I had previously paddled the Shore Line in the pool and sheltered waters of Eagle Harbour, but now for some fun!
Well, deceived again... Upon arriving at Bowman Bay, the launch site for Deception Pass, the weather station nearby was reporting only west 6 knots and the waves on the beach were just ankle-slappers... Rounding Lighthouse Point we were greeted by the usual harbor seals and bald eagle, always a welcome sight. The Pass had a few small standing waves, but just enough to test the surfing ability of the Shore Line. My usual day play-boat is a Valley Avocet and this is a very different boat. The Shore Line is about the same length but has harder chines and more buoyancy fore and aft. I found it very quick and nimble on waves with a nice dry ride. While I was getting used to the edge transition I found that the Shore Line rolls just fine in lumpy water for a combat situation! I was surprised at how twitchy it was on a wave and expected the initial stability to be firmer. But upon inspection of the hull I saw the shallow-V: I believe that when the boat gets up to planing speed on the wave face it lifts out of the water reducing its stability. Once on edge it turns on a sixpence and held an edge firmly. On flat water it tracked very well and had very well defined initial and secondary stability.
My paddling buddy had his Romany and we traded boats for a while. He loved how lively and quick the Shore Line was in comparison to the Romany which frankly made me think I was paddling a log! Can I have my boat back now?
On the paddle back the wind did pick up to around force 4 to 5. I found with beam or quartering sea at my bow there was little to no weather cocking. With a quartering sea at my stern I found the Shore Line did weather cock slightly. A little skeg did the trick and I also found how the boat responded to trim, by leaning back just a little I could straighten out the track. A well behaved craft in these conditions.
All in all, I would say the Shore Line is a paddler's boat. While a novice would feel safe and sound in it, a competent paddler will make it dance while having a big cheesy grin on their face!
I wonder if I can catch the 4:40pm ferry home to Bainbridge Island for a hot-tub and cold-beer! Cheers,
Rob Avery

For details on the Shore Line and the rest of the North Shore line up including the excellent Atalantic single and double just follow the link on the River and Ocean website.

No comments: