Sunday 10 April 2011

Betty's Petite Yonah

Trip Date: April 9, 2011

I pick up Jeff at 8:50 and we head to the Whitespot to break our fast with the rest of the Sedgebenders. Discussion ranges from how the Sedgebenders got started to the strike at the local University. Several of us, including me, have the Giardino omelet. The Arrabbiata sauce is fresh and "yum!"

When we are finished eating we head to Westwood lake for the main event of the day, the christening of Betty's new Clipper Packer canoe.

Clipper Packer

Clipper built this boat to exacting specifications: "Dr. says no heavier than 22 pounds." Gotta hand it to the Clipper folk, they pulled it off. Think they were pretty proud of her themselves -- as suggested by their blog post about it.

Clipper Packer and Three Other Canoes
 The canoe has that fresh kevlar gleam and we admire the cleaver design -- graphite reinforced foam ribs and elegant wood gunwales.

James and Charles examine the gunwales
Notice the graphite seat which sits atop a foam core graphite substructure. Both the seat and the foot rest are nicely adjustable.

An Awfully Pretty Design
I have not seen a Packer before so appreciate having a good long look at ever inch of her. Many elements of the design are subtle. There is a slight tumblehome and the paddling station is roomy, easy to get in and out of, but also snug with comfortable access to the water.

A Simple Curve to the Gunwales
When we are all together James reads two Wendell Berry poems and I an excerpt from Paddle Whispers by Douglas Wood. Then we open some Campaign and toast the day and the occasion.

Water and Wine

I Christen thee Petite Yonah
It's Official
 Then we prepare for departure. Betty is the first off.

Light as a Leaf
Paul is next, followed by the rest of us.

They're Off
The day so far has been better than expected, some clear breaks in the sky and fairly calm, but of course as soon as we are on the water....

Jeff and I are in his Cedar strip Tandem built by his Brother in Law

Paul in his Solitude and Betty in Petite Yonah

Wind Gets Up
Oh the Joy of Paddling Your Own Canoe

Betty Seems to Think it Was a Good Choice

Lynne and Charles, Long Time Paddlers, Put Paul's Clipper S Through It's Paces

Back from the Paddle
 The Clipper S is outfitted with knee braces, a foot rest, and a kneeling thwart. Very nice.

The Packer Does Have a Nice Little Bit of Rocker
After we get back to the put in, Betty allows Paul and I to take Petite Yonah for a spin. Paul has loaded 2 water bags for ballast and shifting the bags around produces changes in the trim. Paul comments on the noticeable difference this makes in tracking. The little craft has lots of buoyancy and we agree that it could be loaded with a fair bit of gear for a trip.

Paul has two paddles to try, his ZRE classic carbon and a maple otter tail. The little Packer leaps up to speed with the ZRE and when I take up the otter tail I find the boat handles extremely well. It also is remarkable for it's good initial AND secondary stability.

I try a variety of strokes and find that the boat responds well to my favorite, the Indian stroke. Sculling is easy and an abrupt switch to a reverse scull doesn't freak me out -- that ample stability is really nice. Turning is easy, perhaps because of the Packer's modest rocker, and yet the boat seems to track well. In general the hull slides along very nicely without too much effort. No wonder this boat has stayed in production. It is a winner.

The Sedgebenders