UFC Expedition Canoe Shakedown.

My thoughts after my third long progressive trip in the expedition Canoe. (8, 23, 41 miles) On my last trip I was finally able to get out in some weather and waves. Conditions rose to 25 mph wind gust and 1-2 foot waves. My top speed has been 8.4 kts or 9.6 mph. I think that this is not as good as I was expecting because I currently do not have a lee board and am getting pushed sideways causing drag. I have noticed a wave off the bow that curls toward the direction of the wind.  I do not feel like I am being pushed sideways unless I am going 4 kts or less. At this speed it is noticeable because it takes all the rudder to stay on course and without good speed the skegs on the amas are not going to work well. I will be adding a leeboard while I await the new Hobie mast to arrive after I broke one on the third trip. The skegs will stay because they will work in shallow water where the board will not, places like Florida Bay and the rivers.

The comfort level of the boat has met my needs well, so far. I am able to get up and stand, move into the front cockpit and move about all without feeling like I am going to fall out or that I am sitting right on the water.  I have a hard time if I am unable to get up and stretch. I tend to get “Stove Up” as my grandfather use to say. Stiff. So standing and stretching is a good thing for me and being able to do it while still moving forward is a bonus. I suffer from Varicose veins so I can take running better than I can take sitting for long periods of time. Because the sides of the boat are high and I have the cockpits to sit in I get shielded from wind so in the front I can cook while under way as long as the waves are not too bad. I use a Jetboil hung on a support so it swings like a compass. Also on the Suwannee river and the blackwater while on my Hobie TI my thoughts were always on that gater ready to snatch me right off my boat because of being only inches off the water and sitting right on top. Call me Chicken but alone at night on that river makes you think.

Keeping the boat moving forward without being limited to just one method of propulsion was a goal since in the past I have burned out body parts having to use just one such as paddling. In this past NCC challenge I paddled a Class 5 Tri for nearly 40 miles and if it had been a 300 mile race I would not have finished. My arms and back were cooked!.  So in this boat I can paddle from either pit, either side. Pedal the mirage drive from the rear. Stand up and use a SUP Paddle or pole. I have not yet installed oars but will be installing them for test.

to be continued…..back to work.

EC2013 Derby Carnage, mast break.

A big gust caught me with my sheet cleated and I was unable to releast in time to save the mast. Not certain if it became unlocked and came up causing the break so I will be looking at this closer to make certain that was not the cause. Everything else seems fine, reciever, bulkhead so if there is any good news is that the boat took the load and held which gives me good confidence in it holding through a challenge and the UFC 1200 miles next year. Plans are to also carry my smaller 15 foot mast and sail as a spare.

I was able to keep pace with a Corsair 24 for a while by tacking sooner and pedaling straight into the wind to keep up. He had a few kts on me but finally my legs gave out and then he pulled away fairly quickly. I have to have one of those some day!

The removable skegs on the WaterTribe ama’s seem to be working well. Not as well as a lee board I am sure but maybe well enough?


UFC Expedition Canoe/Trimaran launched 1-1-13

This is a self built decked Canoe that I hope will meet my personal requirements for a good expedition craft for one or two people.  I hope to test it in the field on March 2nd 2013 Everglades Challenge Race which is the 13th annual event. It was specifically designed for a solo attempt at the Ultimate Florida Challenge, a 1200 mile adventure around Florida that includes over 300 miles of rivers and a 40 mile portage. In order to meet these challenges you have to have a boat that will do it all so I have based my boat on a few and taken design elements from them all. The Hull shape is based on a angus rowboat (bottom 12 inches of their stitch and glue shape) and Kruger cruiser ( total depth and width of hull at bow, middle and stern. So I added freeboard but kept it decked like the angus. It was a compromise in order to have a hull that I could build myself but make it more of a canoe instead of a rower. I would still like to get my hands on a good used Kruger Cruiser but they are hard to come by. Anyway,  this should make a good boat for the rivers and shallow waters all along the route. It should be able to be paddled, pedaled (mirage drive), or rowed. The remainder of the boat is based on one of the best off the shelf adventure boats that I know of and one that I have owned the Hobie Tandem Island.  Some of the best design ideas on this boat is used on mine. On the Hobie the akas fold in just a few seconds, the mast and sail is roller furling and can be quickly set with any amount of sail up to 90 sq foot, and the pedal drive can move the boat along with leg power. To round out the package I used WaterTribe Big 16 Classic inflatable amas. They can be removed and stowed in the boat along with the Hobie akas which will allow traversing the wilderness waterway, narrow rivers and 40 mile road portage. They will also allow the boat to be driven under sail power. How well it does it’s job remains to be seen but on the first launch we went 8 nm and averaged 4.2 knots with no wind, sailed just a bit in wind less than 5 mph and then removed the amas and paddled like a canoe at 3.5 knots and it seemed very stable. I had a EC load in the front hatch and with me in the boat it draws 4 inches of water. What I really like about the boat so far is that I can get up and move about and I can even stand up and paddle like a SUP.  I can also sit on the side rails or pretty much anywhere on the top deck if necessary. Testing will continue and I hope to be ready for the EC. 60 days and counting. Roger