Saturday, March 1, 2014

EC2014: Just drifting along with the kayakers

I just got a phone call from Harry (JibeTurkey). He said Bryan (AhMaChamee) wasn't really stuck in a time loop in the parking lot, he might have forgotten to turn on his SPOT tracker. There was such a favorable wind across Tampa Bay Harry got a lot farther ahead of him. When he called me he was drifting along in about 14" of clear water. The wind dropped off in the lee of Anna Maria Island, but he was keeping up with the kayakers that he passed in the bay with a slack sail waiting for Bryan to catch up. He said he'd tell him to turn on his SPOT tracker.

Harry reports, predictably, that he's not really packed up right even though he stayed up until 1:00 am trying to get organized. He got up again at 4:30 to start getting ready but he said he still didn't get off the beach until long after the start time. He says his boat isn't any slower loaded down with stuff, though. In fact he thinks it handles even better. Hurray for ballast.

He is wearing his SPOT transmitter on one shoulder strap of his personal flotation device and Personal Locator Beacon on the other shoulder strap with a little strobe light on the back. He said when he leaned back there was a thing that really pushed against the back of the seat. As he headed across the bay he heard a snap and a *PLOP* over his shoulder into the water.

"Oh shit!" he thought. "Something popped off my PFD and fell into the bay! My SPOT beacon is disappearing behind me! What will I do! I can't keep going without a SPOT! Where will I get another one?" 

But it was just that little $11 strobe light on the back. And now the seat is more comfortable. He has a spare light if he needs it. 

He says that in light wind his boat is a lot faster than the Hobie Adventure Islands because he has a big sail for the size and efficient sail set. The AI doesn't have a boom at all, plus it has high surface area and paddles stick down underneath. When Bryan catches up he will have to stay in the channel. I asked how far the paddles stick under Bryan's boat. Harry guesses about 16" down and the hull probably draws 5 or 6 inches. I gather there is hardly any freeboard.

Bryan's boat weighs 115 lbs fully outfitted. (According to the Hobie website.) Harry doesn't know how much his weighs, but a lot less than that. In rough water and high wind the Adventure Island is stable where Harry's boat would tip over. That's why he was cautious and didn't head out into the Gulf.

If the wind really drops off and he has to paddle he will rig up some string from the rudder to his feet so he can steer while he paddles with a double ended paddle.

Position 15 9:58 am 1 March 2014

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