Wednesday 19th October, by Adrian O.
So another day, another paddle!
I headed down to Lake Pier, Hamworthy, which is the home to Poole Harbour Canoe Club and ideally, approximately the midpoint of the harbour, so you can paddle east or west, to ride the tide both ways - today however, I was not planning to cover a huge distance, just explore the behaviour of the MyCanoe on open water.
My planned company was unable to attend at the last minute, so an extended trip was not on the cards.
With the GoPro running, I hit the start button on the stopwatch, could my 3rd build meet the published time? Yes it could - 10 minutes and the boat was fully built (all caught on video)! I even managed to chat to a lady about the boat for the final minute or so of the build!
Those familiar with Poole Harbour will know that invariably there is a steady wind blowing from the SW, however today it was confused and chose to blow from the W/NW, but at least it was a steady F3. There was a steady short chop on the surface, enhanced occasionally by passing boats.
Due to the more open nature of this paddle, I added a couple of drybags as ballast in the bow, just to help keep it planted.
I set off towards the southern shore of the harbour, towards the Arne Nature Reserve on the Purbeck peninsula - I was paddling against the wind (it was on my right front quarter), so again experienced the crabbing I had yesterday - this wasn't a problem, as I ferry glided across the harbour, comfortably riding the wake of a couple of passing fishing boats.
The boat rode the chop and the wake of the boats very comfortably, there is a little more initial wobble than my Apache Tribe, but the secondary stability is superb and gives you real confidence.
The journey across is only 3/4 mile, so before long I was paddling parallel to the shore, heading for a small beach I knew would still be visible above the spring tide - I again struggled to paddle directly head into wind and found that tacking allowed me to make better forward progress.
I did try kneeling in the boat to improve my connection and deliver more power in an effort to paddle head into wind, which worked to some degree, but until a saddle or other kneeling solution can be found, it isn't practical for more than a couple of minutes. This being said, the more I paddle the MyCanoe, the more I get used to paddling it with one leg tucked under and the other outstretched, just touching the back edge of the front seat - I find this gives me a good connection to the boat and allows me to switch the tucked leg with relative ease when I lose feelings!
After a little lunch and coffee, I set back off across the harbour, allowing the wind and tide to gently push me back down towards Lake Pier - the ferry gliding is particularly evident on the video which I shall upload shortly.
On landing I met a couple of members of Poole Harbour Canoe Club, who'd been out kayaking - they came over to examine the Origami canoe with great interest - the weight, solidity, price and manner of disassembly were all positively commented on - it was apparent they could see the niche that this boat falls into.
The MyCanoe has happily accepted all of the conditions I have thrown at it and has left me feeling comfortable and secure whilst paddling it. The benefits of having a light folding canoe are tremendous, the more time you paddle the MyCanoe, the more you appreciate them.
The colour of the MyCanoe has been commented on by several people, myself included - possibly just canoeists searching for normality in greens and reds... but I must say, the more photos I take of it, the better I like the unconventional white - it stands out from the crowd and draws plenty of comments.