Today I was supposed to have another private lesson with Dan, and then attempt to keep up with the team while they trained. But Dan couldn’t get there until nearly the time the team was supposed to show up, so I went out and tried to practice a bit before he got there, and then paddle with the team. But without a skeg, my boat was damn near uncontrollable on the bay – there was a tiny bit of wind coming from the west, and my boat kept wanting to weather vane into the wind. And then a boat would come along, producing a wake coming from the east, and my boat would try to turn into the waves. I’d be trying to practice a good forward stroke, and end up turning in circles. Then I’d try to keep up with the team but in order to paddle in the same direction as them, I’d be doing sweeps on one side for 10 or 20 strokes before I dared make even one stroke on the other side. I can’t really practice my forward stroke when I’m only able to paddle on one side at a time, so I yelled to Dan that I was heading back as they disappeared in the distance.
As I turned back to the dock, I got a long series of wakes coming at me, and by sweeping on the upwind side I actually got a good surf going, and about a third of the way back was assisted very nicely by that. That was the only fun part of the whole evening.