Casting off the fetters

Yesterday I went paddling with Jim and Stephen and Julia. It was warm and brilliantly sunny, and so I was able to paddle without a wet suit for the first time this year. What a difference it makes! I felt like I was getting 20 degrees more rotation on every stroke, and consequently a couple of inches more pull, and a couple of inches more glide. The Genesee River was still high and a bit swirly, but it wasn’t windy so we didn’t have the waves to contend with like we did on Saturday.

Jim was content to paddle along with us for a while, but then he decided to school us in how to use the current and the debris sticking out of the bank to our advantage. He took off, I tried to follow a few boat lengths behind, and Stephen held onto my wake. A couple of times Jim took a line right in close to shore over logs that were a little below the water line, because he had no rudder, whereas I took a line further out in the current around the end of the log because I have an under-stern rudder. I was surprised that Stephen didn’t take Jim’s line with his kick-up rudder because he probably could have gained on me, but maybe he didn’t want to lose my wake and have to pull on his own.

After a while we realized that we’d left Julia all alone and out of sight behind us, so we turned and went downstream with her. With the huge current behind us, I was paddling with long, long pauses and getting huge glide and still making 8mph. When we got back to Black Creek, Julia left us while we paddled up the creek a bit (to the bridge where the water was too high to go under) and back, then Stephen left and Jim and I paddled upstream and back a short way.

I recorded 8.15 miles on my GPS. Didn’t feel all that tired – I would have gone further but I have to work some time.