Long Lake Long Boat Regatta 2015

I had to miss last years LLLBR because of other commitments which is a shame because this is always a good competitive race. Also when the weather is good (like it was this year) it’s a spectacularly beautiful venue. Unfortunately whatever wind there is tends to funnel straight down the lake, but it’s the same for everybody so no problem. This year it was sunny and cool, and with almost no wind at the beginning which built into a light breeze in the middle.

In previous years, it’s been a simple out and back, but evidently last year they changed it so we start at the same place, but go in the other direction under the bridge, go about 3.5 km into the lower part of the lake, come back under the bridge, then circle around an island and come back for a total of about 17km. Not only is it more interesting route but it’s more spectator friendly. This year there was actually cash prizes for the touring class kayaks, so there were a lot of people in touring class, meaning that the unlimited class looked like it was going to be a fight between John H, Pete G and myself. Todd, Roger, Doug and others were all fighting it out for the money.

Less than 100 meters after the start, Todd was leading, John was on this tail, Roger and I were side by side, and Pete was behind us. (Update after reviewing the video, it appears that it was Pete and I side by side and Roger was already on John’s wake.) Within another hundred meters, Roger had claimed John’s stern wake, I was glued to his stern, and Pete was glued to mine. The canoe wave had started a few minutes ahead of us, so we were passing the slower ones almost immediately. And Todd was not taking any prisoners. At the first canoe, he tried to scrape us all off – John didn’t lose the wake, but Roger ended up a little off John’s wake and I was a little off Roger’s, but we fought back on. At the next canoe, John lost a little distance, but clawed back on. At the next canoe, John ended up going the opposite side of the canoe from Todd, and Roger lost his wake as well. That was pretty much the way it stayed to the first turn – Todd alone, John alone, then Roger, me and Pete in a conga line. (Update: from the video it appears that John got back on Todd’s wake after the scrape, and stayed there around the turn.)

At the turn, I intended to follow Roger around, even though his boat doesn’t turn as well as mine. But Pete decided to turn as tight as he could and come around us on the inside. I took the bait and latched on his stern wake and Roger latched on mine. On the way back to the bridge we came up through some wakes of some of the faster c-2s and slower c-4s, as well as some boat wakes, but otherwise it was nice and flat. A couple of times Pete looked like he decided to try to catch John and put in a big dig for a few hundred meters. But we were nearly a minute behind John even after those digs and not really closing.

Now this whole way I’d been paddling way too hard. My heart rate was in the low 160s and I was sure Pete was going to blow me up, so at about the six kilometer mark I decided I needed to slow down, drop off Pete’s wake and paddle my own race and hope I could catch him later. But after I slowed down, he slowed down as well, so he ended up not getting more than two or three boat lengths ahead of me.

After the bridge, there was a strong head wind, and it seemed to be slowing down Pete more than me. I caught him not long after and almost immediately he wanted me to come through. He asked me if I thought we should follow Todd towards the left side of the lake or John towards the right. I didn’t think it made any difference because there didn’t appear to be any shelter on either side, so I just went straight towards the boat at the turn. Pete latched on my wake.

About half way from the bridge to the turn, I got passed by a stranger in my boat. That wasn’t a total surprise – I’d advertised my Think Legend and this guy Kurt had agreed to pick it up today at the race. But I hadn’t seen him before the race, so I wondered if he’d blown me off. But now he came steaming by. We introduced ourselves to each other and he went off to hunt down John and Todd.

As we got closer to the turn, I was starting to think that I was starting to close the gap on John. I timed the gap at around a minute back at the bridge, and now it was closer to forty seconds. Hope bloomed. And then as I’m turning, I sneak a look back and I’ve got a few second gap on Pete and Roger. Time to put the hammer down!

For the whole last four kilometers from the turn to the finish, I’m convinced that I’m getting closer and closer to John, but I just don’t have any gas left in the tank to put in a final sprint to catch him. I sneak glances behind and it appears I have a good gap on Pete and Roger, and it may be growing. As I cross the line about 10 or 20 seconds back on John, he appears completely surprised to see me there. He jokingly accused me of sneaking up on him like I had at Armond Bassett. There was nothing stealthy about my approach – I was wheezing like a steam engine, but he was probably working just as hard and just as loud. I looked back and it appeared that Roger had taken back the lead from Pete and Pete was latched onto his wake.

Results haven’t been posted yet, but Todd won touring class, followed by Roger and John won unlimited class followed by me and Pete. All in all a fantastic race and a very pleasing result for me. A great way to end the race season.

Update: Results are here. I was only 11 seconds behind John at the finish.

The third canoe that I mentioned above that Todd successfully scraped off Roger, Pete and I and nearly scraped off John posted his how video. You can see us at the 1:50 mark.

Long Lake Long Boat Regatta September 26, 2015 from Scott Ide on Vimeo.

Third annual BayCreek Kayak and SUP Cup

Today was the BayCreek race. The first time I wrote a long blog post about it. The second time I didn’t – I wrote a few lines on Facebook but that’s all.

Just like last time, the race got postponed because of the weather. This time the forecast was a bit crazy on the Saturday although the thunder didn’t show up. But no matter – Sunday was actually quite nice. It was partly cloudy which turned into sunny about the time the race started. There was a stiff breeze almost straight down the bay. During the warm up I determined that while the breeze slowed things down a bit on the way out and helped a bit on the way back, the waves didn’t really help on the way back because they were moving too slowly and you had to blast over them. Good thing they were small.

The other thing I did while warming up was verify that my new GPS was working right. Last weekend I left my old one on top of my car, and by the  time I came back for it it had been run over by multiple cars,ruining it. I ordered the new Garmin Forerunner 920xt, and it arrived while I was out of town, so this is the first time I’ve paddled with it. It was fine, except just before the 1km mark it gave me some message I could not understand about heart rate recovery. I hoped that wouldn’t happen every kilometer in the race and decided it was good enough.

Ok, after checking out the conditions, next thing is to check out the competition. Jim won last year, but he is sidelined by an injury. The guy in the Stellar surf ski came again this year, but he wasn’t a threat. The one that had me worried was Pete – I’d beaten him last year but he’s gotten a lot faster this year. Not only is he in a faster boat, he’s just paddling better. He’s faster than me in the BayCreek Wednesday night time trials now, and he managed to complete Blackburn when Mike and I quit. Paul D and Dennis Moriarty were in touring class and weren’t going to be challenging me either, so I figured it would be me and Pete fighting for first and second place.

At the start, it very quickly sorted out as I’d expected. Pete and I were neck and neck going up the channel. I don’t envy the guys who had to stand there in the water up to their waists to take pictures but last year they got some really good shots so it’s worth it. At the one kilometer mark I got another one of those annoying message pop ups on my GPS although I’m pretty sure it was different.

After the channel Pete slipped back into my stern wake. A couple of times I snuck a look back and see we had a good gap. After 3km I pulled off to the side and made Pete take a pull. I’d intended to make him pull for at least 2km (because we’d been side by side for the first kilometer so it only seemed fair). My heart rate recovered a bit but our average speed also dropped. Also his speed didn’t seem all that steady – although that could be the wind. So I ended up tapping his stern a couple of times. After a few times l decided to pull through – my rest ended up only being 1.7 km. After the turn we got a good look at the other racers – the guy in the stellar was a few minutes back, and Dennis was pulling Paul D a few minutes behind him. 

After they had all gone by, I made Pete take another pull. Once again, I got a bit of recovery, but once again I got impatient and pulled through after just a short while. But by now the short rests were starting to tell on me and it wasn’t very much longer before Pete pulled through without any prompting on my part. The entire final 4km I was either on Pete’s stern wake or beside him. At one point, we got hit by a gigantic side wake and I made the mistake of trying to get some surf from it. Pete didn’t – he just took it without altering course. By the time it was passed, I was a boat length behind him and 20 meters to his side. It was an effort to get back to him, and then we were in the shallow water just before the channel. I faded really badly, or maybe Pete put the hammer down early. The water there was so slow you couldn’t compare your speed in that area with the speed in the deep – we’d been making around 11 km/hr in the deep, now we were barely making 9.5 in spite of being in a sprint. Pete got at least two boat lengths on me. But as it got a bit deeper in the creek I started clawing it back. Pete said afterwards that he thinks he started his sprint early and faded – I don’t know, I must know I was sprinting as hard as I’ve ever sprinted. And the final result is that at the line I was about a foot behind him. Close but no cigar. 

So what’s my take away? 

  • It was nice to be in a strategic side by side battle again – most races I’m chasing one guy and trying not to get caught by the guy behind me. I think the last time it was like this was last year’s Long Lake race where I was in a pack with Mike Littlejohn and Roger Gocking. 
  • I’ve got to be more patient when I’m riding wake and less generous when taking my pull. The third guy was well behind us, so there was no reason to kill myself to go fast. If I’d gone 10.3 km/hr instead of 10.6 into the wind, I might have had some more energy going down wind.
  • Pete is turning into a formidable opponent. I’m going to have to work hard to stay close to him.

By the way, other than that one notification at the one kilometer mark, the new GPS is great. I really like it.

Foscam FI9828W – Don’t buy this POS

I’ve had a security camera on the front door for a couple of years now, and as well as giving a bit of piece of mind at night, it’s also really handy during the day to watch out for delivery people. It was so successful, I decided I wanted another camera to watch the back door and the garage. That was motivated at least in part by the number of garage break-ins we’ve had in our neighborhood and the fact that at least one neighbor was able to give the police some nice pictures of the perp from his security camera.

Unfortunately the company that made the front camera (Airsight) had stopped selling them (it appears they’re back now), so I bought a Wancam camera. It had all the same features as the Airsight (Pan/Tilt/Zoom, controllable through any standard web browser, weather proof, infrared for night vision, motion detection, email, ftp, etc). I liked it at first, and the interface seemed very familiar but after a few weeks I noticed a problem – it needed rebooting at least four or five times a week. And since the power plug is in the garage, it often didn’t get rebooted for a few days, especially in winter. So it’s now sitting in my junk box.

I then bought another camera – I decided this time to get an HD, at least 720P. The camera I’m using up front has only one flaw major flaw – I wish it was better resolution. This one is a D-Link DCS-52222L. Unfortunately, because NewEgg.com’s search function sucks balls, I didn’t noticed that while I specified I wanted an outdoor camera, most of the ones the search returned, including this one, are indoor cameras. It turned out to be damn near perfect, except I’m sure any day now it’s going to succumb to the weather. Also I haven’t figured out how to get the motion detection working – I told it to email me snapshots but instead if emails me a text file.

In preparation for the inevitable, I bought another camera. This one, the Foscam FI9828W, advertised that it was “920p” (which is a non-existent resolution standard, but obviously somewhere between 720P and 1080P) and all the other stuff I wanted, like pan/tilt/zoom, weather proof, and most importantly, “viewable over the internet using standard browsers”.

Well, it turns out that that last one was a complete 100% lie. It only works on Internet Explorer and Firefox on Windows (and on Windows 10, it doesn’t work on the standard browser Edge, and you have to find the “Open in Internet Explorer” menu item) and supposedly on Macintosh. You have to install plugins to make it work, which means it won’t work on Edge and Chrome because they don’t accept plugins, and it won’t work on Linux because they don’t make plugins for it. Now on Linux I can display the actual video using vlc with a rtsp url, but I can’t control the camera. Also I’ve discovered that if I leave it up and running for a few hours, it’s likely to freeze up and then I have to re-open the stream in vlc. The only light at the end of this tunnel is I can view and control the camera with an iOS app. Not as good as just having a browser window open like I do with the Airsight and D-Link (and formerly the Wancam) cameras. Another thing that changes is that with the other three cameras, there was a simple “curl” command I could do to grab a snapshot from the camera. I had that running on my Raspberry Pi to grab snapshots every second and store them in case I needed to review. However, I did find a work-around using “aconv” – avconv -i rtsp://userid:password@ -r 1 -vsync 1 -qscale 1 -frames 86400 -f image2 backcam%09d.jpg – unfortunately it’s too processor intensive and can’t run on the Raspberry Pi, so I have to run it on my desktop. Or I could have the camera take snapshots at regular intervals and FTP them to the Raspberry Pi. So I guess with these two work-arounds I have a functioning camera, although I’m not happy with it.

And if the blatant lie about “woks on standard browsers” wasn’t enough reason to hate them, here’s some other reasons:

  • The setup for daylight savings time is broken – if you enable daylight savings time, you have to choose the offset, but if you choose 60 minutes it changes the time by two hours, so you have to set it to 30 minutes to get it to offset by an hour.
  • I set up two video streams, with the “sub” stream being lower resolution one, but if you open the “sub” stream using rtsp in vlc, it actually still shows a full resolution stream. The secondary stream works on the D-Link
  • When you set up email, it asks for the sender and one or more recipients. But for some odd reason, it sends a copy of the email to the sender as well. So for the other cameras, I can use the camera name as the sender, but I can’t for this one because it has to be an existing email address.
  • When you set up ftp, you have to give an FTP url like but if you give the trailing slash (like you would expect to do when you’re specifying a directory) it fails with a message that says the login credentials are wrong.
  • If you put the IR LEDs on “Automatic” mode, it doesn’t work. The IR stays off, and consequently the captured images are all black and the motion detection doesn’t work. If you want to see in the dark, you have to manually set it to “Night Mode” and remember to set it back off in the day.

So obviously whoever wrote the user interface was a moron.