Sunday, November 01, 2009

The point of kayaking (or canoeing)

Paddling along I sometimes have this scandalous, sacrilegious thought.

Kayaking along the Thames is fun, don't get me wrong. But then you see the rowers going passed twice as fast, and then there's the dinghies sailing by. I remember once seeing something pretty staid like an Enterprise or Wayfarer hoist a spinnaker and just had to sigh.

The thing is kayaking is slow and hard work. With a sail you just hoist it, cleat it and lie back and relax (apart from that small boat starting with L which has no cleat).

On the Thames there are so many different ways of travelling by water, almost all of which are faster and require less effort, that one has to wonder why choose a kayak.

But on the Wandle last weekend it all made sense. No other vessel could go down that stream, up a much bigger river, the Thames, or even across something as wide as the English Channel.

Raise your paddles high for the mighty kayak (or canoe)


ChrisP said...

As an egregious rower, I so agree. I want a canoe as well, exactly for those upstream passages where oars tend to clash on both sides at once, and you might even (heavens!) have to carry the boat round an obstacle.
I have to confess an interest here - my blog is

bonnie said...

As the kids say in Brooklyn,


(although the very fact that a fortysomething square white chick knows that "word" is slang for "You're so correct!" is probably a good indication that no one under the age of 20 has actually used that slang for several years)

michael bogoger said...

A boat for every purpose is my motto... you can never have too many boats! Right On! (OMG Bonnie, how old would that make me?!?)

O Docker said...

JP, surely, you've learned by now if you're driving and stuck in traffic, you wish you were on a bike. But, when you ride the bike it rains, and you wish you had a car.

In a rubber raft, we want a kayak. In a kayak, we want a rowing skiff. In the rowing skiff, a sailing dinghy. In the dinghy, we capsize.

We are either never happy or always happy.

The choice is ours.

Carol Anne said...

As all Practical Cats know, there's always a better option somewhere around the bend. But, as I tell new sailors,
"There is no ONE perfect boat."

Once I was in a hired boat anchored off one of California's channel islands. The raft that was on board as a dinghy had no motor and a fresh breeze was blowing off the island toward the Pacific. With a real risk of a raft being blown out into the open ocean, there was no way I'd risk attempting to paddle a clumsy inflatable raft.

But, if I'd had a kayak, I could have quite easily made it safely ashore and back to the boat.

Josh Turner said...

Really enjoyed this post. Far different than any floats I've done here in Missouri, from what the pictures show.

I tend to agree with the consensus here. The more boats the better!


JP said...

Hi Chris, yup enjoy visiting your site too and have added to the blog roll here. I was in the Sicily Isles in August and was interested to see about their pilot gig racing, not sure if you've posted about them?

But it's interesting that even with something "simple" like a rowing boat there can be such variations.

There was a great chapter in Tristan Jones's "A steady trade" in which he described the various different types of traditional sailing craft around the British Isles and how they are different and why - fascinating.

They also had some great names like the Isle of Man Nobbys and Galway Hookers.

As a couple of you have mentioned, in different circumstances you need different vessels.

Which is also an argument for joining clubs and chartering rather than buying.... however tempting that might be.

Bonnie - love it, "Word!", I'll try that on my nephews and nieces and wait for either a) a blank look as it hasn't reached blighty yet, or b) the "you're over 40 so you can't use that" look

Carol Anne said...

Please note, that previous comment with my name and icon was not anything I wrote. That was Pat, borrowing my computer and forgetting to change the default settings to take credit (or blame) for his own actions.

(verification word: godge. Is that what you do when you blame some deity for your actions instead of taking responsibility yourself?)

JP said...


The relevant blog authorities have been informed and no doubt steps will be taken etc....

Tillerman said...

Shock! Horror! Blogger impersonates his own wife! How weird is that!

Pat said...

Usually I know who I am and am who I am even though Carol Anne sometimes believes me to be the least little bit oblivious, but cyberspace can be a bit disorienting, so in the future I'll try to check the identity box setting before making a post or answering the phone or whatever needs doing that requires some verification of who I am at the moment.

Failing that, I can fall back on the First Principal of Navigation:

Wherever you go,
there you are.