Our windchimes were rattling, the papaya trees were scraping the house like some monsters hand and the drone of heavy rain with squalls on top was charging me up instead of lulling me to sleep. It's 3 am.
I sit up and state... "I have to do it."
Donning my full suit I head out and load up the boat and paddle.... the trees overhead are doubling over with the puffs.
As I crest the hill and look over to see the bay, the water is illuminated by whitecaps.
It’s rare when it blows this hard for any length of time here. I recall rendezvousing with the guys at the same parking lot many years ago at any hour to get some shortboard sailing in.... No one around but me this time. From the feel of the breeze and look of the water it is definitely blowing 20 - 25 with the typical bigger puffs on top of that out in the middle. Wind chop is close spaced @ 2-3' max with spray blowing off the tops + quick bursts of rain rounding things over a bit too...
I dare not take my hands off the boat as I unstrap it. The wind pulls hard on it as I lift it off and set it down in the lee of the car. Next is the paddle. Just for fun I 'fly' the wing while holding it by the opposite blade... "new sport" say out loud. Lock up the car, wear my key under the suit and off to the waters edge. Try to get the boat to luff as I carry it... doesn't work. I let go of it for a second on the beach and it starts to blow away... doh! "Don't do that anymore."
Chop is breaking on the beach so I wade out into a couple feet of water, face upwind, straddle and flop into seat to set everything up as I drift backward. The plan is to keep close to shore to feel things out. Paddle upwind and run / play back down.
Besides pulling, have to actually push the paddle into wind. The boat moves forward without hesitation and is little affected by the chop freight-training at it. No green water over foredeck as 'we' steam upwind. Keeping the paddle lower helps cut down wind resistance. The ONNO Endurance Wing does not dive or flail off course. As I work upwind I tack the boat to port and starboard. The boat holds course even as I point it deeper and deeper off the breeze." Damn!" I giggle to myself as the boat is not getting blown around and feels totally balanced. The boat points straight ahead with balanced paddling strokes. Even on a beam reach with the winds trying to rip the paddle out of my hands, things feel normal. A few strokes and some edging bring it right around to the other tack. This is a bit faster with the rudder down but still not necessary.
After working upwind and messing around for a while I turned the boat around and head downwind with much anticipation. WOW! The boat came alive! I can honestly state that after many years of paddling various kayaks I have never had so much fun as with this boat. In the fast running, non-stop chop I could simply pick any down wind course/line I wanted and the boat would just surf away straight as an arrow. The bow never went under or pearled no matter how fast I went. It was just non-stop, confident, fast running speed. With some euphoria induced strokes I barely lost speed on the 'gybes'. Even as I stalled it and tried to 'stuff' the bow into the wave in front the boat simply surged ahead unfazed. "This thing is an organic feeling, fun machine" I said to myself.
I love this boat.
The Tideline 19 is a living machine. Those who like to paddle in the bumps and wind will be rewarded by the fastest, most 'alive' boat they have ever paddled.....On the business side, Patrick was super knowledgeable, friendly and helpful with any questions I had. The purchasing experience almost out did the boat's performance.
At least for now I can out pace and out 'hear' my outspoken wife.... 'til she gets her new Mermaid boat from Patrick. I hope he designed it for what I have to deal with... LOL....11 of ten if allowed.