I have to tell you about my paddle yesterday - I took YumYum, my home built skin-on-frame boat, out for a spin around the Berkeley Marina and we had a great time! (Coming from Maine, I'm working on finding some good places to paddle around the Bay Area). I've been using winter's calm weather and flat water to practice in and I stay on the leeward side where the floating is easy. Yesterday, I tied in the dromedary bag full of water (about 15 lbs) behind where I sit which acts as ballast, and this time I also took out the inflatable seat cushion that's been tied down to the floorboards. The seat compresses to about an inch, I imagine, maybe more. Taking the seat out made a lot of difference, keeping the center of gravity comfortably lower and the kayak felt more manageable and stable. The floorboards keep me up higher too but I need them because there is a rib right under my butt. When I make the next boat I'll watch out for things like that!
If you don't know the marina, it's a peninsula with the point facing into San Francisco Bay (and the prevailing winds) with the Bay Bridge to the south and the Richmond Bridge to the north. Following the peninsula around to the southeast, it curves in sharply and there is a well protected 'cove' there where the Cal sailing club has a dock and there's also a public dock for small craft and windsailors. There's a real demarcation between the calm waters in the cove (on the lee side) and the larger waves that have traveled some distance across the bay, fetch, right? Sounds Maine to me, "the fetch up t' Isle au Haut from Sommes Sound was so fierce last Sunday that...
Anyway, there is a restaurant on the point overlooking the bay but I can't remember the name, Skates or something. The waves can be somat fierce riwght theyah. I've ventured around the point there once or twice when it's been relatively calm but always felt uncomfortable, unstable. But yesterday, with my derriere a little lower and a nice ballast, it felt better than ever and I paddled riwght round that penins'la. It were a very high tide, it bein' a moon tide an' all, and them waves was cooperatin' nicely. I had a right little lay-to past the north point where the watah is calm as a kiddies' pool in July. Howevah, by the time I got turned round and headed back to-wards the way I come, that tide had turned. All hell was breakin' out. The wind picked up somethin' wicked and whipped them waves to into a mighty froth. They were a-rolling in most on top of t'othah. One bigah than the one in front on it. Well, I says to m'self, we might take a closah look at this and sees what we really got he-ah. So we start a paddlin'. And that boat starts a-pitchin' one way and t'othah and the waves side to and comin' down on us like some locomotive in a fit and I says to m'self, I says, "it don't look too good." So we cetch a 'commodatin' wave and she chucks us back to the lee side a that point where we hauls out amongst some pointy rocks and drag our butt, an' the boat o' course, up on t' the grass.
Well that was a complete exaggeration. It was a fine day. I did paddle around the peninsula and haul out on the other side of the neck because the wind had come up and I thought it might be better not to try to go back because of being by myself. It was a lot of fun to finally feel ok in my boat and now I want to work less and play on the water more.
Well now, if you take the University road due west you cain't miss eh. That be in Berkeley, California.