WD12 long trip - weathercocking & wood ducks

Yesterday I got a chance to give my new WD12 a real workout - 22 miles on the Patuxent River. I had the Creature Comfort seat installed, but even so it would have been difficult to complete the trip without the Duck's main feature - that enormous cockpit. I could shift my legs from on the braces to flat on the floor, and was even able to sit cross-legged. Being able to strecth one's legs while in the kayak is a great feature for long trips.

I also tried out my notion of shifting the boat's center of gravity aft to eliminate the tendency to weathercock. That actually worked, but it put the transom just at the waterline. The wake was much larger than normal, so I think that the trick is to put just enough weight to keep the weathercocking from being annoying, rather than cancelling it completely.

Since it is the Memorial Day weekend, every available fishing spot had anglers. Thanks to the Duck's stability, I was able to retrieve some snagged lines for a couple of them (one from a submerged log, the other from where it was wrapped around a bridge member). Not only is this the neighborly thing to do, but it also protects the ospreys and other creatures that can get tangled in nylon line.

And speaking of creatures, I ran into a flock of actual wood ducks. We were doing fine until Mom duck noticed me. At which point she called to her brood to disperse and she took attempted to take off directly in front of me. Unfortunately, she was having great difficulty. She appeared to be waterlogged and both wings seemed to be broken, the perfect morsel for a predator, especially since the ducklings were now invisible. She kept splashing around in front of me until we were a good 100 feet or more away from the ducklings, at which point she was suddenly able to fly with no trouble at all. She effortlessly flew back and collected her little ones, having successfully spoofed the hairy predator in the bionic log.

The WD12 is definitely a good match for long trips. It has the comfort, capacity and stability to make an all-day outing possible and fun. It's also light enough to cartop solo at the end of a long day of paddling. And just because no trip report is complete without pictures, here's a view from a creek out into the river's main channel. It was a nice place to stop for a snack.


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RE: WD12 long trip - weathercocking & wood ducks

22 miles? That is some trip! I did 16 miles yesterday in my Shearwater 16 and got the chance to try out my self rescue technique for the first time....

There is a bridge that is so low on a local river here, you almost have to duck in a kayak to pass underneath it. It was crowded and I went to the side to let another paddler pass coming head on. I got a little close to the side, reflex had me lower (and of course raise) my paddle, smacked the bridge overhead, ripped the paddle from my hands and I went right over the other way, boat upside down, took about a millisecond. I was going too fast. Glad I was wearing my jacket, always do, and in generally shallow rivers like this is when you are tempted to not wear one. But this area was around 10 feet deep so I couldn't cheat getting back in. Happy to say I was able to get back in the boat by the book after pumping out some water and using the paddle float and climbing onto the deck face down and flipping over into the cockpit. My first time getting tossed. Hopefully the last. Things can happen so fast. If I wasn't so busy while I was in the water taking care of business to get back in the boat, then retrieve a couple pieces of floating gear and clearing out the rest of the water from the cockpit, I would have been real embarrassed. It would have made a good video.

RE: WD12 long trip - weathercocking & wood ducks

I haven't been paddeling like you Lazlo, but my shoulders were sore after only 5 miles. And you went 22 miles! It looks like a nice place to paddle; green, with shade, and small areas that the WD can turn easy in. I also found that my WD12 tended to turn into the wind.


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