Friday, August 17, 2007


Back in June we had the "official" launch of my wife's new kayak. We borrowed a cedar-strip voyageur "Sainte Anne" canoe from Martin Bernardin for the occasion and had some friends & my in-laws join us. The kids really enjoyed the voyageur canoe, and my wife & I really enjoyed taking turns in the kayak. It was a beautiful Saturday evening for our paddle. Our original plan was to paddle on Sunday after having brunch at the Berry Barn. However as Sunday approached the forecast got steadily worse (the forecast was correct and we received 4" of rain in the ensuing storms). Thus, we scrambled a bit and left Saturday late-afternoon instead. We started from Fred Heal canoe launch on the South Saskatchewan River, about 20 km south of Saskatoon and paddled back to the city with a supper stop on a sandbar island along the way.

The photos below are all courtesy of Rick.

Many hands make light work.

My wife takes the first turn in the kayak.

Kevin mugs for the camera.

Supper break.
My turn.

Rob took over duties in the stern while I took my turn in the kayak. The Sainte Anne canoe paddled beautifully. At 25' 10" long and a 51" maximum beam, we were expecting a bit more trouble. With an experienced paddler in the bow and stern it was very easy to control. We had some assistance from amidships but even without it, Rob & I had little trouble maintaining a good pace and maneuvering.
The girls certainly enjoyed themselves in the big canoe.

On the edge of town.

When I asked Martin about renting the canoe, I never gave the logistics of it much thought. I knew it had it's own trailer but I have no problems pulling a small trailer behind my car and thought this one would be the same. I was wrong. That is one heavy trailer (for Honda Accord anyway). In agreeing to loan me the canoe, Martin was also agreeing to loan the trailer and the van too! His only request of me was that the rig be made ready to go for his trip to the Yukon River Quest. Thanks Martin!

We've used the kayak a couple of times since the launch and are pretty happy but there are some bugs to work out, including a broken moby latch (there's a lot of power behind them so make 'em strong!) and some skill development.
As mentioned earlier in this post, we were had made plans to launch after a Father's Day brunch from the Berry Barn on Sunday. Originally I refused to alter the plan despite a bad forecast since the forecast is often wrong. However, as Sunday got closer, the forecast got worse. In our haste to change the plans to Saturday, I was unable to inform a fellow builder about the change. Thus, Andy (aka "Andy in SK") arrived at the Berry Barn despite the downpour. We had brought the kayak and our tandem canoe along because the weather didn't look too bad when we left home and don't mind paddling in a bit of rain, but the thunder and lightning followed by the torrential rain put a damper on those plans. At least I did get a chance to admire Andy's Razor Billed Auk. Like me, Andy built a guillemot first. Having established a list of things to differently on the next boat, he built the RBA designed by Nick Schade next. Wow, what a beauty. Loaded with features, it also sports an elaborate design in the wood. This long sleek boat looks like lightning just sitting on Andy's custom made cradles (a la Ross Leidy). After admiring the boat in a pounding downpour (the start of a 4"+ rain) we resolved to head out for a paddle together at a later date. We're running out of summer so we'll have to go for a paddle soon Andy!

p.s. I have a bit of a backlog of posts to add discussing certain aspects of the build including the carved inlay on the deck, the moby hatch latches, and the plywood coaming. The first of these (description of the carved inlay on the deck) should be ready to post within the week so check back once in a while.

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