Great Students, New Boats, Harsh Winds

If you’ve got the hutzpa to take a sea kayaking class in Wisconsin in April, you’re probably going to do OK.  That’s been my experience every spring when I head down to Rutabaga to teach that first sea kayak course each year.  It’s almost always cold and certainly wet.  This time it was ridiculously windy as well.  I can’t say this is my favorite time of year to teach. We find ourselves working around a lot of interference & distraction that we wouldn’t be facing once the season warms up and the weather settles down.  On the upside though, the students that do show up this time of year are particularly keen to “just go for it”. 

Rutabaga has added a selection of Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 & 170s to our teaching fleet. (Didn’t we just talk about the Tempest??)  I was happy to see the new boats.  We always have great kayaks for our students, but every few years it’s nice to see sharp and shiny new boats. When I get a bit more time I’ll jump into both plastic Tempests and give you a rundown.  On first glance though, they look well done.

In the end we worked through some interesting dilemmas during this first class of 2011.  We learned how skegs work.. (Boy Howdy!) and we learned that wetsuits are OK, but drysuits are better. We learned that a stern rudder won’t get you up wind very quickly, we learned that it takes a long freaking time to blow up a paddle-float.. (When’s the next rolling class???). We also learned that if you need to be rescued in these conditions, you’d like your rescuer to be.. well.. efficient.  I’m sure there was something else we learned as well but I think my brain is still too frozen to remember. Good Job, guys!  It was lots of fun!

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