Sunday, December 21, 2014

Downwind & Half an Oar Short

With the wind blowing up the lake, Nathaniel decided to get his rowing out of the way first, rowing to a downlake spot he wanted to investigate and then working one bank back toward the truck while letting the wind do most of the work.

Good plan, but things don't always go as planned.

About 100 feet shy of the spot, one of the two-piece oars came apart, and we both watched helplessly as the blade end sank out of sight. An oar with no blade is as useful as no oar, and one good oar in a oarlock is as useful as zero oars, unless you just want to spin, which we didn't. So the lone oar became a long, heavy, awkward paddle with no t-grip.

We were almost to the spot, and wind had shifted a bit and was crossing the lake, so Nathaniel decided to complete the quest. He'd still work us back along the bank and fish, just without the aid of the wind at his back.

If you fish, you might guess the next part. While we were fishing that spot, the wind finished shifting and picked up a bit, so by the time were ready to work the other way, it was blowing steadily, straight down the lake, and away from the truck.

Nathaniel soon learned just how inefficient it is to use an oar to paddle a johnboat into the wind. Each oar/paddle stroke moved the boat slightly forward but turned it more, and switching sides robbed distance back because of the wind. He eventually came up with an awkward sculling-type stroke off he back of the boat that worked a little better than traditional paddling (see video). I took the paddle once just to keep us from loosing too much while he rested momentarily, but I was even less efficient working backward from the johnboat's front seat.

We made it back to the truck in OK time, but Nathaniel only ended up fishing about 10 minutes while we were out there. Sounded like a good plan!

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