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Performance Testing the GE..It passed
Date: 8/4/2001, 11:51 am

Hey Nick,
THE GE is an incredible design. It just passed the test!

I have been trying to find the limits on my boat this summer. I have short sprinted her to 8.4 in calm water. I have been impressed by how well she rolls, but yesterday I found out what Vesilind, my Guillmot GE is really capable of.

Surf was up pretty high yesterday, but a nice day so I decided to go play on the bigger waves on one of my favorite rock gardens. Went out to Cape Nedick light and the marginal way. I got a bit more surf then I bargained for! However, the situation gave me a lot of confidence in this design. Now, I know just what this boat can do when its pushed to the limits.

I was going from one of my favorite shoals to another, about 1/4 a mile away. I got caught out to sea directly under an incredible thunderstorm cell a bit farther from my storm hole then I should have been. The weather had been forecasted for nice, but the VHF went off with a weather tone and warning about 1 minute before the storm came over the cliffs. I was half way to my storm hole. (I always have a storm hole planned when I am in the rocks) when the outflow from the storm (wind) went from nothing to just everything. Wham! The wind came on so suddenly and with such force that I watched a cliff sparrow get plucked out of the air and slammed into the water just a few feet from me and drowned. The air went from very 90's to darn cold as the down drafts dropped cold air onto the water and fast. The thermal gradients were incredible and that did not bode well for what was to come. I began hauling butt to get into my storm hole, as I knew I'd never make it back to or up the rocky ledge put in. The weather radio later reported gusts in excess of 45 mph in that cell, and I am a big believer in the "in excess part."

Nick, the average sea state went from pretty chilled out, to average 6-8 foot swells with 1.5 foot wind chop with a period of about a foot a part, all of that rolling over a very complex set of shoals. But in the the tide dropped the swell heights kept rising to between 10-14 feet over the shallow bottom with the wind driven stuff on top of that. I got to the place that I couldn't see the even the tops of the rock cliffs or the several stories tall buildings on top of that when I was in the troughs. It was like being in Mts. all of this localized to what was under the storm cell.

The deeper rocks that are normally silent became descent sized boomers. Despite all of that this boat ran down the front edges and never once broke deep or nosed the bottom. when waves broke around the boat it held true and up right. In nose into the wind driven waves, it was still pretty dry. The wind chop marched up my deck but broke to the sides just before the recess So it never took to slapping me in the torso.

The bigger wind gusts at the front of the cell were tearing the tops off the waves in big chunks flying them above my head and tossing them 15 to 20 feet, to land hard on the boat. Whomf! They landed like 15 gallons water bombs being tossed at ya from a bucket. You could hear them slam the boat as they hit. To give you an idea, they sounded like the sound made when you slap your deck hard with the palm of your hand. The sheets of rain were just incredible, and it made it really hard to see. I'm thinking motorcycle windsheild on my next boat. :) So the water was coming at me from all directions. Then it got just plain dark. Then we had about a minute and a half of small hail, and I haven't reached my storm hole yet.

It was really something. Had to do some very fancy paddling into the wind around the shoals to get up wind of my storm hole. So I could get blown back into it. The wind grabbed my seaward blade twice and pulled my whole torso to port. (Yeah, I'm thinking Greenland paddles!!!! ) I was pulling hard in the water on the other side, but the sudden change in balance well... I was sure I was heading into a roll, but twice I hit it with a hip snap, and a brace kept powering the other blade. That boat design of yours kept me looking at the sky rather then kissin fish! and worse losing ground when Indeed to be moving forward. If I had gone over I'd have been down wind fast and I am guessing would have had to ridden the whole storm out to sea in deeper water.

Once I was passed my storm hole entrance, I had to wait then choose my swell and then cut back and turn on a swell crest and surf back into my storm hole. If I missed the move, I was going to broach but good. All of this in a 20 foot yak! That's big for what I was asking it to do. As I waited to make my turn, while I studied the sets, she sculled like a dream, responded to my braces quickly and held station as if she were waiting for a bus. The wind was gusting out of two directions 30 points and 15 points to each side of my bow. Hey Nick do ya remember I stripped a second set of strips on the bow and then sanded in two radius chines into the bow and sanded back the skeg a tad? Thanks for helping me think that out, and its perfect! As figured; a little knee goes a long way on this boat, and she still tracks awesome. I had to ferry left and right into the wind to get into my storm hole on HUGE! stuff. She was a dream to move even in really nasty water. I was a bit busy at the time for contemplative thought, but I couldn't believe what this boat would do in this stuff. again and again I kept thinking this is going to be the limit and then the boat would ride right over it.

Nick, Veslind doesn't move like a 20 foot boat. Perhaps the best part of this boat was how she handles the wind. She didn't weather cock or work herself broad side. She stayed oriented and right as I wanted her. I have been in much bigger seas, but not in everything boiling all at once like this. I have been in boats that in big seas the control surfaces get taken over by the water and wind. In this design the boat design stayed firmly in partnership with its skipper rather then turning itself over to be controlled by the wind and surf. I really appreciated that yesterday!

I pushed hard and made my storm hole. Then wormed myself even deeper into it. I holed up under a ledge between two cliffs and under a light house sitting in on a kelp bush, and just sculled keeping station. Just out side my storm hole waves were climbing the cliff walls and making some pretty great thunder on their own.

When the lightening started jamming. I pulled a petrussen maneuver to lower my above water profile. It was easy to hang out, just holding to the side of my boat. I was blessing my full wet suit I wear even on a 90 degree afternoon. When the lightening counted 2 plus miles out, I sculled out a bit, then rolled up easily, and waited for the sea to calm down a bit. As I waited I listened on my VHF to other bigger boats yachts farther out to sea distressing about the weather as it reached them. It reminded me just how truly rugged these little Quajaks can be.

After the storm subsided, I went looking for some scuba divers that had been caught under the water in the storm. We all had been suprised. They had a similarly exciting 30 minutes at depth! hanging on to rocks and feeling the concussion of the thunder rolling through the water. Yikes! :(

Nick! This boat design kicks butt for me every day! But when you really need to squeeze ever last bit of performance from it, she has plenty of performance in reserve! Nick, I remember 2 years ago looking at your boats bottoms out in the snow behind your barn; looking at the shapes and trying to intuit their performance. Nick, I got a heck of a lot more boat then I bargained for. I know you designed this GE beast as a touring boat but....Wow she does a whole lot more. The more I work her, and I am working her very hard, the more I am impressed by her! A huge Thankyou for this very incredible design!

She brought me in safe from the storm and a pretty good test of a design!

Thanks again,

Messages In This Thread

Performance Testing the GE..It passed
!RUSS -- 8/4/2001, 11:51 am
Good Paddling
Nick Schade - Guillemot Kayaks -- 8/6/2001, 9:02 am
20' Guillemot GE ??????
Larry C. -- 8/4/2001, 9:27 pm
Tinkering: a little nip, a little tuck
!RUSS -- 8/5/2001, 8:19 am
Re: Performance Testing the GE..It passed
Rehd -- 8/4/2001, 8:29 pm
new fee structure
!RUSS -- 8/5/2001, 9:51 am
Re: new fee structure
Rehd -- 8/7/2001, 1:00 am