Monday, 22 April 2013

A testing weekend

We had originally planned to meet the week before but due to poor weather with winds in excess of 40 mph we were all fortunate enough to be in a position to reschedule.
Ian,s caravan at Red Wharf Bay was the venue and with a glorious Friday Ian, Belly and myself met at Penmon and we managed to grab a quick paddle around Puffin.
The title testing was not in relation to conditions but with the arrival of Mike Bells Cedar Boats new Inua Greenland paddle and the Taran 16 on the following day.
The sun was shining and on paddling up to the West corner of Puffin the conditions were perfect, for some reason we decided to go clockwise around the Island and that meant going through the sound against the flood.
The North side was interesting with loads of chop and clapotis, that classic phrase from Ian reassured us all, "I nearly went in then lads!" Nordkap owners!!!
So to the paddle, I'd had the Formby finger for some time and had used it on many occasions, on using Gareth's I came to the conclusion that I needed a longer one. It was on test and I hadn't made my mind up as yet on a purchase.
The Formby Finger is a traditional form Greenland paddle with rounded tips and a well defined shoulder loom, I had one in Western Red Cedar.
The Inua is the new carbon composite shoulder less paddle, it has a smooth transition from loom to blade.
86mm wide blades and a larger surface area at 590 sq cm, it certainly feels a more powerful blade than the Formby Finger (FF) and for me it just seemed to tick all the boxes for touring and my style of paddling.
Its 6 mm thick at the end with fine edges and closed cell foam reinforced blades.
I immediately found it to feel both natural and also powerful, my usual blades being Werner Corryvreckens.
I'm fairly new to Greenland paddles but these blades were so comfortable and I very quickly found a natural stroke.
The blades sliced into the water very cleanly and there was little flutter, we went into the choppy section and although comfortable within my Delphin which laps up such these blades powered me through and I also felt confident knowing I had so much surface area.
Compared to the FF it felt that I could keep and maintain an easy pace.
The blade was also used by Gareth on the Saturday and like myself he came to the same conclusions a fantastic paddle for touring and yes I've only gone and ordered one!
There available in lengths from 86-90 and apart from performance the quality and finish is amazing.
If you have never tried a Greenland paddle and you are into touring give them a go I was in the camp where I though you had to have long beards of wear clothing similar to large condoms in order to use such, how very, very wrong.

                                                         A glorious Friday afternoon
 Mr Bell the maker of fine Greenland paddles!
The usual abundance of following seals
On leaving Penmon I contacted Mr Willacy and collected the Rockpool Taran 16 in order for some more "testing"
Gareth arrived later that afternoon and we met him at the caravan, the evening was then completed by Belly's Pork and beans, with rice homemade bread and a few scoops.
The camp fire lit and the World was put to rights

                                                       I'll name that tune in one!!

Up and out on Saturday after a fine breakfast, no need for lunch fruit and some mixed nuts well we knew what to expect that night as it was one of Gareth's BBQ,s
We launched from Bull Bay, a group of divers preparing for the off, and we thought we had some kit.
Some adjustments on the pegs, the slide pushes up and forward and back very easy in fact a far more simpler way than the turning on the Delphin pegs lever.
The conditions in the Bay were prefect, I was pleasantly surprised as I very quickly settled into the Taran 16, no wobbles and the cockpit and seating position felt very snug and comfortable.
I'm also now a great fan of the rudder, forward paddling and everything done with the rudder.
It became apparent at an early stage that this had many of the Tarans characteristics and speed being one of them.
Effortless and for me a bonus as it was again great for rock hopping.

                                                            View from the cockpit

We met some Liverpool canoe clubbers the lady was on some 4 star training
As we continued further up the coast the offshore wind became stronger and another test for the Taran, would the blunt bow and the deck catch more wind and weather cock well it did,nt appear to do so for myself.
I never felt that I was fighting against anything and also the rudder what a delight in such conditions.


The winds picked up and it started to become an up hill battle so we decided to stop for lunch at the old shoe factory.

Time for a change, well you cant enjoy yourself all the time and Gareth was in the driving seat.
 We arrived back at Bull Bay where the clever Mr Bell showed off his fine paddle, oh yes forgot to mention the combination of the Taran 16 and this paddle amazing. Ga and I continued onto Amlwch, well it would be rude not to have to paddle back along Bull Bay into a strong off shore wind. We swapped over again and I had the pleasure of the Taran. Bull Bay has a long and windy history with the Jones boys and this day was no different. It was head down and a slow return but once again let me dispel any rumours that the Tarans are more prone to weather cocking it just is not true folks.
Back and ready to head back for our evenings entertainment.
My conclusions were this is a very fast boat but its also able to rock hop with the best, love the rudder and its a base for taking photos, it doesn't feel as stable as the GT but again its a different boat.
I recall from taking the Taran out last year that for me I would prefer a different seat as it doesn't appear to have the same comfort levels as my GT, I,m aware that there are some options with different seats and I would like to try such.
Would I buy one, after today yes, for me its the next rung up the ladder, fast, flexible for rock hopping and also loads of room for overnighters and of course the usual Rockpool quality

                     We found a friend at the caravan me thinks those crisps had some influence.
                                  She spotted the Land rover coming and she was soon away
Mr Collins enjoying himself I think we were discussing Worldly problems!

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