Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Paddling off Paignton, 21st January 2006.

  1. #1
    monkey_pork's Avatar
    monkey_pork is offline a wind age, a wolf age - before the world goes headlong
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    -
    Posts
    4,856

    Default Paddling off Paignton, 21st January 2006.

    Blimey, this post will take as long to read, as the trip will take to paddle !

    Paignton is one of the three Torbay towns, the others being Torquay and Brixham. Torbay (as a bay in the 'true' sense of the word) is on the SE coast of Devon, it's a wide bay, open to the east. N50 26 W3 31 will get you there. Locally 'Torbay' is used quite generally to describe almost anywhere in the bay.

    Although offering useful shelter to bigger stuff, it you are out in a small boat it's still a lot of water, especially in the wind. It has some protection from the big channel tides however - which makes it quite a useable bit of water. I've seen it scarily kick off tho' - so like all open water, keep your wits about you.

    I set off today from Preston Sands, as, like most of this coast, the access is good, and at this time of year it's easy parking. I could hear a bit of slap off the sea wall as I set the boat up, but didn't worry too much about it.

    Getting the boat onto the slipway was straight-forward (Eckla trolley review to follow soon), but now I saw that actually getting into the water wasn't going to be quite so straight-forward...



    [Preston Sands slipway, looking N to Torquay]

    Maybe not too clear in this picture, but there is a swell line heading in, I sat and watched these lap in and out for a bit to get used to the pattern in them, and then launched in sequence.

    Exactly as I did so, the water dropped out underneath me as the swell pulled back for a bigger wave than I had yet seen. Trapped on the steep slipway, with half the boat in ever decreasing inches of water, and half out on the slipway itself - caught between the sea wall and that railing, and having to plan to brace for an incoming wave, and it's backwash was not exactly how I'd planned to start the day.

    Inevitably it hit me, and having braced against the incoming wave, I had absolutely no chance to brace against the reflected outwash on other side (as one immediately followed the other), so ended up with a nasty, compromised, and wet entry. Once I had surfed outwards from the shore on the sea wall's backwash off the second or third of the incoming sets (which felt horrid), I had to work hard to settle back down.

    The sea was not at all happy today. Not at all happy.

    There was a northerly wind, and against the receding tide, this was setting up an unusual swell. Out away from the shore it just felt messy and unsettled, but looking in it was breaking quite well. Quite well that is if you didn't have to beach an open boat at some point. I pressed on, feeling quite uncommonly unsettled by the oddness of the water.



    [Paignton pier, Roundham head nearest, Berry Head off in the distance]

    Despite the wind at my back the odd diagonal swell was making it hard work. I had planned to press on around Roundham Head and out across Goodrington Sands to one of the secluded and pretty little coves beyond, but I just couldn't ignore the sea's unease today.



    [Nav aid off Paignton harbour / Roundham Head, looking at Berry Head]

    I sat off the harbour for a bit to feel the water before rounding the headland at Roundham. I grew up on this coast, so I know it as well as I know anywhere, and today, she just wasn't happy at all. During my run across Paignton, I'd noticed two other things, one that the swell peaks had both deepened and lengthened, the other was the consequence of that, as sound of the breakers had changed, less frequent and choppy, more rolling and sustained. I wasn't looking forward to beaching today as it was, now I was looking forward to it even less. I'll happily surf anything, but today just didn't feel right.

    Going around the headland would clearly have been a bad idea today, so I turned and headed back. Paddling back into the wind was much easier than paddling with it - which only added to an already peculiar day.
    I did eventually manage to find a break in the sets and beached in a bit of shelter between them. I sat on the beach for a while, just idling, and gathering my thoughts, and the sea did begin to settle little by little, as the effects of the wind against tide began to calm down.

    The sea became much happier, still lumpy, but far more like it's usual lumpiness, so I set off again, beyond my entry, and out towards Torquay.



    [Looking towards Torquay, the rocks off the point are Thatcher Rock and Oreston (who's local spelling varies)]

    Leaving Roundham and Paignton harbour behind ...



    With all the drama now gone out of the water, all that remained was to take some pictures, and watch the sea birds.



    [Looking in towards bits of Torquay - this is the sandstone which gives much of Paignton it's colour, and accounts for some of the shape of the 'bay]



    [This is part of the same coastline, about 400mtrs of red sandstone cliff joins the two pictures. If you have good enough eyesight you'll see a train in the middle of this picture]



    [Looks idyllic eh ?] ...



    ... [until you turn around perhaps].


    As I loaded the boat onto the car, (and binned the collection of plastic bottles and bags I had gathered on route) the water had calmed even further and I spent some happy minutes watching perhaps 20 or so cormorants skimming around for sand eels in the shallow water.

    I spent much of today out on the salt road thinking about the whale in the Thames, it's world shrunk to a narrow, shallow river, full of odd, and no doubt disconcerting sounds, whilst mine spread out shiningly before me. Completely ridiculous I know, but the sea shared some of that poor leviathans anxiety today I'm sure.

    Today served as a lesson to me, which is to take note of what the water is telling you, especially your own water.

    Today I got away with a couple of things based on being sensible, but a couple of things based on simply being lucky.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Lochwinnoch, Scotland
    Posts
    17,408

    Default

    Sounds like quite a day.

    I am pleased you heeded the signs and impressed that you could still take pictures when you were not happy with the conditions. Great pictures too definitely better weather than we had today. Haven't seen the sky for days so it seems.
    John

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    NW Wales
    Posts
    1,303

    Default

    Today served as a lesson to me, which is to take note of what the water is telling you
    spoken like a true waterman

    I had a similar problem too, launching off a secluded cove, where I never expected to see a swell....... I'll write it up later
    Obscured by Clouds

    Clipper Prospector 16

    http://lostcoast.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    monkey_pork's Avatar
    monkey_pork is offline a wind age, a wolf age - before the world goes headlong
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    -
    Posts
    4,856

    Default

    Thanks DR.

    Looking over the pictures today, I can't say that they convey anything like the odd, eerie feeling I had yesterday. I've been off that coast in *much* bigger water, but I still can't shake it.

    I rode along the sea front to Torquay about 2 hours ago, and it's lumpy again today, but with patterns that I recoginse.

    I'm looking forward to your write up !


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    south devon
    Posts
    173

    Default

    Most odd. My experiences this weekend felt more comic than those you describe, but it always pays to listen to these things.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    LANCASHIRE
    Posts
    99

    Default monkey pork,

    Was there any particular /unusual high tide or moon phase?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    LANCASHIRE
    Posts
    99

    Default re all

    Some interesting views, and to see the changes from one part of the coast to another, it stirs emotion, so it realy wouldnt make much difference if the canoe was white water oriented then, or the amount of rocker or is there any difference on squally water,???,i realize the waves are different to say a hole in river running ,with opposing winds tidal races under currents and stuff but is there a particular canoe that shines,chines hull shape or tumble home? sorry to fire so many questions at once , im just kinda hoping there may be some canoe out there that can do it all, Within reason, without resorting to putting an outboard on .

  8. #8
    monkey_pork's Avatar
    monkey_pork is offline a wind age, a wolf age - before the world goes headlong
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    -
    Posts
    4,856

    Default

    I've found my Disco' to be a pretty good open water boat, other than being heavy. My Outrage is rubbish but comparison, even in heavy water, as it's far to quick.

    For me, the ideal boat would be something like the Disco', maybe a bit longer, say 16ft 6, but narrower by a couple of inches, and with some tumblehome, in part to sit the load deep and wide, and in part to make for a dryer ride, and less likely to swamp. I'd keep the same rocker, but maybe pull the hull into a very slight keel line to help with the tracking, more pronounced at the hull and stern.

    I think I'm almost describing a Bell Magic here aren't I ?

    ... and no, there was nothing unusual about the moon, or the tides that I can recall, the overall oddness that day was more than likely to have just been the effect of the wind against the tide generating odd, off-kilter swells, coupled with the state of the tide.

    By contrast, it was like a mirror all day today (whilst I was out at work of course), but it's been very slight airs, high pressure, and chillingly cold, so there's been very little energy in the system to generate any localised weather effects.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Nr Rochester in Kent
    Posts
    3,838

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by monkey_pork View Post
    I've found my Disco' to be a pretty good open water boat, other than being heavy. My Outrage is rubbish but comparison, even in heavy water, as it's far to quick.

    For me, the ideal boat would be something like the Disco', maybe a bit longer, say 16ft 6, but narrower by a couple of inches, and with some tumblehome, in part to sit the load deep and wide, and in part to make for a dryer ride, and less likely to swamp. I'd keep the same rocker, but maybe pull the hull into a very slight keel line to help with the tracking, more pronounced at the hull and stern.

    I think I'm almost describing a Bell Magic here aren't I ?
    Dunno about that, I'd think long and hard about taking one of them out on the salty stuff. My experience with the Yellowstone Solo is that I'd not choose it for this type of paddling. The narrow beam, low gunwale and tumblehome make for a tippy and precarious ride. Sure the boat can handle it, but you'd need to be on the ball all the time. I like the bigger ride of the Charles River, as I know I can put the paddle down and pick up the camera even in choppy waters.
    Matto

    Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    LANCASHIRE
    Posts
    99

    Default

    Thanks monkeypork,guys, all good info, and its all being taken in,keep them pics coming , really inspirational stuff.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •