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Thread: Loch Awe, 6th/7th May 06

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Loch Awe, 6th/7th May 06

    Despite river levels being fairly good we chose to paddle flat this weekend, mainly to try out my new canoe, a Wenonah Solo Plus. I had finished, as far as I could, the outfitting by mid afternoon Saturday, so we loaded up and headed out, taking the Prism as the other canoe.

    We had a pleasant evening/night paddle out to the Black Islands where we camped. The wind was very light, but the waves, whilst not being at all troublesome, seemed to be bigger than the wind would suggest. We assumed that they were 'left over' from higher winds during the day, if you see what I mean.

    I paddled the Solo+ along with the dog, and Nicky used the Prism. Straight away you could see differences in performance. The Kevlar Prism was faster, as would be expected, but the Solo+ was less affected by the wind. The Prism wanted to head into wind, a feature I had noticed before, so it was good, in a way, to see that confirmed by another paddler.

    After a wet night with some blustery wind, we set off into a flat calm day with constant rain. At times the Loch was like a mirror, save for the rain drops. We visited all the island in Inschail collection (Burial ground for Clan Campbell) and then headed NE to collect the tiny island opposite the school on the A85. Somewhere abouts here the rain died off and the sky brightened a little.

    Lunch on the nearby headland was spoiled by the inevitable anglers aftermath of broken bottles, chopped down trees and fire rings everywhere.

    The calm conditions encouraged me to set about jumping out of boats again, all in the interests of training and boat comparisons. The upshot of this is that I can report that I am very impressed with the Solo+ and wish I had got one sooner. It is very stable for such a narrow hull and can be paddled with one gunwale under water until it fills up. It is fairly easy to reenter solo, and without outrigger, but then I have fitted lots of air bags (2 in the ends, 2 in the tumblehome). Using the pole/drybag outrigger takes me less than 1 minute to set up from the water and makes the boat untippable on the side the outrigger is fitted. I was only using a small dry bag: I could tip the boat the other way, with the bag swinging right over the boat!

    I then went to the Prism and played about with that. With no kit in it I was able to Cap. (sp?) flip it, leaving only 2" of water in the bottom, and then reenter without an outrigger. BUT it was very hard to do this and it was flat calm. This hull definately needs an outrigger for reentry in the kind of water that would force you out of the boat.

    Still, I was pleased to be able to flip it. Bear in mind that was an empty kevlar boat. No way could I flip a canoe with exped gear that was bigger and heavier than the Prism.

    When we got home the usual post trip clean up started. Three hours later it is still not finished!

    Must get back on a river next weekend to try out the Prospector.
    If it wasn't for the rain in our lives there would be no rivers. X 2

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default

    Glad to hear you got on well with the Solo +.

    Had seen one advertised and wondered about it as a second boat, looks like its designed for mainly flat water use. Do you think it would handle Grade 1/2 OK?
    (some may say I couldn't )
    'There is no wealth but life itself.'

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Silvergirl
    Glad to hear you got on well with the Solo +.

    Had seen one advertised and wondered about it as a second boat, looks like its designed for mainly flat water use. Do you think it would handle Grade 1/2 OK?
    (some may say I couldn't )
    I sincerely hope it will cope with Gd1 and 2 okay, otherwise I'll be swimming more than usual! I plan to use it on the bigger rivers that have lots of flat sections between the 'point and paddle' style of WW sections. (ie the Spey, most of the Tay, Earn, Teith, Forth etc)

    I used the Sojourn quite a bit on such rivers and never got wet, the Solo+ is better spec'd for such work so should be an improvement.
    If it wasn't for the rain in our lives there would be no rivers. X 2

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