Mark I River Float sans Rudder

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Christov10
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Mark I River Float sans Rudder

Post by Christov10 »

Yesterday I paddled a stretch of Barren Fork/Collins River(s) in McMinnville, Tennessee. I paddled most of the way, but if you just float it, the trip lasts about four hours. I managed it in about two and felt disappointed it didn't take me longer. The put in was at Smooth Rapids ( http://smoothrapids.com ) and the takeout at the former VFW Lodge ( https://vfwpost5064.wixsite.com/vfw-post-5064 ) on your right as you drive out of McMinnville toward Sparta. Sparta's the home of the legendary Lester Flatt famous for the Petticoat Junction theme song. McMinnville's known primarily for its many nurseries.

The guy who runs Smooth Rapids told me the VFW group had to sell their building d/t reduced membership and the high cost of maintaining a large, old building (built probably in the late 1940s). Looks like the new owner is trying to run a barbecue restaurant out of the building and there were some women in the parking lot preparing for some kind of charity auction in the evening. Now it costs $5 to park in the venue's lot with an honor-system fee box. Not a great boat ramp if you're solo loading to car top a heavy folding kayak. Steep-ish for that.

Because I decided not to use the rudder Saturday, I installed the small footboard provided by the manufacturer. Already installed on the bow gunwales were straps with clips for attachment. I should have installed the strap/clip arrangement on the bow deckbar forward of Rib No. 3 during assembly. I was able to manage it without difficulty by deflating sponsons some on either side, thus reducing deck fabric tension and making it easy to feed the strap between the deck fabric and deckbar. The whole thing clipped in pretty easily and adjustment was no problem and solved the where-to-rest-my-feet problem w/o tension from the rudder cables holding them upright.

Additionally, because of the clip-in arrangement, it was not necessary to uninstall the rudder pedal assembly. It attaches between the paddler and the rudder pedals.

Yesterday was a warm day, so I removed the spray deck. I found it a lot easier to get in and out of the kayak without it. Because I wore a pair of Body Glove foot-shaped water shoes instead of the Chotas I wore last weekend, I got a lot of water in the kayak getting into the boat initially and after a couple of stops. The low-cut neoprene shoes, even though they have drain holes, acted like small buckets carrying a fair amount of water. Also, w/o spray deck, paddle drip added to that.

Without the rudder installed and for a kayak with very little rocker, I found the Mark I turned to the left a lot if I let it drift, although at one point it turned to the right while I was filming a small waterfall to my right. Regarding the drift-cocking, likely some in-the-current-hydrodynamic-water-flow-around-the-hull phenomenon. Annoying, but yesterday harmless. Also, while paddling, I had to make a lot of corrective strokes.

I had to turn this kayak by leaning and putting it on its side a little. It seemed pretty stable for that but I didn't lean way over - the water was cold; no spraydeck or skirt. Instead of my 225 cm paddle, by mistake I'd picked up the 220 from the paddle bin. That length paddle for the Mark I is easily long enough.

Christov10
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Re: Mark I River Float sans Rudder Part 2

Post by Christov10 »

Water in the Barren Fork, then Collins, River was high enough I didn't need to get out and pull the kayak over shallow spots and didn't get hung up on any rocks. The Mark I handled well enough to turn quickly enough into and got through channels where the river's flow dropped in elevation. At one point the hull scraped bottom and later, back at the house, I found a place where the outer layer of a keelstrip had pulled off.

The hullskin's previous owner had affixed keelstrips on top of keelstrips and had gone a little nuts with Aqua-Seal. The Aqua-Seal's coming off in some spots on the hull and along the bash-pads at the deck either side of the cockpit. Looks pretty messy but I don't think that's a problem.

After a couple of hours in the kayak, the Comfort Seat hadn't deflated. Means I probably didn't tighten the valve knob down enough last weekend when it did deflate. No back or buttock discomfort noted. Also, I found it was pretty natural to wedge my knees under the curled parts of Rib No. 4 - the open rib in the middle of the cockpit.

At the takeout, that steep-ish for this purpose concrete ramp noted above, another paddler helped me get the Mark I onto the roof racks after seeing me struggle with the problem. There's a flat 'turnaround' spot about halfway up the ramp, but getting the somewhat heavy Mark I to that point w/out a kayak cart was beyond my organizational abilities Saturday. I was grateful for the help.

During my river float, I ate only a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a Larabar; it seemed like enough. I didn't stop on the way home for a cheeseburger, although I'd wanted to. At the house, turned over the kayak and got some more water out, then turned it deck-up to let it dry out. A lot of leaves this time of year at my house. Got a bunch in the cockpit. Today will disassemble the kayak in my spare time as it's supposed to rain this week. Hoping next time the assembly process is faster.

I'd float a river with this kayak again.

RobertD
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Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2020 12:52 pm

Re: Mark I River Float sans Rudder

Post by RobertD »

I used to use one of those very small Kayak carts with two wheels with my Klepper and would wheel it down a private road to the ocean . Well worth the price.

Christov10
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Re: Mark I River Float sans Rudder

Post by Christov10 »

I'm going to have to get one. It's on my Christmas wish list.

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