|Deb in the kayak Joey redesigned!|
Here's the link to Joey's blog post:
You can also check out Part One of the design and construction in another of his posts.
It was great reading about the design from Joey's perspective. I'd like to add a few points from my perspective. Of course, I love the kayak, and feel secure that it has the safety features that will help me get to Guatemala in one piece. It has convenience features that I wanted like the added day hatch. But it also has several features that I didn't want. I was thinking of a bright boat with only a stripe of color on the keel for increased visibility in case I capsized. But Joey was so right to instead make the entire hull a vibrant yellow, which increases my safety when upright as well. Being so bright also attracts more attention. For example, when Joey and I were putting her into the water for the first time in Annapolis, a kayaker at the launch saw the "Maine to Guatemala" graphic on the bright yellow kayak. He asked me how many miles I'd put on the kayak so far. That was a legitimate question given I was in Maryland. He laughed when I said I had yet to sit in the kayak. Now I love the yellow hull.
A second feature I knew I didn't want was a seat carved out of foam. I kept telling Joey how happy I've been with my little inflatable seat I've used on the bottom of many different kayaks for expeditions from the Arctic to the tropics.. In fact, the first thing I did when I received my carbon fiber Epic Expedition 18, was to cut out the carbon fiber seat so I could use my inflatable pad. Joey was great. He didn't argue with me at all. But when I went to pick up the kayak, he had me sit on a block of foam as he traced around me, and then began carving away to make a seat. After several fittings it seemed pretty good. What is amazing now, is that the seat is so comfortable that I never think about the seat when I'm in the kayak. That's a sign of a totally awesome seat! Thanks, Joey, for not giving me what I said I wanted.
Another thing I really like about the kayak is that is built almost exclusively out of recycled materials - my old unfinished kayak, and parts lying around the Chesapeake Light Craft shop. I personally like to use recycled items rather than new ones, and it is so appropriate to use as I travel along to tell the story of the children and of their parents, many of whom are recyclers in the huge Guatemala City garbage dump. We are all doing our part.
I had the kayak out today in high winds, with gusts of over 25 knots. It felt so good to paddle into the wind and make steady progress. In following winds it was bouncy and fun and almost wanted to surf. I tried paddling in lots of different angles to the wind, and all were quite manageable. I'm waiting for the water to warm up a little more before I begin trying self rescues, but there were a few times today when I thought I was about to use a self rescue!