I decided to paddle around The Thimbles yesterday. Being a Sunday, I was a little worried about the limited parking at the Town Dock. I did find a space within "portage" distance of the launching area.
I saw two strip-built kayaks waiting to be launched, and asked their owners a few questions. The turned out to be Outer Islands. I had been considering this design for my next build. I like the name-a kayak not named after a bird, or a body of water, and with Local Interest. When I shot a few technical questions, one guy said "why not ask the designer?", and there he was-Jay Babina! Talk about luck! What are the chances of running into the designer of the kayak you're considering building, on a random day, all 1/2 mile from the actual island the design is named after?
He suggested that we paddle together, which was fun. We talked a lot about designs. You can get so much good information from someone who is friendly, and isn't trying to sell something. For example, when I mentioned that I didn't like the Night Heron, he said, "Oh, everybody hates it. Its a mistake".
Jay in his Outer Island. A great looking Greenland-style boat.
We stopped at Outer Thimble island, which was "open" for visitors, and he let me test-paddle his OI. A great boat. It has a small feet-first-entry type cockpit, which I was no longer used to, and my knees were braced firmly against the rather low deck. Jay says that the deck can be raised, and I can enlarge the cockpit if I want to. I thought my SW tracked well, but this thing seemed to want to stay on course. Comfortable stability, and despite reviews not hard to turn, if you know how. Jay also helped me solve my quandary about leg discomfort. His OI's seat was the "tractor" style, molded of fiberglass, with no padding, and it was considerably more comfortable than mine. So, I'm starting to believe the "its not the padding, its the shape" School Of Thought.
Interesting to paddle with these guys. The two in OI's both had Greenland paddles, and seemed to be expending very little energy to set a pace which I had to work a little to keep up with.
What a lucky day!