Ernannaq Raven on Kill Devil Hills Beach, OBX, Atlantic Ocean

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Dubside Rolls the Ernannaq Raven

Delmarva Paddler’s Retreat 2012

0615 hrs Saturday morning atop the beach tower at the 2012 Delmarva Paddler's RetreatDelmarva Paddler’s Retreat, October 4th – 7th.  Attended October 5th – 7th.

I consider myself a reasonably fair kayak/sufski racing competitor, at least in the local racing scene.  I do quite a bit of speed and endurance training all year ‘round for a handful of races dispersed from early spring through late November.  However, racing is not my only paddling love.  Through the last two years, I’ve come to appreciate traditional Greenland-style paddling just as much as I do racing.  Not being satisfied with the commercially available Greenland-style kayaks, and not ready to get into the SOF (skin on frame) qajaqs, I designed and built the Ernannaq Raven to suit the needs of a person wanting an elegant rolling boat with race-commanding speed potential (there’s that racer mentality).

After completing and splashing the newly designed and built Raven this past May, my rolling skills have improved greatly with the ease of the Raven’s rolling ability.  Not to say she was perfect at birth, but throughout the summer she has been tweaked to near-perfection.  The minimal modifications took their toll on my time on the water, but she has blossomed into a wonderful Greenland rolling boat with an amazing speed potential.

My roll repertoire has been limited to the information I have gleaned from instructional material and YouTube vids. I learned a lot in this way.  Somewhat stumbling about, sporadically experimenting with a tidy selection rolls.  Always finding my way back upright, but gracefully and smoothly?  Not so much.   I finally acceded to the fact that if I was to develop better, smoother rolling skills, I would need some real, one-on-one help.  This is the point at which the Delmarva Paddler’s Retreat (DPR) entered my little world.


Please proceed to this link for the continuation of the post.

The Raven of Saga Kayak’s Ernannaq Series débuts at the Chesapeake Light Craft Show

Chesapeake Light Craft’s Demo Day on Saturday, 2012-05-12 – Kent Island

 It was a furious week of finish work before leaving for Annapolis,Maryland, for Chesapeake Light Craft’s (CLC) spring Demo show.  The Ernannaq prototype (now known as the Raven of the Ernannaq Series of Greenland-style boats) appeared as though she might be completed enough for a test paddle before leaving for the even, if everything went according to plan.  I had just completed two coats of epoxy/graphite powder on the faired hull and deck, and the cockpit rim and bulkheads had been vacuum bagged and trimmed, ready for installation.  As I calculated my time remaining, I’d have just enough to give her a test paddle on Thursday before loading her on the truck, then heading to Annapolis early Friday morning.  Funny how the best laid plans develop flaws when rushed too much.  The fly in the ointment was the unexpected Flue.  It hit me hard on Tuesday evening.  Wednesday I didn’t get out of bed.  Sleeping was far more preferable than dealing with nausea and head aches.  Thursday, work had to get done at the office and field.  Still feeling very queasy after coming home, I started plowing through the chore of  finish wet-sanding the Raven; the rim and bulkheads still required installation.  Around 0100 hrs Friday morning, after much work and tension, the Raven was complete.   And I was ravenous.  A good sign.

Up at 0600 hours, the swaddled Raven loaded and secured, gear in the truck, we got on the road for the six hour journey to Annapolis at 1000 hrs.  No time for a test paddle before the show!

Proceede to the continuation of this post…

2012 Surfski / Kayak / SUP Race Schedule

Ok, race fans and competitors… here is the 2012 race schedule for surfskis, kayaks, and SUPs.  Races usually become publisized only a few months in advance, and sometimes just not well publicized, period.  I will update this page as often as I can to help keep you informed.

Last updated: 2012-04-01


10-23-2011 Seaford Paddle Challenge, an 8 mile race around the Goodwin Islands, Yorktown, VA.

2012 Seaford Challenge, Yorktown, VA

The Seaford Challenge was an excellent race put on by Freda Rosso, with Mid Atlantic Paddlers Association (MAPA). 

Something on the order of 22 paddlers participated in this paddle competition that started at Back Creek Park on the Back Creek, the proceeding east to the Chesapeake Bay, around Goodwin Islands, and back to Back Creek Park.  Total distance that I recorded on GPS was 7.8 statute miles.

 I was paddling my Epic V-12 Ultra, loaded down with cameras, two GPS units, fuel, etc.

Google Earth, Garmin 310 XT GPS track

Chart US12241, York River Yorktown and Vicinity, 1:20000 scale

The race was organized by Freda Rosso of Mid-Atlantic Paddlers Association (MAPA).  Freda and her faithful helpers had a good assortment of good, and not-so-perfect (but perfectly delicious) energy food available to all the competitors. Freda even arranged for a safety/escort boat that provided a nice wake-ride for the few of us at the sharp end of the point just following the start (don’t worry, it only gave us a few seconds of reprieve). 

Air temps before the race were around 45 – 48 deg F.  During the race, they were about 50 -62 deg F. while water temps were near 64 deg F.

Winds were consistently out of the North-East at about 10 – 12 mph, providing a nice challenge on the South and Eastern sides of Goodwin Islands with one to 1.5 foot waves.  The winds pushed up roughly 1.5 – 2 ft waves on the North side of the island (York River) allowing us to catch some little rides.  The paddle through the thorofare (west side of the islands) hindered some paddlers who chose a direct route; while keeping in the deeper, marked channel provided a good boost of speed for those that chose that route.

Chesapeake tides at Yorktown during Seaford Challenge

The tide chart from the USCG at Yorktown, VA, indicate that for the 830 hrs start, we were experiencing an ebb tide paddling down the creek, and at 940 hrs, still experiencing that ebb tide, paddling against the flow, back up the creek.  The ebb tide also gave us a lot of shallow water that made the race slower than if it were at high tide.  Two extra feet of depth would have given us more speed.  There were plenty of times in the race that I thought I should have be moving faster for the energy output.

The week previous to the race I had been battling the flue.  I didn’t get the flue, but I could really feel it working on me.  Saturday evening, I loaded up the “race truck” with the E-V12-U and all the gear, but still feeling as if I might possibly not go in the morning.  Sunday morning, 400 hrs, the alarm wakes me.  Go, or no go?  Still in bed, I pondered…  Do I really want to miss out on the experience?  Laughing with my paddling friends? Quite possibly the last race of the season?  To hell with the headache and groggy, dizzy feelings.  I’m going!

I am very glad I participated in the race.  Everyone who came seemed truly happy to be there and compete.  I was able to see, compete against, and laugh with paddlers I’d like to call friends, and made a few more new friendships as well.  MAPA races are special… everyone who attends, especially those who work hard to coordinate and work the races, are dedicated people who enjoy the camaraderie of everyone who comes, as well as the competition afforded by these events.

Kyle McLain, paddling an OC-1, also posted some footage from the start of the race

For my boat speeds and HR’s, go to Garmin Connect…Change the Elevation tab to HR to see a more meaningful chart.

Seaford Challenge 2011 Results:
Name           Boat Type      Class        Time
Mitch Potter SS M Golden Master 1:11:27
Doug Marley SS M Master 1:11:43
Matt & Liz OC-2 Mixed 1:13:14
Kathleen McNamee SS W Open 1:14:05
Rusty & Leza McLain OC-2 Mixed 1:14:06
Quincy Ayscue OC-1 M Master 1:15:09
Will Rhodes OC-1 M Master 1:15:29
Kyle McLain OC-1 M Open 1:18:39
Jim Meehan OC-1 M Senior Master 1:18:42
Jim Farrington OC-1 M Master 1:20:15
Caroline Brosius OC-1 W Master 1:21:41
Phil Mutton SS M Golden Master 1:21:50
Charlie Barton OC-1 M Golden Master 1:22:25
Tim Jones OC-1 M Golden Master 1:29:41
Russell Brooks Sea Kayak Men 1:35:07
Larry Dickens Sea Kayak Men 1:37:21
Natacha DeGema OC-1 W Master 1:50:59
Natalie Thomas OC-1 W Master 1:53:09
Audrey Dannenburg OC-1 W Golden Master 1:57:49
Brenda Claytor Sea Kayak Women 2:07:00

A new Epic V12 Ultra finds its way from Charleston to Kill Devil Hills!

I’ve been swooning over the speedy shapes of surfskis for the past year or so.  Especially since I came in third place in the James River Challenge (06-11-2011) , behind two ‘skis while racing in the surfski class, paddling my ol’ Necky Looksha II.   Figuring that eventually I’d find my butt in a ski relatively soon, I raised the Looksha’s seat by two inches.  That was not too bad.  Although it took me about five days during a two week period to become accustomed to the reduction of lateral stability in all the usual types of chop that Albemarle Sound whips up with 20 knots of wind.  Yet, I figured that this was still too stable of a platform to compare to a ski’s stability, so I put in another inch of seat height.  That did it!  This thing became a horse of a different nature!  In calm water, the stability was do-able.  In two-to- three foot chop, it was very un-nerving.  Rolling became very tricky.  But, after about three weeks of two to three paddles each, I felt quite comfortable chasing the sailboats around the usual 11 mile course in the disturbed choppy conditions typical for around here.  My roll technique improved as well, so the apprehension factor became a non-issue.

A new Epic V12 Ultra after a nice, fast 10 mile paddle around Colington Island. What a rush!

Go here to continue the V12 saga…

Update: Monday, 02-06-2012

I wrote this post about one week after taking delivery of my V12 Ultra.  To be fair to the readers, I decided to wait to post the full article until I had some good, quality bucket time in this craft before spouting-off about how great my new boat is.  I believe that after seven months of  hard paddling the V12 Ultra in any local condition I could find, I now have a good handle on the handling characteristics of the ski (all my other boats have languished in the garage since purchasing the ski!).  I’ve been paddling the ski three to five days per week, with paddles of at least 6 miles to over 25 miles.  I’ve competed successfully in a good many races this past season as well, from races in lower VA to upper NJ.  Though not yet snatching a coveted 1st place, I’ve been able to place 2nd or third in class every race so far.  Not too bad for the first season on the V12.  Please keep in mind my intent is not to be bragging here, merely trying to convey the extent of experiences and successes with the boat. 

Go here to continue the V12 saga…

Sweet Millers Run Surfski Video from Rob Mousley of

I love  There, I said it.  I tell ya, these guys know how to have fun!   No wishy-washy “let’s go look at birds and nature” stuff here.  Nope.   It’s “let’s see what kind of crazy waves we can catch… let’s see how fast we can go!   Mate, you just broke my best record run, you bloke!  Hey look, a big catamaran, let’s go catch it!”  Gotta love it!

Here is a great vid with some great tunes and alot of insanely happy laughter.  If this is not a big part of what paddling is all about, then what the heck am I doing here?!

This is titled “Midwinter Millers HD” from Rob Mousley.  The featured “camera platform” is a Kayak Center Zeplin… yeah you guessed it, it’s a bigger ski for big guys, and/or the not-so super-elite paddlers.  Rob’s report indicates that it is a great ski for the slop and one can truly hammer when the going gets nasty.  You can tell Rob is having one hell of a bad time on the ski by his insane laughter, so it must be a terrible ski (if you don’t like paddling fast and having lots of fun).

If this vid doesn’t get your torso rotating, your legs a-pumpin’, and your head a-bobbin’ while viewing it in your easy-chair, then I guess you’re just, uh, DEAD!

Anyway, Enjoy!

Paddle Fast!


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