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Showing posts from October, 2010

Alex Matthews, Adventure Kayak Magazine Reviews the Maelstrom Vital 166

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Timing is everything!

I was at an outdoor store buying some new waterproof Merrell hiking boots (please don't ask me the model, I go by look and feel) and likely to be late for my next appointment where I'd have to sit and read something for a long time.

Yes, the totally vain Baffin Paddler was off to the salon to get highlights. I dread that stuff! So I grabbed my new boots and the Adventure Kayak mag that was staring at me from the rack across the room without looking at the cover or the (very brief) stories inside.

A few minutes later, covered in foil and smelly highlight stuff, I glanced at the cover of the magazine I'd just bought on impulse. Hmmm, Alex Matthews on the cover. I'm a fan. I like his articles, reviews and book on Sea Kayaking Rough Waters­.

Great, in the Adventure Kayak 2010 summer/fall issue, he reviewed the new Maelstrom Vital 166. Hey, that's my new sea kayak!

I got a little nervous. I just posted my reaction to how the Maelstrom Vital 166 …

Comerford Reservoir, Connecticut River, New Hampshire: Paddling with Dams is Damned!

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Looks nice doesn't it!?

The Comerford Reservoir, on the Connecticut River, borders New Hampshire and Vermont, in the United States.

Plenty of water, a nice sandy beach, easy boat launch, grass with picnic tables, lots of free parking, not much development along this stretch of the river towards the Moore Reservoir, and mountain views.

But what did I leave out of this shot just off to my left of the beautiful public access to the water?

A major development. The big monster. The dam monster. The Frank D. Comerford Dam.

There are much bigger dams of course. But they are all monsters for "us". Those of "us" who want to use the water once in a while, and know, "When is it safe for "us"? When can "we" use the water that you control? Could you let us know when it's OK?"

And guess what. I was paddling towards an even bigger dam, the massive 178 foot high Moore Dam on the Moore Reservoir.

"During boating season, water levels could va…

Maelstrom Vital in Wind and Waves

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I finally got my new Maelstrom Vital 166 sea kayak out in some wind and waves to test it in something other than calm lake water and compare it with my Boreal Baffin.
This pic is from the launch in a protected bay. I couldn't really take a shot in the bigger waves and wind. I forgot to attach the float to my waterproof Olympus Stylus Tough camera (they sink without it), and this sea kayak turns sideways too quickly on windy days before I can grab a pic. And I still can't roll yet. A head cam or a cam mounted on the sea kayak would be great! I'm checking them out.
When there are whitecaps and lots of kite surfers out moving at speed on a big stretch of water, it's a good sign for sea kayak play. And when you have a shallow protected bay without too many rocks to launch from on a sunny fall day, it's just perfect!
To be honest, I was disappointed in how the Maelstrom Vital headed into the bigger waves. It's one of those sea kayaks that jumps up and crashes down…

Love the Valley Avocet!

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I love the Valley Avocet . . . for fun. But didn't buy one . . . yet.
I'd like one . . . if they make improvements to some basic design elements!

I'd like Valley to work on making their seats something I'd like to sit in!
So far, I don't know anyone who likes their seats! And it's a well known complaint. Come on Valley! When I buy a new sea kayak, I shouldn't have to redo the seat before I can paddle the boat, although lots of high end paddlers do just that with every sea kayak they buy.

I already have two sea kayaks: The Boreal Baffin and Maelstrom Vital. And I'm perfectly happy in the factory installed seats in each one. Although in the Boreal Baffin, I had to add a bit of foam for a tighter fit. The Baffin is a bit big on me. I'm a 5'6", 125 lbs. girl.

I also didn't like the short awkward coaming around the cockpit of the Valley Avocet.
It was next to impossible for me to get my skirt on this thing. Not something I have time to fiddl…