Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jervis Bay

Four of us headed down to Jervis Bay for a midweek paddle. We had great winter weather with enough bounce to keep things interesting but not too rough that we couldn't get close to the spectacular Beecroft Peninsular cliffline with all its caves, slots and bays.

Chris Walker - Epic 18

me & my Mirage 530

Chris James - Valley Aquanaut

Rob Mercer - Rockpool GT
Rob looked to be really enjoying his new Rockpool GT It goes fast, can carry a big load and is highly manoeuvrable (in Robs hands at least).

Seals on "The Drum"

tents under trees make for a much drier night

room with a view

Thursday Morning
Photos by Matt Bezzina & Rob Mercer

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mirage Modifications

Here are a few things I have done to my Mirage 530 that have proved to be helpful. One of the good things about The Mirage is the rail for the foot brace. Unlike most kayaks that simply have screws through the sides of the boat The Mirage rails are glassed in, are very strong and have lots of holes and slots to secure other things to. Its easy to run a bit of webbing from the deck fitting screws to the railing to hold bottles or containers where they can be easily accessed from the seat.

Clockwise: Sponge, food, tow rope, piss bottle
You can see from the pic that the whole rudder assembly/footbrace has been raised. This was done because whilst driving with my feet the point of contact was right accross my arches - the weakest part of the foot. With it raised its the balls of the feet that I can push off.

More recently I added a bit of chopping board to create a full foot plate. Although you can't tell from the pic the black part is angled so together with the original fitting it makes for a strong and comfortable platform which is used to really engage the legs and drive that all important forward stroke. The plastic chopping board is screwed to the back of the existing assembly as well as secured to the railing with webbing and screws.

Raising the footbrace will improve your speed and endurance

This modification has resulted in a significant improvement to the speed and distance I can travel. I got the idea from looking at racing skis and the way they are paddled.

You can still shove stuff into the space behind the footbrace by forcing the rudder pedals back.

Rear Hatch Modification

The rear hatch cover is a bit of a weak point with The Mirage but its very easy to fix. The bungee has been reconfigured to cross the ends of the hatch cover as well as going accross it (only works on 530's). The fastex buckle makes it all sit flatter than the standard hook and the canvas eyelette holders help as well. The rear hatch cover has never budged (even when serioulsy trashed) and the entire compartment is always dry.

This is a standard Mirage seat that has been encapsulated in a thick yoga matt. You can fit 8 litres of water down the sides and behind the seat. The long 2 litre Platypus bottles fit perfectly down each side and you can fit 2 behind the seat.

Foam covered fibreglass seat - best of both worlds
One of the bottles can have a tube attached if its really rough or I'm doing a race. I can simply pull the tube up and clip it to my PFD for hands free hydration.

This is a Scotty attachment that can take many different fishing rod holders and other fittings. The one here is my default fitting (fender holder) that is useful for clipping things to and for locking the boat onto the roof racks. There is als a light post available for this fitting.

LED light inside compass
This is one of my favourites - an LED has been drilled into the compass and is powered from my main pump battery. This is very helpful for night time paddling if you have your barings written down and taped to your deck or skirt. See more DETAILED POST.

Another significant improvement is to cross the rudder cables over. To do this cut the cables near the rudder and pull them out through the cockpit. Pull the tubing out first through the day hatch and then into the rear hatch. Cross them over and push them back through. Now thread the cables back in and re sage. The point where the cables cross are behind the hatch so you won't even notice. This will really help with edging and surfing and if you ever have to paddle a rudderless boat or your own rudder breaks then you will be better skilled to handle it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Meat & Potatoes

From this . . . .
Peter, Dee, Harry, Ed & Andre prepare for launch

Our usual Saturday Morning Paddle is a good opportunity to knock out those K's in varying conditions.

to this