Saturday, March 26, 2011
In the rough - Clontarf to Pittwater in a Howling Southerly
Forecast winds were 20-30 Knots Southerly with 2-3 metre seas and a 2-3 metre Southerly swell.
That forecast defintiely got my attention but it wasn't until we rounded South Head after starting at Clontarf that the conditions really hit us.
Observations obtained later put winds at 30+ knots gusting to 45 and wave heights during the time we were out peaked at a whopping 7.2 metres! It looks like the wave rider buoy got knocked out itself around midnight.
I told myself more than once during the day to stop looking behind as it was simply scary to see such big swells baring down on us, especially since the tops were sometimes breaking away.
We tried to sail but three out of the four sails got damaged. Ian's mast step snapped away from the tiller extension arm. Mark's has a plastic ring which connects the stays and it got stretched and slipped down and my mast bent like a banana. At least mine still worked though and had me not too far behind Andrew Eddy who is a very experienced sailor and has a demonstrably bomb proof set up.
Due to Marks broken rudder cable (broke where some webbing was riveted to the peddle)and Ians damaged mast we pulled into Collaroy where it was decided that only Andrew and I would continue around into Pittwater as planned.
We all decided there is no place for rivets on sea kayaks.
On route, we paddled past a massive old seal just wallowing in the rough as if he was sleeping on a water bed! Unfortuntley I simply couldn't get my hands off the paddle for a shot.
Andrew and I made it back to our car after 43km which took us 5 hours on the water, partly due to rescues, repairs and detours.
Shaan Gresser and Paul Layton set off from Shelly a couple of hours before us and dealt with a number of capsizes before hitting Palm Beach in 4 hours.
Here are a few scenes from what was probably the roughest sustained paddle I've done to date.
In The Rough from Matt Bezzina on Vimeo.