Spring start

The first meeting of the year was well attended. It was also very windy. Breaking waves extended far up the Dart estuary as the south wind scraped the surface of the ebb tide.

wind against tide

The wind also gave me a chance to try out my Greenland style paddles, both long and short storm paddle, in rough sea and high wind. They worked very well. Side wind did not clutch at the raised paddle end, giving a much less anxious ride. My P&H Scorpio LV did however broach to lie stubbornly at right angle to the wind. A vigorous extended paddle sweep was necessary to get it heading in the right direction. The skeg mechanism is completely unworkable, as many bloggers have written. A car manufacturer would have to recall such a useless product. There are several fundamental problems. My analysis is that the hand grip has too short a hole for the steel rod it slides on. It cants and jams against the rod. This gets worse as it wears and the hole gets larger. At the other end, the spring is so short that there is a huge increase in counter-force when the skeg is up compared to its down position. Between these two weak points is the string, which was originally so thick it swelled slowly in sea water and jammed in its tube. A thinner cord solves this problem but may increase the friction. I don’t see how the problems can be fixed by tinkering with the design. Until P&H radically change the skeg mechanism I cannot advise buying any of the P&H line using this system. That is a pity because the Scorpio is impressively seaworthy, when one has succeeded in pointing it in the intended direction.