I just measured the height of the seat flange on the previous prototype, and it was 5.5 cms. This plus the height of the seat is: 5.5 + 5 = 10.5 cms total seat height.
The flange in the latest prototype is 8 cms high. 8 + 5 + 3 cms (seat adjusters) = 15 cms.
No wonder I found it twitchy!
I’ve put the front seat adjusters under the flange and set the rear seat static as far back as it will go. This has reduced the height by 3 cms and the seats are now set at a total height of 12 cms, so I’ll see if that makes any difference.
So, today Saturday 5th May, I emailed my mate Pete to solicit his help in another test. Pete often paddles from Odiham wharf on Saturday so I hijacked his training session.
Pete has decades of single blade paddling under his belt including several C2 and C1 DWs in his Wenonah ICF C2 and J203 C1, so it would be interesting to get his perspective on the boat.
We have never paddled together so we started off with him in the front and me in the back. First thing was his paddle cadence, it is much faster than what I’m used to, but I was soon in sync. Next was his stroke, as a seasoned digger he stacks his hands and draws the blade close to the boat. This caused him to catch the gunwale a few times.
As he was used to switching in sync, he started to call hut just before he switched. This proved extremely useful as I knew when he planned to switch and could adjust my paddling accordingly. I switched with him when it was appropriate but often found myself paddling on the same side in order to steer the boat.
The boat maintains a very straight line so I planned the various bends well in advance, but even so I had to ask Pete to paddle on a certain side to bring it round. I did execute some steering strokes but mostly left it to switching independently from the front.
Pete was rock solid in the boat and would not hear any suggestion of instability!
Over the 4 mile out leg we paused a couple of times but still cruised at 6 mph, 10 minute miles.
We changed round for the return trip. I have very little experience in the front of a C2 but found it much easier, more comfortable and much more stable than the back, it is so like a K2.
This time Pete had to adjust to my cadence and stroke. As I was simply the engine, Pete called hut when he needed me to switch. Again this was useful as it prevented me from trying to steer the boat from the front.
The return leg highlighted some big differences in paddling. I tend to use forward strokes to steer the boat, but Pete was so good at pulling the boat round. I could see a clear change of direction as he pulled the stern round. But it was a bit weird when I was asked to switch when the boat was veering “the wrong way”.
Again, he commented just how stable the boat was and after about 2 miles I was aware of more assertive steering as he hung out over the side and even started edging. No way was I used to all this advanced stuff, John and I just paddle it like a kayak.
During our discussion at the end, Pete suggested that we raise the seat height. This pretty much confirmed something that had been niggling me for the past few months, it’s not the boat which is unstable, It’s me.