Approaching the Nubble Light; Cape Neddick, ME

Approaching the Nubble Light; Cape Neddick, ME

March 20th, 2010

Marking the day that that the sun, moving along the ecliptic, crosses the celestial equator on its way to the Summer Solstice, the Vernal Equinox turned out to be the best paddle day of 2010 to date.  Temperatures at or near 70F, skies dotted with fair weather cumulus and balmy SW’ly breezes.  The water is still in the 40’s so winter paddling rules apply making for a pretty warm (and wet) paddle.

I left from Portsmouth Harbour and paddled well offshore towards York Harbour to meet up with the rest of the group. This begins the distance training for the big paddle in July.  Looking to do about 20 nm’s today.  Managed to make good a pace of nearly 5kts for the 10nm to York Harbour against the tail end of a outgoing tide and what airs there were, whispering astern of me.  I met with Laura, Suz, Carl and Peter who were making their way down the York River as I exchanged my sweat-soaked tops for dry ones.  Once clear of the harbour entrance we meandered northward toward Cape Neddick, luxuriating in the absolutely perfect conditions.

After paddleing around Cape Neddick Nubble for a bit of play, we landed on a ledge for a bite to eat.  Relaunched after a short break on the ledge and at that point, the expected freshening of the SW’ly breeze was taking place and I elected to begin the 10nm paddle back to the Portsmouth launch site.

The paddle back was uneventful unless you want to hear me whine about the foul tide and the 15kt breeze that insisted on staying in my face no mater what direction I was headed.  By the time I got back, I was pretty tired and my lower  back muscles wanted out of that boat.  Total distance for the day was a bit shy of 23nm. Will need to double that with no additional fatigue or discomfort by the time I head west.

I find that once you begin to experience the aches and pains of too much time sitting in the boat, it all becomes a head game with yourself. If you can’t divert your attention elsewhere, you won’t be able to go on and expeditioning may not be for you; if you can, the pains seem to disappear.

I definitely need to work on lower body flexibility.  My hamstrings seem to tighten with time in the boat and my calves will threaten to spasm from time to time as I alternate L and R feet pressing against the forward bulkhead with each stroke.  I suspect I need to stay better hydrated and watch that sodium and potassium levels don’t drop with my tendency to dump fluids through sweating.

The Tiderace cruised right along at a nice clip. Pretty mild conditions but she is definitely fast.  Unfortunately, she is not of sufficient volume to use for the big trip.  I expect to be using a Nordkapp for that and I am currently in the process of arranging for the use of one out there to avoid having to deal with shipping a boat.

All in all, a grand day to be on the water!