Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wow !! SISKA Comes Through with $635

Friday night members of the South Island Kayak Association (SISKA) raised $635 for the Isle of man project.

SISKA graciously gave myself a few minutes to address the assembled and explain my plan to circumnavigate the Isle of Man and in so doing raise money for cancer research. You can see a partial list of those who have donated in the right hand column. Todate the local community has raised $1,343.

I want to thank all those who contributed to this cause. Your contributions are greatly appreciated.

If you're reading this and would like to make a donation follow the link below and make a donation online. The online donation page is completely secure, it's the same line that Cops for Cancer use. Make a donation and help fight cancer. Just cut and paste the link into your browser. Then follow the online instructions. Thanks

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Plastic Romany Arrives in Comox

The first of the plastic Romany HV kayaks from Nigel Denis or Sea Kayaking UK have arrived in Comox. Many consider the Romany to be the ultimate day kayak. I for one have enjoyed my time in the fiberglass version.

When I saw the boat it was still covered in bubble wrap. It's a shade of yellow sort of half way between yellow and orange.

The seat looks unusual in that the seat pan extends high up at the back. The back band was not yet installed in the boat. However there where a number of adjustment so that the seat could be raised, lowered, or moved for or aft.

If the buyer happens to fall into the segment that this seat is ideal for they'll be happy. Or like many they will opt for a carved foam seat glued in.

The kayak also had the hatch covers molded in just like the Wilderness plastic boats and many others that came before. Personally I suspect this is where some of the leaking problems associated with plastic boats and hatches originates. This is supposition on my part but I think when the hot plastic ring comes out of the mold it may twist while the plastic cools.

If this is indeed the case getting a tight seal when the rubber hatch is pushed into place may not be possible.

The other area that has been a problem for plastic kayak manufactures has been with leaking bulk heads. Usually the leaks are related to bulk heads that are glued in. The glue fails or under pressure the bulk head is compressed and a leak develops.

This can happen when a kayak drops off the front of a breaking wave and slams down into a tough. Or when a kayaker, in search of that world famous photo opt, seal launches off the Sidney wharf on Vancouver Island into a low tide 20 feat below and on impact blows his feet through the forward bulk head. Great photo too bad it wrecked a kayak.

It was impossible to determine beyond a doubt but it appears the bulk heads in the plastic Romany are welded into place. This should rid the kayak of a potential trouble some problem.

Prices for the new plastic Romany HV where unavailable. The standard fiberglass Romany HV lists in Comox for $3295. To avoid confusion this kayak has carried the following names: Romany S, Romany Surf, Romany HV and possibly one other that escapes me.

The kayak I saw had the Kari-Tek Skeg Systems® which is cable activated. I liked it's firm feel and precise adjustment. It felt great as I stood there with feet firmly on the ground playing with it. Kari-Tek also builds rope and hydraulic skegs that are also available. The skeg box appears to be a vast improvement, it's very neat and cleanly installed.

The tech specifications for the Romany HV follow. The plastic kayak should be the same.

Technical specs

Length: 16 feet (4.88m)
Width: 22" (0.56m)

Front compartment: 51 Lts
Middle compartment: 37 Lts
Rearcompartments: 50 Lts

I hope to have a real water test in this boat soon. For more information visit.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Circumnavigating Vancouver Island

Jonathan Reggler and Doug Taylor will be having a go at circumnavigating Vancouver Island, starting May 4th in Courtenay. You can follow their progress at the following blog

I really don't know what to say about this. I spent a fantastic weekend with Jonathan getting bashed about at Okisollo last year. It was wonderful to spend a weekend not having to defend the fact that I paddle a British boat. His is identical to mine, except that I have a few more scratches.

Jonathan is a fine paddler, perhaps a bit crazy, definitely fearless. Doug I don't know. With Jonathan's attention to detail, skill, and good humour this should be a truly great adventure.

I have to tip my hat to a man that can correctly blind taste and identify the single malt poured from a flask while sitting on a log soaking up the last rays of the evening sun.

"I believe that's Arbalour," said Jonathan. Well it was good to know that all that time spent in the British Army was not wasted. Here's the lads bios.

DOUG TAYLOR - former officer in the Canadian Forces (36 years) and manager at Osgoode Hall (7 years), retired to the Comox Valley in 2004. Can be found in my NDK Explorer HV, when not having a coffee at Rhodos or hanging out at Comox Valley Kayaks where I teach Paddle Canada courses.

JONATHAN REGGLER - Ex-British Army medical officer, became a civilian GP in the United Kingdom for 11 years then immigrated to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, BC, in 2003. Sea kayaking since 2004. Family physician in Courtenay.