Preview: Kayaking the Coast of Maine – So Many Islands, So Little Time

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Embracing the summertime dream, Michael and Rebecca meander their way along 624 nautical miles of Maine’s coast and step away from the traditionally bustling two-month season.

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5 Responses So Far to “Kayaking the Coast of Maine – So Many Islands, So Little Time

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    David Ryan says:

    I own and LOVE the Coho. Pygmy just makes great boat designs. I just need to figure out what gear I need how to load it in the Kayak to do this kind of touring/camping trip. Thanks so much for sharing this

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    Larry Cheek says:

    On the rudder/skeg issue: When I first took up kayaking 20 years ago I thought I HAD to have a rudder—what’s a boat without one!? But the more experience I acquired, the more I understood that the rudder is a crutch, and it actually gets in the way of the essence of kayaking: where the boat becomes an extension of the body.

    Many kayaks, however, are just not designed well enough to work without a skeg or rudder: in a 10-knot beam wind the weathercocking becomes fatiguing and frustrating. Every Pygmy kayak I’ve paddled, though, is uncannily well-balanced and resistant to misbehavior (I own an Arctic Tern 14). Even a beginning paddler will be fine without skeg or rudder.

    My wife’s kayak, a cedar-strip Redfish, had a moderate weathercocking tendency, but rather than build in a retractable skeg—a mechanical complication and potential source of trouble—I experimented with a small fin mounted topside at the bow. This increased the windage at the bow, and when I found the right area for the fin through experimentation, it roughly equalized the wind pressure on bow and stern, neatly eliminating weathercocking. I threw away the temporary experimental fin and grafted on a permanent one made of 1/4″ thick cedar. It’s about 2″ high and 15″ long, not very obtrusive. The only disadvantage is that it makes the boat somewhat harder to turn into the wind. If we regularly paddled in strong wind (15+ knots) this could be a problem, but we don’t.

    As if anyone needed one, this is another argument for building one’s own wooden kayak rather than buying a ‘glass production boat. Wooden kayaks are less expensive, lighter, prettier, and the builder will have—should have, at least—the confidence to plunge in with drill and jigsaw, modifying as needed.

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    Scot Copeland says:

    Thanks for the kayaking video! As someone out west: Baja is awesome, but I’d love to experience Maine some day.


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