Monday, February 3, 2014

Rain, Rivers, The IRH.

**This took place on 2-1-14 I am only just getting to it because of the many sources of pictures. Many thanks to Morgan Colonel of Olympic Raft and kayak for some of the images.

It all started with a serious lack of vitamin D. If you follow the weather here in the Pac-Nor west  you will know that it has been a really dry winter. As a outsider, it's  funny, when i showed up i thought i was moving into the mythical wet world of a temperate rain forest. This year it has not really turned out that way. So it rained, then continued to rain for four days in a row, followed by sun.

Any river rat worth their rotten sneakers know that this means that rivers somewhere are rising. I called up my buddy Morgan, "hey do you think there will be enough water to float the IRH?" Morgan, "Yep but the sooner the better, the levels wont hold." With that little bit of beta i got to work. 

 The hardest part was getting Florence my Rogue River Special off the trailer so i could get the IRH to the river. I hate moving boats, i love them but damn. So it was with a lot of swearing and a little blood that Florence slid onto the Driveway and the IRH was loaded. (The issue of the trailer has inspired The Great Trailer Project 2014, details to follow in a later post.)

After moving the boats driving out to the Sol Duc was nothing. Once there we met up  with two more boaters out for some fun, Ben and Griffin. Now assembled the four of us and my wife Lea headed to the put in.

If you follow this blog you will know that the IRH was finished September 9, 2013. Through a combination of work, drought, and other commitments she has been staring me for five months. When the moment arrived and she hit the water with a slap it had been a long time coming.

Floating like a Merganser i slid her up onto the bank putting on the gloves for her first run.

It was spectacular to see her floating next to a modern play boat, I designed the IRH to be a sort of River Dory play boat, they do share the length, both short for their species.

Without much fan fair i ferried out into the current . After turning down stream i headed for the first eddy i could see. It was an in and out affair, snappy.

This is going to be a boat that needs to be leaned like a canoe or kayak when making eddy turns. Unlike a canoe or kayak i was not able to put the gunwhale into the water. Admittedly i wasn't willing to stand on it, (to cold) but the stability is shocking.

The day continued, partly sunny (my glass is half full) without a breath of breeze.

It wasn't long before i opened the side hatch and retrieved the IRH's first boat drink, a PBR.

I would eventually spill the whole thing into the foot well giving me the chance to prove that the bilge pump works just fine.

Not to be rude i handed some beers to the guys and down stream we went..

A Little way on we came across this little lady, much the worse for wear but i think she would float if you let her.

Sweepers and strainers are super common out here on the peninsula, this run is no different.

Finally some rapids. Shallow ones at that. I didn't have a chance to measure how much water i was drawing but i am going to assume that it was less than three inches, next time out ill measure it.

Super nimble, and surprisingly fast for her size. The IRH bobbed and danced her way through the bends and drops.

The super high bow blocked everything this little class two section could throw. Waves that would have swamped Florence were swatted away with impunity. It was fantastic if not somewhat anti climatic.

Morgan shot this short jumpy flick of me rounding a bend. Cut him some slack on the footage, sitting in an eddy getting bounced around in that little play boat. The shot does show how fast the IRH reacts to input from the oars. She really spins on a dime!

Ok so there you have it. The first run under my belt. I have a lot to learn about this little boat and i am really looking forward to it.
See you all on the river!

1 comment:

  1. Hell yeah, way to get it done! I gotta come visit again soon.