Flinders Island Trips 1990 - 1995

The double under full sail,Mt Chapple Is.

As we left the islands astern the winds became stronger but more predictable. Now we were looking behind us to see when the large waves were coming so that we could paddle hard and surf down them. Of course at times we would run down so fast that we would plough into the back of the wave infront. The kayaks would bury themselves deep so that we were frequently up to our armpits in water.

Mick under sail, Trousers Point

It couldn't last of course. Grant and I in the double suddenly found ourselves at the bottom of a large wave, broad side on. The stainless steel rudder on the double had broken away, a problem that would afflict us again on another trip. Incidentally this rudder wasn't one that we built. It was poorly engineered, none of our own rudders have ever given this kind of trouble in rough conditions.

Mick surfing waves, Trousers Point

We struggled to keep the double heading down the waves and consequently were forced to reduce speed. Mick kindly kept station with us which allowed me to get some good shots of him steaming past on big waves. Laurie had disppeared out of sight.

Waves, Trousers Point

The wave were getting steeper now as we approached the shallow water near Trousers Point. The only way Grant could keep direction was to use his paddle as a steering oar out the back of the kayak, like a surf boat. I frequently had to let the video camera rest on the spray deck so that I could quickly brace into waves.

Grant hanging on, Trousers Point

I got rather bold at one time and turned round to video the waves coming in from behind us. Grant was doing an excellent job of steering. With our sails up we didn't need to paddle at all, just brace and steer, brace and steer.

Mt Chappel Is from Trousers Point

Laurie had landed at Trousers Point and quickly climbed out onto the rocks to watch the fun as we arrived. Behind us lay Mt Chappel Island. This must have been one of the fastest crossings by sea kayaks in history. There was a price to pay though as we were soon to find out.

Mick approaching Trousers Point

We could relax now that we were in the shelter of Trousers Point. Above us loomed Mt Strzelecki. The campsite was sheltered among the She Oaks just around the corner. We pulled our kayaks up the beach and started to check the damage to our gear.

Discussing gear repairs, Trousers Point

One of Laurie's sails had almost tore the boom off, Micks' boom started to come out of the sail and deck fittings were strained to their limit. We mentally noted what needed more development so that on our return we could improve our gear.

Broken rudder, Trousers Point

The worst problem was the rudder on the double. Despite being made of stainless steel, the bottom lug had been torn completely off. I suppose when you think of the force generated by a 21', fully laden kayak sreaming through the water, it needed to be a very robust design. If it had been our usual fiberglass design we could have easily repaired it.

Grant off to do some welding

Grant opted to hitch a ride to Whitemark with a generous visitor to see if he could get it welded back on. The local mechanic, although not an expert welder managed to effect a temporary repair which held out for the remainder of the trip.

Laurie and the 160 stitches

While Grant was away, Laurie got stuck into sewing up his tent fly that had torn in two on Badger Island. I think he said it took about 160 stitches. Mick and I set to with needle and thread to repair our sails for tomorrows sail down Franklin Sound to Vansittart Island.

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