Monday, September 01, 2008

Cricket Goes To Maine, plus An Unusual Rescue (Part 1 of Gerritsen Creek Trip Report).

Remember Cricket, the prettiest boat in Jamaica Bay?

Cricket, along with Sebago sailing committee co-chairs Holly & Jim (Jim built Cricket), recently got to go spend a wonderful few days in Maine. I went on an interesting paddle with a very unusual ending today, and had gone to post a few pictures, and found that Jim had just recently put up a short post about their trip, with a few pictures & a link to his own blog, Small Craft Warning. I can't resist linking myself. Cricket was in good company at this event - there's some pretty, pretty boats!

I'm afraid that by the time I finished oohing & aahing over the pretty boats, it was getting to be pretty late, so a full trip report will have to wait - but here's a hint of the unusual end -

This is a Klepper Aerius II with full sail rig.

Definitely not the prettiest boat in ANY harbor, but an interesting craft nevertheless. The Klepper Aerius is really the original folding kayak, perfected in the early 1900's by a tailor by the name of Johann Klepper, who put the craft into production as a boat that could be packed up in a couple of large bags & therefore taken up a river on a train. Kleppers are still considered the Cadillacs of folding kayaks & are incredibly sturdy beasts used by adventurers from Capt. Franz Romer, who crossed the Atlantic in 1928, to Dr. Hans Lindemann, who crossed the Atlantic in 1956, to my former coach (and eventually business partner for three years) Eric Stiller, who paddled one partway around Australia with a Calvin Klein underwear model (male variety).

Interesting bit of Klepper trivia offered by one of the paddlers who was along today - he said that the original design included no pieces that were any longer than the longest skis of the day, as the trains that the paddlers used in the summer were actually outfitted for carrying skiers in the winter.

At any rate - this is a big, solid kayak. As you see, you can put a sail on it but Holly the Sailing Chair says it's like sailing a sofa. I think I believe her. It's not supposed to be an exciting sailboat, the sail just gives you another option besides the paddle.

Retrieving one of these, when the "inflate sponsons" step of setup has been left out (probably why the capsize happened in the first place - the sponsons are very important, they tension the skin & provide flotation & stability), and the boat has ended up turtled, with it's mast in the muck, and the boat itself partially submerged (a situation known to paddlers as a "Cleopatra's Needle"), was an interesting proposition.

hmmmm...(to be continued)

(photo by John H - thanks John!)

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