Each month, I participate in the Sunset Race Series. This event is the second Thursday of each month and traditionally held on the Meramec river. This month, we had a slight change of venue. Instead of everybody bring their own boats and racing to the finish, we all piled into a 31′ voyager canoe build by Joe Ringling and Martin (Larry) Hassle. The canoe is the product of approximately 2000 hours of woodwork. The finished product shows the quality workmanship and provides an amazing boat to paddle.
The voyager canoe is build for racing. It was designed after an Olympic C1 canoe, but run through the “Honey I Blew Up The Boat” ray to make fit a few more people. At a stop, the boat is very tippy. This provides adequate motivation to continue paddling under all conditions! And it is critical to continue paddling in this boat.
We had a minor incident during this outing. The incident proved that we need to respect the boat and the conditions. We ended up having two motorboats and the voyager within approximately 60 of each other in the river. We were paddling, but slowed to see what was going on. There was a water skier in the water. About the time all three boat converged, the water skier was pulled from the water. Each motorboat took off at speed from the area in different directions. This created what I call a vortex of crossing waves. What felt like a 4 foot hole/wave was created in front of the boat. Larry was able to turn us into the worst of it. Sitting in the second row of the boat, I took a wave over the bow that was chest high, soaking me good. I stopped paddling (bad me) and the boat rocked quite good to the left. I thought for sure we were going over, but between our momentum and the people in the back still paddling, we rode out the worst of it and stayed upright. We estimated taking on 20 gallons of water to the boat. All that was available was a single sponge to remove the water. It took most of the trip back to get the water out of the boat. Joe and Larry are working on getting a battery operated bilge to help in situations like that.
Overall it was a perfect paddle up and down the river in a boat that turned the heads of all! I’m looking forward to the Race For The Rivers where I’ll get to paddle in it again for 41 miles of the Missouri!