I somehow managed to buy a new boat during the week between my previous paddle and this weekend! It all started last week; as I was slipping in my spare paddles under the bungie cord on the deck of my Valley Etain, the bungie went snap. I managed to bodge it together enough to hold my spares in place, but I made a note to call Valley as soon as I got home. So there I am on the phone with Valley and it wasn't long before we got talking boats. Before I knew it, Valley were dropping off some bungie, along with a nice shiny new Valley Sirona 16.1! I am not sure if it was the bungie that was free or the boat! I like to think of it as being expensive bungie cord that came with a free boat! Either way I had some explaining to do to Mrs T! Anyway, a couple of nights sleeping in the dog house would be worth it...
Luckily for me, we were going back to Anglesey again the following weekend and consequently there was less time to be spent in the Doghouse! Although having the dog's in the van is somewhat interesting when it comes to sleeping arrangements! But that is another story and nothing I am not use to! So we arrived at Porth Dafarch on the Saturday, nice and early to allow me to do some fettling with the new boat. The plan was to paddle out to PM, which should be good with it being on neaps.
My first impression of the Sirona was how easy it was to turn, and yet it was as stable as my Etain, even when right on edge. It rolled well and when we all eventually got on the water (Brian Green was late as usual!) I found it was no slouch whilst going in a straight line. All in all pretty good.
Out on PM I have to admit I found keeping the bow under control sometimes a little interesting. This was no doubt due to me being use to the Etain, which generally likes to go in straight lines. I kept on over doing the control and often found myself turning a little more sharpish than I had intended. It appears I now have a "play" sea boat as well as a good expedition boat. As time went on and I became tired, I kept finding myself making more and more mistakes, with many rolls in anger at first, followed in the end by a couple of swims! I was pretty knackered. Eventually it was decided to have a little paddle around the coast and stop for some lunch. We headed for South Stack, rock hopping and exploring the caves along the way.
Back at PM, there was some more playing, before we played hunt the missing paddle. Jules and his daughter had somehow managed to loose hers. The Paddle was soon found and reunited with its owner, so we headed back to shore.
A cracking day out. Thanks to Dave, Kris, Brian G and Brian H. Oh, and Valley for getting me into so much trouble!
The next day I woke up feeling pretty broken! You cannot believe how pleased I was when I heard from the guys on Facebook they were all feeling the same way! It wasn't just me then!
Click on the pics below to open the full web size version. For some reason I have lots of Brian H. Must be due to his beautiful hand built kayak!