Update 19/12/2015: I’ve just sold Lolo and waved her goodbye!!
But it had to be done. All due to my replacement knee!
Knee long story short : I caught Letospirosis/Weils disease in early 2014 from paddling on the WW course on the River Trent in Nottingham. This was not long after having had a cartilage operation on my right knee, due to slipping on some ice and tearing the cartilage. Unfortunately, to add to my misery of having Weils disease, going orange in colour and very nearly dying, the Lepto bacteria got into my knee joint, causing my knee to balloon (massively) and basically destroy my knee joint. This left me with a bone on bone completely knackered knee joint and pretty much wheelchair bound. Once I had fully recovered from the Lepto/Weils Disease (end of 2014), I underwent surgery to have a new knee. But due to the infection having got into the joint, my recovery was very slow, even with the new knee joint. There was a lot of superficial damage. As I know too well knees are very painful things when not right! At one point when full of the lepto infection, I remember shouting at the consultants cut it off… It really was that bad. I have never been in so much pain!
Anyway I digress… Back to the Nordkapp
Paddling the Nordkapp requires a fairly straight leg position due to the lower deck. At first, I was fine with this, but from the extended trips I did in August, I started to realise that anything longer than two hours in the Nordkapp and my knee would start screaming in agony! Not only that, when I came to try to walk afterwards I found I could hardly stand, let alone walk. It has taken me until December to finally make that awful decision to sell her on. I am not exactly happy about it as I love this boat. The rougher the conditions, the better she seemed to paddle. If you get a chance to paddle one I would recommend you do! Nordkapps are very beautiful, sleek designs!
So, I am going back to a Valley Etain, which is the boat I had before the Nordkapp. The Etain has a higher deck and consequently is far less strain on my knee. I paddled a demo last weekend and spent 3+ hours ripping up the surf in Anglesey. We had a great time and I could actually walk at the end of the session. In fact I don’t remember thinking about walking until sometime after!
My new Etain is not going to be Carbon/Kevlar and will be yellow on white. Although I’m excited about getting a new Etain, I am still sad saying goodbye to the Nordkapp. We had some good times. At least I am confident she is going to a good home.
Having paddled the demo Valley Nordkapp Førti during the Anglesey Sea Symposium, I decided to buy one! As you can see she is lovely in yellow with, if you look carefully, sparkly bits. Made of Carbon Kevlar she is pretty light too! She arrived on Friday night.
Yesterday (Saturday) I spent much of the day working on her outfitting and generally fettling: Fitting my towline, paddle tubes, reflective strips, setting my seat position and foot pegs and putting some closed cell foam between the foot pegs and bulkhead.