This blog is designed to highlight the paddling opportunities within South Dakota, mainly within a 50-mile radius of Sioux Falls. While Sioux Falls is far from the adventure of coastal regions, there is a certain satisfaction in utilizing the available waterways to observe weather, water conditions, and the landscape along the shoreline. In addition, there is a wealth of animal life on the waters of small South Dakota lakes, rivers, and creeks, including geese, ducks, pelicans, great blue heron, egrets, hawks, owls, perching birds, deer, raccoons, and beaver. Eagles, fox, and coyote are also sometimes spotted.
The sites described are places where I have kayaked over the past few years, mostly in South Dakota but sometimes including locations in Iowa and Minnesota. One of the best sources of information on the accessibility of small lakes is the South Dakota Atlas and Gazetteer, the large map book of South Dakota. Lakes with a public access are generally identified by a boat symbol marking the location of a launching site on public land.
You will notice the menu of paddling locations on the right side of the blog. Each of the postings is linked to one of the areas, and my intention is to provide a continuing review of the places where I paddle. Perhaps these narratives will help readers select waterways of interest to them. Please feel free to offer a comment regarding any of my postings; I would welcome the dialog.
I also maintain a companion blog that describes hiking opportunities within the Sioux Falls area. You can access that blog at: http://hikingsiouxfalls.blogspot.com
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Umbrella Sailing in Colorado
I have been carrying my umbrella in the trunk of my car for months, and reading about Rod’s experiences gives me some motivation to get it out and do a little sailing before the winter sets in. I think that sailing on a small and sheltered body of water like Lake Alvin is best for me. There is a little sense of unease about sailing a kayak; a good gust of wind can be an unexpected challenge, and I like being in a position where I feel free to just let the umbrella fly and take up the paddle if necessary.
You can review my own adventures with umbrella sailing by clicking on that topic on the menu on the right hand side of this blog.
I appreciate Rod sharing this experience with us, and I also encourage any other kayakers to share some aspect of their slant on the hobby with the readers of this blog. Just contact me by e-mail, and we can work out a guest blog entry.
I was Googling "Umbrella Sailing" and came across your article. I live out in the woods near Lake George, Colorado. I am relatively new to the sport, having paddled for the first time last season. We live about 10 minutes from a large mountain reservoir, with several others within an hour's drive, so getting involved in some sort of water activity seemed almost mandatory, even though I've never been a "water person" in the past. I am also involved in Motorcycling (for 40 years) and SkiBiking. I came across some mention of umbrella sailing on the web, and, suitably
impressed, I ordered in a "Gustbuster" to give it a try. I also have a yakking buddy who did the same. What a kick! It adds a whole new dimension to the sport. On a typical day we can paddle around the coves in the AM and then hitch a downwind ride on the breeze for the trip back to shore as the wind picks up in the afternoon. It's amazing the power of that umbrella, I calculated that there is over 20 sq. ft. of sail area in a 62" canopy, pretty substantial. My friend lost his grip on the handle and it slipped into the water, it sunk like a stone, which I found surprising. We now use leashes! I consider sailing fairly safe, if the wind speed gets too strong, all you have to do is lift the canopy up horizontal to spill it.
I started out with a 12' rec boat, an Old Town Loon (my wife has a 10' Loon). But, as I discovered, sailing without a rudder was quite a challenge. In a mellow breeze, I would hold the umbrella with one hand and rudder with the paddle with the other. As the velocity picked up, I would have to hold the sail with both hands and the boat would just gradually weathercock. Kind of a pain. So, I used that for an excuse to
buy a new boat, a 14' Dagger Specter w/ rudder. What a difference it makes to have a stick in the water! Now I have that little extra something, otherwise known as directional control... I am considering purchasing a Pacific Action (www.pacificaction.com) kayak sailing rig for next season ($250). It has some advantages, although the umbrella works quite well. I love the strange looks you get from other people! By the way, how would you rate the tracking stability of your Dagger 13, with the rudder up?