06 May 2014

Video: Sailing with Vixen

Of the kayaks in my shed Vixen is the most demanding.
I have kayaks that are high volume and are great on extended trips although I find them a bit dull for sheltered waters paddling.  I have low volume kayaks that are oh so easy to roll and a bit tricky to handle in rough waters, I also have a kayak that despite having a tendency to lee cock a bit it is very easy to live with when I do hand's free photography on the water.
And then there is Vixen: a Point65North XP designed by Johan Wirsen.
I need to pay attention when I paddle that kayak; she won't let me be sloppy or careless.
I find her a demanding in short wind waves; because of her longer waterline she tend to bury bow and stern (video here).
With her deep V shaped keel she wants to sit on one side when stationary and novices find it disconcerting.
Vixen however is great for sailing: the deeper keel prevents some of the lateral drift in a beam wind and I can maintain a straighter course over waves.
The longer keel line in the stern resists broaching and I have to use less correctional strokes compared to my other fish-form British kayak.

If you aren't viewing this on a mobile device, go big and watch it in full HD glory
Over the week end the Westerly wind really picked up an despite the shorter fetch over the waters of Moreton Bay I had times when the wind was up to 30 knots.
It was then where I no longer could sail as the bow was getting pushed downwind; maybe a smaller sail could have been still manageable for the beam wind?
Even with the sail stowed on deck I had to take care of occasional lee cocking when the bow will crest a wave and then be blown downwind.
Myself and AdvetureTess had the bay to ourselves with only the occasional yacht enjoying the strong wind.



  1. Gnarlydog, I have a sit inside kayak, not the sit on top fishing type with all the pre-drilled holes and places for attachments. Have been experimenting with different solutions for Gopro placement that do not require drilling holes in the deck.
    The suction mount works fine for low placement on deck. Obviously so do the usual 3M mounts. Low to the deck is no problem with the weight of the camera.
    What I'm after is something more movable and longer for things like boom mounted shots, 3rd person shots from behind, etc.
    I DIYed a reasonably strong and light pole. But once attached to the deck mount it swings with the weight of the camera and feels questionable. Last thing in the world I'd want is for the camera to pull loose of the deck and lose it!
    Yet I see you with similar shots and rigs on videos of sit inside kayaks. I also see all kinds of expensive rigs that appear solid and require holes in the deck - this is NOT what I'm looking for.
    Is there something I'm missing, misunderstanding, or simple/inexpensive that you can suggest from experience?

  2. bartc, your experiments for camera mounts is typical for the budding movie makers.
    We all fall in love with the brilliant videos that we see GoPro produces and think we can do the same.
    And we can, indeed.
    The difference is that off-the-shelf mounts sold by GoPro are usually not sufficient for the tricky angles, especially for sea kayaking.
    Suctions cups don't work for me as they come off in the surf but they work in calm waters, close to deck point-of-views.
    As those angles became too familiar and really didn't capture enough scenery/action I started to develop my own mounts.
    After 8 years of tinkering I am still creating new mounts to get something different.
    I use fiberglass and carbon to create bases for my mounts, I modify my decks to secure them and risk cameras and kayak decks to get what I want.
    Sometimes hours of work for one single angle on a specific kayak leads to a possible usable footage of just few seconds!
    You should see the pile of braces and mounts that gather dust in my garage now.
    While some good footage can be achieved by commercial mounts the special angles require a lot of tinkering. Each angle is unique and special consideration and engineering is sought.
    If I was not willing to do some mods to my decks I would not be able to get those angles.
    On the other hand some shots require no mods to my kayaks but are captured by DIY mounts that are way more solid than commercial ones.
    Experiment with different materials and different idea, best if DIY; every kayak is unique.


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