Kayaker, Engineer, Athlete, Tinkerer

Sunday, June 1, 2014

New Boat and the Joys of Outfitting

Waking up Sunday, for the first morning in the cabin was no disappointment, the view is spectacular.

The first task of the day was to sort out our roof rack,  while the rental car had roof rails, there wasn't a gap underneath, so we would need to us foam blocks to set the wood pieces on before using a strap through the car doors to cinch the whole thing on the roof.  There's no easy or good way to this, just a little creativity, trial and error.
Here's an interesting sight: Dr. Team Manager Chris Norbury using a hand tool

Once the roof rack was sorted the next task was to get internet to find my boat.  My boat was bought from a German company, luckily the father of an Australian team member was driving near the factory and was able to bring it from Germany to the course in Italy. That's one of the cool reasons I like wildwater,  all of the small teams work together to help each other out.  After wandering around in Sondrio looking for a place with wifi, we stumbled upon a phone company store.  Turns out for 50 euro we could buy a mobile wifi hotspot with 7GB of data for the time we were in Italy this was a much better deal than renting one and bringing it from the US.  And since we bought it, in the future all we would need is another SIM card. Happy with the purchase, we found a cafe to eat that also had wifi.  We were able to sort out that my boat would be at the sprint course later that afternoon.  Since we had some time to kill we looked at different parts of the course
Once of the spots to see part of the course is at an old stone bridge that was built by the Romans

Looking downstream from the bridge,  the whitewater is much bigger than it looks

After a while we headed to the sprint course to meet up and grab my boat. The Aussies and Irish were going to paddle so I watched since I would have a lot of outfitting to do, and I wasn't in a hurry to just jump on hard whitewater in the brand new boat.
$2400 boat on $20 roof rack 

We headed up the valley back to the garden supply shop to grab some epoxy because I would need it to secure my foot bar. The boat comes with aluminum foot braces, but they are only little pedals that are right next to the side of the boat, since I knew what would come with it, I prepared by pre-making a foot board and bringing it with me.  Since I paddle this design in the US, all I had to do was measure where everything was and I should be able to make it fit just right.  After acquiring the epoxy, the next task was prepping everything by marking out where the foot board would go and shaving it to fit just right.  Since I am quite tall people tend to ask if I need to order special boats, I just smile and say no, but the procedure below is always in the back of my mind. 
Since I am tall, the boat needs to be dropped on top of me, then I lean forward and can barely reach where the foot board needs to go

Since the boat is a very confined space especially with half my body inside, a good respirator and headlamp are essential equipment

After a decent amount of time preparing everything it was time to start mixing the epoxy to get start, but when I opened the tube I found out that it was the wrong type of epoxy, it was thickened epoxy which has fillers to act like a glue rather than the liquid epoxy which is used to wet out composite cloths like the carbon fiber I would be using for my foot board. We quickly put the word out asking the Irish and the Australians if they had any epoxy.  Luckily they both did, but the Australians got back first and after getting their address I was off to pick it up.  I should note, it's a pretty good time driving in the Alps in the car with a manual gearbox.  After arriving back I quickly set everything back up and got to work laying up the carbon. Since the plan was to meet at 10 tomorrow morning, we brought the boat inside where it would be warmer to speed curing of the epoxy.  

This boat is expensive, not particularly well made, but man it looks good

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