Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mounting the kayak on the truck

Today is the official launch day.

It started windy and foggy, but the weather forecast was for sunny clear skies so we are going ahead. However, the strong winds prevent launching from the Harbour, there is no way I could handle the wind and waves and rocks there. So we will take the kayaks (mine, Ruth's and Mike's) down to Kingsport, a sandy protected beach on the Minas Basin at the head of the Bay of Fundy.

I went out to the Garden House early to get my kayak onto my truck. I couldn't mount it on Saturday because of the rain, so I was hoping to get it done first thing this morning.

Not a chance! It was awful!

First I had to get it out of the Garden House and on to the Wheeleez that I bought in Halifax on Thursday. One door was blocked by Mike and Rick's flagpole, the other by a tarp-covered steel wood stove. Somehow I maneouvred the kayak past the stove and onto the grass. Then I tried to mount it on the Wheeleez. No instructions of course, and my first attempt was not great, the kayak fell off half way from the Garden House to the road. I re-tied it, more firmly I hoped. This time I was able to drag it down the road to the truck, parked by the open field. In the wind.

My first effort to get the kayak on the truck was from the rear, I positioned the kayak behind the truck, got up on the tailgate and attempted to pull the bow up onto the rear roofrack crosspiece. This did not work, and I managed to drag the stern abour a foot along the gravel road, abraiding off all the urethane on the keel. However to my unpracticed eye, it looked like I had torn off the fibreglass and I was starting to get a little freaked out.

However, figuring there was nothing to be done about it now, I moved the kayak to the front of the truck and attempted to mount the kayak over the hood and cab of the truck. I tried to cover the truck with big sheets of cardboard to protect the truck and kayak from each other, but the wind kept blowing them off. I'd get the cardboard on, pick up the bow of the kayak, the wind would come up and blow the cardboard off. I'd put the kayak down, the wind would die and I would replace the cardboard and pick up the kayak again. The wind would come up and blow the cardboard off. This went on several times before I managed to get the kayak onto the cardboard before the wind came back up.

This strategy worked no better than the previous one. All along, poor Dobby was underfoot and trying to lick my face, and my own frustration level was mounting to the point of taking it out on the dog, causing him to be even more nervous and even more underfoot and in my face.

So, I put the kayak in the grass on the side of the road and drove back to Mike and Ruth's. I recounted my efforts to get the kayak on the truck, and Mike said he'd come see what he could do.

Mike assured me I had only removed the urethane on the stern and that was nothing to worry about. He agreed that the roof rack was way too high, and we were going to have to come up with some strategy that allowed me to mount the kayak by myself. After much discussion we came up with the idea of a kind of ramp and went to the Garden House to see what was available to construct a ramp from.

The first ramp (yes, there was more than one), was made from one of the cradles that the kayak used to sit on the sawhorses, nailed to a ten foot long board. We used it to slide the kayak up from one side of the truck, onto the forward roof rack. We successfully got the kayak up onto the roof rack, but now it looked extremely precarious, mounted so high off the roof. I suggested we turn it upside down.

Somehow Mike managed to do that. It looked a little more stable upside down. Mike said he was not happy with the ramp we had constructed and had seen someone else use something he thought might work better, basically just two 1x4s nailed together at right angles creating a trough to slide the bow of the kayak up. So we went back to his place and he quickly constructed the second ramp from some boards he had lying around. We tied this second ramp onto the roofrack next to the kayak, using some short bungee cords I had in my truck toolbox. We would test it out at Kingsport.

I can't tell you how frustrating and stressful this whole operation was, except to say I am sure glad I have no photos because they wouldn't be pretty!

We were aiming to be at Kingsport two hours before high tide, but mounting my kayak took so long that we just barely made it half an hour before high tide.

Driving down the mountain with my precious kayak on the roof for the very first time, in high winds, was bite-your-nails, clench-your-teeth, white-knuckled gripping the steering wheel and eyes-glued to the side view mirrors time all the way down.

But all was well, we arrived safely at the Kingsport wharf and beach.

1 comment:

Barbara Anne said...

WOW! What a story of nerves of steel, determination, and success! Way to go, Anne the Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!

I cannot begin to imagine the effort and energy your many tries to get the kayak up took. Whew! I need a nap from reading about it.

Still, you made it to the Bay in time! Applause!!!!!!!!