On Sunday (5/22/2016), Team Take Me to the Volcano launched the “V16 R2AK” at the Secret Beach in Ballard, Seattle. Around 6pm Matt, Mark Dix (Team The Windsurfer, Stage 1 R2AK, 2015), and Scott finished bolting iakos to amas, having leveled the main hull and amas before drilling the final bolt holes in the inboard end of the iakos. We loaded up the main hull on Mark’s car and the amas on Scott’s and headed (carefully, remembering Colin’s tragedy) down the curvy road to Puget Sound.
At the beach Chris and Mik met us and helped unload onto the sandy beach. High tide was approaching, so once we re-connected the amas and main hull with some help from Sam (of Team Puffin, R2AK 2015), set up the seat and other gear, it was easy for Matt to pull the boat into the sea.
With Matt aboard and a fair amount of gear, the step out from the lower to upper hull was 95-105 cm above sea level. We tried loading 50 pounds of weight behind the seat, but thought that pushed the rudder assembly a little too deep. When Matt was pushing hard the steering arms on the rudder were mostly submerged. With the 50 pounds removed, the rudder arms were clear of the water (except when waves passed over it). Overall, it looks like it will be helpful to get some more weight up forward — which of course will happen when the sailing rig gets stepped (just forward of the forward beam).
With the initial trim set and some confidence that it wasn’t leaking, Matt brought the boat back to shore for a proper Christening. Lisa and Ciana had arrived with champagne and proceeded to help Matt name the boat “Rouleur.” The beautiful Douglas fir bows were glowing in the setting sunlight, glistening with the recent heavy rains, and foaming with celebratory champagne as we all hailed the arrival of another fine boat on our ocean planet!
Matt then took Rouleur out for another longer spin. A few minutes after he had disappeared “upstream” toward the Ballard locks, it was an awesome sight to see him blaze bast a couple cruising kayaks. It seemed he was suddenly off towards Ketchikan at high speed! But he eased off on the power at the last-minute and circled back to us. Near the beach a set-screw gave in to the tremendous torques Matt was pushing through the right angle drive, so our sea trials of the pedal propulsion system had to cease. It was easy to return to the beach with gentle pedaling, and earlier it was clear that the back-up human power method of a SUP paddle was also effective.
The initial speed data suggest that in flat water and no wind, Matt should be able to keep this boat in the 5-10 kph range pretty easily. Remember for the ~1200 km Race to Alaska, 10 kph mean VMG will get you to Ketchikan in about 5 days; 5 kph will get you there in 10! Averaging 15 kph 24/7 will beat Elsie Piddock’s record handily; you’ll be there in 3.3 days!
For comparison, when Greg set the world record for distance in a human-powered boat over 24 hours, he averaged 10.22 kph. Here’s a spreadsheet of long(-ish) distance speed means for human-powered boats. While sprinting kayaks can hit 17-20 kph, a huge question in the 2016 R2AK — especially if there are extended windless periods — is whether Matt’s cycling prowess and the Rouleur’s pedal-propulsion system can sustain ~10 kph over significant stretches of the BC coast.
My favorite part of the evening was seeing Rick Willoughby‘s design assembled and afloat. The curved iakos seemed to connect in a near-circular arc. Rouleur seemed perched on the water’s surface, wings outstretched — both embracing the sea and poised ready to streak across it.