With a healthy small craft advisory in effect, temps in the low 40’s & surrounded in three directions by snowcapped mountains, I was lucky enough to be dropped off yesterday at Wildcat Cove for a eight mile downwinder. I’m also lucky to have a good quiver of boats these days and was bouncing back & forth between loading the Fenn SL or the Fenn Spark as I headed out the door. I became a true believer in the SL last year as an incredibly quick all around elite boat which truly shines in downwind conditions, also have been fortunate enough the put the Spark to the test in a variety of paddling conditions & first impression(s) is that the design is pure & simple a speed machine, simply mind-blowing! But, the sting of winter, added to the mixed conditions and solo nature of the paddle, made me toss the ever trusted & much admired Swordfish onto the rig for the downwind session.
As I paddled away the launch at Wildcat Cove, I did the quick leash check as the wind and spray started to pick-up. The small little waves inside the cove soon built into good sized 3-4 foot whitecaps & after 10 minutes of paddling out to the middle of the bay I hit ‘start’ on the GPS and cut North on the waves. The feeling that comes up from the gut gave me a notion it was going to be a good run.
The first thought after turning downwind ‘I’m glad to be on the Swordfish’. My 5min on/ 5 min easy surf session ended up being rock & roll with a surprising amount of bouncing around and weaving in what seemed a higher than usual ‘slop factor’ for Bellingham Bay. Pulling into Squalicum Harbor 55 minutes after hitting ‘go’, all I could think was – lucky to live with these conditions in our backyard and the Swordfish is my boat of choice for sloppy winter downwinders. Let’s hope for more winter waves!