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Kayak Cowgirl got herself in a starter pony this evening – a Kirton Tercel, which is an entry-level (near as I can figure) racing kayak. 

The Inwood Canoe Club has a racing heritage, and as part of that they have a bunch of racing boats around. The Tercel is a light, custom-made English boat. There are a few at the clubhouse. The make, Kirton, is also on some other boats. 

Getting in the boat is novel – you cross your feet. Put your far foot in the boat, near to you, to push it close to the dock. Put your near foot over that and away from you. Grab the coming and move in, falling towards the dock. Once in, unfold your feet. 

Everyone said this boat is tippy, and they weren’t kidding. Sitting by the dock, the boat was as tippy as my first glass deck boat, like the first time in a Romany or Chennai. I’d scull out less than a foot, and then reach back as little waves started putting me to and fro. 

Sitting in the boat is a bit awkward. Proper racing technique is knees together, like a surf ski. There is no knee bracing. The Tercel can be paddled with a spray skirt, but I did not mostly on account of, I couldn’t find one that fit the boat. 

However, once I got out and got used to it, the boat is a dream to move forwards and back. There is a rudder, controlled by a tiller at the feet, that turns the boat really well. Combined with a sweep stroke, and the Tercel can turn quickly in forward motion. 

Turning in place is a bit more cumbersome. I paddled down to the GWB and back, and we stopped in a little cove. Took me a while to get situated. 

On the way back, however, the Tercel cut through current really well. The boat catches no wind – I was keenly aware that my body was the biggest windcatch on the boat. That was a novel experience. 

I’ll paddle this some more, and hopefully work my way up to more challenging race boats. 

Published in 2012 Backpaddle ICC Inwood Inwood Canoe Club New York Racing


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