July 2, 2010
Back in the day, Butedale was a thriving, company-owned fish canning community of several hundred people. “The day” ended in the 1950s. Since then, the rain forest has been relentlessly reclaiming the town. Today, only a few buildings remain habitable. Lou, the 65-year old caretaker, lives in one, and he rents out rooms in a couple of other cabins to recreational fishermen and the occasional kayaker.
Up at 5AM, on the water for 7:35. At first, I paddled through thick fog that was backlit by the rising sun into a luminous white. It looked rather like a Hollywood effects tech’s idea of “going to heaven.” Heaven or not, the prospect of running the Upper Rapids blind was pretty daunting, but fortunately the fog burnt off as I went.
I’ve been messing about with commercial and home-brew kayak sails for more than a decade, using them for both day trips and expeditions. After owning a Falcon Sail for nearly a year, here’s my take on the installation process (I’ll cover the sail’s performance in another post.)
To help you put my experiences in context, let me cop up front to being mechanically declined; I do a lot of hacks and mods to my kayaks, but I rarely get things exactly right the first time. So my first attempts at installing the sail involved many loud curses along the lines of “Come on, you Falcon thing!”