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Wind threshold

Just got back from Iceland
No paddling, but just hiking in sustained 35 mph winds ( with 50+ gusts) over lava beds really wasn’t that much fun.

And last year, MDB and I paddled. A small ADK stream ( Minerva Stream)… In a spot with fully treed shores, I suddenly got pushed around, and saw MDB do a full rotation and then some before the mini twister moved on to a nearby reedy spot. We watched the reeds swirling about until the little twister faded away. Laughed, but both agreed that if we had been on big water, we would have had quite a problem. There was no way possible to control our boats, even though the stream was as no more than 20 yards wide!!

Been wind bound on Indian Lake (ADK’s) in October, otherwise we generally stick to smaller waters and aren’t affected by big winds.
Oops, just remembered an early spring trip to Rock Lake (ADK’s near Blue Mountain Lake)
Lake was still half covered with ice, had a hellaciously strong thunderstorm with high winds and we heard trees toppling and limbs snapping all night. Next day we heard that a licensed guide was crushed by a falling tree in the Pharaoh Lakes wilderness.
When I first got my canoe I was pretty excited to use it. I hit some small local lakes.

Once I went out with my youngest daughter…all of 60 lbs or so. I’m not small, 250+. Just went out for a paddle, no gear and I foolishly sat in the stern seat. Ballast was all wrong, bow was riding high out of the water. It was a little breezy but out on the water the wind felt like 10x.

A gust would totally gave its way with us and there was nothing I could do to control it. Started getting worried that we wouldn’t get back to the boat landing. Hugged the shoreline tight and would dig the paddle in the bottom when a gust would hit to hold position. Paddled backward for awhile, then straighten out and paddle like mad when the wind relaxed. Repeat that process every gust.
I will tolerate a bit more for rivers.
I am also more tolerant of big wind days on rivers, but this can change on big rivers. I'm remided of a trip on the Black Canyon of the Colorado, below Hoover Dam, that I like to call the best and worst canoe trip of my life. My wife and I rented a canoe (fortunately we got a good boat, an OT 16-foot Penobscot). The first half of the trip was phenomenal. Nice sunny day, desert flowers in bloom everywhere, decent current. We got out at Arizona Hot Springs for lunch and a soak. Heaven.

That changed after lunch. We were unaware of the periodic desert winds that kick up, and from our lunch spot we battled a crazy headwind the entire rest of the way (about 5 miles or more) to Willow Beach Marina. At one point, as we paddled for all we were worth just to make headway, a mallard landed next to me looking for a handout. Finding no joy, he started swimming his way past us to see if he had any better luck with Mrs. Riverstrider. Yes, he swam much faster than we could paddle that Penobscot. About two miles from Willow Beach, we could hear shouts across the river...it was a small group with inflatable duckies hanging on to shore to avoid getting blown upriver...one of them had broken their paddle, and there was no spare. They asked us to have their rental pick-up come get them. We got to Willow Beach about 2 and a half hours later, exhausted, and I found two guys waiting for the duckie group we had passed, and let them know of the situation. The two guys just looked at each other knowingly, and then rock-paper-scissored to determine which of them was going to be the gofer.

After a mandatory visit to Boulder City Brewery, we slept like the dead.
I have a lot of fears about wind, but having a boat break up under me wasn't one of them! What type of material was it? Was it bridging waves that did the damage, or what?
The boat has a glued lapstrake plywood hull, it's light and stiff, designed for double paddle. A prior owner added the sail rig, a BSD Classic Canoe 36. The hull was never designed to sail, much less with a tall rig twisting it in a fresh breeze, and a tall man hiking out the other way. The lap split wasn't catastrophic, but we did start taking water. I made some hasty repairs that night. Afterwards I decided to luff in gusts, then use a shorter rig, and finally to buy a canoe with ribs to sail.