Rockhopper

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
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Douglas Wilcox
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Rockhopper

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Fri Jun 18, 2004 4:13 pm

Just taken delivery of this, very nicely moulded, looks a really nice underwater shape, cant wait to try it but am going on camping trip this weekend. I might need to take the Quest so there is space for all the gear, kindling, logs and peats, Ardbeg etc. Darn!

Douglas :)

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Mark R
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Re: Rockhopper

Post by Mark R » Fri Jun 18, 2004 4:15 pm

I'm think I may be due delivery too - very interested to see how well this new innovation works.

Any pics Douglas?


-----------Mark Rainsley

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Rockhopper

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:30 pm

Looks great shape. I am very impressed with Julian emailing to check everything is OK etc. I get the impression they are serious about making sure this is a success.

Here are some notes that came with the boat:

Transportation and roofracks

Always use “J bars” or “uprights” whilst transporting your kayak on a car roofrack. NEVER transport your kayak in the horizontal position on your roofrack (horizontal = as the kayak is when you are paddling) as this will dent the hull (dents usually pop out quite easily but can become more permanent).

Storage

Kayaks are best stored hanging, in roofrack straps or from their carrying straps. Another good method is “on their edge” up against a wall.

Rear hatch cover

To remove the rear hatch-cover you must first remove the “belt and braces” elastic loop.

Retractable fin – looking after

Once in a while it is a good idea to lubricate the stainless steel cable that operates the retractable fin:

1.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Loosen the two grub screws that hold the cable into the slider button.
2.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Remove the button from the end of the fin (near the front of the kayak).
3.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Grasp fin and slide cable completely from the kayak.
4.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Clean cable with dry cloth.
5.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Spray cable with silicon based spray (furniture polish is silicon based).
6.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Re-fit fin.


Retractable fin – use of

The retractable fin is used to “tighten” the back end whilst paddling (i.e. the kayak will not turn so easily). You will likely have the fin down during most paddling but may want to retract it when paddling very close to shore. Retractable fins will usually improve performance in waves, following seas and in side winds.


Performance twin fins (available as an extra from July 14th 2004 onwards)
Note: Special BLUEsky aluminium plate required.

You will notice that the hull of the RH340 has two recesses, each with two small brass fittings. Within these recesses you can fit small “waveboarding” style fins. These fins add further “tightness” to the back end and will provided added performance in waves, following seas and in side winds.


Performance nose cones (available Autumn 2004)

The RH340 is not a performance surf kayak when compared to short flat-bottomed modern designs. However, surfing your RH340 in smaller waves is great fun and the kayak is fast enough to catch waves well before other surf craft. In steeper waves (beach breaks or overfalls) any kayak over three metres in length will, at some stage, bury its nose; this will usually be followed by a dramatic “loop” or “pirouette” – treat this as part of the fun and go get some air! Longer boats also tend to “broach” i.e. end up broadside to the wave - even if the paddler is trying hard to not let this happen (this is solved by fins at the rear of the hull – the larger the fin the more it solves broaching). These are the problems that a designer has when trying to design a kayak that is fast enough to cover distance, yet one that is also suitable for surfing. The design criteria are polar opposites (hence the RH340 having a “loose” back end with the facilities to tighten it for certain situations).

The performance nose cones (manufactured in composite technology for lightness) will bolt on to the front of the kayak (using the front carrying handle recesses) and will be available in two sizes. The smaller of the two will act as a “wave deflector” for a drier ride. The larger of the two will be designed specifically for large wave situations (overfalls in particular). Keep an eye on the website for further details.

Lots of photos:

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I was going to go camping on Gigha or Arisaig but in view of the wind and cold (snow on the highlands tonight!!!) Think I'll go rockhopping!

Douglas :) :)

PhilK1969
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rock hopper

Post by PhilK1969 » Sat Jun 19, 2004 2:40 pm

I took one of these bad babies out for a test a couple of weeks ago.

What a piece of kit! Fast,but you can chuck them about like a play boat. Perfect for coast exploring and I think if you went "alpine style" you could get a weeks worth of gear in too.

I had no problem keeping up with the normal cruising speed of the rest of the group who were in Carolinas, cappellas and the usual shorter boats.

I would say that a group of paddlers in rock hoppers, out for a few days would be in for a great time.

GCM
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Re: Rockhopper

Post by GCM » Sat Jun 19, 2004 8:29 pm

Just in case anyone is interested, there is a "seconds" model currently being auctioned on ebay

cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISA...me=rvi:1:1

Gary

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Rockhopper

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Sun Jun 20, 2004 11:14 pm

Had a bad headcold this weekend, missed out on a sea paddle to Sunart and Sound of Mull (Billy and Mair texted me from Tobermory where they were basking in the sun! Torture.
Didn't get out in the Rockhopper either.
Douglas :(

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sub5rider
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Re: Rockhopper

Post by sub5rider » Sat Jul 03, 2004 3:32 pm

RH340 on ebay....
Nigel, aka Sub5Rider, Onioneer

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Mark R
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Re: Rockhopper

Post by Mark R » Sun Jul 04, 2004 4:59 pm

Took one out today, interesting. The boat's remit is to be useable for 10-15 mile day-trips with playing on tidal races and close exploration of the coast. Basically, it fits the remit...but in design and performance it is definitely something new, neither sea/ touring kayak nor general purpose/ WW kayak.

The stormy weather we've had for ten days finally eased, so I planned a 12-14 mile trip from Swanage to Kimmeridge. Heading out of Swanage, I found that the boat was relatively slow (flat hull) and needed the skeg down to hold on course. I surfed a bit in the Peveril tide race - fun - and headed out to the open coast past Durlston Head. I encountered 1-2 metre confused groundswell, exploding into the cliffs. Oops. I had a rethink but decided to run with the tide and see what happened.

Well, it was tough going...I would barely be in my comfort zone in my Baidarka in these conditions, the RH was much more stable but the low front bow struggled to clear some of the oncoming waves. A mile past the Head I decided to back down and turned around...although I was coping, it was going to be too long a slog to make the whole trip.

I headed close inshore to the cliffs to catch an eddy ride back. This is where the RH became interesting...it was too rough (and then some) to explore the caves here, but basically the boat was ideal for moving among the swells, in and out of the nooks and crannies of the cliffs; I certainly wouldn't have been that close in with my sea kayak. I could turn and back off really quickly when needed. The amusing bit was getting back around the Point, I had to find a route near enough to the cliff to be able to surf against the tidal race, but not so near as to be ketchup-ed across it. All quite enjoyable and exciting, whilst dodging an onslaught of 1001 divebombing guillemots.

www.multimap.com/map/brow...imap.y=177

So...the RH was okay-ish for getting from A to B, but was not good paddling into heavy seas over a long distance. It came into its own when I went close inshore and will basically be great for close exploring...the kind you'll never try in your 5 metre glassfibre craft. I'll look forward to checking out a few inaccessible places with it in future trips.


-----------Mark Rainsley
Edited by: guidebook at: 7/4/04 5:07 pm

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