BacK To The Boats

After the fire in the sky, One reported on the 13th and the second reported on the 15th, Well It’s time to put some quality time in on the boats and the trip preparations. I’ve had no luck as of yet getting one of the cheapo plastic kayaks for the first trip. A bummer for sure as I hoped to use an expendable boat for the first trip. While there are many kayak designs/plans free for the asking, most are unsuited for rough water and rough use. I’m a little worried as most of my route has both quiet waters interspersed with fast areas with rocks and fast waters and a few staircase type waterfalls. That’s not the place to use a thin skinned boat or a skin on frame type. You need a tough hull for sure. Another part of design limitations is that a limit of a 4 foot width to make it through the lower Yough (pronounced: Yock) waters. Four foot beam and a max ten to twelve foot length or you are in trouble quicker than spit. That’s where a cheapo Pelican boat with 28 inch beam and a ten foot hull would make all the difference. The Pelican is a simple all round starter /entry level kayak. It Will laugh at the white water but be a little hard to control in the quiet water. There it excels, if you use a lazy paddle technique, don’t push it up to speed in the flat and your OK. Otherwise it will wobble all around until you get the hang of it.

Current Conditions:

USGS 03080000 Laurel Hill Creek at Ursina, PA
Gage height, feet, Auxillary
Most recent instantaneous value: 1.72   02-16-2013  20:30 EST

USGS 03081500 Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle, PA
Flood Categories (in feet)
Major Flood Stage:    25
Moderate Flood Stage:    22
Flood Stage:    20
Action Stage:    10

Historical Crests
(1) 14.75 ft on 03/14/2010
(2) 13.30 ft on 03/18/1936
(3) 13.00 ft on 03/29/1924
(4) 11.36 ft on 05/19/2011

Gage height, feet
Most recent instantaneous value: 4.63   02-16-2013  19:00 EST

Discharge, cubic feet per second
Most recent instantaneous value: 3,560   02-16-2013  19:00 EST

Temperature, water, degrees Fahrenheit
Most recent instantaneous value: 37.5   02-16-2013  18:30 EST

USGS 03083500 Youghiogheny River at Sutersville, PA
Flood Stage is recorded being at 20 feet.

Gage height, feet
Most recent instantaneous value: 6.03   02-16-2013  20:00 EST

Temperature, water, degrees Celsius
Most recent instantaneous value: 3.5   02-16-2013  20:00 EST

While the above information gives me a idea of the daily water conditions, It is damn near useless unless you know the river. That river goes from feet to inches in spots without warning. A for instance is down around Connelsville Pa where the dangers are a low head damn, You better know where it is, and a few submerged rocks that trash a few boat hulls each and every year. The clue s are all around if you look at what the locals are using. Almost to a boat, You may notice that shallow draft boats predominate. That’s the only way they can get all year round use of a watercraft.

Youghiogheny River Trail (land route-rails to trails)

Segment     Length (Miles)
Confluence to Ohiopyle –    11
Ohiopyle to Connellsville – 17
Connellsville to Dawson –   5.5
Dawson to Whittset –        10
Whittset to Cedar Creek Park-10
Cedar Creek Park to West Newton -3
West Newton to Sutersville –    4
Sutersville to Buena Vista –    5
Buena Vista to Boston –    6
Boston to McKeesport –    4
Total:     75.5

 Map information, Caution is advised as there are many  points of interest than the map shows.

Another Caution is advisable: Not all of the natives are friendly on my route. The paddler should be wary of the human and animal dangers on the trip. Where my trip starts is bear country. Whatever, I’m gonna do the crick. I’ll bring bear mace , I’ll hit the worst parts early morning, I’ll  shoot as much ( laurel creek) of the route in one day as possible. One possible put in is from state route 31, which will allow me to  get on with the real challenge.

PACCSA webcam at Laurel Ridge State Park

Which ever route I do take, it will be the one to maximize the miles traveled on water. On the food side of the trip is to use the old standby’s. DIY granola, DIY trail mix, ect. Dry mixes and the like.  I haven’t decided on a water filter as of yet. The one  Bear recommended is a good filter for sure, but I’m trying to go as light as possible without going the water pill route. I don’t like chemicals in my water, but not at the expense of water safety. There is time to worry it some more and the recommended one will pay it’s weight on later trips in bigger boats.

Speaking of the bigger boats, I have decided on the boat for trip #3. Trip #2 is down the Allegheny river from Kinzua to Pittsburgh and back up the Mon to the Yough to the home takeout. I could do that one with a PDR.  Trip #3 will start there on the Yough shallows and go all the way down to the Mississippi to the gulf. I wanted a square sail boat with a shoal depth like the Trilobyte T-16’x4′ but with more room like a Jim Michalak JEWELBOX, BEACHBOAT, 19′ X 6′. So I got back to the drawing board and made a hybrid out of those designs. Although my boat uses a lee board x 2  that I designed myself. So the boat is a 19’6″ x 6′ Bird Watcher Cabin Scow with a Crab Claw rig. I designed a Yuloh special for her to be used instead of motor. I have other mods for her too. I couple of choice pieces of my off grid anywhere stuff. I do expect to add some motors to her at a later date. The boat is intended to be a spartanly furnished live aboard with a composting head amidships, Berths forward, and a micro shop & galley at the stern. There is a host of upgrades waiting for the base hull cabin to be complete. Construction begins as soon as I get back from my trip in April. Now, I can’t wait for the warmer weather this spring. Later Folks, Dragon out.


About theelderdragon15601

This entry was posted in Kayak, River, River Trip, Rowing, Sailing, Scow. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to BacK To The Boats

  1. Sixbears says:

    If you have to paddle a lot of flat water with a white water kayak, consider a removable skeg. Once used a simply one make of plywood and strapped to the stern with a shock cord. Kept it dead straight. If you build a boat yourself, it would worth considering building a removable one into the design.

  2. Elder Dragon says:

    If I build the kayak, I’ll be using a jackknife / switchblade type keg….whatever my creek tests prove best. I also have a good adjustable portable portage wheel system. Also in consideration is a simplex rudder for the flat water to go with a mini crab claw sail. It doesn’t take much tyvek sheet to sail a kayak. One simple sail arrangement for the kayak is just use an umbrella. I have been busy playing with some 2 foot kayak models, Trying to decide on which is a go. My main criteria is comfort, stability, and simplicity. There may be a plastic kayak in the works yet. I hope so, so I can get on with the bigger boats.

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