Living so closely with the elements must be one of the greatest attractions of all outdoor activities and certainly makes a huge difference to our enjoyment of canoeing. Working with other coaches recently, one of them commented on what a windy year 2015 seems to have been and I found myself agreeing. With the exception of one course – which was becalmed and had to be rescheduled – the opportunities to harness the wind and enjoy some amazing sailing in both canoes and kayaks has proved one of the standout points of the year.
Whether it’s been in the Thames valley, in the Lake District or paddling on the south coast estuaries (no trip to Scotland this year!) I seem to have found more opportunities to rig a sail and take advantage of the breeze than in previous years. All too often past canoe sailing experiences have been rather limp affairs with lights airs just about filling a sail without really providing any propulsion. This year has seen some great days out and some truly memorable occasions when I and people I’ve been paddling with have been, quite literally, blown away – and enjoyed every minute of it!