hello world – 3, part 1

ll preparations is almost finished, to “lay the keel” and start the building of Hello World – 3, my next boat, a Nick Schade designed, 18 feet (5.55 m) S&G Night Heron sea kayak. Many would ask why building another boat, while I’ve already had the Hello World – 1 & 2. Actually, HW – 1 is just a simple, slow canoe for poking around, HW – 2 is a recreational kayak suitable only for short trips, as proved in my last paddling to Vũng Tàu in June this year.

First, consider some facts, many of Vietnam islands are around 100 km off from shore. Phú Quý island is about 85 km from Mũi Né, Phan Thiết; Phú Quốc island is 110 km from Rạch Giá, Hà Tiên; Thổ Chu island is another 100 km from the southern most point of Phú Quốc; Côn Đảo island is about 95 km from Hậu Giang estuary, Sóc Trăng; Bạch Long Vỹ island is also 100 km from Cát Bà, Hải Phòng… Some are nearer such as: Cồn Cỏ, Chàm, Lý Sơn islands… all around 30 km.

Second, consider some other facts. If your sustained paddling speed is around 5 ~ 6 kmph, it’s not really possible to reach those islands, at least with a coastal – cruising small kayak which is, by design, not suited for multi – days sea crossing without resting, 14 ~ 16 hours of continuous paddling is almost the upper limit for an average man like me, after which you would need a good sleep to recover. Obviously a boat capable of sustaining 8 ~ 9 kmph and beyond is very much needed.

Third, is the target of 100 ~ 110 km in 24 hours really feasible!? The answer is: ça dépend! It depends on too many things: the weather, the wind, waves, the current, the temperature, all of the unknown factors. And for the known factors: your boat, your equipments, your physical preparation, your planning and strategy… all need to be the – very – best – of – class to push the limits and reach the target. That’s why I would invest lots of time and efforts into the building of this HW – 3 kayak.