This weekend saw 4 of the T.M.M. Team hit the water in our new inflatable kayaks. Alas Joe had a prior event and though he made it for the team photo and to push us off he could not come out to play.
The aim of the weekend was some hands on training and familiarisation with our new Memba 390 kayaks. For us to be happy in our minds that you are going to be fine in them.
One of the team was a novice and none of us had spent any great time in this kayak and I have to say within minutes we were all very comfortable and at home in the boats. Oh and I do mean comfy, plenty of leg room, room for kit and sitting back in the seat you just become one with the boat.
Heading out onto the loch and no real issue with waves as although not flat calm the water was in no way rough, this was pretty much the way of it as we skirted around the west side of a small island, as we rounded the headland on the south side we could feel the influence of a moderate wind but nothing that concerned us or really interfered with the control or the tracking of the boat. Indeed this craft tracks well in the water and keeping a straight line is not difficult. It can also get up a decent amount of speed for an inflatable but it's never going to break any records.
Leaving the launch point to landing on the island we had chosen for the base took around 1hr but in that hour we spent a good bit of time just sitting around taking photo's, some posed (see right) some not so much. Launching and making port on the beach was a simple process and though we did have our feet in the water decent waterproof shoes make sure this is not an issue. A top tip is regardless of the weather heading out having the right clothing with you is key, whilst we did have it in the van we left it there and coming back the next day was not so nice. (though we were not totally fussed as we could change as soon as we landed.)
After a night at camp and some seriously heavy winds (not forecast) we were faced with the prospect of returning to our launch point heading into the wind, the wind incidentally was a bit stronger than forecast and as a result at times the water was a bit rougher than expected. Nothing for it but to exploit the first period of calm water and go for it, by go for it we wanted to push the boats a bit and so we set a course right round the island and then back to the launch point.
Initially we were not taxed and enjoyed a good paddle with the island sheltering us from the worst of the wind, though we knew at some point to get back we would have to turn into it and just go for it, a bit more posing, (see above and right) and we headed round the North side of the island and into the open stretch of water that we had to cross to come home.
To be frank there was no real need to be overly concerned and if I am being fully honest we weren't but we did have some rough water and head on winds for a while. The boats performed great and none of the team strayed from course and we covered about 3/4's of a mile in the rough water in no time at all, actually as is expected the roughest part in the centre of the open water took a quick bit of concentrated paddling and only took a couple of minutes, none of us got soaked, none of us was in any danger and the boats rode the waves without issue. If you tried to capsize in one of these you would probably fall out first before the boat went over.
So all in all I would say a successful trial, a happy team and hopefully if you are planning or have planned to come out on the water with us a more of a restful mind for you. The Memba 390 is a great boat for some fun on the water and comfortable enough for a few days on experiences such as the Great Glen. To give you an idea today we covered about 2 miles in a mixture of water conditions and wind directions without any sail assistance in about 55 minutes.