Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Outfitting the Garbage Canoe

We're only a few days away from the launch of the Portland to the Ocean Trashpedition. Yesterday we began outfitting the canoe we're towing behind our sea kayaks to collect the plastic litter we find along the way.

We added a removable skeg to help with tracking in high winds:

We also added outriggers for extra stability. The outriggers in theory will also act as lee-boards to keep the boat from "water skiing" behind us should we encounter strong winds.

We rigged up a bridal tow system, which attaches to the canoe at the thwarts and runs underneath the bow. In theory this will give a bit of lift on the bow while towing rather than the downward pull you get from attaching a tow to the grab handles on top of the canoe. We hope this will keep the bow from plunging into wind-waves and taking on water!

We're hoping to get this pig out on the water to test these theories in the next day or two before we launch on Friday morning. Right now the Columbia has risen and is 1-2ft below flood stage. We're also heading out on the biggest tide series of the month. In some places the ebb tides are moving at over 4kts. The strong ebbs combined with high flows are going to make for some fast water heading to the ocean. It's possible we could be traveling 10-15 mph, which is great, unless we get strong apposing winds. When current and wind appose each other, it makes for rough water. The fast water also makes for strong eddy-lines, and really dampens the ability to go back up river should a problem arise.

If the weather cooperates, it should make for fast and easy miles. If it doesn't, we could potentially have one of the most challenging expeditions any of us have attempted before. Only time will tell!

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