Paddlers are a bit like cyclists, in that the idea number of boats they need is one more than they possess already. But unlike cyclists, our chosen vehicles, especially for an open boater, take up rather more space in the shed than a bike.
I have reached that ‘one in, one out’ state, so when I decided it was time to move onto a more whitewater-orientated hull, my old Genesis had to go. Now I havent had this boat long, only a few months, but it had been bought to see if whitewater open-boating was for me. Its an old design, more modern OC-1s are shorter, narrower, more extreme all round, but it proved to be great fun to play in on my local rivers. Just not different enough from my Apache 15, which is a very capable river tourer in its own right.
One of my paddling buddies was looking to make the same journey as me, and was keen to take the boat on, so we arranged a trip to Matlock for him to have a go and see if the boat suited him.
There’s two nice play-spots there – a simple wave at Artist’s Corner, and the slalom course further downstream, with the infamous ‘killer rock’, on which Andy and Darren had pinned their Charles River tandem on our last trip there together. I stayed in my Apache for the day, while they took turns in the Genesis.
Playing at Artist’s Corner:
After a while getting used to the boat, we moved downstream to the slalom course for a an hour or two playing on the stoppers and eddies. It is a wonderful feeling when the hull comes alive on the flow, and you can use the power of the river to move across the current, or hold the boat on a wave. On a good day, you and the boat move as one, the paddle becomes an extension of your arms that you use instinctively, and the canoe glides and dips on the river.
Get it wrong though, catch an upstream edge going into the current, or the stern crossing an eddy line, and it can suddenly become a matter of desperate gunnel-grabbing and flailing around with the paddle, before swimming to the side and retrieving the boat from a distance downstream…
We had a bit of that, though without the swim, and Andy’s comment was that in his usual boat, a Hou 13, he’d have been in and swimming at least twice, but the Genesis’ secondary stability let him pull it back even with green water coming over the gunnel.
Time flies when you’re having fun, and it seemed all too soon that we had to stop. A quick line up to the top of the slalom course and the get out and then we were done. The result: boat sold! Next weekend there will be a happy new owner for the Genesis, while I continue to look for my perfect OC-1.