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HomeNL-2018-08 Brookville

Brookville, Indiana Canoefest
June 30, 2018
by David Jacobs

Date: June 22, 2018

You would not believe what my sister Elaine and I did today, Friday, June 22nd! After the heavy rains yesterday and last night, the Brookville Dam was releasing extra water.

We scouted out what had previously been the most difficult section to navigate, and found some of the river features washed out. There were no shallow areas any more. This made it easier, but things would happen faster.

We decided to give it a try, even though it was still sprinkling.

Except for a tippy moment when the current in the channel from the city park merged with the main channel, it went as expected.

The current was very swift, and fun, at that point.

We went through several fast rapids, which my GPS clocked at over 10 mph. Much of the trip was around 9 mph. Our maximum speed was 11.7 mph! (Our normal flat water race pace is 5.7 mph. Going with a 5 to 10 mph wind, we hit 6.3 mph in a flat water sprint, a few days previous.)

Then, roughly six miles downstream, we came upon a bend filled with confused wave trains. The waves were so high they splashed over the gunnels on the sides, and splashed over the bow, onto Elaine’s lap! It was like riding a bucking bronco! I yelled, “yahoo!”, in Texas style.

We came very close to tipping over several times. I braced on the water with my paddle once, to bring the boat upright. To her credit, Elaine didn’t freak out, but kept on paddling. That saved us, also!

The water sloshing from side to side in the boat made it even more tippy and difficult to control, so we were very relieved when we made it through!

After another bend, the river straightened out enough that I could move forward into a kneeling position, to shift the water in the boat forward. Elaine then used our cut-off Clorox bottle to bail the water out of the bow.

After the water was out, the canoe responded normally, again. Success!

But at the very next bend was another, river-wide, big-water wave train, which swamped our boat again!

After successfully making it through, we were at the race take-out point, so we pulled over and emptied the canoe from the shore.

My car was parked a couple of miles downstream, so we went on from there, with no more big rapids!

Just as we took out, we started hearing thunder in the distance. We were glad it waited until we got out!

On the road trip back, each one of us occasionally blurted out “Wow!”. Then I said, “What are we going to do for excitement now?” Elaine said, “I don’t know!”

I gave her a high five!

(Race day is June 30th.)

Date: July 4, 2018

I returned home yesterday, after training with my sister, in Brookville, Indiana, for six weeks, and winning First Place Mixed Couples trophies, in the Brookville Championship races (June 30th).

If I hadn’t dumped the canoe over and run up the hill before being informed we had to drag the canoe up first, we would have beaten the first place men in the aluminum class. I’m pretty sure we beat them on the water!


Here is a link to the Championship Race results: Race Results

The author, David Jacobs