Sailing to Shirley Animal.

Strange title? I sailed my pedal powered dinghy today and headed north on the 127 mile long Leeds/Liverpool canal to just beyond the place pictured above. The time worn graffito reads “Shirley Animal” and the spot is referenced in the names of segments in the athletics app. Strava in various different activity types, though canoeing doesn’t appear to be one of them. I rode my mountain bike yesterday so I didn’t want to make today’s sail into too long an expedition but rather to just build on the exercise I got from the bike ride. I also had to pull my boat on wheels to the water and back and although home and canal are at the same altitude there is a dip and subsequent rise to cope with.

The weather was cloudy at times with the occasional glimpse of weak sunshine but very still, which is just about perfect for energetic sailing of a pedal boat. I had a brief chat with a passer by about the boat, which is normal when you have a unique vessel. I was on the water for 41 minutes and on the way back put a lot of effort in. In some ways it might seem a thankless task to pedal hard because you can’t really detect any small increase in speed but I was pleased to pass through the only Strava segment on the route in my “sprint finish” phase. Strava had me averaging 4.9mph over the short 0.08 mile distance but I know this to be an error in my favour. Unless my boat was able to plane or skim across the surface of the water like a speed boat science tells us that a hull of a given length can only achieve a certain speed. With my short hull my maximum hull speed is a mere 4.16 mph but since you can’t particularly detect your speed it’s a rather academic point. It’s just nice to be floating along whilst still getting valuable training which will help my cycling fitness.

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