Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reaction outfitting

Three standard safety loop / grab loops; one on each end, and one just behind the cockpit for swimmer assistance.

Adjustable thigh hooks (with the included 4mm allen key) ,a ratcheting backband, and a moveable rotomolded seat with minicel foam on the center line to create a continuous beam between the bow and stern pillars.

Velcro pieces on the seat to accept the new adjustable hip pads, which are also found on the Mad Boy
(click the link to see how they work)

Four way adjustable bulkhead, allows you to expand or contract the footplate to fill in the gaps and have a bulkhead that feel like it was custom made for your inseam length.

A fun retro design in modern/new plastic, which I've been comparing (for fun) to the old school boats

Reaction vs Transition
Reaction vs Critical Mass
Reaction vs Vortex
Reaction vs Dancers
Reaction vs Lazer
Reaction vs AQII

Saturday, April 25, 2009

It's not your old Reflex, it's the new SL350 from Dragorossi

contemporary lines, modern 3.5 meter boat, sized for average sized slalom athletes

with a nice rotomolded, adjustable seat (mincel pillar continues under the seat), ratchetting backband, and "yakima" style footpegs

molded knee bumps in the recessed cockpit area lets the discerning slalom boat paddler make a custom fit from minicel foam (as is traditinally the case with race boats)

the minicel pillars run almost the entire length of the boat to make sure it stays rigid

more info here

cockpit size is approx. 30" x 16 1/2"

direct links (below) to photos of the SL350 in action at the
New England Whitewater Triple Crown Championships
taken by spectators as they enjoyed the competition

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Do you have a boat for T'ville?

Ideally, you'd have a composite slalom boat, a composite wildwater boat, and (these days) a composite freestyle boat.

In reality, most people will have all plastic.
Ok to race your plastic freestyle boat, plastic slalom boat, and plastic freestyle boat.

Since there is so much focus on the overall scoring, if you choose to be in all three events, it's ok to break out the old school boat for the wildwater section, and perhaps even the slalom section.
You can even use your creek boat for these.
I'm sure that you can get a few spins and an ender in an old long boat or your creek boat.

So, don't worry about having the perfect boat. Just come on out and participate. You never know.
After taking part in the Triple Crown, you might just look back on it as the discovery of some new aspect of whitewater that you never before realized was fun.

(boats in the top photo, from left to right: SL350, Reaction, Wavehopper, MadBoy, Fish)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mad Boy quick outfitting introduction

The new  Dragorossi Performance Outfitting system is more traditional than the Elite Outfitting system.
It comes with adjustable hip pockets which fit most people.
The super slender can easily use one of the shims as a template to cut more padding, which can be added in the pocket.

Notice the velcro pad on the side of the seat.
This does most of the work of holding your hip pads, and will allow you to adjust the position of each hip pad to fit your personal body type.

Feed the top strap through the holes in the seat (where the backband straps are) and thread the end through the buckle on the front side of the hip pad.
Get in the boat with the buckle a bit loose so you can adjust the hip pad position to fit you.
Tighten  everything up when you have found the correct placement.

The rotomolded bow pillar is new for 2009.  It has a thumb screw that is set loose when the boat is new.  This is so you can move your seat forward or back.  Once you have found the correct seat position, tighten the screw down so the bow pillar will do its job of keeping the boat's shape and making it strong.  (it will compliment the foam pillar that runs under the seat, and the pillar in the stern, making a unified I-beam along the center line of the boat)

Notice the rounded, concave shape to the pillar.  It's meant to be used in conjunction with a bungee cord to hold a water bottle or small throw rope.  (the larger rope can go in back)

The bulkhead for 2009 is mostly traditional, with one new feature; the adjustment plates.
They can be adjusted to fill in any gaps, and prevent your feet from slipping past the bulkhead.
While not needed for general river running, if you plan to use this boat as a creeker then I'd recommend cutting a foam plate to cover all of this, that is at least 3" thick.

A special note on the adjustment plates:
BOTH the black and white plates adjust, so the adjustment is both horizontal and vertical, allowing you to fill the gaps better than if it was just one way. Essentially, you can make the plate expand or contract as you move it up and down.

The traditional thigh hooks can be adjusted with the included allen/hex wrench.  (4mm)

I took two pictures so you can get an idea of the adjustability.

The thigh hooks are held in place by three screws.  Be sure to loosen them all to make your adjustments.  
A word of caution:  when tightening them back up, you only need to make them hand tight, no need to crank down too hard.  Let the gaskets do their work without making them totally flat and your boat will be dry for a long time.

The new, larger DR Performance backband is softer than the old one, and makes stern access eaiser, for important gear such as a spectra throw rope.

It's much easier to access the stern by lifting the backband up, instead of trying to stuff things over the top.

Here are way too many photos of the first Mad Boy that was unwrapped last week.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Whitewater Championship

is next weekend
in the T'ville Gorge on the Farmington River
It is a Triple Crown Event that will include
preliminary races on Saturday
finals on Sunday

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The DragoRossi Container has Arrived

it mostly contains SL350 plastic slalom boats and Mad Boys, with a few retro Reactions molded from new plastic.

on the far end of the photos you'll see a Green/Yellow fade Reaction (Lime) and a Blue/White fade slalom boat (ice)
those colors are a bit different from the usual Dragorossi colors, and make for some very unique looking boats.
The regular blue (not dark, not light) slalom boat was a bit of a suprise when I unloaded the container. It's a beautiful color.
Anyone who chose "ice" blue can drop me an email and let me know if they want that blue/white fade, or this new regular blue color.

I loaded my truck before taking these pictures, and am leaving for the first local, southern New England deliveries as soon as I post this.

Most of these boats are already sold, but there should be a small container of Mad Boy, Reaction, and SL350 left for customers who missed the first opportunity to get some new plastic from Dragorossi.

Monday, April 06, 2009

a quick way to help reverse the tide of shady politics in the river

The West River releases have been reduced in number over the past couple of years
using suspect data to justify the reduction
to favor one narrow interest group

Now, the releases are moved to mid-week, so that they (technically) still exist
but they can only be enjoyed by the unemployed or few locals

In my opinion, this is the latest step towards eventually getting rid of the releases all together.
I'm sure that after a couple of years of scheduling releases when nobody can attend (mid-week)
the special interest group that would have the river all to themselves (out of town fly fisherman) will eventually start to argue that whitewater releases are not used, thus should be cancelled completely.

Sign this petition (takes less than a minute)
and help reverse the trend,
returning the West River to a true multi-use natural resource