Balance brace in the Vela
– Last Updated: Feb-26-10 12:36 PM EST –
Jay is correct above - part of what helps me is that the 16 pounds of flotation I get out of the PFD is floating a higher percentage of my torso than for most guys. So there is some cheating going on there.
On your question, once I have gotten time back in boats in pool sessions etc, I can usually balance brace in the Vela. However, it's not the easiest of our boats for that. If I am stiff or just not having a relaxed day, it'll be the Vela that I have trouble with. I think it's the combination of the angle of the side and the higher front deck. If I compare the slightly angled side of the Vela to the vertical side of the NDK Explorer LV and Romany, you see that the NDK boats are just about made to be sideways. The Vela side is also straight, but angled in when upright so it'll want to fall over on you a little in the brace. It also has a higher front deck, which means a bit more contortion is required for me to keep that upper part pushed up and away from my floating leg.
So while I can pretty much lay across the water any way I want in the NDK boats, or the Nordlow or the WW boats for that matter, in the Vela I have to really focus on arching the back and keeping the crown of my head punched back into the water. I also have to be willing to get a little more water up my nose staying there than in the other boats.