Weakest Link analysis

Discussion in 'Paddling Safety' started by designer, Aug 1, 2019.

  1. designer

    designer Paddler

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    Wasn't sure if this should go in Safety or Gear forums, but I needed a short break from a whirlwind house cleaning as a surprise when Joy returns from visiting her kids. Note to self - make sure the electric toothbrush is completely off before removing from mouth.

    During my last trip, several people had forgotten their phone charger cable and borrowed mine. Be aware that if someone can't keep track of their own cable, they might not be skilled in keeping track of yours. As the cable was passed around to various people who needed to change their phone/camera/texting/navigation device - all the same device - it became kind of a game of, "Button, button, who has the button."

    All those "things" dependent on one little white cable. And cables are known to fail.

    Though those of use who have more body on the analog dock than we do a foot on the digital boat don't see that much of a concern, it does inspire me to review systems with various parts and consider the impact of failure. For example, consider a rudder system. My first thought would be, "What if the cable broke?" But there is more to that rudder system than just "a cable"; there's all those cable connectors too.

    I'm not saying we should become worrywarts. But there is something to that ditty about "For want of a nail a shoe was lost, for want of a shoe a horse was lost ..."

    I suppose the challenge is to have enough "backup" without towing a complete duplicately equipped/stocked kayak. But if you do ... do you have a backup tow line?
     
  2. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    One aspect to consider is the difference between losing or misplacing something, or having something fail in use.

    And, how important that item is, of course.
     
  3. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    I think you've just now described to us that the best backup to have on an outing is . . . designer!
     
  4. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    My repair kit gets augmented or updated pretty much any time I replace something in my remaining boats. Trial and error. Rudder cables and ancillary hardware seem to be the highest priority. And then there's hatchware. After that, some glass, some duct tape, sometimes a small kit of two part epoxy. Tools that have evolved and undergone natural selection as the boats evolved. I should carry a wrist gasket replacement kit but I don't.

    With one VHF and one GPS and paper charts plus nav tools, that area is covered.

    If I were still doing solo trips, I would take a ditch bag.
     
  5. JKA

    JKA Paddler

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    Now that's a principle that needs chiselled into stone!
     
  6. designer

    designer Paddler

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    My boat repair is kit is almost non-existent - but I don't paddle in remote places. It's like - in very younger days - when I'd solo Mt. Hood. People would say, "Isn't it dangerous to climb alone." I'd reply, On Mt. Hood you may be climbing "solo", but you will never be climbing alone (there's a line of people like that infamous photo of the backup on Mt Everest a few weeks ago).

    I do carry a small screw driver for the peddle mount screws. And a have a few feet of duct tape wrapped around my water bottle. I was given some "glue" you mix and shine a UV flashlight on to harden. But it came in a water bottle size container - demands too much real estate.

    The only Macgyver I was taught for hatch covers: in a pinch you can blow up your paddle float to block the opening.

    If I were a rock garden guy or paddled where I need surf launch/landings (a possibility of coming in sideways) that would be different.

    But I do inspect and wash the boats after every adventure. This last time, I noticed the little "pull down" cord I tied on Joy's skeg (thank GOD I still had edit privileges) had frayed (or was chewed!) almost all the way through. So I replace that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
  7. JKA

    JKA Paddler

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    I'm hoping that 'Joy's sag' was a typo! If not, maybe you were supposed to post that information on a different site!!! :D
     
  8. NWimport

    NWimport Paddler

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    The American Military has a little slogun about backup gear: Two is one and one is none. That’s because something will always break, malfunction or get lost. So if it’s important.......
     
  9. Mac50L

    Mac50L Paddler

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    JKA, you are rude :) :)

    Rudder cables, if metal they can and do fatigue (seen it happen). If Spectra / Dyneema (2 mm dia.) is used they don't fatigue and a bit extra can be used and looped up in the cockpit as spare. Admittedly I connect the end of the line to the rudder with a bit of sacrificial white line/string (nylon) that should be changed every couple of years due to UV damage - if I ever bothered to.

    Otherwise Ductape is the universal fix-it. If desperate a multi-tool should have what's needed. Including a saw blade to cut down trees for a campfire or clear the bush - OK, maybe not.

    Phone charger cables? I thought we go away to get away from all of that.
     
  10. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Amen, brother, amen!!!!
    :)
     
  11. designer

    designer Paddler

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    In addition to chart and compass, I'm moving my navigation from Garmin to Gaia, AyeTides, and iNavX apps on my iPad mini. In addition, I may be transferring from The Spot, with it's yearly contract fee (that I only use for a couple of weeks a year) to an InReach that allows for just a monthly plan. The inReach is charged via USB port - Yes, I prefer it run on easy to fine AAA batteries like The Spot.

    So that's two devices, InReach and iPad that could require an additional charge - hence the spare battery pack and cable. I don't use the iPad to take photos/videos and it doesn't have a cellular option because if I'm in cell range I'm probably not out far enough. :)

    Last visit to Pirate's Cove, I was pleasantly surprised that I could make daily contact with a "boating net" via my 2m ham radio.

    Aside from the iPad app that give me tide/current info (backed up by paper tables), the other devices fall under the category of "letting someone know where you are".

    And clearly some of it is considering the comfort of others. Though I am happy paddling alone or on a multi-day trip with someone else, in my little Mariner Express (or Max), folks back home fret. Letting them know where I am goes a long way toward minimizing ... discussions.

    You can't imagine how ironic it seems to me, being involved with ham radio since early high school days with all it's "nerd" implications. Now I see everyone with their "hand held" at the dinner table, nature walks, etc., ready to disengage as soon as that ring tone chimes.
     
  12. Mac50L

    Mac50L Paddler

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    What!!! No sextant? What's the world coming to?

    Personally, a chart or map and a compass. The compass has almost been needed 3 times in 30 years otherwise the sun usually does a good job. Yes, we often have it visible here.

    And the sextant? Yes I have one. Err, yes it does stay at home. It was originally bought for off shore sailing.

    Note - no batteries to go flat, ever.
     
  13. designer

    designer Paddler

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    The sun does a pretty good job when you can see the sun. But this is the Pacific NorthWest.

    YES, I had a sextant too - back in the sailing days :) I was able to "shoot the sun" and I regret that I never learned to use the stars. I was disappointed to discover - unlike what I saw in movies as a kid - that one needed a "book" of tables in order to complete the calculations. These days one can have (yet another) electronic device that holds the tables - but if I'm going to push a button, it might as well be on a GPS.

    Don't know about New Zealand but in my neck of the paddling woods we can get pretty dense fog. And, especially at high tide, some of the campsite landings can be difficult to discern.
     
  14. Mac50L

    Mac50L Paddler

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    And I'll admit that can be a problem.
    And a pencil.
    Of 2 possible times I nearly needed a compass it was fog coming down and then clearing just in time. The third time, Fiji, a channel marker was visible during the rain squall so we had something to point at.

    When we sailed as crew across the East China Sea (45' yacht), there was a sextant on board and I thought of "playing" with it but GPS meant I was too lazy to. I did have to do one bit of electronics repair while anchored at the north end of the Philippines. Soldering in the sun - not my normal workshop.
     
  15. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Pre-GPS, I did a couple dead reckoning crossings in fog, both on the lower Columbia River, an enormous estaurine environment with two major "drainage" channels, both terminating in a common shipping channel between the jetties defining the Columbia River Bar. My playground was well upriver, in a complex mixture of low vegetated islands, lesser side channels, the shipping channel, humongous dredge spill enhanced islands, and wide, tidally influenced shoalling expanses interconnecting this mess. A forced overnighting was always a concern if you got disoriented and the visibility crapped out.

    Worse, a freighter in the channel might run you down, foghorn blasts at regular intervals notwithstanding.

    For these reasons, our "foggy crossings" were timid things, usually over transits we had done before, with bearings to/from useful navaids, day markers, tips of islands, and the like, premarked on our laminated charts. What we could not know precisely was the timing and speed of currents. Nevertheless, one fine foggy morning my oceanographer paddling buddy and I set out to cross from the Oregon bank of the river to the lower end of a large island which defined the Oregon side of the shipping channel, about two and a half miles off, with a 100 yard long island lying across our intended course, at the one mile mark.

    So we made way, timing our exit from shore, and followed the charted course to that island, hedging upstream a few degrees because we knew the ebb was just beginning. After fifteen minutes the mist began to brighten uniformly all around us and both of us began to get vertigo from staring at our deck compasses. At about 30 minutes, we expected to see the island ... and wonder of wonders a low shadowy shape began to emerge sightly to our left, as the fog broke gradually around us. Revealing, as well, four or five sport fishing boats, scattered at anchor within a quarter mile radius, all completely unknown to us.

    The mist abated and the rest of the day was sunny and warm, leaving us to contemplate how little skill there was in what we had "accomplished."