Well it finally happened to me

SZihn

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Jul 1, 2021
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Shoshoni Wyoming
I got "knocked off the horse" today for the 1st time.


My Wife Anna and I left this morning to go out on Boysen Resivour for a day of kayaking and had great fun. In the late afternoon we went to where the causeway crossed the lake and the wind came up, dropping over the horizon of the mountains and bringing the white caps along. We were about 300 yards from the west shore and about 7/8 of a mile from the place we launched this morning, so we started going back. We got about halfway and the chop was getting rough enough to be a problem. Well ----one took me over. My first capsize that was not my choice. With chop about 1.5 to 2 feet high and curling white caps, the waves should not have been a big problem but my bow got turned and before I could straighten it out, I got knocked over.

Today I was glad I have practiced the drill every time I have gone out from the 1st day I ever got into a kayak, which was not all that long ago. It's something all the folks I talked to and corresponded with on line emphasized over and over.. Learn to reenter! As soon as you own the boat!

I did! Never once did I go out kayaking without doing the drill a few times. I am SO glad to took their advise. It was just one more drill.

In this case because Anna was so close we did the team rescue. Anna came up along side and held my paddle and I use a rope to right the boat. She had a 1 gallon bailing bucket so fairly quickly she had the cockpit's water level down to about 2-3 inches. I took the paddle back from her and set it over my rear deck and Anna held it "clamped" to her deck ,so it was like having a paddle float outrigger, but we didn't even take the time to put the float on. I put a leg over the paddle and slid into the boat, but all this was going on during the ride up and down and rolling on the choppy water. I was pleased in how well it came together, and how quickly. About 1 minute with the bildge pump and I was ready to go again. We then continued to bow-rudder with our paddles and grab water as much as we could, and came into our little bay where the truck was in about 5-7 more minutes. I was pleased how well it went and very thankful Anna was right there. Once she thought she might go over too, but managed to stay upright and we got back to shore.

And of course the wind storm was like so many here, dropping down from the mountains before you can get out of the way. The weather service will tell you about the weather forecast as generalities, but these short strong winds often don't have much area in square miles and don't last long. Because there are no towns nearby the weather service don't address them until they are in progress. But when they hit they can be strong and sudden. We were back on land maybe 10 minutes and the wind died down to about 10-15 MPH and the chop only about 8" high. (of course....Murphy's Law, right)

Mountains do that kind of thing some times, and often there is little or no warning. I was told about 50 times; "Best to learn how to do this kind of drill well BEFORE you actually need to."


God bless those folks that told me that so many times.
 
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CPS

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Oct 27, 2020
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You mentioned in another thread that you paddle a Loon 106, I believe. Glad to hear you were successful in recovering from a dumping.

I think those shorter recreational boats are probably harder to rescue than a sea kayak, so I'm sure you'll have lots of fun doing self rescues when you find a longer boat for yourself.

Goes to show the importance of practicing rescues.

:thumbsup::thumbsup:
 

SZihn

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Shoshoni Wyoming
Yes CPS, it's a Loon 106. Everyone tells me the Loon is very difficult to do a self rescue in. I found it was impossible for me until I got a paddle float, or unless I have help from another boater. Once I got the paddle float and I rigged a "Righting Rope" to easily tun the upside-down boat right-side-up, I found it was not too hard to do. a Tupperware container that holds 3 Liters ( about 80% of a gallon ) makes bailing it out petty fast, You have to bail from the outside however because even with the bow bags if you reenter when it's swamped the gunnels are under water, so bailing is impossible for me unless I do most of it from outside, floating along side. The cockpit is WAY to big to make it easy, and re-swamping is something to be avoided. But after doing ti many times I have it down fairly well. I have 2 float bags in the nose of the bow and a line float (6" X 24") behind the seat back in the cockpit

How much harder is it to do than a Sea Kayak? I have no idea. I have not ever been in a Sea Kayak (yet) But that's my goal, and I hope soon.
I want to be able to keep paddeling when the winds come up and I want to be able to roll.
 
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CPS

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How much harder is it to do than a Sea Kayak? I have no idea. I have not ever been in a Sea Kayak (yet) But that's my goal, and I hope soon.
I want to be able to keep paddeling when the winds come up and I want to be able to roll.
It's tough to quantify the difference, but I can offer a comparison.
When on a course that involved demonstrating competence in doing a paddle float re-entry, the goal is to have done a wet exit, righted the kayak, grabbed the paddle float, put the paddle float onto the paddle, re-enter the kayak, put on the spray skirt, crack the skirt to slip the pump in and start pumping in under 2 minutes. While it may seem like a lot, with practice it's very achievable.

The other advantage of a sea kayak is that it sits higher in the water with a flooded cockpit due to having more buoyancy (due to the bulkheads). This means that one can usually sit in the cockpit and have a reasonable chance of pumping it out. I.e. the edge of the cockpit is above the water. Stability of a flooded kayak is pretty crap, so a paddle float outrigger can be helpful.

I cannot imagine myself being able to re-enter a Loon 106 anywhere near as quickly as I can re-enter my kayak.

I'm still working on rolling myself. Always something to work on.
 

Mac50L

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Aug 18, 2014
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I can't see where you say where the wind was from relative to your course. Were you running down wind? If so the sensible thing is to raft and run.
 

SZihn

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Shoshoni Wyoming
The wind was coming from our 7:00 to maybe 7:30. So nearly to our backs, I did fine until I turned around to see where Anna was, because I didn't want us to be far apart in such wind. Well I dropped my guard, and the wind turned my boat hard to the right, and then a large breaker took me at 90 degrees coming from my right. I know to brace, but I have little experience at doing it "for real" and before I thought to do it I was over. My reactions were not fast enough.
Mac50L, what do you mean when you say "raft and run?"
 

SZihn

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Shoshoni Wyoming
I hope so SalishSeaNior

It's all just a drill ------until it's not.
And now I KNOW I was told the truth. Taking the advice of those that know made the real thing just another drill and because of the following of that good advice I was completely OK. I never really enjoyed the drills but they were not too bad either. I wanted to do them every time I went out, but not for fun. Just to learn the little things that made it smooth. Like how I adjusted a bailing bucket, rig my lines, and where I store my paddle float and buidge pump. I would find things to do that were smoother, and adjust accordingly. When it happened yesterday it was just like the drills and it went like clock work. But if I am Anna had not done those drills I could have been in REAL trouble
 
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cougarmeat

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Bend OR USA
I’ve mentioned it before but it doesn’t hurt to emphasize what SZihn said, " Learn to reenter! As soon as you own the boat!”.
My first class was with Ebb and Flow in Portland and they insisted that we call tip over and get back in - with supervision and instruction of course. Later that day - they let us have the boats for the rest of the day after the class - I tipped over just watching boats go by on the Willamette River. I was so glad I had just learned to self-rescue. Comparatively, Alder Creek Kayak covered the same material but told the students that actually doing the self-rescue was optional.

When I tipped over in a lake and the boat got away from me, and as a swam towards it I could feel my finger tips brush the hull as the wind moved it just out of reach. And when I was pumping it out, my paddle+float worked its way out of the bungee and floated away, leaving me with a pump and a boat full of water on a white cap lake. At that time I decided it was time to learn how to roll.

Note that I had a paddling partner and was on a lake so there was no panic, just a lot of physical mistakes. It’s REALLY good to get those little missteps out of the way with early practice. SZihn, I’m glad you made it back to write your report. I bet you learned A LOT that day.
 
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Mac50L

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South Island, New Zealand
The wind was coming from our 7:00 to maybe 7:30. So nearly to our backs, I did fine until I turned around to see where Anna was, because I didn't want us to be far apart in such wind. .... Mac50L, what do you mean when you say "raft and run?"
Turned to see -
My partner did that crossing a very cold lake. We did a two boat rescue (no kayak over kayak thing) and rafted up crossing to the shore, me partly paddling. We eventually got to a bit of shore where it was the last road access before the next about 5+ miles down wind. And yes, I thumbed a ride back to where our car was, about a 1 mile to windward.

A few days later in a fjord, we ran part way home rafted, just in case. Steep hills, possibly swirling winds

Another incident -
I knew there was a front coming through and as we started a yacht warned us it should be there in an hour. After an hour of paddling to an island, we then turned to return as the predicted front came through, rapidly rising to 30+ knots. We rafted and ran for home.

Back at the start point the Coast Guard were heading out to pick up a capsized kayaker who eventually ended up in hospital with hypothermia. As an aside, if he'd been paddling my design which he'd built one of he wouldn't have had that problem.

On returning my daughter’s comment as she got out of her kayak, “Boring.” Why?
As soon as the front hit we rafted and ran, acting like a catamaran, stable and safe and probably as fast as paddling. Doing nothing and getting home fast and safe.

My daughter was resting on my foredeck / cockpit cover and I was leaning on her aft deck just behind her.

Examples -
 

SZihn

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Shoshoni Wyoming
Well I find I still need to work on my self rescue drills more.

Anna and I went out in the wind yesterday for some training. The wind got heavy enough to make some impressive white caps and we paddled into it to get a few hundred yards from shore. She capsized her kayak and could climb back into it in a few seconds. She is a swimmer and can get her bow up enough to empty about 90% of the water from the cockpit and flip the boat over, and then she climbs in She makes me very proud. It looks easy for her.

But me........."rock-man"................. I sink my boat and even with a wet suit on (3MM pants and 2MM full sleeve top) and a PFD I can't do what she does. I try to lift my bow but only push myself under water. 100% under water! 2 friends told me "no way a man can sink with a wet suit and a PFD on" Until the 4th,( Sunday,) and we all went out on the lake and I did it in front of them. They were amazed! Yes I can, and when I relax and float with all my stuff on I only have 3/4 of my head out of the water. water at my lower lip.
Maybe I'll get 7MM pants and a larger or taller PDF. Sure could not hurt. Another thing is that when pushing up on the boat my arms are up, so the PFD can shift up too and not hold me much. I think a simple strap rigged on it, to pass between my legs to hold it down when I cinch it up would help a lot. Anyone ever do that? Any made that way?

So I have to bail. I float holding onto the swamped kayak at the gunnel and bail. I have a 3 liter (80% of a gallon aprox) Tupperware bucket to bail with tied into the cockpit with a 3 foot long 1/4" rope, so I can't loose it. If my boat is full to within a few inches of the cockpit rim it takes me about 2 minutes to bail it out to within 2" of the bottom of the hull. I then use a paddle float and do the reentry. I have done it many times with swells up to about 18". But YESTERDAY I gave a bad performance. My paddle is just under 7 feet so I try to "measure" the waves from trough to crests with it. Yesterday the "serf" was about 40% the length of my paddle. So I am guessing 3 feet. I could do everything up to climbing back on the rear deck but the chop was so high I found I could not reenter, and when I'd try to get back into the cockpit I'd flip the boat because of the rolling of the waves and breaking crests. I just could not keep the ballance. I tried it 3 times and flipped over every time, and when I give up I was blown all the way back to ground, so I just stood up and pulled the kayak in and dumped out the water.

Not an unsafe drill because of our set up, 500 yards out and knowing the wind would blow me into the shore if I was unsuccessful....And I was,,,,,And it did!

It was frustrated to see that, with chop that high, I was not able to do it.

I know these boats are not made for this kind of water, but they are all we have now, so we figure that training in them to a point we are "maxed out" is a good thing and the only way to do that is to do it.

I hope to buy an Eddyline Fathom in the not too distant future (Anna is going to save up for a small sail boat instead of a Sea/Touring kayak) I am guessing and hoping the time spent maxing out my capabilities on the 10-1/2 foot Loon is going to pay dividends on the Fathom. Like runners training with ankle weight on. (I may be wrong, but that's my only option for the time being)

So, I am thinking I simply need to develop my balance better. Or do any of you think I am doing something else wrong? Anna said she wants to buy a small water-proof camera and take videos. If she does I'll have her video me and shoot what I am doing for critique from those that know the sport and skills far better then I do. Maybe you guys and gals can help me if you see me doing something wrong?

Most say the first "wrong thing" I am doing it going out in high winds and I can't say they are wrong, but I know no other way to train for heavy seas other then getting out in high wind and waves.

At least the water is not cold this time of year.
 
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JohnAbercrombie

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What PFD are you using?
Does it fit you?
When I first started 'seriously' kayaking 10+ years ago I went to a club 'rescues' class at a local pool.
The instructor was a no-nonsense but very capable club member and PaddleCanada instructor. We students were floating in the water near the pool edge. He leaned over and grabbed the shoulder strap on my PFD and pulled it up over my ears.
"Your PFD is too big and the straps aren't tight enough!" Lesson learned!
I sold that L PFD and bought a M, and learned to tighten the lower strap.
It took me a while to get used to having the lower PFD strap tight (below my ribs) when paddling, but I don't notice it now.

A lot of 'life vests' (not paddling PFDs) have crotch straps, and it wouldn't be difficult to improvise a strap with webbing and a few dollars worth of buckles if you are 'handy'. Most kayakers put the sprayskirt under the PFD, so a crotch strap won't work with that setup.
 
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sofstu

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Jun 14, 2021
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Kootenays BC
I am 10 pounds lighter than you and 2 inches taller.
I still get pushed under when trying to empty my boat with just a pfd on.
I have never tried it with my wetsuit on and present boat.
However when I am wearing my dry top it traps enough air to work.
I am honestly too lazy to purge all the air out and if I do I will sink.
So my arms look like a cartoon character with balloons stuck up their sleeves.
It may work for you, plus it's easier finding a dry jacket / dry pants combo to fit than a 1 piece wetsuit.

When you upgrade your kayak a Tuilik may help you.
Put it overtop of your pfd and it will trap a lot of air inside making you even more buoyant.
Sorry they are more of a winter accessory than warm we.ather

We are both too top heavy for a easy self rescue like your wife.

Sorry I can only offer advice for one of your issues.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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when I relax and float with all my stuff on I only have 3/4 of my head out of the water. water at my lower lip.
This was the issue my 'PFD fit' comments (above) referred to. I think my PFD has 15 or 20 lbs of flotation, so it definitely won't hold me above water if I lift my kayak to dump water without kicking hard with my legs. For me it's tricky getting that timing right.
 

nootka

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May 26, 2007
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Campbell River
A neoprene tuilik gives you some extra flotation - because of the neoprene.
And yes a tuilik is a cheat for rolling, which is why you're supposed to learn hand rolls when you get one ;-)
 

Kayak Jim

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There are "high floatation" PFDs available, with 22 lbs vs 15 lbs of floatation for regular PFDs. I believe these are designed for whitewater where you can be trying to float in a mix of water and air. And they may be more suitable for rafting vs kayaking where there is a seat back or strap involved. You'd need to determine whether these might be suitable for you.

But I second John's comments above regarding fit and strap tightness.
 
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