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So did I actually learn anything?

Postby Artie » Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:08 pm

Hell yeah! For those who arent aware I had a moment this weekend past, details here....,Ive had a good long think about it all and Id like to offer my thoughts.

I can categorise the event into 2 parts

What did I do wrong?

What did I do right?

Firstly, lets start on a positive note. What did I do right?

Well lots really, firstly I had communications with me (phone) and it was in a useable drybag, meaning I can make and receive calls without opening the bag.

Lots of stuff was tethered and I still own that stuff, lots of stuff floated, including my jig tray which amazed me considering the lead in it.

When in the water I took time to calm myself and have a look at the situation (calmly). I regulated my breathing because I was hyperventilating, from shock and 13 deg water and took stock. I wasnt injured, but I was in danger from the cold, get back in the boat quickly.

I wasnt wearing my wetsuit because the day was quite warm, it may not have helped because, as said, I was back in the boat quite quickly.

Gear storage is good (apart from rod leashes), so loss was minimal. In the end, 1 leatherman tool and my lunch which floated away (yay yackpack!!!)

My pfd did its job really well, meaning it supported me ok, didnt impede my swimming action and very importantly didnt impede re entry into the boat.

Ive also practised being out of the boat (but never in such rough conditions), practising made it a thoughtless process to re enter, I didnt have to think about kicking my feet to the surface, I just did it on auto pilot.

I identified early that the Revo didnt have decent side handles so I fitted a pair from a Quest, BEST THING! A decent set of handles that you can grip when cold, they also allowed me to turn the hull over without too much trouble (pics of handles later to illustrate how they are different to molded grips, they were quite cheap and will fit a lot of boats). I believe this years model now has these handles.

I was part of a group, particularly as the water isnt completely friendly.

So now, the 'wrong' side of the ledger, What did I do wrong?

Sit back and make a 'cuppa'....

Firstly, I didnt tether the rods when I had obviously finished with them, just stupid as I tether everything normally.

I was using an unfamiliar system and didnt take the time to make myself familiar with it/them.

I had no radio, I was in transition to the launch site and therefore no one in my immediate vicinity. (I was seen to go over, so I was being observed by the crew, but self rescued immediately, no help was needed)

No trainer 'wheels' (outriggers)

No/little experience with a sail/hull that small.

With lost gear, I didnt take the time to clearly identify landmarks (I simply wasnt thinking about coming back to rescue it all), this was a concern when the search was on.

With so many uneventful hours in the saddle, I had clearly become overly complacent.


Training, formal training days and repeated practise. These things are your best friends.

When practising re entry in controlled conditions, I think you should swim away 50m as fast as you can and then swim back and THEN try re entry, its not as easy when you are stressed. If you cant get back into your boat, DO NOT TAKE IT OUTSIDE. You will endanger yourself and others who try to help you.

Think about what can go wrong and cater for it, if you cant cater for it make contingencies (buddy up etc), but at least consider the options.

Know your gear... I lost the sail because I didnt know that there wasnt a knot on the sheet line so it just ran through the stern bock and down it went.

Assess your gear, what needs to be modified/changed etc (like the handles from the Quest).

Dont use stuff inappropriatley, I should have had out riggers fitted, if not, the mast should not have been in the step. Simple.

Dont take your eyes off the surroundings, be vigilent, I was watching Dolphins... who wouldnt? I should have let the sheet line go slack and powered down. Then I could watch the Dolphins to my hearts content!

Essentially, my experience on Sunday was in no way physically threatening, but it was a bloody good reminder to me that we are not in a benign environment. We all laughed loudly once it was all resolved and its happy days. But really? This could have cost me over $2,000 in retail replacement costs or worse, the hull could have clouted me on the scone. Actually the wave that broke over me tossed me a couple of metres so it wasnt that bad...

In essence, Ill change a couple of small things on the boat, Ill reassess my house keeping and Ill take my time to do things like learn about stuff before I take it out and seriously use it. Ill spend a lot of time in summer sailing in calm waters and ill throw the boat over with the sail up and learn how to get it back upright again. At least I get the chance to learn from my mistakes... others dont...and weve seen a couple of these this past 12 months.


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Re: So did I actually learn anything?

Postby Davey G » Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:26 pm

Good post Rob. I'm constantly amazed by the lack of experience shown by many people who get into kayak fishing just because it's the latest fad. Many of these guys and girls have never been on the ocean in a boat, let alone a small human powered craft. Many are unfit, overweight, ageing and cannot swim more than a few strokes. Many of these people have also never been in any sort of surf or rough water conditions, most have never even attempted (even in good conditions) self rescue and many of them would not consider dressing for the conditions or contemplating what may happen if they did fall out. And yet they all think 'they'll be right' .

Glad you survived your 'experience' and that you had some help recovering your gear. And I bet your outlook on kayaking has now changed, and that you'll be a better waterman than you were before.

Cheers for recounting your story, its shared experiences like this that help us all improve our quality time and safety on the water.
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