Cherry blossoms! Daffodils! Warmer air means mothballing our sweaters and digging out the T-shirts—this week’s TBD (to be done!). But not so fast with those drysuits and Polartec® underlayers…
Kayakers have to dress for the water, not the air. And at the moment our water is 45° F. Brrrrrr!
In Spring, the sun is shining, the air’s balmy…and folks jump the gun, not thinking about the possibility of capsize. Hypothermia is a huge risk if you aren’t dressed properly. Sadly, a tragedy occurs every spring, as predictable as the equinox. This just in from upstate on the Hudson River—no PFD, no cold-water protection. (And as of this writing, no trace of the guy.)
But back to happier thoughts! First, here’s how all this can be avoided, and the geeky science behind it.
To celebrate the arrival of spring, we crossed the Sound from Larchmont to Sands Point, Long Island, in the excellent drysuited company of Jim and Bea. Photos from a couple of weekends ago.
From Tybee Island, Georgia, at the hour we call “chirp o’clock.” (Per our own early birds, i.e. pet parrot and parakeets, back home.
Let’s talk about two key pieces of gear: 1) the contact tow and 2) the scopolamine patch. The former is a rather short towline (3x the distance between your boat’s decklines) with a clip on each end. The latter is a small Band-Aid-like thing that, stuck behind the ear, keeps Jean from throwing up! (She gets seasick in lumpy water when not paddling vigorously…Her motto: To bob is to gurk. We’ll cross-stitch it on a pillow someday.) On Sunday, we were batting 500…
Luke shows Step #1: Looping a North Water contact tow between front decklines
Step #2: Crossing the contact tow for versatility.
All is revealed in this video of Gordon Brown’s contact tow technique:
On Sunday morning, we launched into perfectly calm waters. But 11 NMs and one circumnav of City Island later, conditions got pretty bouncy (or as some people say, “gurky”…). Close to HHYC, scopolamine-patchless Jean turned green. Thanks to Luke’s contact towing and Alex’s tow of both parties in the wind, we happily covered the last few yards to shore. What are friends for? 🙂
From the point of view of a capsized and helpless/unconscious kayaker, suddenly being flipped right side up is nothing less than a miracle. This week’s TBD “to be done” focuses on the “hand of g-d” rescue (a nod to our upcoming multi-flavored, multi-miraculous holiday weekend). Jean has been working on this move in preparation for her ACA Level 3 instructor certification at the end of April. So far, she can flip someone 25 pounds heavier than she is. Sixty-plus, however…well, we may need a miracle. Click for “Virtual Coach” video: