So much learning! Sea Kayak Georgia symposium

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by pawsplus, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. semdoug

    semdoug Paddler

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    Dave,
    I think we are in agreement, just saying things differently. I wholeheartedly agree that Pawsplus, or anyone else for that matter, would do well to take refresher training with an instructor or other experienced kayaker, especially if not much gets done over the winter for example.
    My problem is this: From reading Pawsplus post(the fourth one up from here) it would appear that a BCU rating is some sort of gate key into an unknown group by an unknown paddler, I hope this assumption is incorrect. I have been kayaking and canoeing for over 32 years, have led both whitewater and sea kayaking club sponsored trips, and would NEVER assume that a stranger with a BCU rating is at all qualified to tag along without adequate demonstration of skills. This paddler's skills would have to be commensurate with the trip plan, schedule, anticipated weather and other factors. This does not, and has not been, an unreasonable expectation. After all, in some cases a trip leader is taking personal responsibility for someone's safety.

    Pawsplus,
    Please do not take my comments as an attack against you or your skill level, I am only trying to convey a general perspective when trip leaders are confronted with a choice on whether to allow a new paddler or stranger on a trip.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
  2. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Semdoug, yup, we are on the same page. You have much more familiarity with BCU standards and training than I do, for sure! My paddling buddies are just a bunch of locals who get along well and have similar skillset levels. More importantly, we are able to operate on a consensus basis on go/no go decisions, and on the fly changes in route. We know and trust each others' skills and judgment.

    I quit leading all comers multiday ventures a while back, partly because of the uncertainty in backgrounds. A few trips had to be scaled back because one or two individuals did not have the skillset or experience background needed. Not fun.
     
  3. Kayak Jim

    Kayak Jim Paddler

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    No actual event with back up etc. but this is enough to convince me.

    "Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2000 14:22:02 -0700
    From: "KEVIN M KENNEY"
    Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Visibility of kayakers & SAR

    As a current SAR pilot, I'll add my own two cents. The biggest thing that
    will get you noticed is the old "one of these things is not like the other"
    factor. Things that seem out of place get noticed. In other words, light
    blue would probably work well over a darker gray-green sea, but is very
    difficult to see in shallower waters such as off the coast of Pensacola (I
    speak from experience on this one)....
    Color wise I still don't think you can beat International Orange. Almost
    nothing on the water is naturally that color...."
     
  4. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Oh, man. Kayak Jim, that old Paddlewise post really makes me a geezer. I remember that discussion, which went on for a long time, with much "information" offered, ridiculed, discussed, and cussed.

    After it concluded, I polled a few (5, I think) longtime USCG SAR pilots and helo crew members out of the Group Astoria attachment about which colors were "more visible" on a confused sea. I figured a glassy sea was not likely a condition where they would be looking for a lost mariner.

    The answers varied, depending on whether the lighting was flat or glarey, whether the sun was overhead or low in the sky. There was a general consensus that visibility orange was good, and red not quite so visible. I did not ask them about a black hull, but the consensus was that "dark" colors were harder to see. The most surprising consensus: a white hull was harder to see than most of the others, and that a pale blue hull was a relatively easy hull to spot.

    The same group, along with Columbia River Bar pilots (4 polled), remarked that at night on very confused seas (what they work over/on, mainly):

    1. A flashing strobe was inferior to a nonflashing white light for picking a lifejacketed swimmer out of the swash because the usual 4 to 6 foot seas obscured the light frequently, generating a natural strobe effect with a constant light. In contrast, a strobe was often off when the swimmer was atop a wave, reducing the total flashes to a helo crew, who typically are scanning at a low angle.

    2. Based on one rescue, of bar pilot Mike Dillon, who had been in the water for an hour and a half, vigorous splashing with the hands was quite visible when illuminated from "a distance" by the midnight sun illumination common to SAR helos. Why is this noteworthy? The splashes stuck out because they did not resemble wavetops. Further, his strobe cratered within the first 10 minutes, and the helo crew got little return from his SOLAS strips on the shoulders of his PFD at "a distance," but the strips really helped as they got overhead. Dillon was about done when they lifted him, and made several presentations on his ordeal. I expect some of those might come up on a search.

    Anecdotal information is always flawed compared to systematic studies, and there was much debate about the conclusions drawn from the above.
     
  5. semdoug

    semdoug Paddler

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    Geez Dave, that brings back memories, some fond, some very sad. I did a tour at CGSta Cape D in the late 80s early 90s as a MLB HX Coxswain.

    Funny thing about kayak colors, PFD colors, and signaling devices is how critical one's knowledge is in relation to location and conditions. Is a black hulled kayak a good choice in the dark waters of the PNW? Probably not. Is a black hulled kayak a good choice in the tropics or landlocked Tennessee? Maybe it is.
     
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  6. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    Guys, it just seems like a good idea to me to get it if I can. I'm not trying to scam anyone. ??? I'm confused by some of the comments here. I rent kayaks when I come to the NW to visit my mom. Right now I have to go through 20 questions so the renters know I can rescue myself. The BCU rating is a good shorthand, it seems to me.

    I am also the kind of person who likes to have goals and sign posts by which to measure my progress. If you're not like that fine. I am. I like having specific goals and I like the rating system for that reason. If you don't like it, don't do it. <shrug>
     
  7. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    On a cloudy day, our lakes are pretty black. But guess what? I don't care. And I would be happy to take this boat to the NW were that practical. Honestly, if I'm so incapacitated that I can't even get the boat turned over, I'm probably SOL anyway.

    I got the boat because it was the type of boat I wanted, it was available, it was pretty and I got some added features for free. If I'd special-ordered it in another color, it would have cost more. And you know what? Freaking Eila Wilkinson ordered the boat in these colors. You don't think she knows what she's doing?? Would be nice if people could just be happy for someone, without freaking out over every little thing. :-( Maybe this is why fewer and fewer people are posting here. You think???
     
  8. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    That hull color choice stimulated a discussion on the topic in general. Probably not pointed at any one person in particular. I expect the boat will be a kickass choice. Go for it!
     
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  9. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    I've already paid off 2/3 of it, so no choice! It's mine, even if it's still in Tybee right now. :)
     
  10. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Paws- I think your boat looks great!
    But, I'm biased.....
    mini-DSCN5601.JPG

    mini-Frej 18.JPG

    Here's the boat I built, exactly copying the colour scheme on Shawna Franklin's (BodyBoatBlade) boat:
    Romany full.jpg

    What other colour is almost as 'invisible' in the water as black?
    WHITE!
    And, that's the colour of the hulls on most kayaks.
    So don't worry and enjoy your new boat. You can always put gold stars on the bottom, the way Shawna does!
     
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  11. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    THANK YOU, John. Those are gorgeous boats! The top of mine is white, so I'll just be invisible no matter what LOL. My friend Joel got an ALL BLACK NDK Explorer HV when we were in Tybee--it's technically used but only technically, and he got a screaming deal on it (wish I had gotten such a deal) so he cares not what color it it is! Here he is on Sat testing it out for the first time. :) DSCF9812.JPG
    DSCF9798.JPG
     
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  12. AM

    AM Paddler

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    Black boats are indeed fine looking. Leon and Shawna took black Explorers around Iceland in 2003. When asked why they decided on black, Leon said: "Mainly because all-black boats are a really cool-looking boat. Shawna and I both decided by the end of the trip that black boats in that environment were too depressing and it would have been nice to have brighter-coloured boats."

    In the same interview (Adventure Kayak, Summer 2004), he said that the Coast Guard in the UK determined that the most visible colours were, in order: robin's egg blue, yellow, and black.

    Their paddling partner on that trip, renowned expedition paddler Chris Duff, was in a yellow-over-white Explorer. Coincidentally, I ran into Chris and his partner off Cape Palmerston a few years ago. On that trip, they were both in all-black Explorers.

    Now, looks aside, there are some drawbacks to black boats. The first is the fact that they absorb sunlight and heat up the compartments. If you leave your food in a black boat on the beach for an hour, you will find that your cheese has melted and your beer is warm.

    The second is that darker hulls show scratches. That's not a problem if you don't care about maintaining the brand-new look of your boat. But if you are the sort of person who really cares about those looks, well, you are going to have scratch anxiety. At that point, your choices are either: a) learn to love the look of scratches (they are battle scars that remind you of all the fun you had); or b) baby your boat, with the result that you don't really become the skilled paddler you want to be.

    Cheers,
    Andrew
     
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  13. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Andrew:
    Black is a fairly easy color to match, so repairing hull scratches isn't extremely difficult. BTW, a lot of 'white' hulls aren't bright white - they often have a touch of grey or red (to give an 'ivory' tint). This only becomes obvious when the white gelcoat out of the can is applied to fill scratches.
    So, use that boat and fix it if you need to, but get out there! The scratches show you didn't leave the boat in the garage!
    :)
     
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  14. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    Yes, Joel and I both know that the black will show scratches more. Pretty sure this is gonna be like my GP. I babied it for months, and finally got a gouge on it. I sanded it and tung-oiled it and moved on. The boat will be the same. :)
     
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  15. AM

    AM Paddler

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    Yeah, John, I think we're pretty much in agreement - except for the fact that you actually spend the effort keeping your boats looking good. I'm too lazy and unskilled, with the result that my FG Tahe is a Frankenstein of scars, mismatched gelcoat, and ugly patches that look like a kindergartner was let loose with glass and epoxy.

    My blase attitude toward scratches stems from the very first course I took with Doug Alderson, someone who used to be pretty influential on the instructor circuit. Doug had a group of us doing some combat launches: sliding our empty boats off rocks and launching them in a swell crashing on a reef. He went first, chucking his NDK Explorer off a small rock. When he saw everyone's hesitation and reluctance to treat their boats in such a manner, he got annoyed and barked out words that have stuck with me: "Stop babying your boats!"

    Part of the problem, of course, is that sea kayaks are so darn expensive and look so beautiful when they are new. No one likes to ruin that mirror finish and most people have their boat's resale value in mind.

    That is one of the things I like about the culture of WW kayaking. Everyone, from beginner to expert, paddles the same boats (all about $1K) and no one cares about scratches. A true meritocracy.

    Cheers,
    Andrew
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
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  16. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Very interesting discussion of boat color ups and downs ... thanks for triggering this, Paws.

    Good to see so many who like black boats ... they really are sexy.

    One aspect which is probably moot these days ... two decades ago, the owners of the premier kayak shop in Portland, OR warned me off a black deck because on a hot, sunny day, some resins soften and yield enough that over time "print through" of the underlying glass weave was likely.

    Anybody know if this is an issue today? I think Steve mentioned it in the context of a Kevlar/epoxy layup, so it may be limited to that combination.
     
  17. semdoug

    semdoug Paddler

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    Pawsplus,
    Maybe you missed my previous post commenting that I think there is something cool about black hulls. Not sure I understand your criticism of my post.
     
  18. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    It just seemed like raining on my parade. This is a massive purchase for me--I am not a wealthy person, and I'm making payments on the boat. It was a huge step and a big leap of faith for me. I just wasn't in the mood for preaching about the hull color being dangerous or whatever. Sorry if I overreacted. :)
     
  19. semdoug

    semdoug Paddler

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    No worries. These forums do get ridiculous at times don't they?
     
  20. designer

    designer Paddler

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    The Washington Kayak Club had a group paddle from the beach at Washington Park to Doe Island (with help of the current). One of the women used a stick (i.e. Greenland Paddle). She was out if front of everyone. And everyone included instructors and paddlers with years of experience. Not only did she show me that a GP can work as well as a European paddle, she also got me started in Hammock camping. Sooo much more comfortable than sleeping on the ground.

    There was also a humorous moment when the leaders GPS ran out of battery as a fog was rolling in. The GP women had a basic compass in a map case on deck and a wooden ruler. So she set the course, reminding the leader that her device "...don't need not stinking batteries."

    Someone told me that the coast guard loves reflective tape on boat/paddle. Perhaps you can put "Turn me over" on the very bottom of your boat - something more visible than black.