A kayak in my not-too-distant future

SZihn

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Jul 1, 2021
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Shoshoni Wyoming
I am very interested in an Eddyline Fathom in the next few months or sometime next spring.


I am looking for any feedback from anyone that has experience with this kayak, and all "pros and cons" I can get. I am 5' 6" tall (short) and I am heavy for my height at 190 pounds. I am not at all fat, but very solid and muscular so I have short thick legs and that means I like thigh hooks that are "inboard" quite a bit so the hooks don't dig into the top of my legs instead of coming around the top past the 12:00 position. Because my legs are short the angle of my bend knees is greater then most other men of my weight. Because of my short legs and 37-38" waist I fit into cockpits made for smaller paddlers well, but the boats they are made in are not large enough for a 190 pound paddler and gear enough for 3-4 days of touring. My body and working load come to about 230 pounds so I don't like kayaks that I sink into the water deep enough to feel the displacement of water enough to slow it down notably. From what I read the Fathom seems about perfect, but it's not a kayak I have ever seen in person yet, and if I am going to spend around $3000 I don't want to be disappointed. I have spoken to 2 owners in California and Alaska and both say they are sure I would like it, but one is 5' 11 and one is 6' 1" and I out weight both of them buy a small margin (180 and 185 pounds ) so I am not sure of myself yet.


So I am interested in the opinions on either side, pro or con.


Because of where I live, getting to sit in one and paddle it are not realistic options, so it seems so far anyway. Just driving to a place to do so is going to cost me about $390 at the low end in gasoline, and a loss of work worth about $800-$900 minimum, so paying close to 1/2 the cost of the kayak just to go see one is unreasonable for me.


I have been told by one lady that some of the P&H boats may be better choices and they are a bit less money. I am all ears and will gladly consider advice from anyone that has real experience with the Fathom or any of it's competitors. Tell me what you can about the Fathom and any other kayak in the 15.5 to 17 foot range you'd recommend. I am not locked into anything yet, but I'd prefer a skeg to a rudder.


A good used kayak is fine also, as long as it can be shipped to me but the cost of that shipment has to be within reason too. So for many kayaks on the used market today, going to one of the coasts is not likely to happen because the cost of shipping by truck is less then me going to get one. The closest ocean shore to me is still 1030 miles, one way. So a 2100-3000 mile round trip is likely to cost more then the kayak would be worth. If the seller is unwilling to help by making a crate for it, or by wrapping it up for me somehow it would be a deal breaker. A brand new Eddyline Fathom ordered from one of the dealers will run me about $3140 including the truck shipment to me, so that's the base-line I figure down from.


I am willing to drive up to one full day in any direction and one day back, but 2-3 days each way is not realistic for me unless the kayak I was going to buy was REALLY inexpensive.


Interstate 80 goes from border to border of Wyoming, so one thought I've had when dealing with a man in California/Nevada border (Lake Tahoe) was for me to pay the shipping to anywhere on I-80 inside Wyoming. The truck only needs to get the kayak into Wyoming and I can pick it up from there. Such a shipment would need to be certain as far as when and where I'd meet the truck, but that's all. I could do the same for some of I-90 through Montana too.


My last kayak was from a man who helped me a great deal. He drove my Necky Chatham17 part of the way and I met him and paid him. We switched the kayak from his SUV to my pickup and we were both happy with the deal. So I am open to ideas.


The time for me to buy is probably going to run from around October to around May of next year, so I am not desperate to buy immediately, but I want to start gleaning any good information I can now and that gives me time to make a better informed decision (I hope)


Ladies and gentlemen..........fire away.
 

cougarmeat

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SZihn, if you can, try the Fathom LV (Low Volume) and compare it to the standard size. My adventure partner is your heigh, 5’6”, and paddles one. Fit’s her great. You are larger in the legs but she has lots of room.

One person told me, “These days they are all good; fit is more important.” But even then, it’s not some precise measurement. By “Fit”, I mean, will you even fit in the cockpit. Some boats (not the Fathom) have such a low deck that people with long feet have trouble with the peddles, Or there is not much clearance for your thighs. I am not talking about “Fit” like a tailored jacket. Just sit in it, lock your knees, and rock it from side to side. And remember you could add foam padding if necessary.

Also, many of us are focused on ocean paddling, or it is on equal par with lake paddling. It sounds like you will mostly be exploring lakes. So the focus/characteristics may lean toward shorter length and ease in storing camp gear rather than surf landings and playing in rock gardens.

I feel your pain on travel expenses. I once drove all day/night from Bend OR to Phoenix AZ, three days round trip (I was younger then) to pick up a Mariner XL. But I knew Mariners before I left. And the seller cut me a break in price because he understood my gas expense.

When I checked Craigslist for Wyoming Kayaks I found an Old Town touring kayak in Casper for $400. When I put in Lake Tahoe, I say an EddieLine Fathom LV for (asking price) $1900. From the deck gloss, it looked brand new and included a deck compass.

Because you said, “fire away”, my suggestion is to get a used boat that you have an opportunity to sit in before you buy. Not only will the cost of the boat be less, a used boat often comes with extras that would add up to maybe $100 or more if you bought them separately.

You can learn a lot from that boat and a year or two later, you can selling and have a better idea of what you will be looking for next.
 

cougarmeat

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Now that I’ve actually read your post :) I see what you are asking. The Fathom has an unusual high deck. Remember, almost everything in design is some compromise. So the high deck may interact with the wind a bit more, but it will also give you less splash (dryer ride) and easier entry/exit. However, we found almost any deck bag will block the view of a compass if you have one mounted.

If there isn’t one already (owner installed) be such to attach a pull cord to the hole on the lower edge of the skeg. Ours hangs down 2 to 3 inches. If pebbles jam the skeg, the pull cord will help free it.

Unfortunately - but that’s its nature - a skeg has a “skeg box” in the rear hatch that takes up a bit of room. But I’m spoiled because I don’t deal with skegs or rudders on my boat.

I ordered the one we have with the rear most bulkhead removed - there is still one behind the seat. That opens up the full rear area for storage instead of splitting it between the day hatch and rear hatch. EddieLine assured me that removing that last bulkhead did not compromise the structural integrity of the boat; the one behind the seat was enough.

It is usually packed like this: A tapered bag holding clothes goes in the front hatch and contours to the bow. There’s enough room left for one or two small dry bags and shoes/sandals - in other words, personal clothes/shoes/toiletries.

A sleeping bag, in a larger than usual dry bag, goes in the cockpit between the back of the foot peddles and the front bulk head.The larger bag allows it to squish down so the diameter and depth fit in that space. A dromedary water bag or additional dry bag (food) goes behind the seat.

Because we have the full rear area, if a water bag isn’t behind the seat, I can lay it along the keel line in the rear, right up to the back of that “seat” bulkhead. Joy likes the feel of that extra ballast even for a casual day paddle. Cooking gear is in a semi-hard plastic case (like picnic or pantry storage container) that is flat and wide and fits on top of the water bag. I can also fit a folding camp chair back there.

Shelter gear would fill out the rest of the space. Usually any tarp or rainfly gets stuffed in last - filling up any free space and stabilizing that is already in there. Often I use two foam rollers for the same purpose and they help roll the boat down to the water when I misjudge an ebb tide.

I don’t want to get into trouble suggesting that as a guy, you would have less clothes and “personal gear” than a woman, but I’m pretty sure, for a 3 - 4 day trip, you would need less items and would have more room in the bow for food. The weight of the food in the bow is balanced by the weight of the water bags in the rear.

For full disclosure, Joy has never packed to boat to go out by herself. She has alway been with me - which means we can split the load between two boats. But I load both so I have a lot of experience working with the Fathom LV’s interior space. Also, we bring hammocks and a tent and extra tarp for the eating area, etc. In short, I embrace the, “I’d rather carry 80lbs in my boat than 40 lbs on my back.” philosophy.

Shelter, Clothes, Food, Cooking Gear, Water for 3 - 4 days for one person in a Fathom - especially not the LV version - Sure, it takes some planning; but mostly, “no sweat”.
 
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JKA

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Jul 25, 2016
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...my suggestion is to get a used boat that you have an opportunity to sit in before you buy. Not only will the cost of the boat be less, a used boat often comes with extras that would add up to maybe $100 or more if you bought them separately.
FYI, I currently own 11 kayaks, there are another three or four that I've sold.

None of them have been bought new, except for a plastic shell I'm currently outfitting.

The main reason is because they're going to get used; they're not safe-queens. During that use they will get some wear. Kayaks are not like cars where lots of wear can happen and be unseen by the next buyer; with a kayak you pretty much get what you see. Also, the designer doesn't know what shape your butt is or how long your legs are. Changing things to fit you is part of getting the boat to do what you want.

Buy second hand, save your money and paddle it like you stole it!
 

SZihn

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Shoshoni Wyoming
Thanks for your feedback Cougarmeat.

I see the Fathom LV on you tube, but when I go to Eddyline's site it seems it;s discontinued. I am short and thick, but not light at 190 pounds.
A man from another site warns me about the seats on the fathoms. Says they are not good and won't stay set. Have you seen that kind of problem yourself?
As far as gear goes, as a former Marine I have learned to go light in clothing. When on water it's easuer to bring a bottle of bio-degradable soap then it is extra clothing. Food, depending on the availability of good water in the mountain, can be light and dehydrated or it can be canned (I remember subsisting on three C-=Rations per day for weeks and a few times for months) When Anna and I go out for just 1-2 days we splurge and bring marinaded elk stakes, drinks, salads, cake or pie pieces--- and so on, but we need to bring things that can be safe to eat the next day with no refrigeration and in summer that can be a a problem at times.
But If the weather is not hot food is not much of a problem at all. Water is fine too if I bring a fliter system and for lakes and high rivers we just make good water out of what we are paddling in.
Our tents are 1 man types. Rolls are about 4" in diameter and about 1 foot long. We take a ground pad, but only 3/8" thick so that rolls up to a pad 2 feet long and about 4" around too.

My next kayak is going to be used on lakes most times, but the reason I am wanting to get 1 more is for trips with my sister in Alaska and so a true sea kayak with the ability to do multi day trips is what's needed. On likes will be out "training runs" But the goal is to go for extended trips in the Alaskan waters in the coming year, and years to come after.
P&H seems like a kayak that may be in competition, but their web-site is pretty bad. It's look great until you try to use it, but clicking on anything to try to learn morwe about the details of the boats they make show the site is pretty much "dead" and will not allow you to learn anything more at all. Weights, dimensions, details about their fittings and seats, skegs, pricing and so on are just not available on their site at all. so who ever designed that web-site needs to be fired. If that web master charges them $25---- they got ripped off.
 

SZihn

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Shoshoni Wyoming
I'd agree with you JKA. IF I can find any used ones to look at. So far, here in Wyoming in the whole year and all of last year , I have found exactly ZERO other kayaks to look at.
I expect I will have to do some driving, but I can't spend that much money or time driving all over the country just to look over other kayaks. The USA is pretty big and driving all over it takes a LOT of timer and a LOT of gas money.
 

JKA

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Jul 25, 2016
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The USA is pretty big and driving all over it takes a LOT of timer and a LOT of gas money.
I hear ya! Having explored a reasonable bit of it by car I know how exciting it was sometimes to find a town! As for missing an off ramp on the I-5 Expressway in Seattle, that was traumatic!

Not helped by you all driving on the wrong side of the road! ;)
 

cougarmeat

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Note that “Like New” Fathom LV in Lake Tahoe for $1900. Joy has never mentioned a problem with her seat … oops, don’t want to make that mistake again … Joy has never mentioned a problem with the Fathom LV’s seat.

However when I first started paddling, it was common to experience a little leg numbing. I used to have to take my feet off the peddles and stretch my legs. Either my legs or my position adjusted and now I can’t remember when last had that problem. I do take my feet off the peddles and stretch now and than, but not because of any numbing. Some guides suggest putting roll of something (towel, dry bag filled to desired height, etc.) In front of the seat to sort of lift the legs or at least have them pressing against something soft rather than a hard seat edge. But that was a general condition with all the boats I paddled.

With kayak camping, you'll be able to splurge on luxury much more than what you carry hiking. The only eyebrow raise I had was “Water Filter” and “Lake”. The various filters I’ve used over the years have all recommended moving water - streams - as a source instead of standing water. Trying not to morph this into a Gear topic, I’ll just say the one time I used lake water, my filter clogged almost immediately. When kayaking, I can carry the water I need - even for 3 or 4 days. If I needed more, I’d have extra fuel to boil. If I knew for sure there was a stream, I might consider a filter. But I haven’t used one for years.

I guess the other eyebrow raised with, “Extended Trips”. Though you can make anything work, day and weekend trip on a lake and extended trips on saltwater are two different critters. I know having two of something - boats, cars, skis, tents, hammocks, cook stoves, etc. can seem to some like extravagant. But these items weren’t purchased all at once. Equipment was gathered over time - over decades. I understand the financial or perhaps storage need to have one boat. Just understand it will be a compromise and that will take the pressure off looking for it to do everything well.

Ocean paddling in Alaska is sufficiently different from Lake paddling that I’d think you’d want two different boats - but the Fathom LV (or regular) and similar boats would work as a fair compromise. Joy uses her Fathom LV in all the local lakes and the waters around the San Juans and Gulf Island group around Vancouver Island. Note that none of those locations would be considered “open ocean”. She did cross Spieden Channel (north of the San Juan Island) when it was … fussy. She hadn’t been in other than flat water for a long time so it was a little scary for her. But in the Mariner Express, I kept by her side and we were fine. She now has her Stuart Island shirt to prove it.
 

SZihn

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Shoshoni Wyoming
Great info Cougarmeat. Thanks for the feed back.

I agree that salt water and fresh water are different. Or sure can be anyway.

Here, where I paddle most times I am never more then about 7 miles from shore. My sister tells me most times she and her friends are only out about 1-2 miles from land when going to Alaska, but there were a few places where they had to make crossings of 15 miles or so. In the ocean, you can have BIG waves made from winds so far away you can't see them. Here, winds can get fierce and waves high, but the weather doing it to you is always within 10-15 miles of the waves.

Wind shears from the mountains are the big threat. The tops are those of 8000 up to 11,000 feet to make the bad ones. The 6000 to 7500 foot mountains don't do it to you all that bad. They form and do so without warning at times, come down and romp on the water making trouble in just minutes and then in 20-40 minutes they are gone as if they never existed. They can be unpredictable at times. If you have totally clear skys for 100 miles you need not worry. But on the days we can see clouds waaaaaaay out there it's a good idea to keep watching them and if they get closer it's not a bad idea to get closer to shore too. Most times they do nothing. But not all times.

Water is not a big problem in our higher lakes because you find the streams that feed in and with some purification and filtration I've never had a problem. BE CAREFUL of course, but if you use heat, a tiny bit of iodine and a filter you can drink it for years (as I have) and never have the slightest problem. At only 115 degrees 2 drops of iodine will kill nearly everything you'd ever find in our water, and then running it through a katadine filter gives you very good drinking water. The higher lakes are better then the low ones of course. Long streams that can go near farm lands are not the best. High streams that are from close melting snow are usually clear and very clean.

Have "2 of everything" is overrated on a person to person basis. "2 is 1 and 1 is none" was invented by those in the sales departments.
As a former US Marine who did extended "trips" into the field I can say having some spares is good, but if you have 4-6 people you need only a very few spare things in-case one fails someone, sometime. We as combat Marines didn't take 2 of everything with us, and we KNEW we were going into trouble. It was the job.

In a 4-5 man "unit" of kayakers if we have one spare med kit, one spare light, extra batteries, one extra radio and some extra food (one full ration of the full trip's duration to share among all paddlers. In other words if you have 4 people take food for 5) we are going to be fine unless the circumstance is so bad that everyone was injured. (tidal wave when you are sleeping in tents at night--- or something like that... )
Spare things I do like to have are a knife sharpener, at least 1 extra knife for the team, extra fire-starching gear 1-2 ponchos, sewing kits and maybe a poly-fleece blanket. In the past as a hunting guide I insisted that anyone with special medical needs take 2X the amount of drugs or medical items they need on a day to day basis, so in paddling I'd do the same, but so far none of those I know that go with me have any such needs.

And as a hunting guide I always had one spare rifle and ammo, all zeroed in, just in case someones gun failed (has happened 3 times in my years as a guide and I was very glad we had an extra rifle. So were those 3 clients) Rifles are not what kayakers think of taking, but the principal is the same and the point is simply to have a spare of anything vital to the trip or it's members. If something is lost or fails, the group can pitch in and help that way. But one spare is enough for the group in nearly all cases ---------outside natural disasters.

So thinking, and using the sense God gave us to use, it's not hard to be a bit redundant in our gear, but going overboard and having every member take 2X of what he or she needs is just too much.
Also it depends on where we go. If we are never going to be far from help or a way out, such spares are more about convenience and not survival.
The longer the trip and the farther out you go, the more vital such concerns can be. The best survival kit is between your ears. Learing what to do and how is far more important than packing a lot of gear on every trip. And all outdoor adventures have some element of potentail danger. We need to accept that our play cards at home instead.
 

CPS

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Oct 27, 2020
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BC
Here, where I paddle most times I am never more then about 7 miles from shore.
What lakes are you finding that are 14+ miles across?

I don't see many (any?) Eddyline kayaks where I am. The local thermoformed boats, Delta Kayaks sort of dominate.
However, a few thoughts to share about the construction generally, which will apply to any thermoformed ABS kayak.
The material is flexible in a more springy sense than rotomolded polyethylene.
Practically speaking, they're tough enough until they're not, and then a crack propagates pretty far.
Good news is that a field repair on a crack is manageable in an ABS boat a fair bit easier than a rotomolded boat. Though you usually have to work pretty hard to split polyethylene, it does happen, and is a bugger to fix.
The checks in ABS boats are generally very 'clean' with minimal deformation of the surrounding plastic. Pushing the edges flush and slapping on some tape would probably be a tolerable, temporary fix.

The material also takes adhesives better than polyethylene, so if you're interested in adding tie down points for a water dromedary and such, you'd have better luck in an ABS boat.

I have heard of people breaking ABS boats in fairly benign circumstances, such as during back deck re-entries, but it's not something I hear of extremely often. I have on a few occasions seen the ends of ABS boats knocked off while visiting the factory that makes them, but didn't get the story on what caused it. May have been a rock garden, but equally may have been underground parking or some other off water event.

What are the features you find missing in the other kayak you've got?
 
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SZihn

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Jul 1, 2021
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Shoshoni Wyoming
Hi CPS.

No lake I am on is more than 7 miles to any point on shore but some are 20-30 miles long. Flaming gorge, Boysen, Glendo, Yellowstone lake, and a few others in Colorado, Montana, and Idaho. But I mostly go on Boysen. It's about 20 miles north to south but only about 7 miles east to west at it's widest point. I like that one simply because I can be on the water in 7 minutes from the time I leave my home.


My Chatham is not really missing anything............. But a wife.
My wife doesn't yet have a touring kayak, so we are talking about getting something else in addition to the Chatham 17 so we can both go at the same time. We both have rec-kayaks, but for trips of many miles and 2-3 nights out, another touring kayak is needed. 2-3 day trips are not uncommon for me, but Anna would like to go too, and with a rec-kayak there is no way fro her to go all that far,a nd the winds come down from the mountains at times and make the surface rough. I want to get a 2nd touring kayak that's very sea-worthy for her, and I am thinking maybe something a bit shorter then the Chatham 17. No longer for sure. The one I have now fits in the boat shed, but just barely, and only going corner to corner.
 
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cougarmeat

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SZihn, sounds like you have the skills - just need the boat.

Here’s the link to that Lake Tahoe Fathom LV:

With that boat, on long solo tours, the storage might be a challenge (but I’m used to camping comfort). Sharing the gear between two or more boats - pretty doable.

In my case, at least one of the paddling partners snores so separate sleeping accommodations, rather than one tent, is preferable. But a hammock/tarp are a pretty small and don’t present much of a packing challenge. It is just, “more gear”. Fortunately, the kayaks I paddle excellent gear haulers. I used to be oriented toward speed, but soon I realized that keeping with the group was a higher priority. That doesn’t mean my boats are slow. And by working on proper forward stroke technique when I’m on the water, I’m never behind.

Though I represent myself as a belt and suspenders guy to my UL (UltraLight) friends - whose gear I’ve seen fail from time to time, My “two of something” was not pointed towards redundancy of the same thing, it was different things for different purposes; like having a sports car and a station wagon. They will both take you to the grocery store, but one would be better than the other for taking multiple people on a long camping trip. That’s what I meant.

You are absolutely correct on the teamwork gear sharing. In my mountain days, one would carry the food, the other would carry the stove. One would carry the tent, the other would carry the poles and stakes, etc. In your military group, you all had the the same basic training and had a common understanding of issues. In my paddling, often the people I’m with do not have the depth of experience, or the responsibility, to understand the need for things. In the situation you described, you had spares. In my case, I may have an item and a spare because someone else doesn’t appreciate the need. There are subtle, “You’re not the boss of me” dynamics that can also come into play. “That’s an Order” is not a option. :)

So you are blessed to have a paddling partners that understand the same issues and don’t have, “Why are you bringing that?” discussions while packing a boat with an outgoing tide.

You haven’t mentioned your recovery skills. Though a warm pool is a place to start, there is a physiological difference when in water without concrete sides. A lake shore is a good place to practice and with a helper standing by (in the water) the efficacy of immersion clothing (drysuit or wetsuit) can be experienced.

For me, with a roll, the biggest challenge is bringing my head up last. You may have these methods down pat. If not, it’s good to work on 1) getting back in the boat with someone in another boat helping. 2) getting someone else back in their boat. 3) getting back in the boat by yourself with an aid like a paddle float. 4) performing a roll so you don’t have to exit. 5) performing a re-entry and roll so you can get back in when you miss the roll (it happens). It’s best to be able to empty your boat without a pump. If you are will someone else, they can put the other boat on their deck and empty it. If you are alone, it is difficult to sit in a boat full of water, in water that was messy enough to flip you over, and pump out all the water just relying on a paddle outrigger with float for extra stability. Using your paddle float as extra flotation, you may be able to left one end of the kayak so most the water will drain out. With a loaded boat, there may not be much water. My boats don’t have a front bulkhead so that’s more an issue for me.

The best technique is not to be there. And If I’m solo, and there is non-flat water or strong current/wind, I’m on a lease. I had one experience on a lake on a windy day where the boat got away from me. That feeling of my fingertips stroking the edge of the hull as the wind continued to move it out of reach was an excellent learning experience; kind of sticks with you.
 

SZihn

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Jul 1, 2021
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Shoshoni Wyoming
I saw my wife go through that also Cougatmeat.
She found out a heavy wind moves an upside-down kayak a LOT faster then a woman can swim after it Thankfully she was not too far from shore and the wind blew the kayak in, and she had to swim all the way in too. About 500 yards total. I learned from her mistake and so I keep myself tethered to my seat frame with a light line. (1/16") It's weak enough I can break it with my hands with some effort and I also have a sharp knife lashed to my PFD, so if I needed to I can cut it. I tested it in wind to see if I was barking up the wrong tree. Nope. Worked very well. It's short at only 3 feet , and it attaches to my belt and to the seat mount.

Some kayakers say any line can be dangerous and I can easily see that point, but trying to swim in a long way would be more dangerous to me I think. So in any action sport there are some risks and I am of the opinion we all limit them as well as we can, but if we engage ins such activities we can't eliminate danger 100%. It's always a trade off.

I used a paddle leash too for a while, but now I have a take-down spare paddle on the kayak, so if I were to drop my main paddle I can use the spare and in almost every case I think I can paddle with my short spare faster then my regular paddle can blow away. Maybe not in river current, but on the lakes I feel no need to have the paddle leash when I have a 2nd paddle. I have practucves wiuth it and I can move the kayak to the "escaping paddle" pretty easily.

My re-entry skills with a paddle float are quite good. I dislike the time it takes me to empty the kayak once I get back in it, but that's just how any re-entry is I guess. I am learning how to scull with a blade on the paddle as I push up the bow and get most of the water out, but I am in the learning stage to be sure Many time (well.....most times) I get it crooked and can't get it high enough before it slips sideways. It usually take me 3-4 tries, but I am better at it now then I was only 1 week ago. My skills without it are not great, but I'd say it looks a bit rough and unrefined but I am successful nearly every time with my Chatham17. I have even done it in chop up to about 2 feet tall. As graceful as a hippo in roller skates on ice, but about 90% of the trys end up with me back in the cockpit. I will keep doing it until it is smoother.

I can't re-enter my rec-kayak at all without a paddle float but my Necky Chatham17 is pretty easy for me. I have done scrambles and cow-boys, and once I did a roll back by slipping inside it and rolling it back up, but I am not sure I could do that in any chop. In fact my rolling drills in choppy water are not too good. the boat is heaving and I am not sure of the timing at all. My idea is that rolling at the top of a wave should be easier (is that correct?) but it doesn't seem to be easier for me. If the waves are large and spread out rolling in between them is easier, but if I get on the side of one it's just a matter of luck (so far) if I can roll back over. I try 2 and sometimes 3 times--- but if I can't get back upright I do a wet exit and an reentry. Then I have to bail out the cockpit. In waves I feel unstable with both hands on a pump and want to have the paddle in the water, so wet exits are not as fun as most other things I have learned. They are fine in flat water in drills, but in the real world when I have waves I feel unsure of myself, and a few times I got turned over without the use of my paddle and had to do the whole thing again. I mentioned "all new mistakes" below. One is to not have a float or line on your bulge pump and about 1/2 way through the pumping, get capsized again---- and loose the pump to the bottom of the lake.

Yup, I KNOW about that mistake!

If I use the paddle float I can get back into my Chatham in fairly heavy chop ( over 2 feet but less then 3) and it's actually very easy for me now. I have not done any drills in cold water however. I will as the year goes on, but here in Wyoming , especially at higher altitudes, from the time the water gets cold to the time it gets "hard" is not very long. So cold water drills will probably have to wait unto spring thaw. Once the ice breaks up and I can get back on the water I probably have about 3 months of cold water.

I am very blessed to be so close to a lake that is about 1/3 surrounded by steep mountainsides and 2/3 surrounded by open prairies. Wind drops out of the mountains here very often so if I go north it's very common for me to be able to find some chop to practice in and ride. Sometimes a lot more then you'd like, but I am learning to stay up wind from where I can get out of the water ANYTIME I can see a possibility of a wind shear dropping the lake . When it happens I am where the wind blows me into a safe place. a few time when I was first starting I didn't know how fast it could ambush me and I got myself into trouble. But I learn fast, when I do that and I don't usually make the same mistake twice.(That is goods but I also am learning that there are a LOT of "new mistakes" you can make too)

Anna and I love to go out in the wind when we know it's going to blow up to about 30 MPH but we go do drills in about 3-4 feet of water. The waves are large enough to be "real" but when we find we are unable to do the things we are trying, we can simply relax in the water and in a minute of less we can be out of it. Sustained wind is predictable and we know what direction it will be coming from, so we drive around the lake to places on the shore that favors us.

The dangerous ones are the days when the wind can change and the clouds are mid to low in altitude and coming over the mountain tops. Living here and teaching shooting classes for many years I have seen winds change 180 degrees in less then 5 minutes many times. It's only annoying on a rifle range of field-shoot, but it's dangerous on a lake.

Anna and I have got caught in water with about 3/4 mile from shore one time, and about 2 miles another time when the wind went from about 12-15 MPH to 35-40 MPH and it was a lot more adventure then we bargained for.
My first time I got dumped and I was SO GLAD Anna and I had taken the advice of many saying to practice rescue drills from the very first day we got kayaks. We did. And by the time it was not a drill we'd done it about 50 times. When it was the real thing I was back in and bailing out the cockpit in about 20 seconds with her help and we then turned our kayaks to shore---- even though the truck was about 1-1/4 mile from where we landed. I didn't care! I can walk a mile in heavy wind with no problem at all. Swimming..........not near as easy ---or fun. I feel NO danger of drowning when I am walking to my truck.

We are newbies and we admit it, but I am now fanatical about it and can't express how much I am enjoying myself, so I go out nearly every day and paddle 3 hours before work Monday-Friday. Weekends I am on the water much longer. Through the spring and summer it was not uncommon for me to be on the lake 12-14 hours on Saturdays and 8 hours on Sundays. I have done several camp-overs for 2-3 days too, and I really like it. Feels like I'm a kid again.

Now hunting season is open and I am going to be out getting our yearly meat with Anna for the next few weekends, and for me I'll be out many weekdays too. So I will be off the lakes now more than I have been all the last months, from May until now. By the time I am done with our hunting it will be November (unless we are very lucky in finding our game quickly) Once we come into November we can bet on the water freezing within a few weeks, and then no paddling will be done at all until March or April.

But maybe Christmas will be good for both of us too.................we now both LOVE our new activity. We have already started a "goodie list".
 
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SZihn

Paddler
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
153
Location
Shoshoni Wyoming
Cougarmeat, please forgive my cyber ignorance, but I have to ask for one more favor. I can't see a way to contact that person with the Fathom LV.
Is thwere somethign I am missing in the post? Can you show me how to go about making contact?
 

SZihn

Paddler
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
153
Location
Shoshoni Wyoming
Well maybe I figured it out. I copied and pasted the line of code and tried it as an address. Seems like it worked. I didn't get a rejected e-mail back (yet)
 

cougarmeat

Paddler
Joined
Sep 17, 2012
Messages
885
Location
Bend OR USA
SZihn, I am so impressed with your understand and dedication to getting the basics down. Aren’t those “learning experiences” fun :)

For me, the value of the practice isn’t so much in perfecting a specific technique - I’m sure you’ve heard that a Plan is what you do until something actually hits the fan, It’s that it gives a sense of, “We’ve done this before”; which give some degree of calm amongst chaos. For someone who has NEVER done a rescue, in either role, it’s not so good if their first time is when it really matters.

Yeah, leashes are one of those “over pizza and beer” discussions.
This guy: https://tinyurl.com/7dyxx42v
Or: https://tinyurl.com/fu8p3ey5
(google his name and Kayak for other sources of his story. Note that this was before GPS - and no support crew)
says he leashes up when the wind reaches 15 mph or so.

Some leash the paddle to the boat, some to their wrist, some not at all. I’ve had instructors grouch about a kayak leash I had. It was long enough that I could roll or exit without it binding (and I also have a knife on my PFD). But one could argue a “tangle factor”. As I said, “… over pizza and beer.” I don’t have/use it when I’m paddling with others, but even in calm water, there’s a bit of a pucker factor when I leave shore alone. I’ve been in flat water between Patos and Orcas Island - a perfectly fine day - and have had to remind myself that everything was fine; even though one piece of land was “way over there (north)” and the other piece of land was “way over there (south)”.

A spare paddle is a good Plan-B. I try to have them be as different as possible in design. For example, the shorter bent shaft Cypress has a lot more dig than the skinnier Little Dipper, But the Dipper is easier on the joints for long day touring. I pick one based on conditions, color matching with the kayak (Hey, those things are important.) or switch up just for change. But in strong-ish wind, I’d still leash up because, you know, they don’t give those paddles away.

I think some solo paddling is important to reduce that unrealistic anxiety while keeping an appropriate amount of caution. It’s like rock climbing. At first the climber (safely roped up and on belay) is afraid of falling. But after several experiences of coming off the rock - I prefer that description over “falling” - and having the rope/belayer work as designed, that initial anxiety is reduced so they can focus on the climb. But you still have to pay appropriate attention to having your harness on correctly, having a reliable rope and belayer, tying a knot at the end of your rappel line, having the belayer anchored, especially if there’s a large weight difference, etc.

That said, when I paddle with others I often pick up information I wouldn't have paddling with the same people all the time - different gear, different ways of doing things. Alas, as with you in Wyoming, there isn’t a lot of Sea Kayaker clubs in central Oregon. Our local kayak shop’s main focus is SUP’s and some whitewater.

Sea kayaking came to me much later in my life. When I push off from shore and take a few strokes, the recurring thought is, “What took me so long."

(my next mission is to covert you from tent camping to using a hammock - but still bring a tent. More suited for the Gear forum. Check out cougarmeat at www.hammockforums.net)
 
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SZihn

Paddler
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
153
Location
Shoshoni Wyoming
Cougarmeat, it's too bad we are so far apart. We thunk much alike and I'd bet we'd get along very well. Except for the hammock. You see, my neck needs to be very flat when I sleep. I broke it in a parachute fall in the 70s when I was a Marine and it healed in the wrong way. It's not very flexible these days, but I get along. When sleeping I have to be flat on my stomach or flat on my back and curve at the neck, even a 2" pillow causes me a lot of pain within about 1 hour I am now firmly in "Geezerhood" and enjoying life, but like you I wonder why I never tried a kayak when I was a younger man. It's the most fun I have had with any new activity in the last 35 years or so.
 
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