Never let go of your paddle

Doug

Paddler
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
195
Location
Vancouver
Never let go of your paddle always seemed like a pretty good concept to me. It served me well for several years of whitewater kayaking. However, I recently had some problems with this when I practiced wet exits from our Pygmy Tern14 on the weekend. The spray skirt was easy to get off, but only when two hands were used. Pulling out and up on the spray skirt with one hand made it very difficult for the skirt to come off. I should mention that we have the correct size of spray skirt and the fit seems pretty good. It’s definitely easier to put on the coaming than my older ww spray skirts. The issue seems to be that pulling out and up gets the skirt off of the very nose of the coaming, but the lip is so big (ie lots of undercut) that lifting off the front tip of the skirt isn’t enough to dislodge the skirt. I used my second hand to easily flip off the skirt by prying on it about 2” away from the nose.

I would like to know what other people’s experiences are with pygmy boats, as I know there are quite a few people here that have used them. As for fixes, I think that it deserves one. I could sand down the front of the coaming lip, but that would take away from the looks. Another idea I had was to epoxy maybe 6” of rope underneath the coaming lip. With this in place, when the nose is pulled up and out, the rest of the front of the skirt only has to slide maybe 0.5” off of the coaming lip instead of 1”, or whatever the actual measurements are. Thoughts?
 

sushiy

Paddler
Joined
Oct 3, 2006
Messages
938
Location
Lynnwood, Washington, USA
I use the paddle leash all the time, because I want to use my both hands to do things. Mine is attached to deck line but, if you play rough, there is the way to attach it to your wrist and, when you don't need it on your hand you can tuck it under your paddle park.

Dose your skirt has another release strap( I use Snap Dragon's, I don't know if the other maker use it)? You know the one laying across the deck. It makes easy to release the skirt.
 

Doug

Paddler
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
195
Location
Vancouver
Release strap? Nope. Maybe one could be added though. As for paddle leash, that wouldn't work in an emergency. I'm not worried about letting go of a paddle during practice, I'm more concerned about an accidental capsize while touring or away from immediate help/safety.
 

sushiy

Paddler
Joined
Oct 3, 2006
Messages
938
Location
Lynnwood, Washington, USA
Doug said:
As for paddle leash, that wouldn't work in an emergency. I'm not worried about letting go of a paddle during practice, I'm more concerned about an accidental capsize while touring or away from immediate help/safety.
:shock: :shock: It dosen't?? ...I thought the paddle leash is for that purpose... I have to start practicing "never let the paddle go, no matter what"... But there is a type of the leash suitable for surfing though... I thought that is strong enough for the rough water, isn't it??
 

mick_allen

Paddler & Moderator
Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
3,488
haven't done a wet pygmy exit but 1" sounds too deep for a flat ply coaming - espec if it is not too high.

one of the problems with plywood yak peaked decks is that if a recess or flat panel isn't used at the front (like pygmies and others) the coaming lip at each side of the peak is actually is bent DOWN more way more than the 90 degrees of a typical kayak coaming .

this more grabby situation should be alleviated by a smaller lip, or a wider base to lessen the lip depth, and/or rounding the UNDERSIDE of the coaming lip at the front where the problem is accentuated, and or changing the coaming plan profile for a more gentle curve across the peak as possible.

and all this can be helped a little bit by using a slightly offset skirt pull at the front. ie pull sideways at the front quarter to release the front side and pull slightly diag and forward and up and over from there. sort of like one front side 1st, then the other. if your skirt has a direct front pull, maybe also put it on slightly askew to assist this.

but the major problem is that the coaming lips angle down more and therefore grab more than normal kayak coamings. so take steps to alleviate.

whatever the case, you must be able to release with one hand just like ww. 2 hands is not acceptable.


.
 

mick_allen

Paddler & Moderator
Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
3,488
whatever the case, you must be able to release with one hand just like ww. 2 hands is not acceptable.
that being said - even in rough water, you can be grasping the paddle loom and still be helping to pull the skirt rand off at the side.

but the basic point holds - one hand must be able to release you.
 

mick_allen

Paddler & Moderator
Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
3,488
sheesh, sorry for so much imput on this point.

but my guillemot s&g had this peaked deck and other coaming problems and so my 1st quick modification was to cut off the lip and make a whole new coaming that was much much flatter across the deck peak at the very front. It also had to be raised a tiny bit, but the other consequence was that the downward 'hook' of the original coaming (like the pygmy coamings) sides was lessened quite a bit

was way safer and nicer.

- but still was an issue that i just did not like:

so a week or so later i cut the whole thing off again, threw it out and put in a whole new flat panel assembly so that this newer coaming was much better shaped and formed (no more 'hook' etc) for my purposes.

the joy of f/g or wood boats is that you can change them to what you want.


.
 

Doug

Paddler
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
195
Location
Vancouver
I agree Mick. The peaked coaming is really undercutting the skirt such that the sides are pointing downwards. I think a really good panic-stricken pull would release the skirt but I was nervous watching my wife trying to rip the skirt off before we did some capsizes.

sushiy, steve... for some reason I was thinking "paddle park" and not "paddle leash". Coming from a WW background I don't think a paddle leash is at all safe but I guess for most open water situations it would be okay.
 

mikec

Paddler
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
601
Location
Sept-Îles, QC
just from personal experience ie ending up with a leash coiled around my arm in rough water I tend to share your views on paddle leashes.

i can appreciate that there is something to be said for having 2 hands free to help someone, but the cons ie a leash floating about in the water that can wrap around you at any given time outweigh that imop.

i get very leary of anything rope like floating in the water for no reason near my boat....
 

Mark_Schilling

Paddler
Joined
Mar 8, 2005
Messages
4,552
Location
"Home by the Sea" - Nanaimo, BC
I bought a Snapdragon WW spraydeck for my Tern, and it fits very well. I have no problem with the fit of the spray deck; it's snug and there's no chance it'll pop off in dumping surf etc. However, since the boat is designed for smaller paddlers, it's not always easy for them to get it around the coaming easily. IMO, the problem is not with the spray deck, it's with the coaming. Quite simply, the cockpit is WAY too big for this size of boat. By putting a cockpit this big on a boat this size is asking a short paddler with a slight build to stretch almost to their limit in front of them to get the spray deck seated around the coaming. Inexperienced paddlers may reason that this is an excuse not to wear a spray deck, which I think is a bad idea.

When I allow smaller paddlers to paddle my Tern, I'm hesitant to help them get the spray deck seated. My reasoning is that, in the event of a capsize, they won't have any help getting it off, so they should be able to get it on by themselves too.

As for the whole paddle leash issue... I tend to find the convenience of having one outweighs the risk of 'entanglement' in most situations. I made my own out of shock cord sandwiched between two layers of narrow webbing, and I made it just long enough to work - I don't want it any longer than it needs to be. I usually take it off when playing around in surf (admittedly I tend to leave it on when paddling along exposed shores and 'rock gardening'), but I've also trained myself not to let go of the paddle anyway when in hairy situations (yes, I can release the spray deck on the Tern with one hand - but in most situations I don't need to anyway). So long as I'm holding on to the paddle, the leash is not long enough to get entangled in anything. Some may ask, then, what is the point of having a paddle leash - for me, it's to be able to let go of the paddle quickly when assisting with a rescue or just stopping in flat water for a lunch break or photo op etc. I've found that having a paddle blade tucked under deck lines leaves the other blade free to swing around in the current and be a general nuisance.

So, that's my take on the situation. I can, however, see the point of those who do not like paddle leashes - I'm not trying to convince anyone that mine is the best way. Only that it works for me, so far. "Your mileage may vary."
 

sushiy

Paddler
Joined
Oct 3, 2006
Messages
938
Location
Lynnwood, Washington, USA
After a few weeks of capsizing... yes, that was more capsizing than paddling... and paying close atention to what I do to release the skirt, I noticed that I always use just one hand using the second release strap on my Snap Dragon's skirt. I upgraded my skirt to more tight neoprene one from my easyfit nylon one, and it is so tight and like Mark-S says, as a small person, it was really hard to reach and stretch the release loop to yunk it off. But, with that second release strap, it is really easy to get it off. You know there are 2 ways to release the skirt, one is to use the loop, the other one is to pull the side of the skirt and run your finger between the coaming and skirt. The second strap is for pulling the side off easily.
With my tight neo-skirt, I don't have confident to do the job with the loop even with two hands under the water, but with the second strap, I can do it with one hand. I know it because I did capsize over 100 times in last few weeks :shock:

Doug, I highly recomend the skirt with the second strap for your wife.

Oh, and now I remember that for my AT14, I did not like the sharp pointy coaming tip ( I was afraid it will poke the skirt through after some use.), so I rounded it a little. I don't know if it helps to ease some of the struggle.
 

Doug

Paddler
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
195
Location
Vancouver
thanks suishy,

I don't think I've seen a skirt with the 2nd strap. Does it look like it's possible to add a 2nd strap to an existing spray skirt?
 

sushiy

Paddler
Joined
Oct 3, 2006
Messages
938
Location
Lynnwood, Washington, USA
Hi Doug,
I wonder if the Snap Dragon's strap which run across the spray deck about 15cm in from the loop is not aproved by Canadian goverenment??
I have 2 skirts and they both have it.

Yes, it looks like you can sew it on.
Mine is just a ordinaly strap sewn to the rim of the skirt. Let me check...
yes, it is sewn at right inside of the shock code.
 

jurgenk

Paddler
Joined
Jun 14, 2005
Messages
510
Location
New Hazelton, BC
Doug, I cannot find where I saw this but I believe one DIY approach to this is to sew a piece of 2-3" webbing on the underside of your skirt so that it sticks out 3-4" past the outer radius of the skirt. You then apply your skirt with the webbing sticking out so that if you cannot release the spray skirt normally, you pull the webbing, which, due to it being between the coaming and the spray skirt, should pop the skirt off.

You could try this idea without sewing it first by sitting in the boat and putting a piece of webbing over the coaming, attaching the skirt, and then holding it with one hand (so that it does not simply pull through, try pulling the skirt off with the other hand. Then when you find a position that works optimally, you could sew (or glue) the webbing onto the underside of the sprayskirt.

Brad
 

sushiy

Paddler
Joined
Oct 3, 2006
Messages
938
Location
Lynnwood, Washington, USA
Hi Doug, Here is the strap I am taking aboutt


I pull it.


I slide my fingers between it and coaming.


Skirt is released.


All done by one hand.

I hope I am using this strap as it is intended. I don't think it is used to hook it hung on the wall...
I noticed also that I don't know what my the hand is doing, but my paddle is floating away from my hand :oops: Yes, I noticed that I did not know what my the other hand was doing all that time :roll:
 
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