Sunday, 25 November 2007

XXS is good

Following on in my failed to roll when solo in rough water capsize scenario. I have so far managed to get back into my kayak with re-entry and roll with my paddle float assistance. I can now support myself while I start the process of pumping out the water from my cockpit. I don’t have a foot or electric pump. My spray deck is tucked under the twin seal waist of the paddling top, so I can’t push the pump down the front and have the spray deck back in place. I think it is going to be difficult to keep the big waves from refilling the cockpit.

Unless I have spent extra cash on a Reed spray deck with a bale hole.
Which I haven’t.

But seeing this spray deck gave me an idea to adapt my existing deck to have it’s own retrofitted hole.

I came up with the idea of using the smallest dry bag I could find (an ExPed XXS which cost less than a pint of beer), as a ready made sealing hatch device. So now all I have to do is cut the bottom out of the bag, make an appropriate incision in the spray deck and sew/seal the bag in. The bag is small enough I think, that when rolled right up, will not allow water to pool.


When it’s done, a picture will surely follow.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Please Sir, Blow in the Bag!

I’m on my own. First line of defense is to roll. If that fails then it is a re-entry and roll.
Ok so I’m back in my boat, upright and the cockpit is full of water. That is why I’ve got a pump. It is a hand pump. To pump the volume of water that remains in the cockpit is to say the least tiring, it is really hard work.

So considering that conditions must be pretty difficult for me to have capsized in the first place, I can see a spiral of events here. Pumping out, getting tired, trying to stay upright. It is not unreasonable to say that during this operation a capsize is again likely to happen, the re-entry and roll may or may not happen depending on how tired/cold I am etc.
To increase my chances of staying upright while I perform the vertical stroking of my bilge pump, I have considered a paddle float.

The philosophy here is that it should make the re-entry and roll easier, but more importantly act as an out rigger providing stability while pumping out the cockpit. I am assuming a hunch forward position over the paddle shaft and leaning into the float, while using the pump.

Down side of using a float is the delay of getting out of the water while inflating the bag. Considering the advantages of stability the float will offer during pumping, I think it is a trade off I am happy to make.

Other uses for this kit include a pillow while camping and as a splint device for leg or arm. This requires cutting the bottom of the float between the seams of the two floatation chambers. An arm or leg can then be put through and both chambers inflated to provide quite a good splint, (blow really hard!). This could also be used to provide pressure to an open wound. This sort of effect is used to a greater effect in MAST pants (military anti shock trousers), but that is a different story.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

GlowStick alternative

Glow sticks (chemical light sticks) are relatively inexpensive, last for 6-8hrs and then you throw them away. These Lazer Stik devices are LED powered, waterproof (100m), float upright and can be turned on/off when required. The 6inch wand gives off a nice broad beam so I've got hold of a red one to use as a deck light to look at my chart and general night time use. You can also make them flash if you want. In a group night time paddle they would be useful to put front and back of PFD so that everyone knows where everyone else is. I found glow sticks very bright at night and put them in a net bag to reduce their intensity. I don't know yet how bright these LED's are in comparison.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Compass Light

This was my attempt at creating a deck light to illuminate the forward mounted compass.
It has the additional use of being able to secure some plastic/drybag as an emergency hatch cover if needed.
I used a red "Guardian" LED light threaded onto a short length of webbing, then stitched a double length of bungee to go around the hatch cover rim.

It sits nice and securely inside the rim of the cover so wont easily get washed off. (A small piece of string attached to the tab on the hatch acts as a safety just in case).
The red light was chosen to give illumination but not to reduce the effect on loss of night vision,

There is very little light spill from outside of the compass well. The image below is from the front right looking back, from the cockpit there is no glare at all from the light.

Friday, 2 November 2007


To make the most of my kayaking down time, I've been getting stuff together to enhance my night time paddling experience. The SOLAS self adhesive tape has now arrived. Now if I am in the beam of anyones light, glow like a glowing thing I shall. Love the way that stuff reflects light.

Came across a few interesting tiny waterproof lights. The Guardian (above), which is really tiny (41 x 33 x 33mm 20g). It is described as "Rugged-designed to withstand being driven over by an average car". Why?

Useful design traits however are the fact that it is water proof (100m), is very very tiny, batteries last for ages, easy to use with cold hands. You can make it flash but this requires the batteries to be turned around, not recommended out on the boat. It comes in White, Red, Yellow, Green, Blue and Infrared. You can apparently see the light, so to speak, from up to 2km at the front and 0.5km from the side. All this for less than £8 and that includes batteries.