Friday, July 27, 2007
Wednesday Skills Sessions
Wednesday evening we had a SKOAC Skills Session, with plenty of paddlers ready to try their hand at some rescues beyond the basics. Bill and Jerome, two of our veteran instructors were there, and able to make things interesting with some fun stuff. I did try a variation I found on Adam Bolonsky's site, called a "Cowboy T Scramble Rescue". I can see where it may work well with a paddler proficient with a basic cowboy scramble ... it was pretty tough for someone still working on basic rescue skills. A simple T rescue proved to be easier. We did do some lost boat scenario's ... if you are going to jump out of your boat, and give it a push, then swim after it ... don't push it down wind! Its sobering to realize just how fast a boat can get blown away from you in even a light wind ... moral ... hang onto your boat! I've read some solo paddlers will tether themselves to the boat. I don't know if the entanglement hazard would outweigh the risk of getting separated from your boat, certainly something to think about. We did work with a sling during a basic T rescue, here again, when adding complexity to a rescue, there is always the danger of something else to go wrong. Another variation on the T rescue is, rather than for the swimmer to climb on the back deck, and enter the cockpit from the back, is to lever themselves in by hooking the outside foot on the combing and just rolling in. This I'm finding works well, but only after some practice, and the rescuer has to be ready for the added torque while the swimmer climbs in. Regular practice on rescue skills, even for folks that are spending a lot of time on the water, should be a high priority. Having the confidence knowing everyone in your group can handle a problem in the middle of a 5 mile crossing, or 20 feet off a pile of rocks in big reflection waves, is reassuring.