View topic - Capsize and Recover

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 Post subject: Re: Capsize and Recover
PostPosted: June 22nd, 2009, 10:03 pm 
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Joined: June 11th, 2009, 4:15 pm
Posts: 3
When I started ww canoeing most people were using OT Trippers and similar type boats, Most were set up with foam side flotation as primary flotation installed inside the canoe in case of a dump/swim. It would allow one to tip the boat on its side even in cl3 rapids, the boat would float on the surface on it's side allowing most of the water to drain out. Then the paddler could get back in and continue to an eddy to finish bailing and collect their wits. I still have a boat set up like this. Get 2 peices of mini-cell foam, Trim to fit each side of the boat amid ship. Once it is shaped to fit from under the gunnel and to the contour of the inside,snug it into place and put a pencil line along the bottom edge. To fasten it to the boat it is laced in as follows. Under the gunnel drill a few sets of holes, each hole is 2 inches apart, 4-5 sets just big enough for the cord just under the gunnel,make some small loops of cord, with the knot on the inside. A 1 ft piece of cord woks well. Along the bottom of the boat glue in some D-rings above the pencil line so they will be concealed and also help to keep the foam very snug to the gunnel. You will need one less D-ring than loops at the top. Once the foam is trimmed then lay it out with pencil before drilling and glueing. Once the D-rings are dry lace the foam into place with another section of cord. I tie the cord off with a truckers hitch to allow for adjustment if needed to keep the lacing snug. The foam does not add that much weight and still allows for lots of room for gear. This method will work on ABS and Fiber-glass/Kevlar hulls. The small holes under the gunnels do not weaken the hull much and if the loops are placed just under the gunnels they almost can't be seen. In a swim, after getting to the upstream end of the boat. When safe enough work your way down the side of the boat to a thwart. Reach one hand under, grab the far side of the thwart, and pull down and towards yourself while at the same time push upwards on the near side gunnel. The boat will come up on edge, pause a bit to let some water out, then let the boat continue to right itself with some help from you. If timed just right hang on and let it pull you out of the water and in as it settles. I have used this method in cl3 and with some practice (on flatwater) it can take as little as 10-15 seconds without assistance.


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 Post subject: Re: Capsize and Recover
PostPosted: June 23rd, 2009, 1:58 am 
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Location: Back to Winnipeg
John,

Yes, the people who I paddle with practice various rescue stuff a fair bit (after having a close call last year). We have some practice/training days, as a group and with the larger club, but we now also try to integrate paddling practice & rescue practice into any ol' day on the river. If it's been a while since somebody's been rescued or done a rescue, we might have a tip and do a canoe-over-canoe rescue in a flat stretch of the river.

If somebody says something like "I wonder if that little solo boat could rescue that big tandem?", guess what - might as well try!

So regardless of how your boat is outfitted and how you prefer to rescue (e.g. climbing in or doing canoe-over-canoe), I'd say anyone paddling class III on continuous and cold rivers should practice rescues with their partners. A safe spot in the moving water is ideal, but getting really good at canoe-over-canoe in flatwater would go a long way too. In fact, if you're probably better off doing it more frequently on easy water than you are doing once in a blue moon on moving water.

We're also practicing rolling/bracing to avoid swimming; and rope-based recscues like z-drags, if a swim goes badly.

As you know, a dump in a bad place will feel much more comfortable if you know what options are going to be considered for rescue, and you know that you and your group can do them.

Not to say all heck couldn't still break loose for a long, long swim, but most of the time it'll be more comfortable knowing that within your group there's some common understanding of options and protocols, and also some liklihood that the attempted rescue might even succeed quickly.

It's also important that the rescue skills and equipment are spread through the group, as you never know who's going to need the rescue - everyone should know the general plan and be comfortable with doing it (something we always review at a pre-launch meeting).

Pat.

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 Post subject: Re: Capsize and Recover
PostPosted: June 23rd, 2009, 10:24 am 
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Joined: March 23rd, 2005, 9:22 am
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Location: Wenatchee, WA
Not2OldYet- I think the air bags I have installed in my boats, serve the same function as the mini-cell foam you are talking about. Sounds like you really refined the technique of getting back in. That argues for a lot of practice, as Pat is suggesting. I've got to get my buddies together and work on this. It is not enough to know a whole lot of strokes and manuevers. Sometimes you blow it.


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 Post subject: Re: Capsize and Recover
PostPosted: June 23rd, 2009, 7:14 pm 
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The difference with the air bags is a lot of water can stay in the boat as it is being righted. The foam can be a good complement to small air bags at the ends of the boat, especially if carrying gear. I did practice; first on a pond, then at the base of a rapid with a pool downstream to get the feel of it in good current. The method would be the same with bags/no bags, foam/no foam. Practice may not make it perfect, but it will make you more capable and much quicker when needing to put it to use. Good Luck


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 Post subject: Re: Capsize and Recover
PostPosted: December 13th, 2009, 10:44 pm 
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Location: seattle, Washington USA
John, I just happened across this older posting. You're welcome to come over to the west side for the Rescue Clinic we teach every year, usually in August. They are very helpful, as we are even doing some strainer swims. We also talk about outfitting safety. I used to not swim very much, but now it seems I swim on nearly every WW trip. However, I'm doing more difficult rivers, and pushing the envelope a lot. The more you swim, the more comfortable you'll be in all sorts of conditions.


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 Post subject: Re: Capsize and Recover
PostPosted: December 14th, 2009, 6:44 pm 
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Location: Coldstream, Ontario Canada
John Marshall wrote:
Pat-
I guess I need to get my fellow paddlers together and organize some drills. The challenge is how to make it realistic, and relevant without being dangerous. Doing a canoe over canoe on a mill pond in August is very differant from doing a canoe over canoe in a fast moving river in April.


The problem on fast continuous rapids is how do you T rescue the tandem boat if its full of gear....you can't. The solution is to tie the gear together on a tether which is tied to the boat. This way there's not four packs taking off down the river on their own. The tether allows for T rescue or to pendulum the boat into shore after a rescue boat has affixed a long line via connecting throw bags. Which is then quickly paddled to shore to find an anchor so to pendulum the boat to shore.
Now there is some concerns with tying a long line to a boat taking off down river full of gear, water, also rocks and river bends that you can't see around the corners. To minimize those concerns the rescue line should NEVER be tied by knots to the rescue boat! This is where a strong swimmer belt on a rescue PFD on the stern paddler comes into play. It has a quick release belt in which the line is binerd to the "O" ring. This system allows the rescue boat to quickly release its self from a bad situation that may have developed as you entered a river bend or anything that you weren't aware of.
At the other end a biner would have been snapped on to the boat for a quick attachment.
Also using this system, its key to have lots of line. The best method is three big water throw bags attached together by figure 8 loops and biners. This will give you some 240' of continuous line spooling out to give you time to anchor before the heavily weighted boat comes to the end of the rope before you've anchored.

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Al Greve http://www.canoewateradventuring.ca South Western Ontario's canoeing specialist



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 Post subject: Re: Capsize and Recover
PostPosted: December 14th, 2009, 6:51 pm 
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Location: Coldstream, Ontario Canada
yarnellboat wrote:
John,



If somebody says something like "I wonder if that little solo boat could rescue that big tandem?", guess what - might as well try!

Pat.


Depends on the size of the solo boat, do it all the time if I'm instructing from a 10 or 11' boat, anything smaller I roll the boat over throw my pig tail on the grab loop and paddle it to shore.

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Al Greve http://www.canoewateradventuring.ca South Western Ontario's canoeing specialist



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 Post subject: Re: Capsize and Recover
PostPosted: December 14th, 2009, 11:18 pm 
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Al, I know there are two schools of thought regarding gear in the boat, i.e., to tie in or to tether. I'm an advocate of the former. While it prevents a T rescue, a boat full of gear properly strapped in, will not fill except where the paddling positions are. And it won't be as heavy, in my experience, as a boat filled with water. Gear on a tether, IMO is a recipe for entanglement. For lake travel, tethers will allow for a T rescue. But on rivers, a T rescue means that swimmers and boats are more exposed to the next rapids, rocks, whatever. So John, if you're on the Wenatchee and the boat goes over, get to shore asap, and don't worry about doing a boat to boat rescue unless you're in a convenient eddy.


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 Post subject: Re: Capsize and Recover
PostPosted: December 15th, 2009, 7:29 am 
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Joined: August 12th, 2009, 7:43 am
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Location: Stockbridge, Massachusetts
I've had good luck with self recovery when paddling solo through big rapids by using gear and supplies as displacement inside in boat - and lashing air bags over the top of the bow to create a sort of "air bubble." This deflects some of the water coming in over the bow "pre-swim" - and causes the boat to float more upright during a swim, when the boat is submerged. Having floatation above the level of the gunnels also makes it easy to climb back in over the side (basically you just have to push the gunnel on the side where you're swimming a little further down under the water and flop in). The "air bubble" above the gunnel helps keep the boat upright - even on the long slow paddle to shore in a swamped canoe that is handling like a bath tub.


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File comment: I rig air bags up high. A large piece of fabric covers the air bags to protect them from being damaged too easily. It looks a little funny, but no one else ever sees it.
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 Post subject: Re: Capsize and Recover
PostPosted: December 15th, 2009, 8:17 am 
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Interesting - I think I just learned something. Great for those northern rivers with endless succession of big rapids and no portages.

How do you handle wind - take it down?

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 Post subject: Re: Capsize and Recover
PostPosted: December 15th, 2009, 10:23 am 
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Location: Stockbridge, Massachusetts
If it becomes too much of a wind catcher, I just open the valve on the air bag and let it partially deflate - but not too much because then it takes that much longer to blow it back up for the big waves later on.


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 Post subject: Re: Capsize and Recover
PostPosted: December 15th, 2009, 3:56 pm 
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Joined: March 23rd, 2005, 9:22 am
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Location: Wenatchee, WA
I had forgotten all about this thread. Thanks to all for reviving it. Stockbridge, is that a barren lands river you are paddling? I think your set-up with the airbag on top could also apply to salt water paddling. I have done a little salt water paddling, and my guess is that with your set up you could reliably get back in the boat after being knocked over. You would then have to bail it if you were far off shore.


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 Post subject: Re: Capsize and Recover
PostPosted: December 15th, 2009, 6:22 pm 
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erich wrote:
Al, I know there are two schools of thought regarding gear in the boat, i.e., to tie in or to tether. I'm an advocate of the former. While it prevents a T rescue, a boat full of gear properly strapped in, will not fill except where the paddling positions are. And it won't be as heavy, in my experience, as a boat filled with water. Gear on a tether, IMO is a recipe for entanglement. For lake travel, tethers will allow for a T rescue. But on rivers, a T rescue means that swimmers and boats are more exposed to the next rapids, rocks, whatever. So John, if you're on the Wenatchee and the boat goes over, get to shore asap, and don't worry about doing a boat to boat rescue unless you're in a convenient eddy.


Hi erich,
I'm not really understanding what you're trying to convey? I'm thinking you're suggest the boat is not upside down and the paddlers are still in the boat?

While it prevents a T rescue, a boat full of gear properly strapped in, will not fill except where the paddling positions are.

So this boat didn't flip over? And you just saying you are using the gear is flotation?


Gear on a tether, IMO is a recipe for entanglement.


I said "The problem on fast continuous rapids is how do you T rescue the tandem boat if its full of gear....you can't."
In continuous rapids when rescue boats are present the paddlers in the water should not stay with the boat, they should swim to shore and remove them selves from the situation. Thus almost eliminating any chance of entrapment or rocks or anything else.

So in short and I'd think you agree T rescues are for flat water or pool and drop rivers.

On fast long and large continuous rapids you only have one option and that is to pendulum the boat to shore.

As far as boats with gear tied in how do you T rescue them ? If you can T rescue a boat with gear tied in you are way stronger than me. :-?

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Al Greve http://www.canoewateradventuring.ca South Western Ontario's canoeing specialist



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 Post subject: Re: Capsize and Recover
PostPosted: December 15th, 2009, 7:01 pm 
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Location: seattle, Washington USA
Hi Al, I probably misunderstood your post as I thought you were advocating a tether system ala Bill Mason, for boats in WW as it would allow for a T rescue. T rescues work for boats with airbags or without gear, or perhaps, gear on a tether. Lakes seem to be the place for T rescues and tethers. On my trips, which are almost always northern rivers, often with long rapids, I strap the gear in. My D rings are arranged in the bottom of the boat to keep the gear in the bottom. When you can get to a convenient spot(eddy or shore) and right the boat, a bit of bailing will empty it out enough to get back in. On rivers, the prospect of having to fight a tangle of gear on tethers, as well as a filled canoe, is something I want to avoid. And I'm not Charles Atlas, so don't for minute think I could do a T rescue with the gear in. Ain't goin' ta happen. :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Capsize and Recover
PostPosted: December 17th, 2009, 1:51 pm 
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Location: Stockbridge, Massachusetts
John,

That's approaching the coast on the Seal River last summer.

John Marshall wrote:
my guess is that with your set up you could reliably get back in the boat after being knocked over. You would then have to bail it if you were far off shore.


Thus far, when the boat has capsized - or become totally swamped - I have had to paddle it to shore in order to pump/bail out the water. It's actually only happened twice with "the bubble." On both occasions, the gunnels were totally underwater, so beginning to pump out the water was wasted effort until I got to shore and got out of the swamped boat. Once my body weight/mass was subtracted from the equation, the gunnels rose above the water line and I could begin the long, tiring process of pumping/bailing. (Always carry a bilge pump! [and tie it in])

I have sometimes placed a "bubble" on the stern of the boat also - which may keep the gunnels above the water line if totally swamped, but I kind of doubt it. The "two bubble" set up has never actually been put to a real test, but it's hard to imagine lifting that much weight out of the water - even with a pretty big air bag. The real reason I only put the bubble in the front these days is so that I can have some gear/supplies more easily accessible during the day. (Stuff needed only at night "under the deck" up front. Stuff that I want to be able to access during the day in the open stern.) But I may use a "two-bubble" set up next summer in an effort to keep the boat a little drier in big water. Still mulling over the pros and cons on that one.


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