Ok, so I know where I’m going and what I’m taking with me, guess it’s time to put together a plan on learning how to use “The Coffin”, don’t worry, I haven’t lost sight of the fact that I’ve never done this and have almost no clue what I’m doing. I’ve watched hundreds of youtube videos on all the techniques so I have a general idea what I need to know however, not naïve enough to think I can just show up one sunny morning, throw everything into a kayak and set sail for 15 or more days armed solely with what I’ve watched on a computer. I’m going to need some instruction and training.
My plan is to spend a few weekends prior to the actual trip getting some real experience by someone who knows what they’re doing.
First Weekend will be focused on learning techniques required, this isn’t about going out for leisurely paddle and I don’t care if I move 30 feet away from the dock, I am going to practice these over and over until they sink in and become second nature, or as much as they can be over a single weekend.
What I need to learn quickly,
Entry - Tippy little things if you don’t do it right, first task is getting into that little cockpit without falling flat on my face every time, need to know how to beach launch, shallow water entry, how to get in off a dock.
Wet Exit – Something about being strapped into boat upside down under water and panicking because I don’t know how to get out. I do know this, don’t let go of paddle, rest against waist, put hands over and tap on the bottom of the kayak, this is to signal others that I need assistance to rescue (again that term) I will be by myself but figure might as well learn proper technique. Pull skirt strip forward, run hands around skirt to remove it then slide out. Remembering at all times to stay with boat and paddle.
Landing – Should be the reverse of getting in the thing in the first place, still need to practice it though, also need to practice getting the kayak up on shore and secured properly. Especially over rocks, never know where I’m going to need to land.
Self Rescue Techniques – I see this as the most important thing I need to learn, how to get back into this kayak in open water when I do capsize, notice I said “do” not “if”, hope for the best, plan for the worst. There are many ways of doing this and I’ve watched them all, I plan trying them all and learning a couple that work really well for me and practice over and over so that I’m comfortable with both equally.
Paddle Technique – I’ve paddled many a canoe, I know most of the strokes and I’m not really worried about this one, I do want to learn proper paddle technique to reduce the fatigue factor but I figure after a day on the water I’m going to pretty much know the basics.
Bracing – The whole point of learning proper bracing techniques is so I can prevent having to do the whole self rescue thing in the first place. Plan to learn low brace, high brace and sculling.
Rolls – As with the bracing, why have to do a wet exit and self rescue if I can just flip the thing back over and keep going. It also sounds like fun as long as I don’t have to do it with 3 foot waves coming at me. I also plan to try and learn how to do it without the paddle just in case.
Want to use a kayak as close to what I’m taking as possible and this is also
a good opportunity to hopefully try different ones so I can better choose which one suits me best. Initially I plan on practicing with an empty kayak but at some point prior to the trip I am going to load it up and do it all again, fully loaded kayak behaves differently than an empty one.
I don’t want any surprises I’m not prepared for, or at a minimum ones that I could think of before being out there.