Advice on Contact Tows!^

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perryoutdoors
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Advice on Contact Tows!^

Post by perryoutdoors » Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:19 pm

Hi guys,

Im trying to come up with some ideas for contacts tows for a 4* going onto 5* environment. Has anyone got any suggestions or advice on what you use.

Thanks

Owen
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by Owen » Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:33 pm

By contact tow do you mean, someone gets hold of your kayak while you pull/push them. Or, a short tow where the towee's kayak is attached to your kayak?

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TechnoEngineer
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by TechnoEngineer » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:40 pm

A suggestion I've seen is approx' 1-2 metres of rope, snap hook at one end and a quick release knot at the other, tied onto the decklines close to the cockpit.
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MikeB
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by MikeB » Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:34 pm

A length of decent thickness bungee with a hook on each end. Stored / carried cliped across your foredeck, it'll then be readily accessible for a tow on either side.

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wideblueyonder
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by wideblueyonder » Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:23 am

I've had a preview of the new Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown DVD, due out at the start of November - there is a whole section on contact tows using a couple of solutions with thin cord and small karabiners situated on the front deck lines. It's excellent viewing and will the whole DVD is highly recommended for someone going through the 4*/5* process.

RickC
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by RickC » Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:23 am

I'd recommend taking a look at Jeff Allen's ThrowTow - I use it and can honestly say it's an excellent bit of kit. It can be used for every conceivable tow choice, plus as a drogue and a tow line. As a short contact tow it's perfect and can be deployed in less than 5 seconds. It has the benefit of being quick release if/when required.

Some posters on this forum have described it as looking bulky but I say try before judging - I got used to it very quickly and would not paddle without it now.

See www.seakayakingcornwall.com for details. I have no commercial relationship with this org or Jeff.

Rick

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PeterG
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by PeterG » Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:30 pm

Does 'pushing' come under towing?

Often it is easier to push either an individual or a raft of 2 or 2+. For an individual, the being-pushed paddler has to help by holding on, either in or out of the boat. This is very handy for a lost paddle situation; two can be paddled as quickly as one, sometimes it seems even quicker as you suddenly have a very long waterline. For a raft, if a couple of boats are held tightly together, pushing the bow between them is enough. This is possible even during a 'x' or 't' rescue, if the rescuer pauses for a moment to be pushed out of the impact zone before resuming the rescue. The casualty can help by swimming, or just trail along the surface.

A quick push can be enough to take the potential casualties out of the danger zone. You usually arrive facing an incident. So pushing is quicker than manoeuvering to tow. Backwards towing would be possible, but you will find that your ability to push forwards is much greater than your ability to paddle backwards against the resistance of a boat or boats and someone in the water.

On the other hand, in rapidly moving water, the quicker you have a rope on a boat, the less likely it is to be carried away from you. A basket full of tricks is what you need for the plethora of potential incidents.

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Jim
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by Jim » Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:44 pm

PeterG wrote:Does 'pushing' come under towing?
In my view yes, for all the reasons you mention....

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wideblueyonder
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by wideblueyonder » Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:32 pm

PeterG wrote:A basket full of tricks is what you need for the plethora of potential incidents.
Could not agree more.

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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by Owen » Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:17 pm

A short loop of bungee larksfooted to your decklines just by the side of your map area. You just grab hold of the other kayaks toggle and slip it into the loop. The loop should be about 6inches long. One either side would be a good idea. I don't use this one but have seen it used to good efect.

Have them grab hold of your kayak by either bow or stern, then push or pull. Works with you back-paddling as well.

A short length of line, mines just long enough to reach from one deckline to the other, I keep it just infront of the cockpit, it has a clip on each end. Just clip and go.

With a swimmer in a bad place, if they grab their toggle in one hand and your toggle in the other, you can then pull them away from the danger. It helps greatly if someone else also has a towline on the other end of your kayak. This one does take some setting up so it helps if you've practiced it a few times beforehand. Haven't practiced this for ages, would have helped last weekend but we managed anyway.

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MikeB
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by MikeB » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:24 pm

Owen wrote:A short loop of bungee larksfooted to your decklines just by the side of your map area. You just grab hold of the other kayaks toggle and slip it into the loop. The loop should be about 6inches long. One either side would be a good idea. I don't use this one but have seen it used to good efect..
Seen decklines which had been extended a little to give the same effect - with a hook on each side.
Owen wrote:With a swimmer in a bad place, if they grab their toggle in one hand and your toggle in the other, you can then pull them away from the danger. It helps greatly if someone else also has a towline on the other end of your kayak. This one does take some setting up so it helps if you've practiced it a few times beforehand. Haven't practiced this for ages, would have helped last weekend but we managed anyway.
Ah yes - I've seen that done too. You refer to our little incident just below the coastguard watch station at Fife Ness! I kept wondering when the big yellow birdie was going to appear, or one of those very fast, very orange boats - -

Then again, if we were being observed, it would have been fairly clear we had things under control. I have to say that when the boat got surfed away from me I was quite pleased to see it go, and taking the swimmer away into deeper water on my bow seemed like the best solution while the other guys got his boat sorted out. Your taking the raft under tow to keep us into the waves and off the rocks was a great help.

All ended well - but I will be adding a permanent contact tow point, something I've not done. I'm working up an idea with a redundant shoulder strap from an overnight bag, and a fastex buckle.

Mike.

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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by Mike A » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:30 pm

What about an old (spent too long hanging around people from Yorkshire) elasticated cows tail off a ww PFD?

Krab at either end, clipped onto relevant decklines - easy to deploy either way.

or

If it had the welded ring, krab clipped to one side, and either looped around or threaded through decklines on t'other.

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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by Owen » Thu Jul 14, 2011 1:37 pm

I found these photo's of a toggle tow rescue being practiced. They're scanned in from prints so not very good quality.
URL=http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/40 ... etow1.jpg/]Image[/URL]
The swimmer grabs hold of the rescuers toggle, the rescuer back paddles (middle kayak). The orange kayak on the right has clipped his tow line to the back of the rescuers kayak.
URL=http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/85 ... etow2.jpg/]Image[/URL]
Together they tow the swimmer + kayak away from the rocks.
Image
Smae again only further out in rougher conditions (I think that might be Aled in the water).

Ken_T
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by Ken_T » Thu Jul 14, 2011 1:45 pm

Hi,
A contact tow system can be useful for recovering an empty kayak when the swimmer has been removed from the danger area & so cannot be part of the tow . However you design a contact tow it should have a quick release. In my system I use a 'highway man hitch' which has worked well everytime I have tested it. I use a loop of webbing (the join in the loop being the highway man hitch to a figure of 8 on a bight) with a crab on each deck line. I have a clove hith round 1 crab so that the webbing does not completely escape & sink. Hope this helps.
Ken

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MikeB
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by MikeB » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:35 pm

A variation on the loop of bungee idea suggested by Owen is just a loop of cord larksheaded to the deck bungee - having seen this demonstrated I was surprised at how effective it actually was, despite a scary amount of stretch in the bungee as the towed boat added drag.

It's easily slid from one side to the other in this configuration.

Image

This normally lives in my deck bag, and I can set it up one handed. But there's no reason it can't stay in place, tucked away ready for use. A loop made from spare deck line would neater.

Image
Ken_T wrote:Hi,
However you design a contact tow it should have a quick release.
This is what worries me about the admitedly very quick and easy system illustrated above. That said, releasing should be easy enough, given that everything is close to hand.

But, with an eye to having a gadget (and I like gadgets) - and providing a quick release facility, here's something I knocked up last night. It's just an idea at this stage and has yet to be tested on the water.

This started out as an old carry strap from a travel case. A Fastex buckle salvaged from something else years ago has been added to give the q/release facility. The Triglide allows a degree of length control, but that's really more to allow the strap to be placed snugly on the deck, the hooks being attached to the decklines on either side of the foredeck. As shown, the overall length is just enough to span the deck.

Realistically, a narrower webbing (like a belt) would be better - but I don't have any suitable hooks to fit. The theory is that by slackening the Triglide a little one hook is then unclipped, depending on which side is needed.

I accept there's no shock absorber - but then again the idea of merely extending the deck lines on each side which I mentioned earlier didn't allow for that either.

Thoughts?

Image

Image

(Update 14 April 2012 - I gave up this idea, partly as it was a bit clumsy, and partly in consideration of the comments later in this discussion about Fastex buckles not releasing under load.)

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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by Dave Thomas » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:52 pm

I'm not sure that a shock absorber is very necessary for a short contact tow. The main purpose on a long tow is to absorb the relative motion of boats some distance apart and hence on different parts of the wave cycle. This effect will be much less when the two boats are overlapping by half a length (at least in modest seas) - particularly in the confused water caused by reflected waves. Certainly the ones I have seen are based simply on tape/short sling and two carabiners - I carry one such device, but have never had to use it yet in anger.
Dave Thomas

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PeterG
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by PeterG » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:07 am

I use a 40cm length of 5mm shock cord with one end attached to an 'olive shock cord clamp' , (just had to look up what those plastic thingies are called). So you can very quickly loop the shock cord around something and catch it as tight as you like. It lives looped around the deck line at the limit of my stretch, well out of the way, but can connect my boat to a boat, metal ladder on a pier etc. at a seconds notice and is very easy to release one handed. Costs a few pence

tg
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by tg » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:28 am

MikeB wrote: Thoughts?

Image
I am never happy about those lil' plastic hooks. I normally replace them when they come with kit or avoid altogether. They are too fiddly for me. Large crabs are best, I reckon.

How much load (particularly shock) will lil' plastic hooks, or indeed a q.r. buckle take? Isn't there a risk that you could lose half of the tow, through breakage, or someone needing to be landed after rescue?

I have a 6mm (ish) line about a two feet long daisy chained with a crab at each end stowed in my towline belt. My towline is in a mesh bag on deck, each can be clipped in line, to my belt, to the boat etc.

Tim

Edit; I have to say I like the bungee loop idea. Simple!
"I sink therfore I am".

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Kim Bull
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by Kim Bull » Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:23 pm

I used the small loop of bungee for a while, and decided to add a fixed eye snap shackle to attach the system to my boat to ensure a quick release.
Image
I find it compact, tidy and easy to use. I prefer a bungee to a loop of cord, not for absorbing shock but for ease of attachment to the other boat. The stretch gives extra reach for attaching easily which can be useful in some conditions.

Overall, I think Mikes strap idea could be developed. I'd think carefully about the fittings. For example, fastex buckles can be very difficult to release when they are under load, perhaps in a one off situation where you are attached to another boat and you capsize, roll all the way 360 degrees and now find the strap is under constant tension and wrapped all the way around the boat. Something else to check is that you can reach the buckles if the system slides along your deck line to the next recessed deck fitting further forward, which would happen if you were towing someone out of a tight spot by paddling backwards.

Very best regards,
Kim
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!

Post by Paddlesmacker » Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:04 pm

These Maxpedition hooks seem promising for this use, being able to be pulled away if needed?

http://www.fenixtorch.co.uk/maxpedition ... rings.html

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Jim
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!^

Post by Jim » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:30 pm

Kim (and all), the piston type snap shackle is notorious for jamming under load, if there is sufficient pull on the line the friction in the piston stops it sliding back and the wire ring will often straighten out and detach without moving it.

This will rarely be an issue on a contact tow because you just need to pull the other boat close for half a second to release the shackle, if however you do require to be able to release under load you need to be looking at this type of snap shackle. The angles in the pivot mean that the bail bar can rarely experience enough friction not to move away, although you should throw the supplied bit of tat away and use some decent dyneema (or similar) cord around the bail bar. I use model 2764 in my kite buggy harness rig (2763 is the smallest), I wouldn't trust anything else and even then I have to check it from time to time and file down burrs, I have actually retired one (4 or 5 years racing use). Although I say very generously 'this type' I have yet to find an equivalent from any other manufacturer, I did find one similar looking product at a quarter of the price but it doesn't work nearly as well - the details are important.

Jim

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Kim Bull
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!^

Post by Kim Bull » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:13 pm

Thanks Jim - I hadn't come across that before. As you say, it's often the detail which is important.
Very best regards,
Kim
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wideblueyonder
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!^

Post by wideblueyonder » Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:32 pm

I've just written up a short piece on one contact tow system I'm experimenting with. As with all systems it has it's pros and cons which I've highlighted in the write up. Ideas came from a preview copy of the new Sea Kayak With Gordon Brown DVD in which he demos the use of this system in detail along with a number of other contact tow ideas (cracking viewing!)

Thoughts and comments welcome: http://solentseakayaking.co.uk/2011/08/ ... ow-system/

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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!^

Post by Bod » Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:35 pm

As a white water paddler, I always carry a sling and a couple of crabs. Job done.
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TechnoEngineer
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!^

Post by TechnoEngineer » Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:32 pm

wideblueyonder wrote:Thoughts and comments welcome: http://solentseakayaking.co.uk/2011/08/ ... ow-system/
Nice - which snap hook do you use (those Wichard ones are very nice)

This one?
http://www.force4.co.uk/1745/Wichard-St ... 300Kg.html

or this one?
http://www.force4.co.uk/1745/Wichard-St ... 300Kg.html
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!^

Post by Dave28 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:02 am

Having been the swimmer in a real toggle rescue, where the rescuer (strong, massively experienced and fully qualified) was utterly unable to break the pull of the Swillie whirlpool into which I had, novice like, capsized; I can't help wondering about the advantages of contact tows over line tows - other than as a very quick push out of trouble whilst the "casualty" flops over the rescuer's deck to hold the boats together. (In the end he did a deep sea rescue as we revolved in the centre of the whirlpool, which the other trainee on the course described as "Awesome!")

Years ago, I had to go into the pull back zone of a sluice gate to assist a 6 year old in an inflatable dinghy pinned against the sluice gate. I tried bringing him out with a contact tow, thinking that in this way I could most effectively reassure him whilst rescuing him. I couldn't do it. The pull of the sluice was more than I could break simultaneously with my cranky skiff and his dinghy. The only thing to do was to calm him down enough to sit quiet in the dinghy whilst, using a long tow line and a continuous spiel of reassurance, I rowed my boat out of the pull back zone and then towed him out of it. One boat at a time was easy.

So (pace the requirements for 4* and 5*) I can't help feeling that, if there's any sort of current involved, if there's time to faff about connecting up a piece of contact tow kit there must surely also be time to clip in a line tow; which may prove to be a more efficient method of rescue. (I notice that Owen's pictures involve a third kayak adding pull to the primary rescuer)

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wideblueyonder
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!^

Post by wideblueyonder » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:50 pm

Just written up an alternative contact tow system I've been playing with, this one utilising a highwayman's hitch to provide quick release: http://solentseakayaking.co.uk/2011/09/ ... ow-system/

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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!^

Post by mick m » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:33 pm

wideblueyonder wrote:Just written up an alternative contact tow system I've been playing with, this one utilising a highwayman's hitch to provide quick release: http://solentseakayaking.co.uk/2011/09/ ... ow-system/

Mabe a second floting crab to yous as a re-direct to the opersit side ? what if you tie the hich into the center of the boat, have a crab threaded onto the line runing between the knot and the end crab , this floting crab can be cliped to eather port or starbord the line will be the same length , just bent to the desiard side, if the tow is diched the floting crab will just remain cliped to the beck ancor , ready to be re threaded into the tow system when retreaved , hope this makes sence

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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!^

Post by crashnodrog » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:54 pm

Just written up an alternative contact tow system I've been playing with, this one utilising a highwayman's hitch to provide quick release: http://solentseakayaking.co.uk/2011/09/ ... ow-system/


Be a bit concerned about using a highwaymans hitch (using fairly thin perlon etc.) directly to decklines. a) When its wet and tightens up under load even though it is a highwaymans hitch it might not be so quick release. b) If it slides when under load there is the possibility, albeit remote, of burnthrough.
Better to introduce an oval maillon small and thick between them for a smoother release but any jerky motion may tend to loosen any qr knot.Constantly loaded it would be fine.

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Jim Tait
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Re: Advice on Contact Tows!^

Post by Jim Tait » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:14 pm

I'd be a bit wary of using a highwayman's hitch as it can 'capsize' under a lot of load, which makes it an awful lot harder to release. Very embarrasing when you've promised the farmer a 'quick release' knot
The question would be if a sea kayak could put the same strain on as a stroppy cow - I'm not sure I'd want to take the chance?


Jim

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