Sea kayak towline....

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Mark R
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Sea kayak towline....

Post by Mark R » Wed Nov 10, 2004 8:16 pm

....attached to your boat or your person?
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Post by Dawn Treader Capella-Orca » Wed Nov 10, 2004 8:38 pm

either!

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NickB
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Post by NickB » Thu Nov 11, 2004 7:35 am

For sea kayaking, attached to the boat, long but adjustable length and quick release.
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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Thu Nov 11, 2004 7:55 am

Either - or both.

Better on the boat.

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seismicscot
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Post by seismicscot » Thu Nov 11, 2004 9:16 am

....person, with a quick release buckle!

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Post by tpage » Thu Nov 11, 2004 10:07 am

Never use one- self rescue or drown!- Tony

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Post by sub5rider » Thu Nov 11, 2004 12:34 pm

Oh dear Mark, yyou spend so much time with students you're beginning to act like one. IE, don't do any research, just ask a question in a forum/newsgoup.

You'll find an excellent article compiled by your deputy editor on the sea almanac pages. This is a distillation of several (AFAICR) forum discussions.

(Or, as the cynic in me suspects, were you just drumming up traffic....)

;)
hint: tthis is a smiley which indicates the last remark is not to be taken too seriously

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Helen M
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Tow Lines

Post by Helen M » Thu Nov 11, 2004 1:11 pm

umm .. it's obvious to anyone that knows me - the answer is attached to me - don't really mind if the other other end is attached to other person or boat - just as long as they are towing me. Could do with a nice tongue in cheek smiley here!

And big thanks to Dave and Mike for demonstrating the towing technique (sometimes for miles on end!) Practice makes perfect so I'll endeavour to ensure you get a regular chance to continue perfecting this technique. (Big smiley face here with kisses)

Luv H - x

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Thu Nov 11, 2004 6:08 pm

sub5rider wrote:You'll find an excellent article compiled by your deputy editor on the sea almanac pages.
Yes, but there is more than one opinion in this world. I've seen a nice body mounted towline in a shop, I'm trying to decide whether to buy it. Truth is, with the technical nonsense side of sea paddling, I'm hugely ignorant. I just get in my sea kayak and paddle in a straight line...
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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Thu Nov 11, 2004 6:39 pm

Well, I agree with Mark, and hopefully tried to give a balanced view in the article, but all I'm going to say is that there's also a wee write up of an interesting experience we had on the Forth one day.

Once I'd finally got a hook on the swamped boat I was attempting to tow, I then got caught on a nice big wave and launched forward. As the slack line came tight against the dead weight behind me, there was one hell of a "bang" and I literally stopped with such force that I jack-knifed forward in the cockpit.

I hate to think how much it would have hurt had that line been attached to me and not the boat - - - -

I was also sort of side on to the tow, but managed to stay upright - if the line had been on my waist (and higher up) then I think I'd have been swimming as the leverage would have taken me over.

But of course there is merit in having a body mounted line, not least of which being that it's quick to deploy and transferable between boats. Make sure it's long enough though, and unless it's a sea-tow it probably won't be.

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towlines

Post by OGB » Sat Nov 13, 2004 10:37 pm

Has anyone come up with a way of successfully mounting a towline on a boat with a rudder fitted?

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Post by NickB » Mon Nov 15, 2004 9:33 am

Quote:
Has anyone come up with a way of successfully mounting a towline on a boat with a rudder fitted?
Bin the rudder and fit a skeg! oops, thats another common debate!
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Towing with a rudder

Post by DaveM » Mon Nov 15, 2004 1:17 pm

OGB,

Yes there a couple of ways round the problem.

The under the hull tow (see my post in previous discussion) prevents snags in any deck gear, but may collide with the rudder blade if it is down, although it is unlikely to tangle.

It is easy to clear by lifting the blade. If you manage to get a tangle (it only happens if you use floating line and spend a lot of time in the floating slack), just dump the tow, paddle a circle and pick up the end on the way past.

Problems are easy to avoid by either paddling with the rudder up (people will be amazed that you have a rudder and also know how to paddle steer without even a skeg), or tow to one side, such as with a pair or a husky tow.

Having said that, I have towed in the real world without any problems using a Clam cleat and bullseye fairlead behind the cockpit on each side of the deck.

Nick, you're obviously far too good to use a rudder, but I'll bet you a tenner you'd rather do a long distance tow on someone who has one.

Dave

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Post by NickB » Mon Nov 15, 2004 2:23 pm

Use the Husky Tow every time, with long, long towlines and edge the boat for the skeg to act as a rudder, practice often and in the right conditions, relying on the casualty(ies) being able to use or having a rudder fitted is just not viable!
Last edited by NickB on Mon Nov 15, 2004 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Mon Nov 15, 2004 4:17 pm

The only boat I've had with a rudder was an Aleut - although I never had to tow "in anger" with it, the rudder didn't get in the way on the few occassions I practised a tow.

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sea kayak towline

Post by OGB » Mon Nov 15, 2004 10:00 pm

Many thanks for the response, everyone. Think I'll settle on the "undertow" method - don't use the rudder much, but prefer not to bin it yet (or tear it off accidentally).

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Post by Jim » Mon Nov 15, 2004 10:29 pm

Lots of good stuff about actual tow methods there.

I'd say that the choice between body or boat really comes down to the type of paddling and boats being used. If you are doing day trips in lightly loaded boats a waist tow is fine, but if you are going to be towing expedition laden boats your guts and kidneys can do without the strain.

The chances are if you are doing expeditions, your boat is set up for a tow system already, and if you are only day tripping you probably have a lighter boat without fittings...????

JIM

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Towing systems

Post by DaveM » Tue Nov 16, 2004 1:39 pm

Nick,

"...edge the boat for the skeg to act as a rudder...."
Please can you explain that one, I'm at a loss to see how it can work. If it did, surely the skeg would be steering all over the place as waves pass under the hull and the angle of the surface changes.

"practice often and in the right conditions"
I know what you mean, practice in all the wrong conditions, which we should all do but generally don't.

"relying on the casualty(ies) being able to use or having a rudder fitted is just not viable!"
I didn't say that, I did say that it makes towing easier. That can make the difference between getting the casualty ashore yourself and having to call for assistance.

OGB - "undertow" is a great name, wish I'd thought of it. I actually came up with the undertow as a solution to towing with an open canoe.

If you have several towing options you always have a choice, and a backup if one breaks. A good guide is waist tows on short lines and deck tows for long lines.

Mike B's example with a waist tow could break ribs or damage internal organs. Although a buoyancy aid would cushion the impact it puts the tow point higher, risking damage to your back.
I generally tow with thin (3mm polypropylene) line, and in an impact like this it would break and save injury. I know many like thick lines, so consider a short piece of 3mm (a couple of inches) between the main line and hook.

By the way, does anyone know why BCU coaching considers a waist tow dangerous in an open canoe when it's OK in a decked canoe or kayak? I failed my L3 OC assessment on that (and not being traditional enough).

Dave

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Post by NickB » Tue Nov 16, 2004 4:07 pm

Maybe saying 'edge the boat for the skeg to act as a rudder' is not quite the right way of saying it, but if you have your skeg down on the centre line of the boat and then edge the boat to one side the skeg moves to the opposite side of the boat assisting the turn in that direction.

With a Husky Tow on (say) your port side the reaction of the mass of the casualty(ies) will be trying to turn the boat to starboard, with skeg down and edging to port some of this turning moment will be removed.

Having any kind of system that is designed to break in certain scenarios has got to be too 'hit or miss' it is bound to break at the wrong moment! I don't know of any time when towing for real where I would want the system to break.

Waist tows are fine for short lightweight tows of a few metres where the casualty has become separated from his boat but do not really have much of a place in Sea Kayaking. If your involved in lengthy tows of multiple, loaded sea kayaks IMHO you must have a strong, long, reliable, quick releasable (sp?) deck mounted system.

Always try and share the load with other paddlers, avoid 'line astern' towing where one person gets all the load, stick with the Husky and given the chance try it with more than 2 boats, add a third straight ahead maybe or add two more to the first 2.
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Post by MikeB » Tue Nov 16, 2004 5:17 pm

Jim wrote:Lots of good stuff about actual tow methods there.

I'd say that the choice between body or boat really comes down to the type of paddling and boats being used. If you are doing day trips in lightly loaded boats a waist tow is fine, but if you are going to be towing expedition laden boats your guts and kidneys can do without the strain.

The chances are if you are doing expeditions, your boat is set up for a tow system already, and if you are only day tripping you probably have a lighter boat without fittings...????

JIM
Indeed - but the episode I described was on a "day trip" with virtually empty boats! Certainly the boat I was trying to tow had nothing more than a packet of sandwiches in it!!! Until it became a swamped boat.

Not at all sure about the desireability of building in a breakage factor as described using thin cord - believe me, that particular day the last thing I wanted would have been to fluff around with breaking lines.

Anyone going out on the sea should have the capability of towing someone else - ideally using a boat mounted tow but a body mounted tow is better than nothing. Not so very long ago I came across someone who'd been paddling for years but didnt know how to tow, had never towed, and didn't want to learn. No comment.

How does this "offset tow" work Nick? Do you have two lines, or are you sorting the line as required?

Mike.
Last edited by MikeB on Wed Nov 17, 2004 9:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by NickB » Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:11 pm

MikeB wrote:
Anyone going out on the sea should have the capability of towing someone else - ideally using a boat mounted tow but a body mounted tow is better.
Am I to presume you meant to finish the sentence with the words: 'than nothing'.

Mike B also wrote:
How does this "offset tow" work Nick? Do you have two lines, or are you sorting the line as required?
Well Mike I knew this had been discussed before and it is actually the first post I made, obviously feeling strong enough about the topic to get off the fence and make a contribution, I have pasted the content of my post for your information below. I found out about the husky from Howard Jeffs in the eightees, I believe it was in his sea kayaking book released around that time, all white and soft back, can't remember the actual title though.
Posted: 28 Mar 2002 11:11 Post subject: The 'Husky'

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I use a deck mounted system with the common fairlead and camcleat arrangement, the line being stuffed into a velcro sealing bag that is then stowed under an elastic net fixed between decklines immediately behind the cockpit.

Restowing is easy, the whole lot can be stuffed back in the bag and the bag replaced under the net without assistance.

Advantages of this arrangement are many; no stress on body during extended tows or whilst towing multiple kayaks or other weighty objects; easily, infinitely adjustable towline length just by locking the towline in the desired position and allowing the free end to trail in the water; rapid simple release in the event of an emergency.

In my opinion the length of towline needs to be far longer than discussed previously, my line is nearly 15m in length, this gives plenty of distance between the boats especially for a following swell. Another advantage of having this length of towline is that it allows the 'Husky' tow to be performed efficiently.

For those of you who do not know this one it is where two or more boats can tow the casualty(ies) at the same time with their towlines attached directly to the casualty(ies) boats. The towing paddlers sitting abreast to each other but a few meters apart.

Advantages to this include; should the towing paddlers stop paddling the casualty(ies) kayaks will not smash into their backs but harmlessly come up between them to instantly form a raft to give assistance etc; if the towing paddlers actively paddle backwards the casualty(ies) can be emergency stopped; directional stability is maintained around objects and the load of the tow is equally divided between the towing boats unlike 'line astern' towing.

Obviously this kind of towing is a team skill in its own right and in my opinion should be practiced in a variety of conditions in much the same way as rolling or rescues, but having used it in anger in moderate conditions and for the rescue of among other things a speedboat and a yacht it is well worth the effort and a lot less unpleasant than doing all the work yourself like when you are the initial boat attached to the casualty(ies) in a 'line astern' tow.
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Post by MikeB » Wed Nov 17, 2004 9:48 am

You may so presume Nick - many thanks - post "edited".

;-)

Mike.

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Post by seismicscot not logged on » Wed Nov 17, 2004 10:24 am

MikeB wrote: Indeed - but the episode I described was on a "day trip" with virtually empty boats! Certainly the boat I was trying to tow had nothing more than a packet of sandwiches in it!!! Until it became a swamped boat.

Anyone going out on the sea should have the capability of towing someone else - ideally using a boat mounted tow but a body mounted tow is better than nothing. Not so very long ago I came across someone who'd been paddling for years but didnt know how to tow, had never towed, and didn't want to learn. No comment.

Mike.
Since I don't know the circumstances, I won't comment on towing a swamped boat! ;o)

The vast majority of my sea kayaking has been done on the US west coast, and this may reflect another US-UK difference in the sport, but everyone 'over there' uses waist belt or PFD-mounted tow-lines.

With regards to the whiplash experienced by Mike, most, if not all waistbelt tow-lines have a 2-4' length of shock cord to prevent this happening. Having done several tows in 'Tsunami Ranger' conditions, I have first hand experience of the shock cord working! Also, from a personal perspective, I like the quick release buckle mechanism on a waist belt. Afterall, when that next big set comes in and it's time to take evasive action, your temporary 'sea anchor' is gone with the tug of a cord!

Now showing my ignornance, do any boat-mounted tows have a quick release mechanism?

Clark

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Post by NickB » Wed Nov 17, 2004 10:32 am

Clark wrote:
Now showing my ignornance, do any boat-mounted tows have a quick release mechanism?
Oh yes! as well as a shock absorber and as posted above!
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Post by MikeB » Wed Nov 17, 2004 10:39 am

Hmmm - lots there - the line I use has a shock cord, but even that wasn't enough to provide enough cushioning in the line - suffice to say that after that experience I would never attempt to use a waist tow in big seas. I'm not saying they are inappropriate, just that I wont use one unless I dont have the option of using a boat mounted tow!

The "circumstances" are on the Sea Site, Trips page.

Quick releases - yes, ideally there should be a quick release. Probably using a cleat - see the Sea Site reviews page where one example is reviewed. There are also some pics in an article on tow-lines which is on the Sea Site / Almanac / Safety & Rescue pages.

Its interesting to see how US / UK approaches differ - - -

Regs, Mike.

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Post by seismicscot » Thu Nov 18, 2004 10:55 am

MikeB wrote: Its interesting to see how US / UK approaches differ - - -
Oh there's many, many more! For instance, how many people in the UK paddle unfeathered?

Thanks for the pointers to the Almanac and the trips report. That sounds like one hell of a day!

In the almanac article on tow lines you mentioned that one of the cons against waist belt towlines was the inability to shorten the towline. My waistbelt line (made by Wildwasser) has a pruissick loop just infront of the shock cord that allows you to shorten the length of static line without losing the benefit of the shock cord.

Cheers,

Clark
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Shortening waist belt towlines

Post by ChrisS » Thu Nov 18, 2004 12:31 pm

"one of the cons against waist belt towlines was the inability to shorten the towline"

To get round this on my homemade waist belt system I've fitted a big spring hook to the QR belt. I tie a small loop in the bight of the line at the length I want, hook it on and stuff the surplus line back in the pouch.

An added advantage is that since the line is not permanently attached to the belt if I was ever in a boat fitted with a towing cleat etc I would be able to use it.

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Post by MikeB » Thu Nov 18, 2004 5:55 pm

Prussiks / spring-clips - excellent ideas - I'll update the article soonest - many thanks and regs, Mike.

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