Monday, December 04, 2006

Are you playing with a
Full Deck?
(Back to basics)

Two Romany's ready to go out onto Lake Michigan. Two able paddlers, one a certified instructor. Both have essentially identical equipment. The main difference is that the boat on the left (owned and manned by the instructor) has its splits (spare paddle) on the foredeck while the boat on the right has them on the aft deck. Does it make a difference? I think it does.

Like tipping over, losing a paddle is most likely to occur in adverse conditions. In such a state, with the seas and wind buffeting your boat, how can one hope to turn around enough to retrieve the paddles on the rear deck? In addition, should a wet exit occur, a paddle float reentry would necessitate climbing onto those paddles and incur the risk of getting the pfd or something else dangling from your body caught. Not a good thing, especially in bad conditions.

Paddles kept on the foredeck, on the other hand, are visible. You know they are there and you know if they are working loose. They are also reachable, not only while sitting upright but when inverted. It is worth practicing for the time when you tip over, lose your paddle and pull one of the splits off to use to roll up (that's what pool sessions are for...but I digress). Finally, the rear deck is clean and safe for any and all reentry attempts. Above all, there is no obstruction to seeing all the cool decals you have back there. Just another thing to consider if you wish to

Paddle safe...

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