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Thread: Tighnabruaich OCSG meet.

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    Default Tighnabruaich OCSG meet.

    I've been waiting to see if anyone else would post a heads up for the Scottish summer OCSG meet at Tighnabruaich but as nothing has appeared yet I thought I'd jump in and do it (I hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes).
    The meet's being organised by Dave and Jan Poskitt (of Solway Dory fame) and details are posted on the OCSG website but if you want to get in touch you'd need to move swiftly as apparently the SD roadshow is heading north on Friday.
    The OCSG is a very friendly and helpful organisation so if anyone north of the border is curious about canoe sailing or contemplating giving it a try I'd urge them to go along and have a chat.

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    Thanks for that,Chris! No toe stepping at all.
    Everyone is welcome to come and have a look. Weather even looks half decent. We are heading up tomorrow, as is Stephen. See you there!

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    I already know of about 20 people who will be coming along so the more the merrier. Several of us will be there all week so why not come along and see the wide variety of canoes and sailing canoes.

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    Keith, may not make it up Thursday night, some unsympathetic director has called a meeting late on . Will definitely be travelling up friday morning if not. Looking forward to this, but no I hope

    might even bring up the

    Stephen

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    re hammocks - I haven't seen many trees on the campsite! Or are you going wild?

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    Nice one Chris! Mounting the camera on the outrigger beam certainly provides a good view.

    Although you can see the speed you were going at the conditions experienced are not fully conveyed - given it was blowing a good F5 for most of the trip back.

    That was the day Ann and I had clocked 10 knots on the GPS! - broad reaching with a slightly reefed sail...

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    Quote Originally Posted by windorpaddle View Post

    Although you can see the speed you were going at the conditions experienced are not fully conveyed - given it was blowing a good F5 for most of the trip back.
    Yeah the fisheye lens on the GoPro camera always make the water appear flatter than it actually is, I noticed this phenomenon while using it windsurfing. I've sailed (windsurfed) in quite big waves while filming with it and it looks like a millpond on the footage!
    I like the outrigger cam too, I've just got another video camera to use as a handheld as well so hopefully I can make my videos a little more varied in future and get more footage of other people sailing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jurassic View Post
    Impressive bit of video ..... impressive bit of sailing too... in conditions which can only be described as challenging !
    Watched the boats come back and was glad I'd opted to go cycling !

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    Nice bit of footage Chris, as usual.

    It's interesting seeing a canoe with outriggers sporting an expedition rig. Now I know what mine would look like if I bought some.

    Were there times where you felt that without them, you would have been ?

    You seemed fairly relaxed in what were pretty strong winds. You didn't reef also I see.

    Thought I saw Greg going out for a paddle at the beginning, but it could have been someone else! Did he do any sailing in his Flashfire if it was him?

    One part of your video made me smile. This part where your whole head was blurred out by a water drop. It's like those programs where someone is under cover/ incognito or something.

    Looks like an excellent meet and I am very jealous. Thanks for posting it.


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    To be honest I think I could have made it back without the outriggers, it was more windy and there was more swell when Graham and I were coming back from Loch Etive and I didn't have outriggers then. The difference is that I would have been worrying rather than enjoying the sailing and I probably would have reefed which would have meant it'd have taken ages to get back. I still don't think that outriggers are strictly necessary in steady conditions when you're sailing in company in summer unless it's on an exposed section of water but if it's peace of mind you're looking for then they are fantastic. I knew that within reason the only thing that'd stop me was being completely swamped by a big wave and although I shipped a lot of water I quickly realised that that wasn't going to happen.
    Yes that's Greg displaying his outrageous paddling skills at the start of the video. He sailed as well (although he didn't come to Ettrick Bay with us on that particular trip).

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    What a terrific video Dave. Canoe sailing in it's purest form.

    Brian

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    Cool Dave. I love that bit at the end where Greg just picks up his canoe and casually walks up the beach carrying it like it's a foam filmset prop and not a real canoe!

    Chris, I might one day be tempted to get some outriggers if I trade up to a Bermudan rig and plan to do some off-shore sailing. I don't feel too worried about sailing with the 35 ft rig up to a force 5 or 6 now that the fixed leeboard is giving me the extra stability I was looking for and as I would be no more than half a mile from the bank should the wind suddenly pick up, I'm not really going to get caught out like you might.

    Speaking of outriggers, have a look at the other video that Dave uploaded on Youtube about this meet. At one point he catches Keith sailing from right to left. Look at his outriggers. One of them is angled up and the other is angled down. Are they attached using some form of bracket that allows them to adust to the waves or has he just sailed into a jetty or something?

    Last edited by Steamerpoint; 4th-September-2011 at 11:00 AM.

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    The boat with the wonky outriggers isn't Keith, but Gailliane. He made the beam himself and it is in two halves. I think he had them on the wrong way around (the right beam with the left outrigger) and this caused one to point up and one to point down.
    Greg certainly is impressive the way he sails his flashfire. It is a very lightweight and tippy canoe. I can barely balance it whilst paddling it myself. He was out sailing it reefed in a force 5 gusting 6 the day before. I wish my canoe was as light as his but i want a lot more stability and that comes with beam.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveS View Post
    The boat with the wonky outriggers isn't Keith, but Gailliane. He made the beam himself and it is in two halves. I think he had them on the wrong way around (the right beam with the left outrigger) and this caused one to point up and one to point down.
    I keep saying to Gailainne that he could rig up his floats to one of those wave energy generator machines as the one in the water pivots up and down. He might be able to charge his phone off it or something like that!

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    Steamerpoint says "Cool Dave. I love that bit at the end where Greg just picks up his canoe and casually walks up the beach carrying it like it's a foam filmset prop and not a real canoe!"

    Kinda reminds me of the 'Little Pete' that was my first boat and the quickest to get on the water. It was 13.6 foot long and 28" beam I think, with a lateen sail. I too used to carry it over my shoulder like Greg does. The foot sterring rudder was always attached and it had an external daggerboard. Within ten minutes of arriving at the sailing club I had it on the water. It didn't have outriggers though, but in those days my weight was enough to prevent it tipping over. In fact the only thing that anybody in the OCSG was using at that time that resembled outriggers, was John Shuttleworth in his boat 'Shorn'. How things have moved on!

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    We missed the first few days, arriving late Sunday. The Monday was stunning though: the northerly breeze was cold, but fresh (and strong at times), whipping up a bit of chop. Paddling upwind for any great distance would have been a real slog (and slow, especially as that would also have been against a 1 knot tide)... but with the sails up, the canoes came to life:

    My photos come from after my first bit of paddle-sailing: Little Miss Quester's enthusiasm for staying out had already been exhausted, so I perched on a rock to take some snaps.

    Graham flew past me repeatedly in his "green pig":





    Dave P and Chris were mostly sailing much further out: the telephoto lens makes Tighnabruaich look a lot closer than it really is - those buildings in the background are some 4 miles away!



    Dave scampered around, making the sailing look effortless: the upwind performance he managed with a reefed sail was most impressive - those Solway Dory bermudan rigs seem to retain a great shape even when wound a couple of times around the mast...



    Chris ambled around with his 35 square foot expedition rig reefed down to nearer 20 square feet. His sail doesn't reef quite so nicely, but he appeared able to get upwind at will, and to be extremely comfortable (with the outriggers not reallly being utilised at all). These shots show just how low the centre of effort becomes:





    I've more photos to follow... but that's the pick of the first batch
    Last edited by GregandGinaS; 5th-September-2011 at 08:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    We missed the first few days, arriving late Sunday. The Monday was stunning though: the northerly breeze was cold, but fresh and strong at times, whipping up a bit of chop. Paddling upwind for any great distance would have been a real slog (and slow, especially as that would also have been against a 1 knot tide)... but with the sails up, the canoes came to life:

    Chris ambled around with his 35 square foot expedition rig reefed down to nearer 20 square feet. His sail doesn't reef quite so nicely, but he appeared able to get upwind at will, and to be extremely comfortable (with the outriggers not reallly being utilised at all). These shots show just how low the centre of effort becomes:
    I've more photos to follow... but that's the pick of the first batch
    Thanks. Great to see the reefable Expedition rig in action in what looks like quite exciting waters.
    Looking forward to more!
    All the best,
    Ian

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    Great pics Greg! That was the day Ann and I, Jeff and Ellen and Peter/Penny went up past Tighnabruaich and round to the Burnt Isles. It was touch and go as to whether we would stick with sailing upwind in the blowy conditions, not because the boats couldn't do it but because the second person in the boat in each case was the spouse and they get most of the spray straight in the face - and get to bail it out, too!

    BTW could we use some of the pics for Gossip, please?
    Last edited by windorpaddle; 5th-September-2011 at 09:30 AM. Reason: add request

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    Chris ambled around with his 35 square foot expedition rig reefed down to nearer 20 square feet. His sail doesn't reef quite so nicely, but he appeared able to get upwind at will, and to be extremely comfortable (with the outriggers not reallly being utilised at all).
    Chris, can I ask why you decided to reef down when you had the safety of the outriggers? Were you just getting used to them or were you just wanting a bimble about?

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    Bimble about?? I'm not sure that's the description I would use for those conditions! Or am I being a wimp? If so my "bimbling about" included reaching at 10 knots on our way back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by windorpaddle View Post
    That was the day Ann and I, Jeff and Ellen and Peter/Penny went up past Tighnabruaich and round to the Burnt Isles. It was touch and go [...] because the second person in the boat in each case was the spouse and they get most of the spray straight in the face - and get to bail it out, too!
    Dave and I were spouse-free (with Hilary opting out), and were considering joining you on the trip to the Burnt Isles. Unfortunately, my daughter (in Dave's boat) wasn't impressed at getting that cold spray in her face, got cold hands and lost enthusiasm... so we ended up beaching for a snack / to find gloves and then flying back downwind at a great rate (in my case at least, periodically surfing).

    I trust we all see a distinction between great sailing conditions for experienced folk wanting to play / race... and what's good for cruising / adventure sailing (especially on exposed coastal waters): to my mind the conditions that Monday were as good as it gets for the former (especially as we had an onshore breeze and favourable tide heading up the Loch) - but even I'd take the steady F2-F4 for taking others out and for going anywhere more exposed.

    Quote Originally Posted by windorpaddle View Post
    BTW could we use some of the pics for Gossip, please?
    Feel free

    Quote Originally Posted by windorpaddle View Post
    Bimble about?? I'm not sure that's the description I would use for those conditions! Or am I being a wimp? If so my "bimbling about" included reaching at 10 knots on our way back.
    LOL. Seems that "bimbling" has connotations of amblling without real aim, and of being in a slightly disengaged state: I suspect even the most seasoned Wayfarer or small-yacht sailor would consider those to be conditions for doing more than just an "amble", and for being reasonably engaged with the task at hand. I was certainly pretty focussed on what I was doing even with a tiny little reefed sail!

    Looking at how little Dave P was reefed, I'd suggest that he was comfortable with conditions, and Graham wasn't reefed and had a big smile on his face... and IIRC, Chris was wishing that he'd not got the reef in now that he's got the outriggers... so maybe they were all comfortable playing - but I'd suggest the conditions did at least command their respect!

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    Great photos Greg, the ones of Graham really give an impression of what the conditions were like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by windorpaddle View Post
    Bimble about?? I'm not sure that's the description I would use for those conditions! Or am I being a wimp? If so my "bimbling about" included reaching at 10 knots on our way back.
    Just using similar terminology to Greg
    Chris ambled around with his 35 square foot expedition rig reefed down to nearer 20 square feet.
    ,but Chris has said himself that he didn't really feel that he needed the outriggers, so not too much for him to handle me thinks!

    Don't forget, he was reefed down to about 20 sq ft and you had around twice the sail area and possibly someone to do your bailing.

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    Mea Culpa: with the reefed expedition rig, Chris wasn't "scampering" in the manner of Dave P. He was "ambling" in terms of pace through the water... but I didnt mean to imply "bimbling"

    With the rig unreefed in the afternoon, Chris was sailing in more spritely fashion... though he eventually ended up with a fair bit of water aboard: I don't know that his Prospector was feeling even remotely spritely towards the end!

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    If I implied that I didn't need the outriggers then that was a mistake. I should have said that I could have got by without them but it would have been uncomfortably close to my own personal limits. Greg managed fine without outriggers in those conditions but he's a far more accomplished paddler than I am and he is able to deploy a variety of different support strokes whilst sailing to (usually ) prevent himself from capsizing.
    While I was rigging my canoe prior to that particular session Dave S' Fulmar (which was sitting on the beach on it's trolley with the sail furled) was blown on it's side (despite the outriggers) by a gust. It really was very windy.
    In the afternoon session when we sailed to Ettrick Bay and the wind picked up again I felt that it wasn't as strong as it had been in the morning and that's when I was referring to being able to get by without outriggers however given the choice I wouldn't hesitate to use them in those conditions as well. I personally would have to seriously differentiate between sailing on sheltered (and enclosed) inland waters and somewhere like the Kyles of Bute where in the wrong circumstances if things went seriously awry your next landfall would be America.
    I'm also a bit confused as to why it matters whether I (or anyone else) chose to reef or use outriggers, I made the decision to reef based on my experience (limited), the weather conditions and the location. I used the outriggers for the same reasons and also because they were a new toy and I wanted to try them out. Others chose not to sail at all, I don't see it as a competitive situation, everyone makes the decision based on their own perception of the conditions and what they feel happy with. My perception was that sailing in those conditions (even with outriggers and a reefed sail) was about as far away from bimbling or ambling as it's possible to get although I appreciate that to Graham and Dave with 50sq ft up it may have seemed that way.
    Last edited by Jurassic; 5th-September-2011 at 02:20 PM.

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    Goodo - that's all sorted out then! Ambling, bimbling, pottering is all good on nice gentle to moderate days but that wasn't one! We were very engaged and entertained, including sailing both against and with a good couple of knots of tide in F2>4 round at the Burnt Isles around lunchtime - a great day out and superb blast back downwind near Tighnabruaich. I'll have to sort out my pics and video...

    Chris - I think America might be a little ambitious! But I know exactly what you mean - I reckon you'd manage to hit Arran or the Mull of Kintyre or Ireland before America...

    And you're right about no issue with more/less sail, using outriggers etc - we all make our own decisions. I was using about 40sqft to start with that day but needed all 55 later in the sheltered bits. On Friday in very light to moderate winds I got the gennaker up as well so another 47 (under Ann's suffrance!) and it added a knot or two for fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    Mea Culpa: with the reefed expedition rig, Chris wasn't "scampering" in the manner of Dave P. He was "ambling" in terms of pace through the water... but I didnt mean to imply "bimbling"

    With the rig unreefed in the afternoon, Chris was sailing in more spritely fashion... though he eventually ended up with a fair bit of water aboard: I don't know that his Prospector was feeling even remotely spritely towards the end!
    I was definitely ambling compared to Dave and Graham, you're right! My canoe was around a third full of water when I got back from Ettrick Bay, I could have landed and bailed it out earlier but wanted to try to sail it like that to see what it would be like. I agree with your assessment about sailing a canoe in that condition, it's fine when you're beating and the water is relatively static in the chines but when I tacked the canoe just rolled/flopped from one side to the other and would probably have just rolled over without the outriggers. I've practiced paddling the canoe swamped and can manage it but with the added weight of the rig I don't think it would have been easy to keep it upright without the outriggers. Probably fitting the bigger airbags that you suggested would help a lot.
    Just being pedantic here but my particular courting canoe is a Pal not a Prospector.

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    As an aside, I've just ordered some stainless eye nuts to replace the wing nuts on the outriggers. Dave S mentioned doing this as it allows you to tie the two eye bolts together to prevent them loosening. I'm also going to use a couple to mount my outrigger beam as it struck me yesterday that using a length of bungee cord between them would allow me to fashion a convenient quick release paddle park for use while sailing. I'll stick the paddle blade under the airbag lashings and use the bungee to secure the shaft.

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    Yes - eyenuts are good for that. I've used them out on the outriggers as fairleads for the spinnaker sheets, but then I am a bit mad - according to Ann, anyway.

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    It may have appeared that i was racing about comfortably with 50sq ft of sail, but i was feeling on the edge with the sail reefed to about 35sqft most of the time. Conditions like that with a force5 gusting a good 6 are fun, getting out and practicing in an enclosed bay where you will get washed up onto the shore in minutes if you capsize. In the afternoon , when we were trying to beat back across a 3 mile stretch of water from Ettrick Bay on Bute in similar conditions, in the company of a few less experienced canoe sailors, it was all together more challenging. One of the group who was initially out in front and feeling very confident, lost a wingnut holding on his outrigger, which then swung sideways and hung useslessly on the beam. He became separated from the rest of us and had an epic crossing back to the mainland alone with his young son on board. He found it impossible to paddle into the wind and waves and i had reached the other shore, shepherding a weaker sailor across, before he was missed. He eventually managed to sail across on one tack with the windward outrigger up in the air , swinging at right angles to the wind. I hove too and waited for him to cross and then helped him to lash the outrigger back in place, and buddied up to beat back up the 1 mile of shore to the campsite
    This is the first time that i have heard of an outrigger bolt and wingnut coming off in use, but i spent the rest of the week checking the tightness of mine.
    This little wingnut brought home to me the seriousness of adventure sailing and the importance of sticking close together in small pre-arranged buddy groups. We were a group of 6 who were sailing together who naturally split into two 3's as the conditions got worse and then into a 3, a 2 and a 1. The 1, who was out in front on his own, couldn't attract the attention of the others when he broke down as they were too far away, and because we were all engrossed with the difficult sailing and watching out for our nearest companion.

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    I've more photos to follow... but whilst Dave P was zipping around solo sailing, Dave S came in to drop off my daughter... and then went out again with Gailliane. With the added responsibility of passengers aboard, Dave was probably reefed further than the others, but he did a great job in conditions where sailing solo would have been far more relaxing.

    This is Dave and Gailliane coming back in:



    The episode with the mechanical failure was far, far later in the day... and took place to the other (southerly) side of our campsite. This was the view rather late on, after Dave S had played his part in recovering the situation... but still gives some sense of the exposure:



    That's Arran in the background (further away than the telephoto lens conveys). What's not so apparent in that shot is the exposure to either flank once one progresses much beyond where the canoes were in that photo: the shore suddenly recedes quite dramatically!

    What wasn't ever going to be apparent to those on the water was the watchful eye that was being kept on-shore:Keith returned from his own trip whilst the troubled craft was apart from (but a LONG way upwind of) the others... instantly became concerned about the situation before him, and remained at the ready, monitoring the situation thus:



    All ended well, and with hindsight, the whole experience was an instructive wake-up call... but I don't think it's an afternoon that will be forgotton by those present (and certainly not by those on the craft that drifted so far south) for a very, very long time.
    Last edited by GregandGinaS; 5th-September-2011 at 09:17 PM.

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    I soooo need to get a better camera Greg. Very nice photos that really capture the drama of the day.

    I've got to ask about communications on the water. From previous OCSG meets I have attended, a few of us have exchanged mobile phone numbers and taken our phones out with us. Was this done on this meet and was it even possible to get a mobile phone signal out there?

    I have a little emergency whistle that hangs off my jacket zip, but inland lakes don't tend to be that big and a whistle could probably be heard on a smaller lake. Looking at the photos, plus the wind strength, I would imagine that anyone upwind of you, some distance away, isn't likely to hear a whistle very easily!

    Last week, Richard capsized on Rutland Water in the strong winds. Because he had already taken down his sail once or twice and put it back up again, I just assumed that he had taken it down again later when I looked back for him and couldn't see his red rig and carried on for our pre-arranged meeting point. Alas, he had gone for a swim and it was 20-minutes later when he rang me on my mobile before I was aware of his capsize. Fortunately for him is was a windy day with many boats capsizing and all 3-rescue ribs were on the water that day, but on a larger body of water, with no rescue ribs about, it could have been more serious!

    Perhaps some of these buoyant waterproof handheld VHF transceivers would be a good idea in exposed costal areas?
    http://www.cactusnav.com/icom-icm23-...d-p-11803.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamerpoint View Post
    I would imagine that anyone upwind of you, some distance away, isn't likely to hear a whistle very easily!
    l
    Gavin and I wrote this article on calling for help...

    http://www.ocsg.org.uk/safety/calling-for-help-safety-/


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    Mobile coverage at that location was patchy to say the least - some networks good, others non existent.

    A few of us have handheld VHFs and I suspect more will be acquiring them soon. But they are not a universal solution and other precautions such as buddying up with one or two others are just as important.

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    Most of us couldn't get a mobile phone signal all week, so they were not of much use. When you were more than about 10 yards apart it was impossible to hear what others were shouting at you so once someone was a few hundred yards upwind they were definitely out of communication. We had a brief discussion on the beach before we set off back so that we all would know what the plan was but the conditions, trying to beat up the lee shore, were too difficult for Jan and she was getting left behind. It was too dangerous to try and land in breakers on a rocky shore so the decision was made to cross over to the sheltered shore and then to make our way back up it to the campsite.
    If we all had had handheld VHF then we may have been able to keep in contact with the others, and i will try and take mine in future, but this would have only worked if we all had them or each group had one and they alll kept close together.
    Keith or Steve would have managed the situation much better because their previous jobs of sailing instructor, at an outdoor centre, drums into people how to safely organize others and come up with clear well thought out plans. For the rest of us this is an important skill to learn and practice

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    I'd definitely reiterate that it was a valuable learning experience for all of us. What started out as a jolly jaunt in light winds rapidly turned into a far more serious affair. It's difficult to manage a group in those conditions but clearly we all need to try harder to achieve just that in future. I've hesitated to post much detail of my take on what happened on here as some of those who were involved don't use SOTP and so won't be able to put their point of view forwards. However as the cat is out the bag.... I feel that finger pointing in these situations is fairly worthless and the group involved must collectively take responsibility and try to learn from their shortcomings.
    I was totally wrapped up in my own situation, I regarded myself as being the weakest member of the group (being the least experienced and being the only one in a completely open canoe). One of my greatest fears in these kind of situations is that of making a mistake and becoming a burden to the rest of the group and I was totally focused on ensuring that wouldn't happen. My main concern was that of becoming swamped by a wave (the outriggers meant that I wasn't really concerned about a capsize) and I was taking in a fair amount of water. Bailing was difficult as I felt that I needed hands on the controls most of the time. The plan (as Dave has said) was to beat up the western shore of Bute before crossing back to the mainland (and campsite) further north where the loch was narrower (thus making the exposed crossing as short as possible). The group of six canoes rapidly formed into two groups of three (although I wasn't aware of this being part of the plan) as we left Ettrick Bay and started to head north. Quite early on Graham suggested to me that we needed to cross to the mainland earlier than we'd planned to get some shelter from the waves but I didn't want to do that as a) I knew we'd made a plan not to and b) I was really worried about getting into difficulties in the middle of a three mile crossing (although I could absolutely see the logic in what he was suggesting). We were only able to communicate with one another by shouting when we were passing each other after one of us had tacked, this was a very short window and communication was only possible when we were within twenty or thirty feet of each other. I have to say Graham was brilliant and stayed as close to me as was practical (which meant he had to heave to and wait for me or sail less efficiently behind me). He did the same thing when we encountered similarly challenging conditions on Loch Etive last month and all credit to him for being a considerate and safety conscious sailing companion in challenging conditions. By this time the canoe that subsequently had the problems was a long way in front of us and seemingly sailing strongly (far more so than I was) in fact they'd left us as soon as we came out of Ettrick Bay. After a while I had to concede that we'd have to cross to the other side earlier than planned as the sea state was gradually getting worse and I was taking in progressively more water. I was worried about doing this (not so much because of the solo canoe which was still way in front of us at this point but because I wasn't sure what the other group of three who were behind us would think). As we set off across I could see that Dave, Dave and Jan were crossing as well and I assumed that they'd come to the same conclusion as Graham and I. The crossing took ages and I felt very exposed in the middle, it's by far the most exposed conditions that I've sailed in up to now. Some of the waves were even bigger out in the middle of the channel but as we approached the other side I realised I was going to be okay and I started looking for places to land so that I could empty the water from my canoe that was pretty deep by that point. I'd been so wrapped up in my own situation that I hadn't paid attention to where the third canoe was and when I couldn't see them where I thought they should be I assumed that they'd already landed back at the campsite. All that remained for us to do was beat up the more sheltered side of the loch back to the campsite (which I did without emptying the canoe as I thought it'd be an interesting challenge). It was only when we got back that I realised that the other canoe hadn't arrived in front of us and the watchers at the campsite were able to tell us that it was way downwind and that Dave S had detached from his group to go and assist.
    From a personal point of view, I clearly need to pay more attention to the whereabouts of other members of the group and be less focused on my own situation (although I did know where the other four boats were). In those conditions I don't know whether I personally would have been able to offer much assistance other than trying to raise the alarm that there was a problem but I feel that I should have at least known where the missing boat was and I'll take that lesson onboard as a personal learning point.
    I have my opinions on the cause of our group being separated but I'll keep those to myself for the reasons stated above. Everyone made it home safely and I imagine everyone has some valuable lessons to think about and that's the main thing.
    Last edited by Jurassic; 6th-September-2011 at 03:04 PM.

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    That's two fine first hand narratives that make salutary reading. I'm going to respond with photos that show where best practise was being followed both before and during the much discussed crossing from Ettrick Bay.

    The first shows the party that had headed the other way returning from the Burnt Isles. We were in Tighnabruaich, waiting for the filling station to re-open. The three boats were taking different routes down the sound, but in the 45 minutes we watched the leading boats change course and the group converge at least 2-3 times - as was happing in this shot:



    This one shows Graham and Chris looking out for one another; I've a stack like this as they ensured their craft were never very far apart!



    Then, with apologies for the image quality, one of Jan and Dave P sailing together:



    Finally, a re-posting of an earlier photo: I believe this shows the final pairing returning together:



    As both accounts make plain, adventure sailing involves plans that evolve in response to changing conditions, unforseen developments and more... and which puts a premium on watching out for one another, and maintaining the buddy system - though this is something which applies equally to inland canoe sailing and to "ordinary" canoeing without sails as well!
    Last edited by GregandGinaS; 6th-September-2011 at 04:31 PM.

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    Interesting dialogue, and from my standpoint reiterates what the Dave's and Keith stated on the Saturday morning meeting, that it's a sea loch, and needs to be taken seriously, both signing out/in but also more importantly the buddy system. I think the mobile phone situation deserves a mention, while some had a signal, I on O2 and others had none for the whole weekend, apart from a brief period when we were further south. Dave S's comment on a reliable means of communication, ie marine vhf handhelds, I've just checked, they can be had for 75-ish, is very valid, even on the Saturday in good conditions I had difficulty hearing people in close proximity. There are cheaper options out there, quite a few people use short range radios on ski slopes to keep in touch, I have myself.

    On the Monday I was all for doing another trip before the trip home, but as the weather worsened, I was glad of DaveP's suggestion that we try out the bay first. With the waves and wind driving on to the beach I couldn't even launch, although everyone else seemed to manage with no problem. I tried again later on with Wayne helping me and I got totally tangled up with mains sheets etc, at that point I decided that something was telling me something and called it a day. I got out the camera and took photos of the others enjoying themselves.

    I think the difference between the Saturday and the Monday, brought it home to me that I still have a long way to go, in a paddling set-up I have launched and paddled 5 miles plus in far worse conditions, admittedly I had to bail almost constantly, but no more than you would, as if it was raining, with the sail dumping water into the canoe.

    I think Chris's thread on a emergency bag has merit as well, perhaps not stated as such, but more on the lines of.. in these conditions this is the minimum we would expect an OCSG member to carry, and I think someone posted a list, for the various conditions.

    I'm not saying we start dictating to people, however a minimum list seems prudent, perhaps split amongst the buddy group?

    On the Monday when I saw the worsening conditions, in addition to what was on me; dry suit, BA; 2l water bladder, knife, survival pack, energy gels, lighter and cash.

    Dry bag; first aid kit, leatherman wave, lunch, 2 lighters, matches/tinder in waterproof container, mobile phone(how useful?). I added more energy gels and bars, Israeli bandage, led lights, 20m 2mm amsteel line and a foil blanket. I think the comment about adding an axe (bad idea if not trained) folding saw (good idea) has merit.

    In addition to this, I have a good basic knowledge of first aid, and bushcraft survival skills, I've been on survival courses from the west coast of Scotland to above the Arctic circle. Again I'm not suggesting that people should try something along these lines, but having met most of you, its something that would interest, and ultimately you would probably enjoy doing.

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    Chris, don't beat yourself up mate. Your first priority is to look after yourself. If you had not focused on your own situation fully, you could have become the problem everyone else was trying to solve. Sure, if the conditions had improved whereby your skills enabled you to check on your buddies once and a while, then this is great and this would have been your second priority. By the sounds of it, you were fully preoccupied with your own safety and had little time to look out for others and that's perfectly fine.

    Other more experienced sailors in more seaworthy canoes were perhaps operating inside better safety margins and one would have liked to think that they were playing a bigger role in the overall safety of the group and although I wasn't there, I am sure this was the case.

    One thing I have learned when running downwind if the winds are strong and the waves are big, is to match the speed of the canoe with the waves if possible. As you know, the canoe/ dinghy can become quite unstable when running and the temptation is to slow things down and spill the wind, but in this situation, I have found that doing the opposite is better.

    I haven't figured out how to stop water crashing over the bow though when close hauled as this sounds like another problem you faced. Maybe fitting a self bailer would be sufficient to simply suck the water out so you can forget about it.

    It seems like the biggest issue was the lack of communications while out on the water. If someone really did run into trouble, how could the outside world be contacted to raise the alarm, especially if mobile phones had no signal?

    Ian & I are planning to do some off shore sailing off the Norfolk coast sometime and your experience has highlighted the need for some VHF radios, which I will be investing in, so thanks for sharing your thoughts, which I have already learned from.

    The idea of staying in 3's was a good decission though. That way if something happens to a sailor, one person could stay with them, while the other goes off for help.

    While it sounds like a tough sailing experience, you came though it in one piece, your canoe wasn't damaged and no one was hurt, plus you have learned some valuable things/ skills and have discovered your limitations, so in military terms, it was a worth while exercise.

    Despite the strong winds and your difficulties at times, I would have loved to be there with you guys and regret missing it.
    Last edited by Steamerpoint; 6th-September-2011 at 11:38 PM.

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    If someone really did run into trouble, how could the outside world be contacted to raise the alarm, especially if mobile phones had no signal?
    My work mobile on Vodaphone had a very good signal at the campsite and throughout the area.

    I had my VHF to hand.

    The campsite reception was only 2 minutes away.

    The sailing school based at the campsite have a safety boat (RIB).

    There were houses on the shoreline at various spots that could have been used "in extremis"

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    Steamerpoint
    Chris, don't beat yourself up mate.
    No, don't worry I'm not doing.
    It seems like the biggest issue was the lack of communications while out on the water. If someone really did run into trouble, how could the outside world be contacted to raise the alarm, especially if mobile phones had no signal?
    As Keith has already said Vodafone gave a great signal in that area (I had full signal strength all the time I was at Tighnabruaich). I have a waterproof phone (yes it really is waterproof, I've tested it) and I always carry it leashed into one of the pockets in my BA and my phone number was written on the relevant section on the sign out sheet.
    On the subject of phone signals in Scotland (and being a resident), I've found Vodafone to be by far and away the best service provider in the more remote areas (followed by O2). I briefly tried Orange at one point but found them to be pretty poor and I have friends who live here who tried 3 and found them to be rubbish as well. Of course they all work in the centres of population.

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    The buddy system really works well and when things start going wrong it is very reassuring. Two people are better than one but three are the safest option. If one person gets into difficulty, then the other two can always raft up to provide a stable platform from which to deal with the third.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jurassic View Post
    No, don't worry I'm not doing.

    As Keith has already said Vodafone gave a great signal in that area (I had full signal strength all the time I was at Tighnabruaich). I have a waterproof phone (yes it really is waterproof, I've tested it) and I always carry it leashed into one of the pockets in my BA and my phone number was written on the relevant section on the sign out sheet.
    On the subject of phone signals in Scotland (and being a resident), I've found Vodafone to be by far and away the best service provider in the more remote areas (followed by O2). I briefly tried Orange at one point but found them to be pretty poor and I have friends who live here who tried 3 and found them to be rubbish as well. Of course they all work in the centres of population.
    For some years now I've had a pay-as-you-go Vodaphone mobile specifically to use when on expedition in Scotland - Vodaphone users can generally get a signal, especially in coastal areas, and I've yet to find a spot where Vodaphone doesn't work (in Lakes or Scotland)when other networks do.

  46. #46
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    Steamerpoint
    Chris, don't beat yourself up mate.

    Jurassic
    No, don't worry I'm not doing.

    Jurassic
    I clearly need to pay more attention to the whereabouts of other members of the group and be less focused on my own situation.
    It sounds like you were not happy with your own actions and sounds like you are being hard on yourself Chris. You had enough things to worry about in those conditions and you did plenty just looking after yourself.

    Jurassic
    As Keith has already said Vodafone gave a great signal in that area (I had full signal strength all the time I was at Tighnabruaich). I have a waterproof phone (yes it really is waterproof, I've tested it) and I always carry it leashed into one of the pockets in my BA and my phone number was written on the relevant section on the sign out sheet.
    So why weren't communications done by phone then instead of what you said earlier?
    Jurassic
    We were only able to communicate with one another by shouting when we were passing each other after one of us had tacked, this was a very short window and communication was only possible when we were within twenty or thirty feet of each other.
    I guess a VHF radio system is better and easier. Trying to punch the correct numbers into a phone while hanging out of a canoe in a force 6, with one hand on the tiller and the other on the sheet is just not really a sensible or viable option. Then if you get the numbers right and haven't rang someone else in a different country by mistake , you need to hope the other person you are trying to call is brave enough and able to answer the phone.

    One squeeze of a radio button and you are able to talk to everyone on that frequency at the same time and chances are, they will all hear you, without having to touch their radios!

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    Discussions like this can easily slide off into looking at equipment, but the point of the discussion here is that equipment for attracting the attention of one's buddy / buddies shouldn't ever been needed because everyone's looking out for one another: not necessarily sailing on top of one another, but watching out as is appropriate for those involved at any one moment.

    Crucially, as your tale from Rutland reminds us, this means not "assuming" anything. As you showed, it's in part about not trusting that someone's just taken his sail down because he's already done it once or twice, and not carrying on to a pre-arranged meeting point and waiting to be alerted by phone to someone having taken a swim. It's more about what Dave did after escorting Jan across: not assuming the other boat was safely back, nor assuming that the distant sail was (as might well have been the case) a stray yacht.

    The "means of attracting attention" (up to and including flares and personal locator beacons) should really be for attracting attention outside of the buddy-group. The means of communication (possibly including a VHF) should primarily be for the same purpose. They might ALSO help with routine communications... but that's really bonus territory: it's not to be relied upon, because apart from anything else, such systems can fail!

    Ps. Dave's point about the "reassurance" that can come with sticking together strikes me as well made: when our composure comes under pressure, many of us might think straighter, sail better and/or do more to help ourselves just with the reassurance of someone else "being there"...

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    If we can get back to the meet for a bit... the OCSG Facebook Wall seem to be doing better for photos / video

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    No your right Greg, we should have both spent more time watching out for our buddies.

    Fortunately for us on Rutland Water, there were three rescue boats on the water keeping an eye on things and in fairness, they could probably do a much better job of rescuing Richard (If he actually needed rescuing, which he didn't), than I could have with a 12-year old as my crew. Also, there are many boats on Rutland Water that launch solo and therefore don't have buddies to count on. People just generally look out for each other.

    Anyway, water under the bridge so to speak, but before we move away from technology, I have been looking at VHF radios and ideally want to buy at least two handhelds so I can communicate with family members on shore etc. I have found some waterproof radios at 100 for two handsets, which sounds great, but they are not using VHF. The VHF radios are up around the 80 to 100 each mark!! Is the VHF frequency chosen because it performs better over water/ distance etc. or is it just a common marine frequency. Can anyone who has a radio give any advice about what to go for, before I take the plunge so to speak!

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    Chris - Marine VHF makes the most sense as you are then going to be able to communicate easily with other water users especially in coastal situations, but also on the likes of Rutland or Windermere or Ullswater where the rescue or warden service use VHF, including Channel 16 which is the international calling and distress channel. Technically anyone using one should have completed and passed a simple one day course - you should find it particularly straightforward with your career history, but most people should find it ok and reassuring to know that you know what you're doing.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    Discussions like this can easily slide off into looking at equipment, but the point of the discussion here is that equipment for attracting the attention of one's buddy / buddies shouldn't ever been needed because everyone's looking out for one another: not necessarily sailing on top of one another, but watching out as is appropriate for those involved at any one moment.

    Crucially, as your tale from Rutland reminds us, this means not "assuming" anything. As you showed, it's in part about not trusting that someone's just taken his sail down because he's already done it once or twice, and not carrying on to a pre-arranged meeting point and waiting to be alerted by phone to someone having taken a swim. It's more about what Dave did after escorting Jan across: not assuming the other boat was safely back, nor assuming that the distant sail was (as might well have been the case) a stray yacht.

    The "means of attracting attention" (up to and including flares and personal locator beacons) should really be for attracting attention outside of the buddy-group. The means of communication (possibly including a VHF) should primarily be for the same purpose. They might ALSO help with routine communications... but that's really bonus territory: it's not to be relied upon, because apart from anything else, such systems can fail!

    Ps. Dave's point about the "reassurance" that can come with sticking together strikes me as well made: when our composure comes under pressure, many of us might think straighter, sail better and/or do more to help ourselves just with the reassurance of someone else "being there"...
    Absolutely spot on Greg. I'm not beating myself up at all but you make a couple of points there that I could apply to myself (and others). I was already aware of those points (before you made them) and had intended acting upon them in future. I think in a situation like that everyone has to look at what went wrong and learn from that to make sure the same mistakes aren't made repeatedly. If everyone is prepared to do that then a potentially dodgy situation turns into a valuable learning experience and a negative becomes a positive. For that to be most effective you have to look at yourself and ask whether there were things that you personally could do better in future even if you don't regard yourself as being entirely at fault.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    If we can get back to the meet for a bit... the
    OCSG Facebook Wall seem to be doing better for photos / video
    Well I did get this particularly fine shot of the back of Daves' head that I know he likes.................

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    Quote Originally Posted by windorpaddle View Post
    Chris - Marine VHF makes the most sense as you are then going to be able to communicate easily with other water users especially in coastal situations, but also on the likes of Rutland or Windermere or Ullswater where the rescue or warden service use VHF, including Channel 16 which is the international calling and distress channel. Technically anyone using one should have completed and passed a simple one day course - you should find it particularly straightforward with your career history, but most people should find it ok and reassuring to know that you know what you're doing.
    Thanks Keith, that makes perfect sense.

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    Greg's just suggested this video I did from the meet should be linked here - sorry I forgot to do it sooner.


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