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Thread: Winter Paddleing

  1. #1
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    Default Winter Paddleing

    Perhaps I should post this on the wider part of the forum, but just wondered if any canoe sailors ever just go out paddling without the sailing rig and if so, does paddling over the winter holidays float your boat, so to speak?

    As I bought my canoe in late January, I never had this option last Christmas and the idea of paddling along snowy river banks strangely appeals for some reason.

    As I don't possess a drysuit, the idea of getting wet in subzero temperatures fills me with fear, so a gentle paddle with reduced risk of capsizing might be do'able. What do others think, is this a mad idea or what?

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    There's nothing inherently "mad" about winter paddling, Chris... but sure, the risks of cold-shock and hypothermia if you get wet mean it's a more serious undertaking than in summer months. In my white water kayaking days, virtually all of the good stuff was done in mid-winter: that's when we had water in the rivers! Kinda up to you to decide what's reasonable though...

    You're not that far from the Mepal Outdoor Centre: might be worth checking out the group that meet up there and trying to arrange to paddle with some more experienced paddlers. Other local options must exist: check out the Canoe England website for a list of local clubs.

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    Cheers Greg, the rivers Nene & Welland are fairly narrow and slow moving with few challenges from a paddling point of view, but as you rightly point out cold-shock & subsequent hypothermia can be difficult to avoid without the proper kit if an accident does happen. I have been thinking about what I would do if I did go in. The bank is less than 15-feet away, but the sudden shock could still make that distance hard to cross and with a bank to climb.

    I'm sure going in wouldn't happen, but you would need a plan if it does!

    I like the idea of going out with more experienced paddlers if I do it. I'll check out the local clubs as you suggest. I have a feeling though that there might be a "No drysuit, No canoeing" policy as they do at the Rutland Water Sailing Club at this time of year!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamerpoint View Post
    I like the idea of going out with more experienced paddlers if I do it. I'll check out the local clubs as you suggest. I have a feeling though that there might be a "No drysuit, No canoeing" policy as they do at the Rutland Water Sailing Club at this time of year!
    Unlikely. If someone's going to take responsibility for a group, he/she may have expectations about what would count as appropriate in the way of attire, kit and so on... but I'd be astonished to find any policy anywhere insisting on a drysuit for a flatwater paddle!

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    It's a calculated risk really, what are the chances that you'll fall in on a calm day on flat water? I paddled a lot last winter and sometimes I wore my drysuit and sometimes I didn't. I felt that the chance of me capsizing in calm weather while paddling were negligible and so I was prepared to take that risk when the forecast was settled. That said on overnight trips I took my drysuit with me in case the weather changed during the trip. One thing is for sure though I made sure that when I was making an open crossing without my drysuit on I had maximum concentration as I knew that the consequences of a capsize were potentially fatal. That was on Loch Lomond, on a river you'd have some chance of getting out the water quickly so it may not be as serious. Do I remember correctly that you bought a shorty wetsuit? If so and you're worried why not wear that under your outer layers? It won't be too comfy but it'd give you peace of mind that you have some protection if you go in. Once you have a little experience you can reassess whether the wetsuit's necessary for future paddles.
    I love winter paddling, there's usually very few other people about and the scenery can be spectacular. These pics are from a trip me and a couple of friends did last January, we had to break through the ice to make a passage for our canoes then we had a fantastic bivi out in the snow, possibly the best sunrise I've ever seen and another great paddle the following day. If I wasn't convalescing I'd be out there this winter as well. Enjoy yourself and be safe.





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    Jurassic lovely pics! Thanks so much for sharing. Two of us soloed on a freshwater lake yesterday as it froze up. Some of it in a quiet channel had frozen for about 100 yards. We could see open water and figured the ice was just a skim coat. Some of it was and some not. I rode up on a shelf that partly gave way and got kinda wet..drysuits are good. Swam 20 feet to shore and emptied, but an ice coated canoe inside and out is not much fun! Slip and slide. Stayed toasty warm however. Think future winter paddling will be in the ocean without diabolical ice shelves!

    Note capsize due to inexperience on paddling on ice shelves!
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    Quote Originally Posted by yellowcanoe View Post
    Jurassic lovely pics! Thanks so much for sharing.
    I'm pleased you like them. I always enjoy my canoe trips but every so often one stands out and that particular trip is one such case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    Unlikely. If someone's going to take responsibility for a group, he/she may have expectations about what would count as appropriate in the way of attire, kit and so on... but I'd be astonished to find any policy anywhere insisting on a drysuit for a flatwater paddle!
    Cheers Greg, I'll make some enquiries. There are some regulars that paddle the Nene near Ferry Meadows. I'll email them as I would be happier with more experienced paddlers around.

    Gret pics Chris. That's the image I had in my mind with a sunrise or sunset across a semi frozen river. Not sure about the camping bit though. More like the thermos flask before the drive back to a nice warm house.

    My 13-year old son has asked if we can go out again soon and after watching the last episode of Charley Boorman together, where they camped out in a tent in the snow, he did actually ask if we could take the tent with us, but I quickly chickened out and dismissed the idea! What a wimp!

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    Quote Originally Posted by yellowcanoe View Post
    We could see open water and figured the ice was just a skim coat. Some of it was and some not. I rode up on a shelf that partly gave way and got kinda wet..drysuits are good. Swam 20 feet to shore and emptied, but an ice coated canoe inside and out is not much fun! Note capsize due to inexperience on paddling on ice shelves!
    Wow scary stuff, glad you were okay! It's a bit of a learning curve paddling in those conditions. We paddled out to our campsite in the dark and had to find an unfrozen passage or break through the thinner ice. My friend was in the bow calling directions (and when necessary breaking the ice with my plastic WW paddle) and I was in the rear providing motive power and steering. A couple of times we ended up in sections where the ice was too thick to force a passage and we had to reverse out and try a different route but eventually we made it to our intended campsite. The two pictures of the guy in the green canoe were another friend (JinjaCoo of SOTP) coming to join us the next morning through a passage we'd broken through the ice earlier to allow him access. A lot of people think that I use my canoe for whitewater paddling when they see it but in fact all the dents (and there are a lot) were caused breaking through ice!

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    T'wasn't really scary. When you are drysuited and appropriately fleeced inside of the drysuit ( and feel a bit like a snowman) its really warm and you float..yes I had PFD on too. We have found moving around a bit restrictive in such garb.

    I was just surprised at how far I "surfed up" on the slab. Then crrrrack..

    Hey it could have been worse if I was surrounded by ice. Then I would have needed two of those ice pick thingys.
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    Winter paddling is good



    As I go out solo and alone I take a lot of care and avoid any risk so never far from shore and only if the weather is calm (ish).

    I don't have a dry suit.

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    Paddling rather than sailing is probably a good option when it is really cold. Sailing in light conditions doesnt get up much of a sweat and you can get really cold, whereas paddling does generate a bit of heat. I certainly wouldnt sail without my drysuit in winter. You cannot guarantee to be near the shore when sailing and the risk of capsize has to be greater. If you do paddle without a dry suit i would definitely take a complete change of warm clothes with you in a dry bag.

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    I paddle all year round sometimes alone mainly in a so called 'tippy' solo and have never owned a drysuit, if you can access your own personal limits and the condition's sensibly you will be ok if you can't what are you doing in a canoe at any time of year?


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    Winter paddling is great. Especially if there's snow around.

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    There's an SoTP group doing a winter paddle on the Great Ouse, Chris, on the 2nd January. See here: http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...le-of-the-year
    I hope to be there.
    Ian
    (For my part winter paddling is some of the best; given your thoughtful attitude to risk, I wouldn't expect you to have any trouble, and I doubt the need for a drysuit on our lowland rivers, providing one isn't choosing to shoot weirs or any such stuff. I eventually bought a drysuit--cheap army surplus--for sailing and for more exposed winter paddling and have just enjoyed a bit of kayaking around Poole harbour and Old Harry Rocks in Dorset. The drysuit helps keep one warm--bit too warm sometimes when paddling hard, but at least one shouldn't die of hypothermia. They're good if you can afford them but not, I think essential, for normal rivers.)

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    What is WINTER???? And COLD water???
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyBR View Post
    What is WINTER???? And COLD water???
    You've been to the Malvinas. You should know!!

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    Winter is the paddling season. Too little water in the summer for many rivers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    You've been to the Malvinas. You should know!!
    No politics here Mr G !!!! You know those islands belong to the penguins!!!!!







    And they were all in the SUN!!!!!
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    idc;374120 There's an SoTP group doing a winter paddle on the Great Ouse, Chris, on the 2nd January. See here: http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...le-of-the-year
    I hope to be there.
    Ian
    Hi Ian, this paddle sounds really good and Huntindon/ St Ives is just 25-minutes drive from here. I will talk to the wife and my son to see if they are up for this also. If it's windy though, I doubt we will make it without the waterproof attire and strong paddling skills. Might drive down and meet everyone though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyBR View Post
    No politics here Mr G !!!! You know those islands belong to the penguins!!!!!







    And they were all in the SUN!!!!!
    Everytime I post something about world events, things take a turn for the worst.

    I post about the Falklands, and then Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil ban ships flying the Falklands flag.

    I posted about Kim Il Jong last week, and now look what happened!!

    This is worrying.

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    It ´s a loooonnnnggg game with oil, fish and distance as main players.... I´ll support the penguins as the only rational thinking group involved..... Go Penguins Go!!!!!



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    Are there penguins in North Korea?

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    Lot´s of birds, with a bias toward preying species on higher ranks perhaps?


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...of_North_Korea


    Go Penguins Go!!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyBR View Post
    It ´s a loooonnnnggg game with oil, fish and distance as main players.... I´ll support the penguins as the only rational thinking group involved..... Go Penguins Go!!!
    They're definitely the cutest group involved anyway!

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    Winter paddling can be fun - but if you lack confidence in your own abilities/experience - then I'd recommend paddling in company with at least one other boat.
    The Nene downstream of Northampton is quite paddlable - and there are some entertaining weirpools so local knowledge is a big plus.

    There's a friendly sailing club down towards Thrapston - has the use of a disused gravel pit on the left bank - might be worth your while getting to know them too.

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    [IMG]Welcome to the forum.[/IMG]Winter paddling good fun wrap up

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    Me too,



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