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Thread: The Canoe-Sailing Evolutionary Ladder

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    Default The Canoe-Sailing Evolutionary Ladder

    Quote Originally Posted by Jurassic View Post
    I've learned loads over the last year (much of it at OCSG meets) but I still regard myself as being on the lower rungs of the canoe sailing evolutionary ladder.
    As with canoeing more generally, a lot of folk have clearly found that when combined with a bit of discretion in regard to challenging conditions and exposed locations, even the most basic paddling / sailing skill-sets and basic expertise (navigation, reading of the weather, etc.) open up great opportunities. I'm not sure what level of sailing and paddling expertise is really needed for someone to be considered a particularly accomplished canoe-sailor, or how specialised the paddling and sailing skills might be, or even how relevant great sailing and paddling skill-sets might be to most "adventure sailing". I certainly don't see a "standard" path to higher-level adventure sailing: as with mountain sports, different folk always seem to bring different strengths and interests to the party... and to then progress in different ways.

    On the other hand, we might all agree that we're looking at a particularly accomplished canoe sailor when we encounter one. To take just one example, Howard Rice surely belongs somewhere near the top of at least one branch of the canoe-sailing evolutionary ladder. His small-boat sailing pedigree is certainly pretty stunning (see here), but he is perhaps best known for having sailed and paddled a a 15 foot Klepper folding canoe around Cape Horn (solo) over a three and a half month period (including in snow, sleet, ice storms and high winds) back in 1989-1990. I'm not sure about his paddling standard, but he apparently "prepared for the effort by extensive training for two years including sessions with ocean kayaker Eric Stiller including a number of canoe sailing trips in extreme winter conditions". We're told he also "authored the US Army Special Forces MAROPS manual for small boat operations pertaining to one and two man kayak operations". He's happy deliberately capsizing his "Sylph" sailing canoe (no outriggers, ~30" at the waterline) before approaching squall lines (to protect the canoe) and aside from being able to flip her back up with one hand, he can apparently re-enter "easily". Nice skills to have!

    Closer to home, some UK paddlers clearly combine an extensive sailing and/or paddling background. I've been out with folk who appear to my untutored eye to be extremely capable on the sailing front (apparently on/in anything from windsurfs through dinghies and international 10 sq. m. sailing canoes to yachts) and I know of some who are comfortable paddling to a good level (seemingly based on experience in anything from sea and inland kayaks to open and/or decked canoes). We've clearly got canoe-sailing folk who would be reasonably confident of their ability to sail to the rescue of a man-overboard in at least modest wind / chop / swells, or of sailing their craft in such conditions in the event of rudder failure, or of ditching their rig and handling their craft well enough by paddle to rescue another canoe in such conditions, or of negotiating a challenging (rig-free) landing through surf.

    The above sailing and paddling skillsets surely open up the scope for adventure sailing... and I'd certainly never suggest they be neglected... but I can't help feeling that somehow, the evolutionary ladder of canoe-sailing is also ascended in a different manner: perhaps through the canoe-sailing equivalent of the yachtmaster's "seamanship". That's tough to define and elaborate upon, but again, I suspect we recognise it when we see it. It's evident in decisions about when / where to venture, in positioning on the water in relation to buddies, in communication when plans need adjusting, in the timing of any reefing / change of direction, and more broadly in awareness of (and attention to detail in relation to) those small things which could easily lead to difficulties (from poorly maintained craft or badly stowed kit through unexpected wind shifts or deviations from a passage plan to a tiring buddy or mis-communication over plans).

    I'd argue against equating "seamanship" with "experience", or even with what's learned through experience. Learning through experience can work (especially where that's guided discovery) and time and practise in the right environments are surely good for consolidating "seamanship", but by and large we're presumably aiming to learn (first and foremost) from the experience of others. I'd certainly argue against seeing "seamanship" as a substitute for learning to sail and to paddle: it's more what determines the significance of our sailing skills and paddling skills. To me "seamanship" is perhaps what allows us to make use of our strengths and to avoid critical pressure where our skills still need development.

    Do we have a better term than my "seamanship"? Can we better map out what it looks like? Can we find constructive parallels from yachting, dinghy cruising, sea kayaking, mountaineering or others such activities? How do we tie all of this into the small matter of competence levels? In some ways, old ground... but perhaps worth re-visiting.

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    There are professors, who just learn stuff. There are those who will go for the same organised event with other people each year, who are probably measurable, and others who will just grab the stuff they need and take off for the horizon, on their own.

    Er....Skill sets?

    They only need enough to complete the next adventure, and Im not sure how you could measure what they have. Cant actually see anything that you could even roughly use as a yardstick, beyond them getting back with the boat whole and not bleeding too much.

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    Hi Greg, my own comments were based on a wish not to get myself in to a situation where I'm overstretched and end up having to have others come to my assistance (potentially putting them in harms way as well) although I accept that this possibility always exists in an adventurous activity like canoeing.
    I came into canoeing and canoe sailing from a background of having done outdoor activities most of my life and whilst I know exactly where I stand on a hillwalking trip in full winter conditions on the Scottish mountains I don't have that level of experience and confidence sailing my canoe (particularly on the sea). Whenever I attend an OCSG meet I'm very much aware of the fact that though I may be keen, reasonably well equipped and endowed with a degree of outdoorsy common sense (gained doing various activities over the years), I'm relatively new to this sport and have nowhere near the experience or knowledge of many of the long term members of the club. A comment was made in another thread about "the problem of a 20-stone, 60-year old sailor with health issues relying on his outriggers to keep him safe" which I felt was quite unfair as many of those 60 year old sailors have been canoe sailing for around twenty years and know exactly what it takes to stay safe (whether that means relying on outriggers or not).
    If a group is setting off on a trip at an OCSG meet they shouldn't have to be put in the awkward position of having to say to someone that they either don't have the experience or the equipment to accompany the group. Individuals should know their limitations and accept them and plan a less ambitious trip instead. If this doesn't happen then the meet organiser is being put in an unacceptable position of responsibility (and possibly liability) through no fault of their own.
    As an example, I feel that I was on the verge of putting Dave P in this position at Tighnabruaich by setting off on the trip to Ettrick Bay. We were caught out by the weather (which can always happen) and I actually coped okay in the event but the key point is that I shouldn't have set off on that trip not knowing whether myself and my canoe had the abilities to cope with the type of conditions that can always be encountered unexpectedly in surroundings like that.
    All I'm saying is that we need to take a long hard look at ourselves, our canoes and what we're planning to take on and ask ourselves if it's on or not? Go through the what ifs before we set off and don't rely on others to get us out of trouble if it gets challenging (although they undoubtedly will help if needs be). This is what I was getting at in the post you quoted.
    As far as seamanship goes I don't think it can be taught in it's entirety. You can undoubtedly learn a lot on courses, from books and from more experienced peers but I think personal experience counts for a lot. In surfing circles they talk about "Watermen", guys who have a huge depth of understanding of the sea and the weather and how they interact and are able to predict conditions as a result. It's almost like a sixth sense but based on experience and knowledge. My idea is that the seamanship principle you mention is something similar and whilst I can draw on my many years of experience of mountain weather, my windsurfing, dinghy sailing and kayaking experience I regard myself as being fairly low on the canoe sailing evolutionary ladder. Hopefully my cautious approach to assessing my abilities will help to keep me safe as I progress (and have no doubts I mean to progress ).
    Last edited by Jurassic; 18th-April-2012 at 05:20 PM.

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    I find that ignorance and fear are great tutors.
    Ignorance allows you to venture out
    Fear (and cowardice) reels you in
    Experience is the result.

    Of course there is a Darwinistic alternative to this approach which the first quality can mask.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jurassic View Post
    A comment was made in another thread about "the problem of a 20-stone, 60-year old sailor with health issues relying on his outriggers to keep him safe" which I felt was quite unfair as many of those 60 year old sailors have been canoe sailing for around twenty years and know exactly what it takes to stay safe (whether that means relying on outriggers or not).
    Chris, I made that comment before, but your sentence above includes "quite unfair as many of those 60 year old sailors", but does not say "all 60 year old sailors". I never said all sailors, just some of them.

    My comment was well founded and I have had confirmation only last weekend that this is a concern of other OCSG organisers too. The current chairman was impressed with the capsize recovery device I made and said that for some time his biggest concern was not so much the capsize, but sailors inability to get back inside the canoe! Some people have been advised to consider getting outriggers because of concerns about climbing back inside the canoe should they capsize. It has been a bone of contention for some time only it is a difficult subject to discuss without causing offence or embarrasment.

    Someone (I will not say who) has told me that they hope they never capsize as they will struggle to get back in and they now always sail with outriggers, even in light winds!

    Of course you are correct, some sailors much older than I am will happily sail with outriggers and have the ability to avoid trouble, but should trouble happen, they have the skills to get back inside afterwards. I was not painting everyone with the same brush and suggesting that I was is a little unfair.

    You are correct about knowing your own limits though. Dave & I were discussing the subject on Sunday. I was concious that force 4 winds were about my limit with 35 sqr feet of sail and if the wind got any stronger, I would get the storm sail up, which I did later that afternoon. Knowing your limits is a strength, not a weakness and I agree that this should be encouraged.

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    One area that canoe sailing differs from most other sports (certainly in the UK and I'd guess in other countries as well) is that there is no defined path to learn the art, it's a matter of adapting skills from a number of different sources to out own peculiar needs. If you want to learn about navigation for canoe sailing you're going to have to adapt both sailing and sea kayaking techniques to suit canoe sailing as (whilst both these disciplines have similarities to canoe sailing) neither is totally relevant. Similarly paddle sailing is a work in progress which draws heavily from canoe techniques and combines them with some sailing know how.
    Although canoe sailing isn't new in historical terms, due to the small numbers of people involved it hasn't evolved like more mainstream activities have. Some may see this as a hindrance to progress (and in some ways they may be right) but to me this just adds to the allure of the sport. I enjoy being involved in a pastime so small that almost everyone knows each other and where ideas are still being refined and evolved. I feel that we're all in on something that diehard paddlers, sea kayakers and dinghy cruisers are missing out on, it's not a secret but not many have realised the unique advantages that canoe sailing can have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by unk tantor View Post
    I find that ignorance and fear are great tutors.
    Ignorance allows you to venture out
    Fear (and cowardice) reels you in
    Experience is the result.

    Of course there is a Darwinistic alternative to this approach which the first quality can mask.
    Hmmm....

    Ive been sussed lol.

    Im pretty sure I wouldnt be able to get back in my boat if I was in deep water and fell out without rolling it.

    Thats why I set it up so that it couldnt turn over and coudlnt sink.

    I can then swim it to shore, or climb in over the outrigger.

    Oh...and Im a long way off 60.
    Last edited by No Idea; 18th-April-2012 at 10:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jurassic View Post
    One area that canoe sailing differs from most other sports (certainly in the UK and I'd guess in other countries as well) is that there is no defined path to learn the art, it's a matter of adapting skills from a number of different sources to out own peculiar needs. If you want to learn about navigation for canoe sailing you're going to have to adapt both sailing and sea kayaking techniques to suit canoe sailing as (whilst both these disciplines have similarities to canoe sailing) neither is totally relevant. Similarly paddle sailing is a work in progress which draws heavily from canoe techniques and combines them with some sailing know how.
    Although canoe sailing isn't new in historical terms, due to the small numbers of people involved it hasn't evolved like more mainstream activities have. Some may see this as a hindrance to progress (and in some ways they may be right) but to me this just adds to the allure of the sport. I enjoy being involved in a pastime so small that almost everyone knows each other and where ideas are still being refined and evolved. I feel that we're all in on something that diehard paddlers, sea kayakers and dinghy cruisers are missing out on, it's not a secret but not many have realised the unique advantages that canoe sailing can have.
    I think that i agree totally with your thoughts. We do not have any national governing body, with accredited training schemes, and talking to many coaches and seeing posts about the BCU on SOTP maybe this is a good thing. We are in a very interesting place at the moment, with lots of experimentation and development going on, mostly on a personal level.
    At the same time it is probably best for safety if we work towards promoting good practice, so that newcomers to the sport do not have to invent everything for themselves and make the same mistakes that we made over the last 20years or so.
    We are different from pure paddlers who state that they do not need buoyancy in their canoe as they always paddle near the shore and so can swim for it in the unlikely event of a capsize. We do sail out into the middle of the lake or away from the edge of the coast in the search of better wind, and having a sail up does increase the risk of capsize. We can use the power of the wind to make good progress when most paddlers would be looking for shelter.
    An RYA Yachtmaster course will be a great foundation for venturing out on the sea, but we do have the great advantage over yachts and large dinghies that we can hug the shore and land when the going gets too rough. This aspect being still in contact with the shore and how we manage landing and getting the boat up the shore is something that will test Peregrine this summer as he attempts to circumnavigate Britain (or at least goes for a very long sail and paddle around our coast)
    The forum is a great place for exchanging ideas and knowledge, but onlookers must always be wary of differentiating between real experience and knowledge and armchair musings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by No Idea View Post
    Hmmm....

    Ive been sussed lol.

    Im pretty sure I wouldnt be able to get back in my boat if I was in deep water and fell out without rolling it.

    Thats why I set it up so that it couldnt turn over and coudlnt sink.

    I can then swim it to shore, or climb in over the outrigger.

    Oh...and Im a long way off 60.
    Thank you. For a minute there I felt like I was saying something that simply wasn't true!
    Up until a month ago, I was seriously worried about getting back into my canoe following a capsize and genuinely considered outriggers to address this.
    If I felt this way, others will too and others have quietly said that they would struggle to get back in, hence the reason for fitting outriggers.

    Actually my worst fear was not struggling to get back in, but the cold water shock and then not being able to get back in, hanging on the side of a swamped canoe with hyperthermia setting in. That was my worst fear. The drysuit and the recovery device have solved these two problems overnight.

    Back to the nature of this thread however, the sport needs to decide where it wants to go and Dave is correct, we should consider working towards best practice so that others can learn from the mistakes of folk before them. Then the question of training, safety & accreditation etc.

    As Greg has said, there are two or three clearly defined area's of canoe sailing that attracts different people and these all need to be factored in. The paddle sailors, the expedition rig open canoe sailors and the high performance canoe sailors with big rigs and Shearwater type canoes.

    There is also the DIY development enthusiast who wants to make a leeboard themselves or develop a sailing rig from a sailing dinghy to fit on their canoe or build their own outriggers.

    Dave was talking about selling outriggers in kit form at lower prices. Perhaps this would go some way to helping the DIY'er make something strong and reliable, yet saving some money, part of the attraction to making things yourself.

    How about other standard items like selling the leeboard brackets or a bracket to attatch a outrigger tube to the gunwale (Still to be developed) and other such items.

    Perhaps the answer is offering training & accreditation for those that want it, support and advice for others who don't rather than a once size fits all process.
    Last edited by Steamerpoint; 19th-April-2012 at 09:51 AM.

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    Your worst fear....

    Been there.

    Luckily I got rescued by a yacht.

    Had pneumonia for a fortnight though.

    Regulations....

    To me Regs is definitley a 4 letter word.

    Once there are rules and regs, you can be found in breach -even if you arnt racing.

    I have a battered Osprey Sailing Dinghy that Ive cruised for nearly 500 miles. I cant get it insured without a class certificate or a survey.

    My kids boat he designed and built to his own plans. His insurance was simple and a hell of a lot less than mine - despite his boat being practically unsailable when he first launched it.

    With our canoes...

    We were told my kids wouldnt be able to go out paddling with Poole canoe club until they had proved capable of eskimo rolls.

    I read up on them and that was the end of our quest for lessons.

    If you want to kill off any form of development, then regulating is the way to go.

    Someone said on here "Why bother to reinvent the wheel?"

    Laser dinghies for example, have to use one make of sail. They are paying a fortune for them, when there are dozens of better quality sails being manufactured for those boats and at a fraction of the cost.

    With no reinventing, you can badly lose out - unless you are the sole manufacturer.

    Safety is another rod to beat us with, but this is simply not relevant.

    When I launch my boat, I am its captain. I am the only one responsible for it. No one else.

    If I decide to go and sail along with a bunch of others, I am still my boats captain. I am still the one responsible for it.

    In my humble opinion, the only time this would change is if I were to go to an adventure club where the boats are supplied, or I enter into an agreement that someone else will be my captain.

    If I was on a group outing in my boat and had a problem, no doubt the others would help if they could, but At the end of the day it would be my problem. Maybe a tow to the nearest land and a car trip later to get me back to my transport if they could would be nice, but not their job.

    I sail my canoe simply because its fun and I love it.

    Doing my own thing on the way to my own horizon is simply why Im here.

    If I am made to conform, this is over for me.
    Last edited by No Idea; 19th-April-2012 at 10:14 AM.

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    Question, is it posabel to set up ''best practises'' without legislation ? if so I wold think its the beter way to go, and Iv always thort education is faredeter than rules and regs .and unless you rasing class rools arnt an isue , and if you are , I think it was a coment from DaveS about having a minumam and maamen sail size , nice and simpal.
    I think forums like this go a long way to educating , ther a brordrange of input from novices to those of us who make a living from it , one good thing in comon , we all realy apresiat our pasute

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    Quote Originally Posted by No Idea View Post

    When I launch my boat, I am its captain. I am the only one responsible for it. No one else.

    If I decide to go and sail along with a bunch of others, I am still my boats captain. I am still the one responsible for it.
    If I was on a group outing in my boat and had a problem, no doubt the others would help if they could, but At the end of the day it would be my problem. Maybe a tow to the nearest land and a car trip later to get me back to my transport if they could would be nice, but not their job.

    I sail my canoe simply because its fun and I love it.

    Doing my own thing on the way to my own horizon is simply why Im here.

    If I am made to conform, this is over for me.
    I pretty much agree with you, I love the lack of regulation and restriction in canoe sailing and I don't think it'll change in the foreseeable future (unless there's a massive explosion in the numbers taking part which is unlikely). It's all very well suggesting training courses, regulations etc but they all require the infrastructure to organise, administer and enforce them and canoe sailing (with maybe 150 active participants at most in the UK?) doesn't have and is unlikely to have that any time soon (thank god).
    As far as being your own captain, I understand what you mean, the only problem with that attitude (and it's only a problem if you choose to become involved) would be at an OCSG meet. I'm not a "clubby" person, usually preferring to do my own thing and meet like minded people along the way and I initially joined the OCSG just to see what it was like. I've found the OCSG to be a brilliant organisation though, very friendly and informal and comprised of nice, helpful, knowledgeable people. The informal nature of the club extends to meets but there have to be safety protocols in place to protect people participating, the meet organiser and the club itself and there's a responsibility on anyone attending a meet to abide by the (few) rules and not to push their luck with safety. What people do in their own time is up to them, if something unfortunate happens then it's on their own head and rightly so (which is what I think you were getting at). Most of my canoe sailing has been done on my own on relatively quiet waters and I know that if things go pear shaped I have to deal with them myself and that's absolutely fine by me. When I attend an OCSG sanctioned meet though I have to think about others and collective safety far more, it's no longer enough just to look after No1.
    Last edited by Jurassic; 19th-April-2012 at 11:28 AM.

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    We can and do promote "best practice" without rules and regs in the OCSG; and preferably without accreditation/certification in my opinion! I've done enough formal National Governing Body assessments of canoeing, kayaking and dinghy sailing in my professional life to want to avoid them in my leisure time. That's another reason that Steve R and I created the "Competence Levels" for the OCSG - voluntary self-assessed benchmarks to help canoe-sailors decide what skills they already have but also therefore what they should/need to develop.

    As with BCU Star Tests there are some who "perform" beyond the toughest test level and in the OCSG we have talked recently of possibly needing another more advanced competence level, for coastal touring. (I was involved in rewriting the Open Canoe Star Tests many years ago - on a sub-committee of the National Coaching Committee, and was also consulted on the feasability of creating Star Tests for Canoe Sailing once; it was not then pursued - thankfully! )

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    We've got completely away from the musings that started the thread: these had nothing to do with OCSG meets, regulations or pretty much anything else that's been discussed since then!

    The phrase "being on the lower rungs of the canoe sailing evolutionary ladder" kicked it all off, and my first point was how much could be achieved even on those lower rungs simply though exercising "a bit of discretion in regard to challenging conditions and exposed locations". People can find their own way, muddle through on a try-and-see basis, learn from friends or whatever. If folk choose to benefit from the collective experience of SoTP then great... but if not, sobeit.

    What interested me is what's actually involved in climbing above those lower rungs. What's involved in becoming a more accomplished canoe sailor? Chris pretty much echoed my own views on one part of this:

    One area that canoe sailing differs from most other sports (certainly in the UK and I'd guess in other countries as well) is that there is no defined path to learn the art, it's a matter of adapting skills from a number of different sources to out own peculiar needs. If you want to learn about navigation for canoe sailing you're going to have to adapt both sailing and sea kayaking techniques to suit canoe sailing as (whilst both these disciplines have similarities to canoe sailing) neither is totally relevant. Similarly paddle sailing is a work in progress which draws heavily from canoe techniques and combines them with some sailing know how.
    Dave's thoughts also tied in with my own:

    We are different from pure paddlers who state that they do not need buoyancy in their canoe as they always paddle near the shore and so can swim for it in the unlikely event of a capsize. We do sail out into the middle of the lake or away from the edge of the coast in the search of better wind, and having a sail up does increase the risk of capsize. We can use the power of the wind to make good progress when most paddlers would be looking for shelter.

    An RYA Yachtmaster course will be a great foundation for venturing out on the sea, but we do have the great advantage over yachts and large dinghies that we can hug the shore and land when the going gets too rough. This aspect being still in contact with the shore and how we manage landing and getting the boat up the shore is something that will test Peregrine this summer as he attempts to circumnavigate Britain (or at least goes for a very long sail and paddle around our coast).
    Like Chris, I "enjoy being involved in a pastime so small that almost everyone knows each other and where ideas are still being refined and evolved".. though I'd single out Dave's point about "promoting good practice, so that newcomers to the sport do not have to invent everything for themselves and make the same mistakes that we made over the last 20years or so". That's not a matter of "regulation"... it's just sharing collective experience for everyone's benefit!

    What's still missing is a real sense of how one does "progress up the evolutionary ladder" when one aspires to reach the higher levels. I appreciate it's different for a experienced paddler (perhaps a veteran sea kayaker) with limited sailing experience (basically happy that there's always the option of returning to our comfort zone by ditching the rig) and for an extremely accomplished dinghy sailor with extensive cruising experience (who's perhaps comfortable sailing a Wayfarer in tideraces and overfalls, possibly in strong winds and with a considerable sail area up, but who may be used to having an outboard to hand). It's going to be different again for a dinghy sailor who's used to handling a small inland-dinghies, but who's not used to any sort of sea kayak or dinghy based coastal expeditioning.

    Perhaps we could get some thoughts together on what would constitute evidence of competence at beyond the current OCSG Level 3: not for "regulation" or "training" purposes... but simply to focus people's thoughts on ways of progressing up the "evolutionary ladder".

    I listed some possible examples in my opening post:
    • Performing a man-overboard rescue under sail in challenging winds and chop / swell / current;
    • Sailing in such conditions without a rudder (in the event of technical failure);
    • Ditching the rig and handling the canoe well enough by paddle to rescue another canoe in such conditions;
    • Negotiating a challenging (rig-free) landing through surf;


    I also mentioned when / where to venture, positioning on the water in relation to buddies, communication when plans need adjusting, the timing of any reefing / change of direction, and "awareness of (and attention to detail in relation to) those small things which could easily lead to difficulties (from poorly maintained craft or badly stowed kit through unexpected wind shifts or deviations from a passage plan to a tiring buddy or mis-communication over plans)".

    These are just a few strengths I'd see in canoe sailors such as Keith and Steve: others will doubtless have picked up on other things. That was really what I was getting at: not regulations, not training, just areas of development for folk who want to start pushing boundaries in coastal "adventure sailing".

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    Quote Originally Posted by windorpaddle View Post
    Steve R and I created the "Competence Levels" for the OCSG - voluntary self-assessed benchmarks to help canoe-sailors decide what skills they already have but also therefore what they should/need to develop
    In a lot of ways, I suppose I'm fishing for exactly the sorts of things which might be considered for that "more advanced competence level, for coastal touring"... but mostly just to stimulate thought on how one might like to develop one's OWN canoe sailing.

    That's perhaps asking what might go into an advanced training programme: not a programme "provided" by someone, but more a set of learning steps one might plan in order progress by oneself.

    That's as an alternative to a combination of BCU 5* in Open Canoe and Sea Kayak, RYA dinghy "seamanship skills", "day sailing" and "performance sailing", perhaps some RYA "sail cruising" elements, and then all the associated stuff to do with coastal navigation, coastal passage planning, coastal weather and doubtless much else (some of which is presumably also common to sea kayakers and yachtmasters) - which is perhaps just some of what your own "training" entailed!

    We can surely discuss some possible bases for planning one's own "experiential learning" without venturing into "awarding" or "accreditation/certification": an area which is complicated first and foremost because it presumes some level of coach-assessor who's remit covered actually offering the award!
    Last edited by GregandGinaS; 19th-April-2012 at 12:32 PM.

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    Greg, do you mean some kind of online training material for people to read and try out when they are next on the water? I can't imagine it would be formal training or instruction at meets as has already been said.
    I've done enough formal National Governing Body assessments of canoeing, kayaking and dinghy sailing in my professional life to want to avoid them in my leisure time.
    Some kind of training/ best practice blog perhaps?

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    I think a first step (at least from an OCSG perspective) would be to define a potential Level 4. It would give some guidance to those aspiring to sail in conditions outwith the current Level 3 definition of "Intended for those wishing to take part in a more adventurous, exposed inland or coastal waters trip where higher wind conditions are more likely and are harder to avoid."
    There are only a few sailors currently pushing a "higher than Level 3" standard regularly and they would be the ones best placed to discuss what a potential Level 4 might entail. For the rest of us mere mortals it would really be idle speculation.

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    Just another observation. Most trips that include a Level 3 plus element are currently run on an invitation basis. I suspect that this is in an understandable attempt to avoid a situation where a person who has neither the equipment or skills (or both) to cope with the conditions that may be encountered on such a trip asks to come along. This is completely understandable in my opinion, why should people who have the skills and kit to sail in relatively extreme conditions saddle themselves with babysitting and potentially rescuing another less able companion (or even have to worry that it might come to that)? If however more people start sailing in these more exposed situations and want to organise a meet or trip and open it up to the OCSG as a whole then a Level 4 would be a useful guide for those less able aspirants to judge whether they were ready for such a challenge. As things stand Level 3 covers most the trips that people do and there's still plenty of scope for adventure at that level and even Tighnabruaich which is arguably the most exposed location on this years meets calendar is only rated as Level 2. Maybe organising a Level 3 meet where challenging conditions were sought out would be a way to encourage the ascent of the evolutionary ladder? It could potentially be quite a stressful thing to organise though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jurassic View Post
    Just another observation. Most trips that include a Level 3 plus element are currently run on an invitation basis. I suspect that this is in an understandable attempt to avoid a situation where a person who has neither the equipment or skills (or both) to cope with the conditions that may be encountered on such a trip asks to come along. This is completely understandable in my opinion, why should people who have the skills and kit to sail in relatively extreme conditions saddle themselves with babysitting and potentially rescuing another less able companion (or even have to worry that it might come to that)? If however more people start sailing in these more exposed situations and want to organise a meet or trip and open it up to the OCSG as a whole then a Level 4 would be a useful guide for those less able aspirants to judge whether they were ready for such a challenge. As things stand Level 3 covers most the trips that people do and there's still plenty of scope for adventure at that level and even Tighnabruaich which is arguably the most exposed location on this years meets calendar is only rated as Level 2. Maybe organising a Level 3 meet where challenging conditions were sought out would be a way to encourage the ascent of the evolutionary ladder? It could potentially be quite a stressful thing to organise though.
    You are so right with all those points! Tighnabruaich is a great spot and we have laboured over what Level to set it at. On a good day it's a 2, depending where you actually go; on a bad day it's a 3+ in anyone's language, especially going south. And that's the issue with many of our meets - setting expectations, especially with the less experienced. Giving advice is all we can do; we can't stop people heading on to the water. We had one rather ungrateful bloke who turned up with an untried setup, but as it was windy he was advised to be cautious. He came out with me as crew but much later expressed his disatisfaction with that experience - you can't win!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamerpoint View Post
    Greg, do you mean some kind of online training material
    No! Forget any formal notions of "training": all I asked about was thoughts on PERSONAL progression along the "evolutionary ladder".

    We don't appear able to escape OCSG Levels, so let's perhaps take Level 3 as our starting point: a level that implies a degree of competence in the basics...
    • Sail up-wind half a mile and return in F4 conditions.
    • Sail away from launch site, derig and paddle a half-mile round-trip in 15 mins in F3 conditions.
    • Following a capsize, recover and re-enter the canoe in Moderate conditions (F3-4), alone.
    • Reef afloat in at least F4 conditions and continue sailing.
    • Assist in the rescue of another capsized canoe-sailor in Moderate conditions (F3-4), alone.

    This strikes me as fair enough... though it's perhaps a sign of how canoe sailing has progressed that I'm inclined to see this as a level at which a canoe sailor ought to be comfortable in order to consider himself / herself as an "intermediate" rather than a beginner, and as competent to be a member of a led-group.

    At a very basic level, we could break that down into what skills one might like to work on in order to be comfortable and confident doing all of the above.

    For example, there's a difference between someone who's just learning to sail managing to get upwind and back in force 4 conditions... and a top sailor doing the same thing much, MUCH more efficiently (sails set well, leeboard adjusted nicely, good anticipation of gusts, hull kept flat, etc.), and following good practise in little details (like sheet-management, monitoring the VHF, keeping a good watch, and demonstrating awareness of sailing etiquette / colregs if there's a stack of other folk sailing the same stretch).

    To take another example... someone who's really just an "improver" level might successfully paddle a short course in "reasonable" time in a force 4. The aspiration might be to do so comfortably in a situation where you've got to launch and land on an awkward, rocky shoreline (perhaps in poor visibility, and maybe through gentle surf). Or it might be to deal with wind blowing against a strong tide, perhaps some shallows where the chop is steep. Equally, the aspiration might be to be able to handle some close-quarters manoeuvering around moored boats, or a route where there's interesting eddylines to cross.

    TO my mind, an "improver" might progress up the canoe sailing "evolutionary ladder" by working to become more comfortable in the ways I've just outlined. That might be managed in any number of ways, with the most basic being "having a go" at opportune moments whilst out and about. Equally, one might prefer to plan special trips out just to work on specifics... as I did when I practised self-rescuing my Jensen in wind and waves beyond what I would perhaps anticipated in "normal" sailing.

    The small matter of progressing even further up the "evolutionary ladder" might, of course, start with being comfortable with the same challenges in more demanding conditions. That's fine, but I wonder if that should also include more: the canoe sailing equivalent of those leadership skills that appear in BCU 4* and 5* training (canoe, sea kayak), for instance... and all those key navigation and passage planning bits, and reading-the-weather, and so on.

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    This strikes me as fair enough... though it's perhaps a sign of how canoe sailing has progressed that I'm inclined to see this as a level at which a canoe sailor ought to be comfortable in order to consider himself / herself as an "intermediate" rather than a beginner, and as competent to be a member of a led-group.
    Yes things have developed and continue to do so - hence me mentioning the possibility of adding further levels. I'm not sure that the descriptions are necessarily helpful - risk of being patronising or overawing.

    And I think you are lapsing into the paddle-canoe mentality when you mention "be a member of a led group" - this goes against our self-sufficient and own-responsibility philosphy.

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    The only way to practice extreme skills is to get out there and experience them . I had been sailing regularly for 3 years before i went on an expedition on the sea and nothing that i had done previously prepared me for the feel of instability that a canoe running in big waves gives. I went with Keith and a couple of other guys but we all relied on Keith's experience to keep us safe.
    The big difference of coastal sailing compared with sailing on the lakes is the extra awareness and knowledge that you need of navigation, tides, tidal streams, overfalls, weather, extreme fetch with corresponding big waves, difficult landings etc.

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    I would suggest that level four would include a minimum distance from shore element.

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    Quote Originally Posted by unk tantor View Post
    I would suggest that level four would include a minimum distance from shore element.

    What I mean is the ability and/or confidence to sail a canoe offshore to a certain distance, eg. half a mile or maybe a kilometer or so.
    Or does this really matter?

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    No! Forget any formal notions of "training": all I asked about was thoughts on PERSONAL progression along the "evolutionary ladder".
    I'm sorry, I am not entirely sure what is trying to be achieved here. Maybe I have missed the point of this thread.

    Drawing up new OCSG levels is great and why not, but as I have said before, they are self-regulated, there seems to be little in the way of training/ knowledge sharing (Except online) and one persons skills ambitions could be completely different from someone else's, so a different evolutionary ladder.

    It just seems like a thread that says I can do this and that, but the fact that I can do this and that is great, but at no point are we going to discuss how this and that should be done, which seems like a missed opportunity to me.

    I'm just not sure where this is all going. Happy to contribute, but not sure what to say, so I'll just be quiet.

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    Further thought has led me to wonder whether a Level 4 is really necessary? Given that those kind of conditions are unlikely to ever be encountered on an OCSG meet (Level 3 has seen little use after all).
    I'm not sure what form the evolutionary ladder could take (especially in light of what Dave said above), maybe some form of mentoring would be the way to go (I'm sure that this already happens informally)? My own plan is to continue doing what I have been, attending OCSG meets and picking up tips there, learning bits and pieces online on places like this, reading books and other publications such as Sea Kayak Navigation and by getting out there with like minded individuals and gradually expanding my list of target destinations to include more exposed and ambitious trips as and when I feel I'm ready. My experience at Tighnabruaich last year while maybe not ideal in all respects was hugely important in developmental terms. I learned loads from my own experiences and the collective experiences of the group that day and that's what it's all about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamerpoint View Post
    I'm just not sure where this is all going. Happy to contribute, but not sure what to say.
    Yeah I feel pretty much the same way hence my backtrack on "Level 4".

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    Lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by windorpaddle View Post
    I think you are lapsing into the paddle-canoe mentality when you mention "be a member of a led group" - this goes against our self-sufficient and own-responsibility philosphy.
    Absolutely - though the paddler in me is inclined to see "self sufficient and own-responsibility" as being the prerogative of those who are already well BEYOND "being a member of a led group" as a paddler. My big adjustment with OCSG is getting comfortable with the notion of anyone other than "advanced" paddlers putting themselves in what the new coaching scheme would almost certainly regard as "advanced water environments".

    I'm completely at ease buddying up with someone like Anthony (inexperienced canoe sailor, but can cope with just about anything in a canoe). What I've yet to develop is the same confidence in accomplished canoe sailors who don't appear to have that grounding in paddling. On the other hand, I'm conscious that Gavin, Dave P and others are essentially accomplished and experienced sailors... who see things in a totally different manner (worrying about things from what I see as a dinghy-sailor's perspective).

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveS View Post
    The only way to practice extreme skills is to get out there and experience them . I had been sailing regularly for 3 years before i went on an expedition on the sea and nothing that i had done previously prepared me [...] we all relied on Keith's experience to keep us safe.
    That's kinda where the paddler in me perceives an issue. You talk of the "extra awareness and knowledge that you need of navigation, tides, tidal streams, overfalls, weather, extreme fetch with corresponding big waves, difficult landings" and so on. TO me, there's a nice, easy and safe way of developing that "extra awareness": it's called paddling - and clubs, activity centres and freelance coaches (sea kayak, open canoe) provide safe, straightforward access without any of the complications associated with using a rig!

    I'd (personally) be more comfortable if everyone was paddling to at least the new 4-Star (preferably 5 star) sea kayak and/or 4-star (preferably 5 star) canoe (at least the open water bits) before venturing into the Solent or off the west coast of Scotland... because none of the "advanced water environment" bit would come as a shock, and because the sailing would then just be tacked on to a solid foundation. I suspect a parallel route could begin in yachting and dinghy cruising: perhaps developing expertise equivalent to "day skipper" on larger, keeled boats (perhaps initially under the watchful eye of a more experienced skipper or sailing school).... adding on decent-cruising experience (perhaps with the DCA)... and then taking the transition to coastal adventure-sailing with confidence.

    The hard way would appear to me to be tackling the learning curve from WITHIN canoe sailing: that's where I see the pressure coming on OCSG meets and members - but also the OCSG's biggest role. Not everyone's going to be fortunate enough to have someone of Keith's experience and expertise around to support and guide steps into more advanced coastal environments... but with the OCSG's wealth of experience to draw upon (and the advice on best practise, and so on)... determined folk stand a far better chance of progressing responsibly without either that dinghy cruising OR paddling background.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    I'm completely at ease buddying up with someone like Anthony (inexperienced canoe sailor, but can cope with just about anything in a canoe). What I've yet to develop is the same confidence in accomplished canoe sailors who don't appear to have that grounding in paddling.
    I get it now Greg, thanks for clearing that up. Basically you feel that canoe sailing requires the paddling skills as a foundation skill before you can be considered as an accomplished canoe sailor.

    Personally I wouldn't agree with this. Sailing is sailing. Sailing a canoe is slightly different from sailing a dinghy, sailing a yacht and other bigger sailing craft.

    I believe that if Gavin is suitably skilled to sail his canoe around the UK, I would consider him to be an advanced canoe sailor, yet he has told me that he is not a strong paddler. I am not sure of his definition of strong, but canoe sailing can be done without a paddle. I don't think I used my paddle once last weekend!

    It's a useful skill to have granted and I am hoping to learn much more about paddling myself. Dave was giving me lots of paddling tips on Saturday evening, so I'm all for learning the skills, but not being an experienced paddler does not prevent me from becoming an advanced canoe sailor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jurassic View Post
    My own plan is to continue doing what I have been, attending OCSG meets and picking up tips there, learning bits and pieces online on places like this, reading books and other publications such as Sea Kayak Navigation and by getting out there with like minded individuals and gradually expanding my list of target destinations to include more exposed and ambitious trips as and when I feel I'm ready.

    My experience at Tighnabruaich last year while maybe not ideal in all respects was hugely important in developmental terms. I learned loads from my own experiences and the collective experiences of the group that day and that's what it's all about.
    That's great... but if there's one over-riding lesson to be gained from Tighnabruaich, it's surely the advantage planning that learning and development: planning play for times/places where screwing shouldn't matter, joining a group where someone experienced is coaching (and taking responsibility), getting out in bigger craft skippered by folk who can instruct, and so on.

    Going back to my example of Howard Rice... he apparently prepared for his Cape Horn venture "by extensive training for two years". That apparently went beyond mere "canoe sailing trips in extreme winter conditions": he put effort in that was planned, and purposeful.. and that remains my preferred approach. I'll do some by myself... and I hope to get out on our trailer sailor with a VERY experienced skipper alongside me... but I'm also planning to take up (for example) sea kayak training with Gordon Brown (of Skyak Adventures) to do something about my rather dated sea-paddling skills and experience!

    Each to his own: I'm just interested to see discussion of the range of options that people might consider to get from where they are now to where they'd like to be!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamerpoint View Post
    Sailing is sailing. Sailing a canoe is slightly different from sailing a dinghy, sailing a yacht and other bigger sailing craft.
    Absolutely NOT! Look beyond sailing canoes: just consider the difference between endless dinghy sailing around buoyed courses on sheltered waters with a safety boat on hand and coastal cruising in a small yacht. Not convinced? Go and look at the difference between the RYA's Coastal Skipper and most of what's covered under their training for messing about / racing in Dinghy, Multihull & Small Keelboats. Even at a basic level, just consider what Keith had to say about "sailing by the lee" with a lightweight rig and on a large yacht.

    You might well progress quickly to being an accomplished Coastal skipper if your background in racing dinghies is extensive... but I'd want my skipper to have more than just dinghy sailing expertise before I'd trust him to safely pilot any yacht I had responsibility for around the busy shipping lanes of the Solent in a range of wind conditions and sea states (including at night), or on a cruise up the west coast of Scotland through tideraces and overfalls (including in fog)!

    I could suggest "paddling's just paddling"... but that's equally untrue! The difference between paddling my Flashfire and Keith's Penobscott is huge. My specialist white water canoe is different again, and craft designed for sit and switch or high kneeling are even more radical departures. Switch to sea kayaking, and the game changes even more dramatically. Ever tried "wing" paddles? I'm not even going to venture in the direction of white water rodeo / "freestyle" or towards modern surf techniques.

    Closer to home, if sailing was just sailing, then Chris (Jurassic) would not be considering himself on the "lower rungs" of canoe sailing: his windsurfing experience appears to have been at a level that most of the rest of us would struggle to even comprehend... but he sees a significant learning curve ahead of him in developing in canoe sailing. Same for me: I've sailed old fashioned windsurfs, dinghies, our trailer sailor, a 33' yacht and (long ago) a 52' gaff ketch... but to me, none of that was particularly "similar" to canoe sailing!

    More generally, I have at NO point suggested that one HAD to come at canoe sailing from a paddling background. IN fact, I went to some trouble to draw parallels with a background in yachting / DCA-style dinghy cruising. Having been out with Gavin in his own backyard in some interesting conditions, I'm quite comfortable that he's coming at things from a different direction to me, including a lot of serious coastal sailing in VERY big boats (and in challenging waters). On the other hand, my personal plans to develop as a canoe sailor include trying to replicate some of his yachting experience, and Gavin has been working on improved paddling (including kayaking) skills... and on his paddle-sailing.
    Last edited by GregandGinaS; 19th-April-2012 at 10:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    You might well progress quickly to being an accomplished Coastal skipper if your background in racing dinghies is extensive... but I'd want my skipper to have more than just dinghy sailing expertise before I'd trust him to safely pilot any yacht I had responsibility for around the busy shipping lanes of the Solent in a range of wind conditions and sea states (including at night), or on a cruise up the west coast of Scotland through tideraces and overfalls (including in fog)!
    I thought were were talking about paddle skills! You said:
    What I've yet to develop is the same confidence in accomplished canoe sailors who don't appear to have that grounding in paddling.
    What good is a paddle to a coastal skipper or a dinghy sailor Greg. Zero, zip. They need sailing skills, not paddling skills. I'm not saying that sailing a canoe is the same as sailing a yacht, but they do draw on the same basic sailing skills, yet not a paddle in sight.

    I can sail canoes, dinghies and yachts, but I can't paddle for toffee ..... yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    That's great... but if there's one over-riding lesson to be gained from Tighnabruaich, it's surely the advantage planning that learning and development: planning play for times/places where screwing shouldn't matter, joining a group where someone experienced is coaching (and taking responsibility), getting out in bigger craft skippered by folk who can instruct, and so on.
    They're all good points Greg and I'd like to take my paddling further (as you know) and hope to do so in the future.
    My particular learning points on that day related to what my canoe could cope with in terms of conditions (remember it was my first time sailing with outriggers). It would probably have been more sensible to discover those limits by sailing about just off the campsite (as we did in the morning) where I would have encountered similar conditions but close to safety rather than on a three mile crossing. That knowledge can't really be taught (it varies with every different sailing canoe) you just have to suck it and see. I accept that finding out could have been done in a safer environment though. The lessons I learned from the group related to buddying up and communication and those points have I think been taken onboard by all who were there.
    I have quite a few friends who paddle kayaks (and Graham has just bought one as well) so I see that as an area that I may gain some extra experience in future, I often paddle my open boat with them and struggle to keep up (especially if it's windy) so I may dust off the old P&H again in future (I know you don't regard a 16' open as a particularly good solo paddling option).

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    there seems to be little in the way of training/ knowledge sharing
    Chris T, your involvement with the OCSG is still quite limited and you have not been at any of our specific training workshops, or coastal meets. If you had then you would have seen lots of knowledge sharing, including sailing and safety skills, as well as passage planning, navigation, weather, tides, pilotage etc etc. You are right that only a limited amount can be achieved online in these exchanges, but what it may do is serve to inspire and also raise awareness about what skills people need to be thinking about developing.

    The OCSG have only offered a coastal expedition trip once and we were cautious about who would be encouraged/allowed to take part. Most participants were already known to us but one pair were not, other than being a name on a membership list. Several frank phone conversations to try and vet them resulted in them coming along, but with the proviso that if it wasn't working out they would leave the trip. Interestingly this was around the time when mini outriggers were gaining acceptance and all but their canoe were thus equipped. We were concerned that this anomaly would mean their confidence in more challenging waters would be markedly different from the rest of us. Fortunately I had a spare pair of outriggers and they were persuaded to borrow them - they fitted them at the launch spot. We had a great trip and they were very glad of the outriggers, to the extent that they bought them off me at the end of the trip!

    We have not offered another coastal camping trip, preferring to go with (ie back to!) the "by invitation only" approach, but this is sometimes seen as 'cliquey'. I am passionate about the huge range of skills and challenges provided by coastal expeditions and try to share these as much as I can, but there are not that many people with the range of skills already listed and/or inclination to do this. I do this for fun - it's not my job anymore - however I do have a tendency to want to coach people where I see a need, sometimes to complete strangers, much to my wife's embarrassment! But it is on my terms and I need to manage my responsbilities for others. As a club we have responsibilities to each other, but if the worst ever happened and we were hauled into a Coroner's Court, the most experienced and qualified of us would get it in the neck. And in the worst nightmare scenario, where an insurance company might come after someone to blame and then claim damages against, guess whose house would be on the line?

    Having said all that, we have taken advice from the BCU and operate our educational and advisory approach, offer training and have safety procedures, in order to minimise the risk of anything untoward happening at our events. Holding "official" events needing even Competence Level 3 I think is getting quite edgy, so I'd rather not do it. Being held officially/ultimately responsible for others in a "Level 4" scenario is even more of a risk.

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    Keith, I am all for sharing skills and knowledge and wish more was done at meets. At the last meet, I was practicing the "hove to" position (As you know, I was keen to develop this skill on a single sail canoe/ boat) and John S sailed past and asked what I was doing. I explained and he began to try it as well, having never been shown it before. I am not sure how many OCSG meets John has been on, but he had no idea it was even possible and for me the "Hove To" position has got to be possibly the most important sailing technique to learn and know. Effectively the emergency stop position when things are going wrong.

    If I hadn't started asking questions about "Hove to" on here and then practiced myself, I would have possibly never learnt it, which is a shame. Shouldn't these skills be passed to all canoe sailors on a forum like this and then practiced on the water at meets. Some people reading the SOP never go to meets and sail alone. Others go to meets and never read the SOP, so because of this, skill sharing should be done on/ at both IMHO.

    I thought that this thread was begining to be the start of something to do with training/ skill sharing, but it seems to be more about knocking sailors without paddling skills, which is a shame.

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    BTW, why don't we have a skills sharing part of the SOP? People like yourself Keith could cover off the odd skill with a caveat at the bottom that it is little more than your experience and they should seek proffesional training/ advice should they want to try something mentioned in your post, negating responsibility on yourself.

    Advantages are that this area would be easy to search, cover off basic skills and work through to more challenging things like assisting another canoeist following their capsize, or gybing in strong winds etc. Others could cover off some topics that they know a lot about, like paddling skills Greg!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamerpoint View Post
    I thought that this thread was begining to be the start of something to do with training/ skill sharing
    Keith's got the idea more clearly: "to inspire and also raise awareness about what skills people [might want] to be thinking about developing".

    My opening post tried to get beyond the obvious matters of paddling and sailing. These strike me as key areas for anyone to consider (and both figure prominently on my own priority list)... but we can easily get fixated on the mechanics and lose sight of broader considerations.

    That's what I was trying to get at with mention of "seamanship". All the bits BEYOND being able to paddle and being able to sail. That's where Dave's thing about
    nothing he had done previously having prepared him "for the feel of instability that a canoe running in big waves gives" comes in... and also where we get into his "extra awareness and knowledge that you need of navigation, tides, tidal streams, overfalls, weather, extreme fetch with corresponding big waves, difficult landings etc."

    In drawing comments like this out of folk like Dave, we maybe start to stimulate thought about such matters: by temperament, I tend to see this as a good thing - though I'm conscious throughout that we need to keep coming back to the point with which I started the opening post...

    a lot of folk have clearly found that when combined with a bit of discretion in regard to challenging conditions and exposed locations, even the most basic paddling / sailing skill-sets and basic expertise (navigation, reading of the weather, etc.) open up great opportunities.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamerpoint View Post
    Keith, I am all for sharing skills and knowledge and wish more was done at meets. At the last meet, I was practicing the "hove to" position (As you know, I was keen to develop this skill on a single sail canoe/ boat) and John S sailed past and asked what I was doing. I explained and he began to try it as well, having never been shown it before. I am not sure how many OCSG meets John has been on, but he had no idea it was even possible and for me the "Hove To" position has got to be possibly the most important sailing technique to learn and know. Effectively the emergency stop position when things are going wrong.

    If I hadn't started asking questions about "Hove to" on here and then practiced myself, I would have possibly never learnt it, which is a shame. Shouldn't these skills be passed to all canoe sailors on a forum like this and then practiced on the water at meets. Some people reading the SOP never go to meets and sail alone. Others go to meets and never read the SOP, so because of this, skill sharing should be done on/ at both IMHO.

    I thought that this thread was begining to be the start of something to do with training/ skill sharing, but it seems to be more about knocking sailors without paddling skills, which is a shame.
    Interesting about the "hove to" thing - John S has been to many, many meets but is one of those who tends to be less keen on too much of the "organised" stuff. Perhaps we should give more prominence to heaving to - maybe I reckon most people just do it, by letting the sail out to depower it. We've certainly dealt with "stopping" eg to reef, fix something - it must have passed him by.

    Re the paddling thing - I guess we each have our own view of how critical it is. Yes, I can paddle quite well, but for many canoe-sailors it's more of an auxiliary mode - like a small outboard is for a cruising dinghy - used a bit when you have to but mostly not. For others paddling is essential and the true identity of canoeing, the sail being a lighthearted toy used now and again. And then there's paddle sailing, between the two...

  40. #40
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    Last post before I head up to bed then.

    Greg, there are loads of skills to learn here especially when you link paddling skills and the years it has taken you to be as good as you are and the years it has taken Keith to be as good as he is. When you look carefully there is quite a bit of overlap with the seamanship stuff you mention, tides, currents, navigation, landing through surf etc. so sure on this we agree.

    Keith, as we both know, letting the sail go loose and flap in the wind is not the same as the Hove-To position and if this is what some folk think, more skills sharing is probably required. I also agree that many canoe sailors use the paddle rarely, especially if they like me have come from a sailing background.
    I have just found the syllabus for levels 1, 2, 3 & 4 RYA dinghy sailing and the only bit about paddling is in level 1 "Can paddle or row around a short triange" This is unlikely to develop any dinghy sailor into a paddler especially if they were in an Enterprise as I was and grabbed both oars!

    http://www.rya.org.uk/sitecollection...0checklist.pdf

    Goodnight.

  41. #41
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    South Coast
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamerpoint View Post
    Chris, I made that comment before, but your sentence above includes "quite unfair as many of those 60 year old sailors", but does not say "all 60 year old sailors". I never said all sailors, just some of them.

    My comment was well founded and I have had confirmation only last weekend that this is a concern of other OCSG organisers too. The current chairman was impressed with the capsize recovery device I made and said that for some time his biggest concern was not so much the capsize, but sailors inability to get back inside the canoe!
    Actually, I said that IMO the ultimate safety advantage of outriggers for sailing canoe was more in terms of capsize recovery rather then capsize prevention.

    But of course, using outriggers for capsize prevention is also important when coastal sailing, or when sailing alone, or in strong winds, or when water temperatures are low or when some combination of these apply.

    Your ballcock telescopic outrigger (if I may call it that ) has the makings of a system which could greatly assist with capsize recovery in some situations in much the same way as 'conventional' sailing canoe outriggers.

    Capsize recovery strategies will vary according to conditions, place, competence, who's in the group, wind etc. The main thing is to have thought about it and have a practised strategy compatible with the conditions likely to be encountered.
    Last edited by GavinM; 22nd-April-2012 at 05:38 PM.

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