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Two Days W/ Jeff Allen and Simon Osborne

Rob Hazard

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In a moment of rash enthusiasm I signed up for both of Jeff and Simon's classes this weekend. A good decision, as it turned out.

Saturday's class was first posted as Incident Management, which appealed to me as a good follow up to the TLT I took the weekend before. But due to a lack of response the name was changed to Ocean Skills. Anyway, we began with a session of refining paddle strokes and playing around with rescues and towing gear in the cove behind Dolliver's Neck on the west side of Gloucester harbor.

After lunch we headed around the neck to practice rescues and towing in mild conditions along the ledges with wave action provided by passing commercial craft. Not rough, but enough different from flat water that you could get a feel for maneuvering boats and people close together in moving water. A good prelude to Sunday.

Sunday's class was listed as a Rock Garden class. We headed out to the Dog Bar Breakwater, taking turns with towing rigs as we went to get a feel for them. We paused at the breakwater and then headed out into wind-driven 3ft chop, with the occasional 4 footer, on about 4-5 second intervals. Lumpy, in other words. Too lumpy, in fact, for a beginner's Rock Garden class. So the program changed to Rough Water Rescue class.

After a demonstration by Jeff and Simon we broke up into pairs and took turns extricating and rescuing one another in close to the rip-rap. At one point, while climbing across my buddy's afterdeck, I paused to keep his spare paddle from coming loose, when it occurred to me that I was suddenly feeling seasick! Not "chummin' fer mackeral" sick, but not on top of my game, so to speak.

Jeff, never one to miss an opportunity, demonstrated how to tow a 3 boat raft (me in the middle) and carried on a couple minutes until my stomach calmed down.

We landed for lunch in a gap in the ledges just east of the lighthouse, a tiny crevice just wide enough to land one kayak at a time. It was so fine to slip out of the chop into that chink of flat water and climb out onto warm dry stone!

The trip back began with more rescues, most of them planned exercises, a couple of them genuine "accidents", then we headed around the jetty into the flat water of the harbor. We paused in one of the coves along Eastern Point to fool around with new tricks, like the Reverse Screw Roll and Standing Up In The Boat. I didn't manage either one, but I'll keep trying!

The paddle back to Pavilion Beach was aided by a long series of surfable waves sweeping up the harbor. At one point I looked over to see Simon perched on top of his cockpit coaming, paddling calmly along!

So I got some of the Incident Management I was looking for, as well as some good rough water rescue practice. It was a real skill stretching experience for me. YES!

Thanks to Jeff and Simon, and to Suz, for an educational day of bouncing around on the water!


Explorer - white

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That's a great summary of Sunday (the only day I was there). Nothing like looking looking up at a swell significantly overhead just to drop down the back a few seconds later. I think it was that rafted tow that got my stomack going. It was definitely nice to have some much stronger paddlers along. Jeff's look of glee as he surfed down the harbor using the greenland paddle was priceless!


wish I was there


deep blue over white

impex kevlar currituck

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