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paddle floats...sleeping etc


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It's actually a 2 part question but didn't really think I needed two threads for it...

So for all the stuff I see about doing paddle float rescues (useless for greenland paddles?)

I often wonder why people don't just carry a couple of them, run the spare paddle through the deck bungee's and put one on each end, esp if you're doing a tow with a person who is having trouble staying up right ?

...or for that matter how do people sleep when doing long crossings or can't find a safe or available spot for the night?

Surely people must practice these things from time to time ?

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The double float thing works OK, but if someone is so out of sorts that they are having trouble staying upright, it would be much better to do a rafted tow and have that unstable paddler being tended to personally.

As far as paddle floats, they have many many uses, therefore are always part of my kit.

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paddle float rescues (useless for greenland paddles?)

FWIW. there are paddle floats specifically made for GP and Aluet paddles.


Have no idea how well they work or quality of design/manufacture.

Having once considered an outrigger arrangement when a tow was need by someone whose sense of balance was shot, I would side with Bill regarding when it might not be that helpful. What helps to make the boat stable upright doing this would also make it at least as stable upside down would it not? That could have negative implications if folks were struggling in dicey conditions.

Ed Lawson

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You can certainly carry a paddle float and a greenland paddle on the same boat. Its actually not too difficult to put a paddle float on a greenland paddle, though the paddle does wiggle about trying to shake the damn thing off.

Personally I don't see a situation where I'd need it for myself as a paddle float, i.e. several reentry options and if I was that bad off (separated shoulder?) I don't think I could deploy it/reenter. I have used one in place of a broken backband (quite comfy, but they aren't up to extended use/pressure).

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Thanks, sometimes we are wondering if we're trying to "reinvent the wheel' or if other people have tried the same things and to what degree of succes or lack there of.

Any info on sleeping in the kayaks ? I can't imagine it being comfortable, but am wondering if it is doable, esp for a solo paddler

I read many stories of people pushing on till exhaustion then making rough surf landings against their better judgement.

..and there is one other situation that comes to mind. Travelling in lake country (and I guess even along the coast) so much of the shoreline is privately owned it might be easier just to sleep off shore even if it's just a little way off Then trying to push on unnecessarily.

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Rafting is indeed the preferred method, but you need a backup plan if there are only two of you and the other paddler (or you for that matter) is unstable but needs a tow.

The technique we used to teach for a disabled paddler was to put one float on each blade, but keep the paddle in the paddler's hand. Even a weak paddler has enough strength to do a sort of passive brace while under way and stay upright. It helps to hold the paddle shaft at the waist against the cockpit rim or even keep it tucked under the paddlers arms or the hem of the PFD if the paddler cannot sit up.

The problem with putting them under the deck lines while underway is that the floats can hit passing waves and get knocked loose; in addition, could tip the kayak in a beam sea. Besides, keeping the paddle in hand is simpler to deploy and remove.

As for sleeping, the first problem is finding a stable position within the cockpit. Sitting is inherently unstable and uncomfortable. You'd need to remove the bow bulkhead to lie down, but that creates obvious problems with storage and safety (little or now bow flotation). Ed Gillet did this on his 62-day paddle from San Francisco to Hawaii, but he was in a large doube (a stock Tofino a made by Necky), so he had the room to spread out. I believe he used sponsons while sleeping.

Sponons are the standard method for adding stability on the water. They are inflatable floats attached at water level along each side of the cockpit. They have their limitations, not to mention a controversial history in the kayaking world.

Here's a link to a manufacturer: http://www.harmonygear.com/sea-kayak-sponsons

Here's a good (long) thread on paddlewise about the use of sponsons:


And, amazingly enough, the source of the controversy referred to in the thread is still at it--after almost 20 years--and still making sponsons controversial. Too bad for an otherwise useful product in certain applications. I won't include his link, but if you're not paddling in this cold weather, a search on the topic may turn up an evening of entertainment.


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