Dive into anything

Rate this post

Ever get that sinking feeling?

Given the load out of equipment (helmets to practice rescues) and the new equipment (is that a sale/price tag on the photographers kayak?) I’d guess they are practising a “Cleopatra’s needle”. A Cleopatra’s needle is when the sea kayak’s bow or stern compartment fills with water due to a failed bulkhead or, more commonly, a missing or improperly sealed hatch cover (pulled off for practising this recovery). This picture is what I like to call the half Cleo, with a full Cleo having the kayak being almost vertical. Fun/funny if you know you stuff, not so much if you are alone or don’t know the recovery from this.

Practice your recoveries people and have fun!

I’ve been in various courses, and have practiced lots of recovery methods (assisted, unassisted), but “Cleopatra’s needle” is a new one to me, and one I’ve never encountered in any of the courses I took. Where is this going on and which group is carrying out the practice?

Edit. Found this video on Youtube: Cleopatra’s Needle recovery

Variation on the T-rescue. With assistance from fellow paddler, drain water from flooded compartment, Seal it, drain water from cockpit, remount, finish draining water, pop back spray-skirt, resume paddling. Without the help of a second kayak, this would be a much more difficult (maybe even impossible) scenario to self-rescue.

A bit of info on this picture….. so this is a real life situation that happened to a member of the group I was in at the Angelsey sea kayak symposium at the weekend.

The lady in the picture was using a rockpool demo boat for the day, a very nice and very expensive boat. We were doing some rockhopping when a “bigger than the rest” wave slammed her into rocks, the boat was jammed up against rocks and took another 3 or 4 powerful waves before the paddler took a wet exit and swam out of there. Luckily she was fine, didn’t have a scratch on her.

One of the guides put her back in the boat which another paddler had recovered and started contact towing her out of the danger zone. Shortly after the boat began to sink at the bow due to a huge crack / split that went almost all the way around the hull. You can see a picture of the damage here: http://imgur.com/gallery/cfVtjNC

The paddler scrambled onto the back deck of the guides boat while he kept a hold of her kayak. Myself & another member of the group attached towlines to the guides boat and began towing him, the casualty & the flooded boat back to a safe beach (very hard work).

Here are a few more pictures from the rescue: http://imgur.com/gallery/CuznnmS

That is a lot of damage. The rockpool is a very beautiful boat and it’s unfortunate that it got beat up so badly. However, very good that the lady was unharmed. Thank you for having the presence of mind to record all this photographically despite what was going on.

He should grab a floating door and let her sit on top of it until he freezes to death.

That’s why my sea kayaks always, always have flotation bags in the bow and stern compartments. I got knocked over and out once and a bulkhead failed after the cockpit filled with water. I was very lucky to be not too far from shore that day.

I watched the demonstration video below…

1). Those were very calm conditions. It’s something else in wind and confused seas when the boats are being tossed around and water is dumping or sloshing into the cockpit with every wave.

2) The bow was down, but not a submerged. If the bow ( or stern) were submerged, I’m not they could have got the boat to the surface to tip out the water.

3) Did the video say not to worry about the boat sinking because it has bulkheads? Really? Bet your life on that?

4). US made composite boats used to be infamous for the bow deck cracking when a heavy flooded kayak was pulled across to tip out the water. I don’t know if that is still an issue.

5). With a hole in the hull, a failed bulkhead, or a blown off hatch, you might have water coming in faster than can be pumped out.

Just looked at Derek Hutchison’s book Sea Kayaking 4th Ed. He invented that rescue. And also John Lull’s book, Sea Kayaking Safety and Rescue. This rescue is arduous and requires that the victim’s boat be already equipped with flotation bags. Otherwise rescue might be impossible.

Safety first!

What happened to the floats/foam blocks that should be in there? Removed to make more room?

Sea kayaks generally don’t have floats or foam blocks for flotation. There should be a fiberglass bulkhead between the cockpit and the bow hatch as well as between the cockpit and the day hatch and maybe another one between the day hatch and the stern hatch.

There was probably a crack in the bow that caused that section to flood turning the boat into a floating cork.

As /u/Bodyjoy points out further down the comment thread, this looks like a practice session working on recovery in the event that one of the water-proof compartments on a sea kayak is flooded. It looks like we’re at the beginning of the recovery exercise.

My condolences on the loss of that beautiful rockpool boat. Glad everything was all right with the paddler.

Dive, dive, dive! The fish people need them!

J/k, I hope both kayak and rider are ok…

Paddler escaped without a scratch, the same cannot be said of the kayak however.

Aaaah….! I think I read once what to do if this happens…. but I can’t remember! Scary!

About Community



You are viewing this post: Dive into anything. Information curated and compiled by Kayaknv.com along with other related topics.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here