Letters [31]

Dear Editor,

I would like to point out that the geographical references made by Doug Fraser in his recent article on our sea-kayaking adventure to SW Tasmania (The Wanderers’ Return – Issue 30), should not be construed as being indicative of his navigational ability. Despite him being of senior rank, I feel obliged to point out to my senior that west of Tasmania is in fact Africa and not South America as reported. I would also like to thank the sponsors for our Tassie trip who were; Adventure Foods, the Australian Army, Australian Geographic, Macpac, RFD Marine Safety and Survival systems and Roscoe Canoes. Without their support the adventure would not have succeeded.

Secondly, I would like to suggest that if the club is seeking options for spending it’s money I’d recommend the purchase of a mini B2 EPIRB (available from RFD Marine) as a worthwhile investment. Costing around $500 each (cheaper ones are available however these are the lightest and most compact), they could be held in trust and loaned (or rented) out to those paddlers venturing into remote areas or even for those who would like an additional safety mechanism to their sea kayaking forays. It would certainly reduce some of the “spouse uncertainty” as to one’s safety if he/she knows that you are carrying such a sophisticated and effective device.

Damon Howes
Braddon ACT

(Sounds like a good idea to me – might be a motion at the next AGM – Ed)

Dear Sir,

I am fed up with injustice in this world. I must speak up.

The article “Bombora Incident” in issue 30 of this journal carries a clear picure of the conditions preceding a collision in surf, and the accompanying text carries eyewitness reports of the paddlers’ actions.

From this information it is clear that:

  • there were too many surfers on the one wave
  • none of them responded by dropping off the back of the wave

Given that the scene was then set for a collision or near miss, there is a well-understood surf etiquette to decide who has a priority (I refer readers with Internet access to the URL http://www.asudoit.com/kayak_fest/surf_etiquette.html for an excellent set of illustrations of surf etiquette – note illustration 10).

From Mr Pearson’s response, and the accompanying photo it is clear that

  • Messrs Croft and Pearson were on either side of the break
  • Mr Pearson had the shoulder of the wave on the right hand side of the break, so he had priority over the third paddler in the scene, so he could have turned right.
  • Mr Pearson chose to turn left and cross the break, against best surf etiquette, merely in order to (by his own admission) save a few scratches to his gelcoat (“twelve inches of jagged rock appeared …” indeed!)
  • Mr Pearson chose to take no further action to avoid collision (“no time … for a warning shout”). He could have rolled, thereby using his body as a sea anchor. No, he chose to ram an innocent fellow paddler and cause serious bodily injury.
  • Mr Pearson has used a position of privilege for a bout of self-justification.

The final injustice in the article is in the verdict penned by our respected President Sanders. Our beloved President has uncharacteristically let his prejudices toward his own design, the Inuit Classic, paddled by Mr Pearson during this incident, affect his judgement of blame. He should have acknowledged his vested interests and bowed out of the dispute, perhaps after appointing an independant arbiter.

I believe that a few apologies are in order. We must not let these injustices continue.

Yours for truth, justice and the paddling way

Andrew Eddy

Dear Sir,

More than once, on recent club paddles, my fellow paddlers have brought my attention to the fact that something seemed to be missing from my article “Rudders Study” in issue 30 of the club magazine. The all-important data had escaped from the tables and evaporated! I hoped to blame you, as editor, for the loss of the tables of data, but I think it would be more politic to wave my hands at some inoffensive computer and mutter vaguely about “incompatible file formats” or something.

For interested readers, here are the tables of data:

  • Feathercraft no rudder: 8.45 +/- .03
  • Feathercraft with rudder: 7.96 +/- .133

A two-sample T-test shows that these speeds are significantly different (p=0.0007). The Feathercraft is 0.5 kmh faster without the rudder (about 4 minutes in every hour).

  • Arctic Raider no rudder: 8.23 +/- .054
  • Arctic Raider with rudder: 8.53 +/- .067

A two-sample T-test shows that these speeds are significantly different (p=0.009). The Arctic Raider is 0.3 kmh faster with the rudder (about 2 minutes in the hour, or about 3.5%).

The Arctic Raider in its best configuration is no faster than the Feathercraft at its best (two-sample T-test: p=0.28, i.e., the difference is not significant).

At least one reader queried my use of the two-sample T-test. I used that in preference to a two-way analysis of variance because I couldn’t remember how to “drive” the stats software. So there.

Andrew Eddy

Dear Sir,

The article “Brave Fool” in “Flotsam and Jetsam”, issue 30 of our journal, has excited a great deal of comment amongst my fellow paddlers. Not only is the article full of hyperbole and exaggeration but it contains real errors of substance and omissions of salient fact:

  • Montague Island is 6 km from Narooma and 10 km from Mystery Bay, not 9 km as stated in the article.
  • the “feat” was quietly “heralded” on the Saturday afternoon, and then celebrated with a Sunday breakfast of pancakes.
  • the author does not know that I didn’t carry inflatable sponsons. (I do own a pair, you know, and nobody looked in my day-hatch to find out if I had carried them)
  • the Arctic Raider has been willingly paddled on the open sea, by capable paddlers, in expeditions in Bass Strait, across the Torres Strait, and many many trips on our nearby coast. It is a very capable medium-volume sea-touring kayak.
  • the Arctic Raider is not “tippy” so much as it is highly manoeverable. It is easy to edge, easy to lean, and therefore easy to turn, and it is easy to roll. (Who, me? Roll? What kind of roll, and which side? Choice of 14 different flavours, according to our beloved President)
  • it is of no matter to other paddlers that my Arctic Raider spent a significant potion of the trip upside-down. I choose to paddle upside down, in order to see the seals, dolphins, fairy penguins, sea urchins, scuba divers, schools of fish, propellors, rocks and surfboard fins. The top of the ocean is much less interesting.

I had my Arctic Raider fully a year before I took it out on the ocean. That was not the boat’s fault. I paddled it in closed waters, in surf and close inshore, but didn’t feel comfortable with it until I fitted it out properly. By that I mean full hip, thigh, lower back and foot bracing. Mr Editor, I followed your example, though not to the same standard of finish-quality.

Now that this kayak fits me and is an extension of my body, it, no, WE perform as we should have all along. So, as you can see, the Montague Island paddle was not a feat of derring-do, or an act of unheralded courage, but a simple matter of fitting-out a sea kayak and learning how to paddle it. I recommend to all your readers that they fit their kayaks out with appropriate padding for full boat control, then come to the club’s skills sessions.

See you there.

Andrew Eddy