Friday, April 08, 2011

Advection Fog

Fog is one of the major hazards which faces sea kayakers and yesterday from the north coast of Jersey there was a classic example of the formation of fog over the cold sea surface.
With an air temperature of 21 ° C, a water temperature of 10 °C and almost no wind conditions were ideal for the formation of fog. To the north the higher parts of the island of Sark were rising above the fog.
The Paternosters, about 3 miles to the north of Jersey were clear but beyond that visibility dropped significantly creating far more challenging conditions for any paddlers in the area.

Paddling early in the season when there is a large difference between air and water temperatures can bring additional hazards to sea kayaking and it is one feature of the weather which we need to be aware of.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Warmest Day of the Year

It was days like today that make me realize why I live in Jersey. It started with a great session on the sit on tops from St Brelade with a group of students followed by a quick play in the sea kayaks at Tour de Rozel before rushing off to run the last session of the offshore navigation course.
Heading towards the small headland between St Brelade and Beauport. St Brelades Bay has just been voted the 6th most beautiful beach in Britain.
Beauport Beach, one of the most beautiful on the island.
Heading across Beauport. Pt Le Fret is behind.
The weather was so great that it would have been rude not to do some small jumps. The water has warmed up surprisingly fast over the last 12 days.
The pleasures of sit on top paddling at St Brelade was followed by a quick drive across the island to grab an hours play in the tide race at Tour de Rozel. Unfortunately we were a bit late and had missed the best of the conditions.
Pete taking a rest in the eddy behind one of the rocks.
It would have been impossible to fit anything else the day and the fact that it was the warmest 6th April ever recorded made it all the more enjoyable.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Advanced Sea Kayaking Again

I came across an Advanced Sea Kayak Syllabus from 1971 which made interesting reading but I have since come across an even earlier version of the Award. This one is from July 1960 and it is fascinating to see how things have evolved. I particularly liked the requirement to exit the kayak, leaving it upright, swim around it and then climb back in unaided.
What is interesting is how few people actually took the award, only 3 in 1962. The BCU has persevered over the years with the Tests and Awards to produce a comprehensive range of awards in a range of craft and disciplines for kayakers of all levels although at times we must all wonder about a return to a less complicated era.

Andy attempting to climb back into his Nordkapp after having swum around his kayak!

Advanced Test

1. The candidate wishing to take the Advanced Test is either Kayak or Canadian Canoe must have previously passed the Elementary Test in the same type of canoe.
2. He must have a good working knowledge of safety measures on the water, be able to make simple knots and be familiar with their proper use.
3. He must know and be able to demonstrate all the strokes normally used in the canoe that he is using (Kayak or Canadian)
4. The candidate must be able to leave the canoe in midstream without upsetting it, and after swimming round his craft, to re-embark from deep water. He must also, in the case of the Kayak, be able to do an Eskimo roll.
5. He must know the contents of a repair kit appropriate to the canoe he is using, and be able to carry out repairs to his canoe.
6. He must know the international grading system for rapid rivers and be familiar with rapid river techniques needed on rivers up to grade Ⅲ. He must be competent to take his canoe on canals, on coastal waters and estuaries.
7. He must have a general knowledge of matters appertaining to the practice of the sport of canoeing, including the principles of slalom and racing.
8. He must be able to carry out proper routine maintenance of his canoe.
9. He must be able to give a good demonstration of pairs technique with a competent partner.
10. He must have a good general knowledge of the types of canoe in use, essential equipment, and should have made canoe expeditions of an advanced nature.

July 1960

January 1963 Canoeing in Britain stated that 3 people had passed the Advanced Test the year before taking the total number of people who had passed since it was introduced in 1952 to 5.

Some sea kayakers were clearly undertaking major sea kayaking trips, for example, paddlers were regularly crossing the English Channel and it was only a couple of years later that Hamish and Anne Gow paddled out to St Kilda, reflecting the high standard of kayaking at this time in Scotland.
It was some time though before the high standards being achieved by some kayakers filtered through to the BCU Coaching Scheme.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

3 Star Sea Kayak

Sunday proved to be a reasonably pleasant day for the first 3 Star course that I had arranged this year. As part of a six hour paddle from St Brelade to the east, conditions were fairly co-operative. A small tidal race in the morning allowed us to look at a skills, a sandy lunch spot was perfect for looking at kit and considering navigation and the sun obliged by coming out in time for the wet section of the award.
All in all a very enjoyable start to April.

It was interesting paddling past Noirmont, as for some reason we nearly always paddle past it at high water. The low water view was a totally different perspective.
Portlet was selected as the location for the wet activities, and as if on cue the sun came out! The new residential development on the hillside behind does spoil the view somewhat.
Pt Le Fret is an underestimated headland, exposed to the westerly swell conditions can frequently be challenging but today it was relatively comfortable paddling at the base of the cliffs.
Crossing Ouaisne. The cliff above the bow of the kayak is La Cotte de St Brelade