Mike Jackson taught a SISKA workshop on Saturday, and gave us all some great practise in towing. Gear, knots, and techniques were all discussed for an hour on shore, then we hit the water in our kayaks for two hours.
Gotta say, a good coach, a good practice, and good paddle partners towing each other around!
And I learned something important. VERY important.
The next time I buy a commerically-made bit of rope gear -- such as the spare throw bag I picked up at deep discount in a (forgive me) Wal-Mart months ago and just started using this week after realizing my usual throw bag was worn threadbare and torn -- I solemnly resolve to pull the whole rope out of the thing and stuff it back in MYSELF before ever ever taking it on the water. And twice as solemnly, I resolve to check my rope gear again before going to a towing practice.
Why? Cuz I hadn't checked my rope, except to peek in the open end and see that there was, in fact, a rope in the throw bag. And when I pulled it out to start using it, the first twenty feet of the fifty feet of rope was fine. And so was the last thirty feet. And in the middle were several big slip knots and other knots. It took ages to untangle while people floated around nearby and wondered what was taking so long. AaaaAAaagh.
Y'see, my throw bag was sewn overseas, not made by North Water or another Canadian kayak gear company. I'm guessing that whoever sewed it together was really really bored. Serves me right for not checking.