I just found out about something I didn't know about half an hour ago, but now I need two of them!
And yes, I found it on the internet. Specifically, at one of the links we put on the right-hand side of our page. The fine people at 2krazykayakers.blogspot.com have written about a kayak launching ramp at Windsor Castle Park in Virginia.
This is the completely coolest low-tech/hi-tech hybrid I've seen this week. It's a state-of-the-art launch and landing ramp for canoes and kayaks.
Is that neat, or what?
How many times have any of us small boaters had trouble getting one or more of our paddling group members into the boat and on the water? All it takes is being just a little less flexible or having just a little less balance than a kid, and bam! you're a Differently Able Paddler.
I'm not just talking about very old people and very disabled people here. One of our paddlers (who shall remain nameless) is 6'3" and rough, tough & strong but has the dickens of a time trying to launch off a pool deck or off a wharf. Another needs assistance sitting down or getting up from a stable seat, which leaves the loaded sit-on-top kayak grounded on the beach instead of floating. And then there's me with no sense of balance in these busted ears: when I stand on one foot and put the other into a floating kayak, it's with all the concentration of Nadia Komaneci going for a gold medal on the uneven bars. Oh, it can be done. But Nadia made it look graceful.
This ramp could be a real tool to enable people to launch and land their canoes and kayaks safely and without injury.
The photo above is from the official website for Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield, Virginia. Scroll down to look at more shots of this great dock and ramp. To quote from the website:
A gangway leads down to a 24' X 25' floating dock equipped with bidirectional ramps.
Each ramp is equipped with rollers to allow kayaks and canoes to glide down to the water.
Simply place your kayak or canoe on the launcher, step in without the risk of capsizing,
and use the guide rails to pull yourself across the rollers to the water.
Recovery is just as easy. Simply guide your kayak or canoe between the guide rails and
pull yourself up the ramp until you reach the break in the handrail and exit your kayak
or canoe safely.
This is what we need for Thetis Lake! It would be great to have one at Elk/Beaver Lake, too. Bernie figures that Cadboro Bay needs one as well at Gyro Park. Here in Victoria, the average age of a member of either the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club or South Island Sea Kayaking Association is 65 years old. A ramp like this wouldn't stop people from launching off the sides of the dock or from the beach, it would be a convenience.