Pumps & Paddle floats

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Chris McDaid
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:35 pm

Pumps & Paddle floats

Post by Chris McDaid » Mon Aug 31, 2015 6:01 pm

A short story, with a salutory lesson which may be of interest.............

While on a visit home to the ancient kingdom of Alba, I entered the Oban Sea Kayak race on Saturday, the biggest sea kayak race in the UK. The race distance is approx 20km around the lovely island of Kerrera. 60 competitors in a highly competitive field with a large amount of performance kayaks. Conditions were miserable, almost constant rain with a SW wind of F6, gusting to F8. The southern shore of Kerrera was bearing the full brunt of the weather, with waves and wind unhindered by anything in the Firth of Lorne......

Rounding the SW tip of Kerrera the sea was breaking heavily, resulting in a capsize and then roll. Immediately got slapped into place by another breaker, another capsize. Missed my roll and was swimming. Not an issue, having extensively practised my paddle float self rescue, I was soon back in the cockpit amid heavily breaking sea. Time to pump the boat out and get on with it, or so I thought. When first attempt at pumping out began, the pump handle snapped clean off, leaving me pretty much adrift and helpless. Another competitor paddled close by a short while later and kindly allowed me to use his pump, allowing me to empty the kayak and continue onwards completing the race.

The lesson? How many of you regularly check the integrity of your pump handles? Do you take it for granted that it'll work? There were no visible weaknesses in mine, yet the handle snapped with disconcerting ease. UV degradation no doubt. I will certainly be replacing my pump every 2 years from now on. I recommend you all do the same, and regularly practice solo paddle float rescues. Without mines on Saturday, I could have quite easily have been dumped unceremoniously onto rocks.

Cheers,
Chris

PS some of you may wonder why the race went ahead in those conditions? Quite simply, because we're sea kayakers and there was safety provision in place

Hynser
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:44 am

Re: Pumps & Paddle floats

Post by Hynser » Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:39 am

Good write up Chris.

Perhaps a battery operated auto Bilge pump could be your next upgrade? :D

Glad it all worked out safe and you still finished.

afinn
Posts: 75
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:37 am

Re: Pumps & Paddle floats

Post by afinn » Wed Sep 02, 2015 12:53 pm

Thanks for that Chris.
A good piece of writing about a vital piece of equipment, or could be.
I shall be following your advice I think re replacement on a bit of a more regular basis.
Well done also on the race, saw the pictures, some conditions, not for the faint hearted by the looks of them.
I will share that piece on our site.

johnbrophy
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:37 am

Re: Pumps & Paddle floats

Post by johnbrophy » Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:16 pm

Speaking of pumps, does anyone have a recommendation for a reliable one? My Harmony double-action pump quickly became a single-action pump and am interested in finding a replacement.

Cheers,

John

john.ruston
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:51 pm

Re: Pumps & Paddle floats

Post by john.ruston » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:21 am

John, if you are shopping for a replacement and looking for brands to avoid - my NRS pump is also starting to fail and is only one and a half action after 2 years. I had it stripped down but can't see the problem. The handle has been suspect for a while.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/566 ... slines.jpg
The pin which locks the handle moulding to the plunger is not "below-the-waterline" grade stainless and slowly corroding. I suppose that it was too difficult to make a rivet out of S/S. ? What was wrong with brass ? This is damaging the surrounding plastic and small stress lines are appearing. Chris is right to point out that potentially critical failures can crop up in the most unlikely places ! Well done Chris on completing in such good time.
(Edited to add picture).

WestCoastKayaking
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:50 pm

Re: Pumps & Paddle floats

Post by WestCoastKayaking » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:52 pm

Have you thought about using a 3 litre milk carton with the bottom cut off or something similar ? You can use it one handed and keep your paddle float on as an outrigger support mechanism to stop you going over again while you are baling. Its also a lot faster than a traditional pump - much cheaper too and very easily replaceable !

john.ruston
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:51 pm

Re: Pumps & Paddle floats

Post by john.ruston » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:36 am

Now that's just TOO sensible !
I fixed the handle on my old NRS but eventually the plastic shaft seized. Bought a Scotty 6 months ago and this seems fine.

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