Chatham 16 advice needed.

When performing a paddle float self rescue, I have trouble with the paddle staying in position when I make contact to climb onto it. It keeps moving sideways and I’m not able to hold it against the coaming as I have small hands. Also the strap where the blade is placed doesn’t stay tightened.

Do any other Chatham owners have this problem? If so, What ideas can you share?

I’ve thought of having my husband put a short piece of bungie parallel to the strap. Would that help?


Try this instead

– Last Updated: Aug-14-11 7:37 AM EST –

I don't have that boat, but the problem of small hands is not boat-specific.

For the paddle-float self rescue try this way instead - the heel hook version. Personally I think it is easier to hold the paddle in position with this, because the weight of your shoulders helps hold things steady. And I have small hands.

Also, do you have a paddle with a small shaft? If not get one - it'll make your paddling life much more pleasant.

Overall, I'd posit you'd be best off learning a roll and a cowboy scramble self rescue. Roll for all the usual good reasons, and that boat is really pleasant to roll as well. (I have test paddled and rolled it.) Women generally have better balance on top of a boat than guys overall - helps a lot in the cowboy. Just be willing to go way to the end to get the stern under you.

That way you'd have a couple of self-rescues that weren't dependent on the paraphanalia. Of course, if your husband is paddling with you he can always do an assisted. But it is still better to be able to manage one yourself in case everything possible goes wrong.

Thanks for the info.
I can self rescue fine in my Castine, which has bungies on the rear deck, but the problem I have with this boat seems to be the design and getting the paddle blade up and over the day hatch, then under the deck line on the other side. Sometimes I can follow through, with this type of rescue, sometimes not. I’ve never needed help but one never knows if/when that time will come.

If using this boat on big water, I never paddle alone, so I do have the option of an assisted rescue method.

Up & over??
Don’t go over the day hatch. Go directly into the hold down strap. This of course will change the position and side you are re-entering from.

Chatham has lousy re-entry setup
The strap is useless. It doesn’t stretch, which can break a paddle, and there’s only one ppint of contact, which means the paddle can swing fore & aft rather than stay perpendicular. When I paddled a Chatham I rigged double lengths of 1/4" shock cord on both sides of the deck behind the cockpit.

TrilliumLake understood what I was
trying to convey and I thank her for the suggestion. The strap side is the side I use for reentry. I will have hubby put the bungy cord in the positions she noted. The strap does not stretch but wiil let out a bit during use and cause more movement of the paddle.

I love this boat and this is the only clitch it has for me.

is it possible
to do the rescue without any straps holding the paddle on and learning to get your weight up on the aft deck with as little weight as possible out on the float? Celias suggestion is a good one. Personally I think pf back deck rigging like on the Chatham puts the paddle too far away from you when you get back in the cockpit.

If your legs aren’t long a cowboy rescue will probably be easier. My $.02 is that the pf is a very limited self-rescue technique and the practice required to become proficient in it in the conditions that will dump you is about the same as learning to roll.

Keep in mind that bungees are probably not going to be strong enough to stabilize the paddle if it is rough.

Small hands

– Last Updated: Aug-16-11 7:32 AM EST –

LeeG: "is it possible to do the rescue without any straps holding the paddle"

As she said, her hands are too small to do this (hold on to the paddle and the coaming at the same time).

Are you trying to get the paddle under the perimeter lines on both sides or just one? I looked at a picture of the boat. Concern raised above, day hatch mucking up that up, is easy to see. And going further back than the day hatch in any boat puts the paddle outrigger support too far back to be helpful for many women due to height and reach.

Or do you hook under one side but it is always the starboard side, where the day hatch can still create an issue?

I don’t think you’d want to rely on any paddle float self-rescue in really messy stuff - for that the cowboy or wet re-entry and roll. I have tried this last with the paddle float on for added surety - some may frown on it but it works great to make sure you get up the first time.

But I almost never hook the paddle under but on one side for a paddle float re-entry. If you do want to add a little extra, you could see if you have a hole left over in your RDF’s to run an extra line or lines crosswise just behind the cockpit that’d give you something more in the middle. It’s not the same as two dedicated straps, but it is still more and you well may have deck fittings that give you that ability without changing anything.

small shaft paddle?
I’m adverse to strapping down the paddle far aft of the cockpit when making the self-rescue as fast as possible with paddle in ones hands after re-entry is more likely to make it successful. I see pf self-rescue as something a person does when traveling with a group but is a bit far away and they’ve started the self-rescue with a partner coming in to help stabilize or pump out the kayak. If a person can’t implement a self rescue by holding the shaft to the coaming and they don’t know how to roll it’s one more reason to not paddle alone.

Self Rescue
I am not familiar with that boat…But my answer to the bungee is this…If it is simple and will help you perform a paddle float self rescue…Go for it!!! Getting back in the boat as easily possible is important.

Small shaft paddle
The diameter of a small shaft paddle isn’t radically smaller than a normal sized one (20% smaller?). The reduction in total size (paddle+coaming) might not be enough.

One of the problems in learning pf rescue is getting on the deck without applying too much off axis weight on the shaft scissoring it off the deck. If the person manages to pop on the deck with just a little weight on the shaft it’ll have less chance to flop out of position giving enough time to put her torso on the shaft behind the coaming and using the outboard hand to steady the shaft. I found that using ones weight on the shaft helped to keep it in place with speed overcoming brute strength to hold a temporary outrigger in place.