The winter has been very mild this year. Nevertheless, the kayak pool season is in full swing. To break up your roll-work an occasional sea kayaker's bread-and-butter—the T-Rescue or T-Recovery—is probably in order from time to time. So here's something to tinker with before you will have to take this tool out in the drink.
Most UK versions of this rescue I've seen, as well as the 'older' instructional documents, show the capsized kayak being picked up upside-down and drained immediately by the rescuer during the T stage (see Assisted Kayak Emptying section under Safety Basics).
Conversely, in most US sources, and in practice here in the Midwest, the standard seems to be to ask the capsized kayaker to upright their boat before the rescuers pull it onto their boat.
The upright version is so prevalent here in Chicago area that it did not even occur to me to question the practice. The alternative versions I've seen in book after book and on DVD after DVD just seemed old, odd, and … well … wrong.
So why DO we upright the boat before emptying it in a T-Rescue? After I actually asked the question of myself, all of a sudden, this new practice seems somewhat paradoxical. I mean, why would you upright the boat only to flip it back upside-down in order to empty the water from the cockpit? Why not just lift the bow straight up from the water, drain the cockpit, and be done with it in one sweep? Without uprighting you eliminate two steps from the process. Makes sense, right!?
- Why do we waste precious time uprighting the boat when the cockpit is already pointing down, ready to be drained?
- What is gained by uprighting—an additional step in the process which needs to be undone once the kayak is on the rescuer's cockpit?
- What is lost, or what are the costs of uprighting?
- Are the gains of uprighting worth the cost?
- Are there circumstances when upright versus upside-down draining are more/less appropriate?
- Are there other ways to overcome the problems with upside-down draining without resorting uprighting that needs to be undone?
Next time you practice your T-Rescue (and practice you should) question the standard of 'here' and 'now.' And just in case you're itching to do it right away, here is a list of local pool sessions on CASKA calendar.
Don't forget to write back.
PS: Don't forget to renew your CASKA membership for 2012