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Shoehorn Kayak

Let me first explain that the type of exploit in this story is fairly typical of me - I proudly do stupid things that most people would be ashamed of. This one, however, raised the bar of incompetence a notch or two even for me...

December 2006, it's cold, damp, and I'm stuck indoors - the weather's too cold to paddle, too wet to bike in. Then Christmas morning arrived, and with it a CLC Chesapeake 17 in kit form!

Fast forward a year or so, I'd almost finished the kayak. I'd put screw-in hatches in the fore & aft bulkheads as I couldn't bring myself to cut a hole in the deck. My last task was to pour epoxy into the tips of the kayak. The rear went fine - stand the kayak on end, open the hatch & pour it in and let it harden overnight. I laid the kayak on the floor and reached into the kayak to undo the forward hatch - and found it was stuck. I poked my head & both arms in to get a better grip, and slid forward. I knew I shouldn't have done it when my butt jammed against the back rim of the coaming.

I was wedged in the kayak, in my garage, with the garage door closed and the radio on full volume. Needless to say, my wife was at work, so I could stay undiscovered for hours. In space, they say, no-one can hear you scream....

After a moment of blind panic, I realized that as long as the air held out, I could just lie there and wait for my wife to come home from work. I was, shall we say, a fairly snug fit in the kayak, so I didn't want to risk it. After wriggling around for, I guess, an hour or so, I managed to roll into a kneeling position. I backed up against the garage door and pushed myself out of the kayak.

Several hours later, my wife returned to find me sanding the hull where I'd scraped it against the garage floor during my struggle. I think the sheepish look on my face told her that I'd done something I shouldn't have, so I fessed up. That was 2 years ago, and she still has to tell the story to anyone who will listen.

Me? I'm still allowed to build stuff (I have plans to build a skin-on-frame when I have the time) but she'll call me on the cellphone every 2 hours or so, just to make sure I'm not stuck/bleeding/unconscious/hospitalized/in police custody.

Written by: Richard A. Knowles - Gloucester, VA

For more great stories: See the Archive!

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