Posted by: RobG on Oct-14-12 9:45 PM (EST)
I just got home a little while ago from my Rescue Class. It was held in a fitness club's heated pool, which is great, since the water temps in the Willamette River this time a year are probably lower 50's by now.
The boats they used are all the same... Custom Designs plastic boats, and from what I can tell, they're right in between my Tempest 165 and Essence 17 in terms of size/volume. They were 13-14' boats, since there's only so much room in the pool.
At the other end of the pool was the rescue class. They used the same boats too, so I know what I'll be in two weekends from now when I have that class.
Anyway... I picked up nose plugs, which are a good thing. They don't stay on well, but that's okay. They protect the initial sinus drenching. I wore mine the first two times, then forgot them the third time and that wasn't terribly pleasant. So I stuck with them for subsequent dunkings.
Wet exits are pretty straight forward. It does feel a little odd being upside down, but I have no trouble reaching the "ejection strap" as I call it. The main thing was learning to relax and do what I needed to do rather than being in a rush to get out.
During one rescue attempt (when I was the rescuer), due to a poor hold on the other boat, I ended up going over. What's interesting is that I capsized while leaning backward. So it took a moment to realize I had to bend forward and grab the strap to get out, since my initial reaction was surprise, especially when I didn't come right out. That was a good thing to experience in a controlled environment, especially since it was unplanned and without nose plugs.
I was really glad to get experience with the self-rescues, since I will be paddling alone most of the time, up until I get into ocean paddling sometime next Summer. I liked the paddle float method best. She taught us the cowboy method too, but I wouldn't attempt it unless it was an emergency or warm weather (and in flatwater), because it's waaaay too much work/exhausting to have to do more than once.
And, while it may not be as comfortable, it's best to have your PFD snugged up as much as you can stand it before you go in the water. It makes all the difference when you're all wet and bobbing about. :)
Tomorrow, unless the weather totally sucks, I'm going to see about moving the seat in the Tempest back a little bit. I think that'll do the trick. The Custom Designs boat I was in today actually had a fore/aft seat adjustment!! So yeah, time to do that, get used to the Tempest, and sell off the other one, and use the money to buy a dry suit. This wet suit crap isn't gonna cut it for winter paddling. :)