My ol’ mate Dobbo, the local butcher and neighbour, took the plunge today and made his maiden voyage in trusty Gecko. After I spent the day fixing his busted-ass iMac, Dobbo decides the time has come. He’d been talking it up for some time and was on the verge of buying a boat when I hinted that he ought to give it a go before he blew a few grand on a sport he hated. No problem spouted Dobbo. What time in the morning?
So I packed the boats on Inge the Volvo (BTW, Inge is not in my good books at the moment) and down to Swansea training ground for introductory kayak lessons. Now, those who have read some of my posts will know I’m no instructor but compared to Dobbo I’m Paul Caffyn. I rigged Gecko to fit and we set out.
Swansea point is a great place to learn because it’s sandy and shallow and you can get to some interesting places safely. You will notice from the pix and movie Dobbo has no pfd because I’m one short. But we’re in about two foot of water so it’s a reasonable risk. What wasn’t reasonable was the short sprint out to Coal Point across the bay. As we set out the wind blew up and Dobbo’s rudder shat itself and he paddled around in circles. Bollocks!
I was getting a bit concerned by now. Gecko is a pretty stable old bucket but Dobbo can’t edge or steer without a rudder so I reached for my tow rope just in case. Mark’s Point was 500m away so we made for that. We got there without incident but I cursed my stupidity for letting this happen. Dobbo was none the wiser and back on shore I fixed the rudder and in shallow water got him to practice some low bracing and edging. He did time in the drink but enjoyed himself doing so. We paddled back to Swansea and Dobbo capsized in the channel. A flawless assisted recovery set him right and we got back home without further incident.
All in all, a good first start notwithstanding the breaches of safety protocol. There’s a long way to go with him but the day was about testing his enjoyment of kayaking and it was a success. He’s young and strong and will no doubt be a good asset to the sport. Go Dobbo!