Who is competent? - a quick revisit
A truly new sea kayak - The Sea Quest
What is the correct seat height
Book review - Sea Kayak Navigation - Ferrero
Book review - Sea Kayak Navigation Simplified - Moyer
Book review - Up the Creek
Who is competent?
Assessors often struggle with knowing when they have gathered enough evidence to say that someone is competent, especially when evidence needs to be gathered "over a period of time" and "in different contexts".
The approach to answering the question; competent/not yet competent, should not be approached like a maths exam (49% and below; fail, 50% and above; pass).
Consider a different approach; The assessment task involves performing a role or job (or part thereof). Each part of the performance can be considered a piece of evidence. Most of the parts (of the task or knowledge) can be considered as individual elements (elements of competency), however there are two overall areas that are critical to the observed performance;
The rest of the pieces of evidence can be considered in a discrete fashion, for each piece ask the question; "does it demonstrate competence?". If the answer is yes, file it in your mind or on paper in the competent file (and vice versa). At some point in the process the size (width and depth) of the files should make the decision for you.
The gathering of evidence only needs to go on until such time as the evidence "files" make the decision that the person can perform the role safely reaching the desired outcomes.
The Sea Quest
Designed by Tim Dillenbeck
This boat is something completely new to sea kayaking, it has lines resembling an America's Cup yacht and innovations and variations on the seat, the rudder assembly, the hull/deck join, etc.
I had the privilege of being entrusted by Tim Dillenbeck, with a test boat for a recent QLD sea kayak program. Tim Dillenbeck, the designer, has put two years of himself into the design and construction of this kayak and he speaks authoritatively and passionately on every aspect. Unfortunately for me the test did not involve extreme conditions (as they say in Queensland; "beautiful one day….").
What the boat didn’t do was the most startling thing to begin with; I paddle a 5.3 metre sea kayak regularly and when I put on the power, it noticeably brings up the bow wave and the stern digs in. When I pushed the Sea Quest on flatwater it did not appear to go into wave making mode. It remained flat, produced little wake and was very fast for a 5.3m boat. Though fully loaded for a weekend program it remained high on the water.
This boat feels big in every respect even though it is only 5.3 metres overall. I should warn the reader at this point that my own prejudice is for smaller sea kayaks that are built more for manoeuvrability than straight line ocean cruising. As the Assessor on the course I was constantly trying to maintain or alter my aspect to the group. I found the Sea Quest being bigger, "straighter" and more stable than my usual boat a lot more work.
Though short, the boat is very high volume with enormous storage space and I was worried that I kept forgetting things each time we packed as I seemed to have too much empty space. The boat did not take any water into the storage compartments despite being given every opportunity to do so.
In short, this would be way up on the list for long crossings and long distance ocean touring.
A special thanks goes to Kayanu and Tim Dillenbeck.
Response from Tim Dillenbeck - Designer
What is the correct seat height?
Seat height is very important to lower back health. Your buttocks should be above the level of your feet, and the longer you are sitting in your boat, the higher that should be. As general guidance the seat pan should be a minimum of 2 cm above the heels of your feet. If you are finding you get minor lower back pain or stiff/sore legs try raising your seat with some close cell foam. Increased seat height will reduce stability, however you can get used to slightly reduced stability but not to back problems.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When trying to "lock yourself into a seat" make sure the two fore and aft points are the balls of the feet and the buttocks on the seat - not the lower spine.
Book review - Sea Kayak Navigation
Billed as "The Black Art Demystified", this book lives up to its name. It clearly and succinctly covers the details of coastal navigation in sea kayaks. At only 62 pages it can be read in one sitting, however it is worth working slowly through the book with a chart on hand to practice the skills as you read. Franco also has an interesting sense of humour which comes out in his drawings where he uses names such as Broken Head, Bone Crusher Rock, Shipwreck Point and Blood and Sludge Bay on his sample charts.
Book review - Sea Kayak Navigation Simplified
Do you tend to find that most navigation texts assume you are either walking along a ridge with a Silva compass in your hand or navigating a yacht complete with chart table and an array of electronic equipment? This book is short, easy to read and full of handy tips and I would recommend it for all sea kayak navigators from novice to expert.
Lee's introduction superbly illustrates his whole approach to navigation and safety;
Book review - Up the Creek
This book is a series of personal stories of accidents and incidents in open canoes with a brief analysis and lessons learned. It has a very North American feel, however it is a valuable read for all Canoe Guides and Instructors to assist you in thinking through your preparation for canoeing trips.
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