Tuesday, September 15, 2009

3 Star Training in Maine

I just completed 2 days of training and a 3 star sea assessment up in Maine at a 4 day symposium What a very long drive there and back too.. I thought I was going to be spending 4 days on the water but it turned out that the navigation class I took was just an all day classroom session. It was still a really good class in spite of no water time. The two day training was also very intense. The instructor thought it was a one day training and was trying to cram in a ton of information and have us do many things. Once I pointed out to him that it was a two day training, he relaxed a bit and we went back to the docks quite exhausted. The 3 star award is a leadership award, not just a skills award. We had to be able to demonstrate we could lead a group, navigate and do rescues as appropriate for the conditions. I was not able to do a good hand of god rescue and hope I never have to do one, but I will work on it anyways.

On assessment day I was a bit nervous. We had another instructor to assess us, and although I had met him before I hadn't paddled much with him. I actually wasn't sure he remembered me. There were 6 of us altogether but three of us were all from the same training class, it was nice to know a few people. The assessment went fairly well although Mother Nature was against us, we didn't really have big enough conditions so we ended up staying quite close to the rock faces and working against the ocean swells. It is amazing the power of the ocean. Maine was also an awesome venue to do this in. About halfway through the assessment, one of the other students pointed out that he felt everyone would pass, I had to disagree with him. There was one person who was looking a bit weaker in some areas and wasn't playing a good leadership role either. Everyone else looked great.

I did in the end get my 3 star sea kayak award. Part of the advice I received afterwards was that I needed to work on timing of my braces, I needed to keep an eye on the big picture when doing rescues, and that my finesse strokes were great but I should keep my arms tucked in more. I also feel I need to work on my roll some more.

The funniest thing that happened during the assessment. After I had been stuffed back in my boat as part of a controlled rescue, I was paddling around among the rocks when a large swell lifted me up turned my boat around and dropped the bow and stern up on the rocks but left me suspended upside down in the water. I ended up leaving my kayak again and came up laughing. I actually had a bit of a hard time to push the kayak up off the rocks. I got stuffed back in while we all laughed about it then I had to eat something to try to keep the cold at bay. The Maine waters were quite cold. I am glad I was borrowing a dry suit from a friend (even though I didn't like the rear relief zip).

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