One of the (many) good things about doing five star training is coming back with lots to practice.
In particular, some towing, rescue and self-rescue techniques to share with Liz. So on a lovely, warm day we climbed into drysuits and launched into cold Loch Sunart. We'll try the rough water versions on another day.
This is what we did:
* Contact tows. First using her existing short length of cord with two clips. Then with a small loop of bungee, larks-footed on her deckline into which she pushed my toggle.
* Regular tow. First using an improved set-up of her tow rope. Then incorporating a quick release, more typically applied in a rafted tow.
* Scenario. I jumped into the water and pushed my kayak away. Liz tried towing me to the kayak, discovering how hard that is, even with me keeping as much of my body out of the water as possible. Then she ditched me, retrieved and emptied the kayak, and contact towed it to me.
* Rescues. We've always used the come-from-between technique, now frowned upon for obvious reasons in a big sea. So we practiced the leg-hook. Then we did all of the above with the roles switched.
* Balance. As we had with Gordon & Ken, to improve balance we started by taking both legs out of the cockpit, then hoisting ourselves onto the back deck, then reversing the procedure. After that, we'd get up on the back deck again and spin around; both legs on one side, then facing rear, then legs on other side, then back in. Finally we tried to stand up and sit down.
* Self rescues. Somewhere in the above sequence, almost everyone falls out of the kayak. Getting back in is a self-rescue. I struggle to hoist myself out of deep water, onto the back deck, so this is something to practice. Pulling oneself along the deck, head low, trying to prevent the PFD snagging on deck-clutter, is a challenge. Then sit up, and you're in the same position as you were in the first of the balance exercises. Except you're totally knackered.
* Paddle floats. Using one as an out-rigger, Liz was much more successful than me. A paddle-float assisted re-entry and roll rounded off the day.
You'll notice we used the Cetus. Much more stable than a Nordkapp for this kind of thing! Rough water versions still to do.