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Blazing Paddles Blazing Paddles N N N e e e w w w s s s l l l e e e t t t t t t e e e r r r o o o f f f L L L o o o n n n g g g I I I s s s l l l a a a n n n d d d P P P a a a d d d d d d l l l e e e r r r s s s Summer 2009 Disclaimer The views expressed in this newsletter are strictly those of their respective authors. Information offered on any topic should not be assumed to be authoritative or complete. On all paddling issues, it is important to base one’s practices on multiple sources of information. Moonlight paddle, 2009 Photo by Ray Clarkson

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Summer 2009
Disclaimer The views expressed in this newsletter are strictly those of their respective authors. Information offered on any topic should not be assumed to be authoritative or complete. On all paddling issues, it is important to base one’s practices on multiple sources of information.
Moonlight paddle, 2009 Photo by Ray Clarkson
Message from the President: Safety First By Steve Berner
There have been twenty club trips and numerous short notice paddles already this year. Attendance for each trip has been averaging about fifteen boats. That means that our members have been on the water more than 300 times in the first two months of the paddling season. Many are paddling for the first time, and some still don’t even own a boat yet. And that’s great! But what’s even better - no one has been seriously hurt in all that activity on the water. Not many of us stop to think that it is a wonderful thing when fifteen kayakers go out on a paddle and fifteen kayakers return safely. After all, that is what’s expected. But water is not our natural element and tragedy can strike quickly. That point was made clear on July 4th when a sixty-five year old man died after capsizing during a sailing regatta in the Great South Bay.
Our Mission Statement begins, “Long Island Paddlers exists to share a common love for kayaking, canoeing and the outdoors. We exchange information on safety, education, paddling experiences and other paddling- related subjects.” We strive to not only promote the joys of paddling but also the need to prepare for the dangers inherent in this sport. Over 100 people die each year while kayaking or canoeing – most by drowning.
One way we hope to improve our members’ safety is to schedule several Skills’ Days a year. These sessions provide an informal opportunity for paddlers to learn and practice safety skills with other members of the club. The two most important skills – getting out of your boat (wet exit) and getting back in (self and assisted rescue/recovery) – need to be practiced and mastered by anyone who wants to paddle. This year, we have had three indoor pool sessions already. And there are two more outdoor Skills’ Days scheduled: one on July 19th at Stony Brook Harbor and another on August 9th at Sunken Meadow State Park. Please sign up for one or both if you have not mastered the wet exit and recovery skills.
Another way the club, strives to improve our members’ safety is to require certain equipment
on different trips. The most important piece of equipment, the personal floatation device (PFD), is required to be worn on all paddles. There are some who do not like this rule. Some say the Coast Guard only requires a PFD be on board the vessel, or that they know how to swim, or that the water is not deep enough to be dangerous. While all this may be true, a PFD strapped to the back of the kayak is useless to the paddler who goes over and is unable to swim or stand because of cold water shock, a medical condition, or a blow to the head which renders the paddler unconscious. It is believed the man who died on the 4th had a heart attack. Because he was wearing a PFD, rescuers were able to pull him from the water and attempt to revive him. Without it, he would have most likely sunk to the bottom of the bay. Although, he died anyway, his PFD gave his rescuers a chance. We require a dry suit or a wetsuit for cold water paddling, usually when the water temperature drops below sixty degrees. We require a whistle and a visual signaling device so that you can alert others if you are in trouble. Multiple lights are required on night paddles so that not only power boats can see us but so that we see each other. These pieces of equipment, which most often go unused, provide a safety net in case of an emergency.
Each year, we offer several programs at our General Membership Meetings to enhance boater safety. In April, we had an EMT talk about first aid and CPR. In August, we will have Mary McCourt, DC (Doctor of Chiropractics) talk about exercises / stretches for the paddler as a preventive to injury. In October, Ed Luke will be offering his time to educate us about the weather and the prominent role it plays in our experiences as paddlers. This interactive discussion will examine some of the important underpinnings of weather and how it impacts us as coastal mariners. His goal is to sharpen our intuition about the weather and its effects to help us to anticipate and avoid hazardous situations. After being caught on the water in several bad storms, I am eagerly awaiting this
Birch Creek & Little Flanders Bay Paddle lead by Steve Berner on June 13, 2009
Photo by Chiara Nuzzo
one. And, finally, we are going to have another program on cold water paddling in November because the months of November through April are the most dangerous times of the year to paddle. Try to come to our monthly meetings.
For the first time, Frank Chillemi taught a Trip Leaders’ Fundamentals’ Workshop in February. He taught past, present, and future trip leaders how to make our paddling trips safer and more enjoyable for all our members. He has commit- ted to do the same workshop every year for us.
Finally, I am sure everyone has noticed all the great changes on our website. I hope everyone has taken the time to look at the four new or revised pages under TRIPS heading. The first is the revised Paddling Trip Levels. It details the conditions, skills, and endurance necessary for each trip level using a number and a letter. The easiest trip is rated 1A while the most difficult
trip is rated 5D. It is of the utmost importance that every member be familiar with the require- ments for each trip level prior to signing up for a trip. Please remember, a Level 1 trip can turn into a Level 2 or 3 trip if there are unexpected strong winds. Know your limitations. There is a Guidelines for Trip Participants’ page which explains all you need to know before joining a club paddling trip. This is a must read by anyone going on a club trip. There is a new Kayaking Basics’ page which explains everything from the parts of a kayak to how to paddle. An informa- tional article on Cold Water Paddling has also been added. But none of this information can help you if you don’t take the time to read it.
I am looking forward to another great, safe, paddling season.
Steve Berner
Build a Kayak Shed By Paul Caparatta
Everything I’ve read about kayak care says that kayaks should not suffer long term storage in direct sunlight. The sun, which can transform humans into leathery prunes and ruin patio furniture, can also dry out and fade kayaks. Plastic kayaks are also porous and in time, your kayak will acquire an increasingly drab appearance because of airborne soot. Garaging the kayaks was out of the question as I have a one-car garage and there’s no room for two kayaks.
There are two additional reasons to store kayaks out of the elements: bird droppings and rodents. The birds in my neighborhood (thanks to a neigh- bor’s multiple bird feeders) tend to plop often and frequently and getting the purple stains off the kayak is no easy task. Long Island is also home to squirrels, raccoons, and muskrats. At least one club
member had the foam kneepads within the cock- pit destroyed by a four-legged critter apparently seeking nesting material.
I’ve had my fill of tarps. I’ve been through three of them. The wind blows them off, they tend to become moldy and porous over time and they stiffen up and crack in the cold. Since I’m blessed with both the Bob Vila and Norm Abrams genes, I decided to build a kayak shed. The rollers you see in the photos came from three strollers, all with identical tandem wheels, and which I rescued from the garbage. Did I mention that I also have the Sanford and Son gene? Rollers are a nice touch but not absolutely necessary. But then, I also have the Rube Goldberg gene. I think that’s considered a grand slam in the gene pool.
Building a shed requires a basic knowledge of framing, a reasonable assortment of hand tools, a level, and a saber saw. An electric miter saw makes short work of framing but is not likely to be owned by the average homeowner. You may need to check your local building codes as some towns may require a building permit, even if the structure is arguably temporary. You may also have to respect setback requirements from your property lines. Often sheds don’t require permits if under 100 square feet and do not have electric or plumbing.
I won’t bore you with a stick-and-nail how-to article. Instead, I’m offering this short article and the accompanying photos as food-for-thought. Of course you may call on me for advice if you don’t know how and where to start. I’ll be glad to assist with planning. Needless to say, the shed must be
rainproof in order to avoid wood rot and must be structurally sound enough to withstand gale force winds. I also built the shed on patio blocks in order to avoid having wood in direct contact with the ground. I started with pressure treated 2X4s, then regular lumber above that. For siding, you may either use Texture 111 or Smart Siding. Both products are available at Home Depot with the Smart Siding being less expensive. Rather than using traditional roofing materials, I also used Smart Siding on the roof and sealed it with sili- cone caulk where it joins the walls.
I’m sorry I didn’t build the shed earlier instead of wasting time with a succession of outdoor racks and tarps. As the old saying goes, if you don’t have time to do it right, be sure to leave some time to do it over.
Completed in 2004
The Frank Answers Column Hello Frank,
I had a very nasty experience recently on a commercially guided paddle. We were across a bay from safety with the weather changing rapidly and a huge thunderstorm building in the distance behind us. None of the three Guides seemed to notice the gathering storm, or perhaps, they chose to ignore it. I was getting pretty scared. A few of us paying customers voiced our concern, but no action was taken. It was not until a more observant Guide arrived and “persuaded” the people in charge to take action that we turned around and sought shelter. My question is; what should I have done had this other Guide not shown up?
Regards, L.T.
Dear L.T.
Strong thunderstorms are one of Mother Nature’s most lethal creations. They demand our utmost respect ‘cause their power can be savagely terrifying. Have I got your attention yet? Good, because thunderstorms contain Lightning, and, like us paddlers, Lightning really likes water! Exiting your kayak on the business end of a Lightning Bolt is to be avoided at all costs. Anyone who calls themselves a guide and does not show these storms their complete respect is probably better off leading kayak trips in a swimming pool; and an indoor pool at that! Any guide worth your hard earned money knows one thing above all else: Nature’s laws enforce themselves.
Without having seen the conditions first-hand, I’ll presume that your observations were such that you knew the group was in “clear and present danger.” What you should have done then was to speak up, with authority! Stop the trip! Get the “guides” attention and don’t let go until your concerns were fully addressed. Most likely, many of the other paying customers would have backed you up. They probably were just as concerned as you, but might not have wanted to be the first to complain or appear scared.
In the future, please be more careful in your choice of guides. All guides… and club trip leaders now that I think about it… develop reputations, good or bad. By and large, all guides deserve the reputations they have developed, good or bad. Too cautious an approach can at times be boring, but “Cowboy’s” are to be avoided at all costs. Thanks for your very important question.
Best Wishes, Frank Chillemi
Dear Frank,
There seams to be a lot of “debate”, for lack of a better word, whether or not a sprayskirt is really necessary for a typical sea kayak. I simply don’t know whom to believe, and I know there are other members of this club who feel the same way. Any help you can give us here would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance, L.G.
Dear L.G.
Sprayskirts are one of those hot-button topics that newer kayakers love to argue about. Some of these squabbles have become the stuff of legend within our membership.
There is a simple solution here. If we only look at all the good things sprayskirts do for us, we can easily make an overwhelming case for their use.
The typical sea kayak has an enclosed cockpit with an opening for the paddler to get in and out of the boat. A sprayskirt is a flexible tube/deck assembly that attaches between your torso and the cockpit’s coaming, or rim. This provides a watertight seal between you and your boat. The obvious benefit here is that rain, splash, paddle drip and the occasional wave tend to stay where they
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The Frank Answers Column (continued)
belong; out of your kayak. If you’ve ever tried to paddle your boat with a few inches of water sloshing around inside, you’ll really appreciate your sprayskirt keeping that water out.
The real payoff, however, are the important things sprayskirts do for us when things get dicey. Let’s say your partner dumps, and you’re there to help drain their boat and get them back into it. While leaning over to stabilize your partner’s kayak for their re-entry, the lower edge of your kayak’s coaming will most likely be under water. Without a sprayskirt, your boat will quickly become flooded. Trouble!
Now let’s look at what happens when YOU dump over. A sprayskirt would have kept water out of your boat as it was turning upside-down. With practice, you can now pop your sprayskirt, push the boat away like you’re taking off a tight pair of pants, and come up alongside a nearly empty kayak ready to be flipped back and re-entered. Coming to the surface startled, scared and then having to deal with a flooded cockpit is not a pleasant thought.
Need another reason? Sure! A sprayskirt provides a convenient working space for your chart and other navigation tools. One more? No problem. A sprayskirt covering your lap comes in really handy when you get seasick. With nothing shielding the inside of your kayak, your natural tendency will be to lean over beyond your boat as you lose breakfast. In a weakened, disoriented and unbalanced state, most likely you’re about to be sick, upside down, underwater, and not breathing! Leaning slightly forward and putting your head down is a much safer way to complete this inevitable process. A sprayskirt provides the protection for your legs, and there’s plenty of water around to clean up with afterwards.
Does a sprayskirt take practice to put on and pop off? Yes, it does! Is there a backup technique to open your sprayskirt should you have buried the grab loop when you put the thing on? Yes there is… and yes, you should learn and practice that too. Is all this extra effort worth your time and trouble? This one’s a no-brainer folks, it surely is.
Oh, one more thing. Just like Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs), sprayskirts are of little value if you only carry it and not actually wear the thing. We know of folks who have started out in calm water with their skirt stowed, figuring that if bad conditions developed they would put their skirt on. Conditions can, and have, deteriorated so fast as to make this idea pretty much useless.
Best Wishes, Frank Chillemi
Here’s Mike Matty doing some basic bracing prac- tice. Note how the bottom of his coaming is inches under the water.
Without his sprayskirt… he’s flooded in seconds!
Frank Chillemi Photo
Dear Frank,
As a new member I have two questions. Perhaps you can help me? I’m a bit confused as to exactly what should be my responsibilities as well as my reasonable expectations when attending a Skills Day.
Fondly, T.L.
Dear T.L.
Skills Days, as presented by Long Island Paddlers, are intended to give our members an opportunity to work on developing and improving our kayak or canoeing skills. Whether conducted in the sheltered environment of a pool, or in the relatively benign waters of a selected outdoor location, these are excellent opportunities to gain more of the skills that are so important in our sport. These Skills Days are very simple in concept. The club organizes the event, then depends on our more experienced paddlers to volunteer their time and effort to share our skills with other members.
While these Skills Days are always a very enjoyable time, the operative word in the first paragraph is “work.” You should approach one of these events by being willing to do just that. Arrive on time. Have all the equipment you will need handy and in good repair. Have a pretty good idea of what skills you wish to work on, while being open to learning new things as well. Be respectful of any time limitations you might experience, especially in the limited confines of a pool environment. Speaking just for myself, I appreciate it when a paddler seeking my assistance talks with me in advance of the actual Skills Day. There is often some preparatory work you can do (reading, watching a training video, etc.) that makes our actual time in the water much more productive.
Presuming you come to these events prepared, you should reasonably expect that the event start on time, be well run, not be overcrowded, and be well paced. In a pool environment, you should expect that all the necessary facilities are up and running. In an outdoor, natural setting you should be able to expect that the selected area has been pre-screened for its suitability. Once the event begins, you should expect that the attention paid to you will be personal. These events should be enjoyable, but this is no time for inattention, especially by the more experienced kayakers. If you are, say, attempting your first Wet-Exit, you are about to be upside-down in a kayak for the first time… to say nothing about the fact that you won’t be breathing! You have a reasonable right to expect that the person working with you will be paying full attention to you and you alone. Fortunately, in this organization, we pride ourselves on working just that way. Please come and join us.
Best Wishes, Frank Chillemi
If you have any questions for Frank, please contact him at [email protected]
NYC/Swim1st Annual Around Liberty Island Swim Race
Mike Matty and Frank Chillemi were selected as escort-kayakers for the NYC/Swim 1st Annual Around Liberty Island Swim Race, held this past June. The attached photo was made prior to the race start.
Sharing Frank’s double is Peter Riley of the Downtown (Manhattan) Boat House.
Fruit and Pecan Granola Bars by Kristin Costa
Preheat oven to 325º. Line an 8 x 11 inch pan with foil. Coat with cooking spray. Whisk egg, egg white, sugar, oil, cinnamon, salt and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in oats, cranberries (or raisins), pecans and flour. Spread in prepared pan.
Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool. Cut into bars with lightly oiled knife.
1 large egg
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 /3 cups chopped dried
cranberries or golden raisins 1 /4 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Long Island Paddlers is sponsored by:
Around Manhattan Swim Marathon Dateline, June 6, 2009. Open water swimmer Kathy Jaeger of New York City takes a feeding break under the George Washington Bridge during today's Around Manhattan Swim Marathon. With her are two of her escort kayakers, Mike Matty and Frank Chillemi of the Long Island Paddlers Group. While Jaeger is a veteran of three previous Manhattan Swim Marathon events as a relay team member, this was her first attempt as a solo swimmer. She broke the elusive nine-hour barrier with a time of 8hrs, 53min, 7sec. The Manhattan Island Swim Marathon, one counter-clockwise lap around "the big rock in NY harbor" is the longest and most prestigious open-water swim race in the world.
Photo by James Merritt
Riverhead, 11901 Sales: (631)727-4000
Apr 19, 2009 - Liz Marcellus and her pet dog
Warren Light Craft Thurs., July 16, 7:00pm Program: Guest speaker will be Ted Warren of Warren Light Craft who will be talking about the Little Wing kayak design and construction. They will also give an overview of the company and their experiences starting a small kayak manufac- turing company. They will also have a demo day on Friday, July 17th, 2009 at Little Flanders Bay in Flanders beginning at 10:00am. You can visit their web site at www.warrenlightcraft.com.
Directions to Demo Day: Take Exit 71 on the LIE and go east/south (turn right at the stop sign) on Rte. 24/Edwards Avenue for about 5 miles. Soon after passing the County Jail, you will enter Riverhead Traffic Circle. Go around the circle and exit onto Peconic Avenue. The Peconic Paddler is on your left. We will meet anyone interested there and leave for the put-in at 9:30 AM. Then proceed east about 3 miles on Rte. 24, past Rte. 105, to Birch Creek Road. It is not paved and has many potholes. For additional information and to sign up for the demo day, go to the Trips' page.
Birds of a Feather Exercise Together
August 20, 2009, 7:00pm
Program: Two guest speakers:
Speaker #1) Marge Tuthil will be giving an informative power point presentation on birds we see when paddling. Speaker #2) Mary McCourt, DC (Doctor of Chiropractics) will be talking about exercises / stretchers for the paddler as a preventive to injury. Dr Mary is an avid kayaker and tri athlete who knows sports medicine.
Protecting & Restoring The Long Island Sound When: September 17, 2009, 7:00pm Program: Larissa J. Graham, the Long Island Sound Study Outreach Coordinator, will be giving a pres- entation on the importance of the Long Island Sound. She will cover the problems it's facing, how the Long Island Sound Study is protecting and restoring it, and ways we can help!
Meeting Schedule By Michael Chachkes
If there is something you would like us to look into for a monthly meeting please E-mail me: [email protected]
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Go south on Wicks Road to campus entrance on right-hand side.
Long Island Paddler’s Publication Dates April 15 • July 15 • October 15 • January 15
Deadlines for submission are one month prior to publication date. All copies submitted must be typewritten. Members are encour- aged to submit articles, letters to the editor Newsworthy Notes, trip reports or future trip information, etc. to editors. Editors reserve the right to editorial privileges. Unless other- wise stated, the views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not repre- sent official position statements of Long Island Paddlers Club.
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