Earlier in the morning we started gathering in the clubhouse of the Sebago Canoe Club in Canarsie, Brooklyn. With some confusion about the schedule, we started straggling in for the Trip Leader Workshop beginning 8:30 AM, with more arriving at 9:00, 9:30, 10:00 and our final participant arriving at 10:30 AM.
A little before 10:00 AM the odd assortment of future trip leaders (or was it an assortment of future odd trip leaders) and experienced trip leaders and instructors watched segments of the Leo Hoare and Olly Sanders Sea Kayak DVD as it played on Walter’s Mac Book Pro. We focused primarily on rescues and towing. Later in the morning we discussed what was required of a trip leader in general and a Sebago Canoe Club Trip Leader in particular. We also reviewed and discussed the procedures related to Sebago’s Wednesday evening and Saturday morning open paddles when most of us would be leading and assisting with trips.
Within the next hour or so Phil would intentionally capsize several times so that each of the future trip leaders could practice their rescue skills (photo top right). Phil so dramatically portrayed paddlers panicking that most of us thought he was bucking to get out of the set shop and onto the stage. In our minds, at least, he deserved a Tony for his portrayal of the inexperienced kayaker from hell that will not listen to directions and therefore endangers others by standing up on his kayak as he is being rescued. Meanwhile, Bonnie feigned an avid bird watcher who strayed away from the group in order to test the observation skills of the assigned leaders and their ability to keep the group together.
Though I have owned and carried a tow belt since last season, Saturday’s workshop was the first time I have actually used one as Jerry acted the part of a tired paddler who needed to be towed back to dry land. Towing, even into the wind, was easier than I thought it would be, though I was glad I did not have to tow Jerry all the way back to the dock.