Anyone familiar with Wikipedia will get the idea behind the OCA Wiki: it's a community-edited online "Resource Base"... with scope to develop, in time, into a full Canoeists' Encyclopedia.

A wiki (i/ˈwɪki/ wik-ee) is a website that allows the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser

We're currently working on a structure for core content - but we'll not let that stop us making a start - so keep checking back for additions and get in touch if you'd like to get involved!

The Important Places...

"Flipping through Dad's old slides it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, if I can bring back together these two things that were young once - my father and the Colorado river - I can somehow travel back in time to learn something of who my father was...

The narration is superb... but Dad's the real star of this beautiful film....

The Important Places...

"Flipping through Dad's old slides it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, if I can bring back together these two things that were young once - my father and the Colorado river - I can somehow travel back in time to learn something of who my father was...

The narration is superb... but Dad's the real star of this beautiful film....

Morall River Films - Introduction to Canoe Camping

Two years ago, Mark and Merri Morall of Morall River Films built up expectations of a DVD they had been working on by releasing "More than a River": a lush opening sequence, capturing the spirit of tripping and journeying in song as well as in great footage, and heightening anticipation by ending with Sigurd Olsen's famous line about the way of the canoe being "the way of the wilderness and of a freedom almost forgotten"...

Morall River Films - Introduction to Canoe Camping

Two years ago, Mark and Merri Morall of Morall River Films built up expectations of a DVD they had been working on by releasing "More than a River": a lush opening sequence, capturing the spirit of tripping and journeying in song as well as in great footage, and heightening anticipation by ending with Sigurd Olsen's famous line about the way of the canoe being "the way of the wilderness and of a freedom almost forgotten"...

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  1. Ardèche 2014

    So dawned the OCA trip to the Ardèche. Rain the previous week had swelled the usually benign river and covered many of the smaller rocks giving several choices of route on the more challenging rapids. Oh bliss.

    Continued...

  2. Ardèche 2014

    So dawned the OCA trip to the Ardèche. Rain the previous week had swelled the usually benign river and covered many of the smaller rocks giving several choices of route on the more challenging rapids. Oh bliss.

    Continued...

  3. Doom on Doon was meant to be the tongue in cheek moniker for a hare-brained idea of a canoe trip in Galloway, Scotland. Starting and finishing at Loch Doon this circuitous journey was nothing if not adventurous and verging on the pointless. A stream that led into the hills and on towards an isolated loch linked to other lochs by a height of land portage and thence back to the beginning via a second stream.  Stream is of course a grand word for a watercourse that actually has water in it. Whether there would be enough to float a canoe of all things would be another matter.

  4. Doom on Doon was meant to be the tongue in cheek moniker for a hare-brained idea of a canoe trip in Galloway, Scotland. Starting and finishing at Loch Doon this circuitous journey was nothing if not adventurous and verging on the pointless. A stream that led into the hills and on towards an isolated loch linked to other lochs by a height of land portage and thence back to the beginning via a second stream.  Stream is of course a grand word for a watercourse that actually has water in it. Whether there would be enough to float a canoe of all things would be another matter.

  5. This was a self guided trip with members of the Open Canoe Association, some of us are also members of this forum (myself, Alex D and Canoebabe88). The plan was to paddle the full length of the South Nahanni from it’s headwaters at Moose Ponds to where it joins the Liard River and then onto Linberg Landing. A distance of 600KM over a period of 21 days.

    Continued...

  6. This was a self guided trip with members of the Open Canoe Association, some of us are also members of this forum (myself, Alex D and Canoebabe88). The plan was to paddle the full length of the South Nahanni from it’s headwaters at Moose Ponds to where it joins the Liard River and then onto Linberg Landing. A distance of 600KM over a period of 21 days.

    Continued...

  7. At Canoefest 2015 I attended an Open Canoe Association pilot course delivered by Search and Rescue specialists Chris Onions and Tim Bird of R3 Safety & Rescue Ltd, Llangollen.

    Aside from being a SRT Advanced Instructor and a Rope Rescue Technician Instructor trainer delivering water incident management and search classes, Chris is active within mountain rescue and has previously held the position of Regional Training Officer for the North Wales Mountain Rescue Association (NWMRA).

    Chris is currently the Regional Water Officer engaged with assisting mountain rescue teams enhance their water rescue capability.

    Those who know Ray Goodwin's book will have heard tales of Tim Bird: he's the one on page 36 - with the photo and story of a long portage across Rannoch Moor to Rannoch Station. Aside from being an SRT and Rope Rescue Instructor, Tim Bird has been a member of the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team for over twenty years and is a Course Director of MountainSafe, a group made up from experts from the North Wales Mountain Rescue Association, Snowdonia National Park Authority and North Wales Police.

    The course participants were Andy Oughton, Grahame Sanderson and me - Mike Fennell.

    Pre-course information

    We were told a wide cross section of technical Search and Rescue matters can be covered including:

    • Mechanical advantage T method
    • Rescue toys found on a fire engine
    • Lowering and raising loads (canoes)
    • Rescue training standards, levels and competencies. Primacy – who is in charge of river rescue?
    • Integrating with the emergency services, or how do I help when something has gone wrong?
    • River search where and how to look.

    Monday 4th May

    Following the fun of trying to get the vehicles off the Dolben Hall camping field on Monday morning and after a lovely scenic drive to Llangollen, Grahame and I arrived at the Llangollen Pavilion shortly after 10:00AM. Andy Oughton joined us shortly thereafter. Chris & Tim made us very welcome, introduced us to the coffee/tea supplies and we settled down to relaxed personal introductions, paddling/outdoor histories and to determine what we might like to achieve on the day.

    We discussed rescue scenarios, with visual aids as to the equipment used by the emergency services, methods they use and what happens when things go wrong. How recreational paddlers can help. Shout – Reach – Throw – Row – Go was extended to Helicopter, so what’s then involved, how to help, what not to do.

    This progressed to considerations of weir safety, what should you consider before running a weir, photographs and videos were used as examples. Local knowledge is really important, if in doubt portage. Details of the Rescue 3 Europe/Environment Agency Weir Risk Assessment System can be found via this link

    http://www.rescue3europe.com/downloads/weir/Rescue%203%20Europe%20Environment%20Agency%20Weir%20Assessment%20System.pdf

    Frequent coffee breaks and lively discussion … we moved on to the design of rescue equipment and specifically rescue specification PFDs. How the design has evolved from climbing harnesses, why the “live bait” attachment point is on the back, surfing in flow is better with the airway above the water. What optimal design features to look for, what will increase friction and thus increase the possibility of a hang up of the chest harness? Examples are too many retaining loops, a non-linear track for the release harness belt. Personally risk assess a PFD for functionality before you buy. If your harness doesn’t release will increasing the pull, by increasing your area in the flow (sink in the water, form a star shape) make release more likely or jam it up further. How do you ensure a clean release?

    For optimisation of your personal rescue PFD and further information see …

    Mechanical Advantage Systems.

    Ropes, pulleys and Prusiks. The afternoon was spent discussing mechanical advantage systems for extracting pinned boats or whatever. We looked at equipment required, what you should have in your pin kit and the importance of sharing equipment out, if everyone on a trip has a throw-line, a pulley, a tape, one or two karabiners and Prusik cords you can, hopefully, cope whichever boat gets pinned. Prusik minding pulleys (PMP), I like those, I’ve now ordered some.

    The square cheeks of the PMP prevents the Prusik from being drawn into the pulley and releases the Prusik such that the line can be drawn through the pulley, when the pull is released the Prusik extends, tightens and locks the line to hold the gain.

    What makes good Prusik cord?

    Bend the cord over in your fingers to make a tight hairpin loop.

    • If the loop is tight the cord is soft and likely to be grippy but it may not release well.
    • If the hairpin’s “hole” is roughly the same diameter as the cord it’s about right.
    • If the “hole” is wider the cord is too stiff and may not grip well.

    Prusik lengths … one 3m length of 6mm Prusik cord will make 2 Prusik loops, one large 1.65m and one small 1.35m. Tie into a loop with double fisherman’s bends. I’d taken 2x 3m lengths of cord with me … Chris & I made my loops, one set are a bit grippy, the other just about right.

    Prusik pinch test (left Prusik optimal stiffness, right Prusik too stiff) …

    We went from anchoring the boat, to a simple 1:1 system and adapted the system up through 3:1, 5:1 and Andy set up a 9:1 Mechanical Advantage System. Clothes pegs came out and were used as markers of the units of force being applied to the rope, either side of the pulleys, at the pulley attachments, anchors, Prusiks and load. This is the T-system or T-method of calculating the mechanical advantage gained. Chris & Tim’s explanations were clear and comprehensive. I think I’ll always now think of tension in the terms of units of Tim.

    More coffee and consideration of attachment points to boats, safe approach and position, releasing pins by vectoring the pull. How to roll a pinned boat. A strap as a harness to distribute load, fixed attachment point or free running to allow vectoring of the pull and even distribution of this to the twin anchor points. If one attachment point breaks free will the connection to the boat be lost, how can you ensure that it isn’t.

    Throw line design.

    A thrown line and carry system was demonstrated that has been manufactured with a great deal of thought. They are available in 15m, 18m and size huge (27m for rafters). The floating line is 8mm diameter, the bag tapered to allow for easy packing, the neck is asymmetric so there is a nice piece of fabric to hold whilst packing and the bag stays open to aid you. The 18m bag has a pocket/flap at the bottom to give access to a loop and karabiner. The quick release carry system has a sealable holster for the bag, resulting in no loose lines to snag and be a swim hazard. Nice pieces of kit, available via R3 Safety & Rescue Ltd.

    For information on throwline rope types see … http://rescue-rope.jimdo.com/tests-reviews/rope-types/

    For more details on the throwline system see … http://rescue-rope.jimdo.com/products/classic-18/

    We could have gone swimming, it was offered by Chris & Tim. We probably achieved more from our day and gained more understanding by not doing so. We had a very enjoyable beyond WWSR course and stayed dry too. There are lots of things we covered that I’ve not mentioned above.

    A super day and definitely something to develop into a regular OCA Training Event.

    My thanks to Chris, Tim, Andy and Grahame.

    Mike Fennell.

  8. Does an accomplished kayaker who hops into a canoe for the first time (demonstrating effective control) merit recognition as a “canoeist”? [...] How critical is it, for you, that a “canoeist” has racked up at least a few short trips and “some overnight camps”?

    Perhaps, instead of understanding the canoe as a “versatile” craft, your understanding of canoe comes from a different tradition.  

    As we approach the 60th anniversary of the Open Canoe Association (founded 1956), we've been thinking [...] trying to establish what it means to promote “canoeing” here in the UK in these “interesting times” [...]

    Our Association doesn't exist to promote one vision of canoeing, or to sit in judgement over other conceptions of canoeing. We can, however, highlight diverse understandings of what canoeing can mean within the UK, and promote canoeing in ways which reflect the richness, diversity and complexity of a British Open Canoeing scene which is vibrant, dynamic and increasingly sophisticated.

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