with all the talk of waders, drysuits, wetsuits, which is best etc....started me thinking as a new kayaker (6 months) i have yet to take a dunking , not even come close yet, now i mainly launch from brixham harbour or livermead which depending on the wind direction are sheltered launch sites, my point , when are you likely to be at risk of taking a dunk , is it at launch or landing or are you likely to get dunked by a big wave while out fishing, i have been out off berryhead and had a big power boat came within 100 yards , now that was a bit. scary but i never felt like i was going to capsize.
can the more experienced out there who have taken a dunk give us there experiences, this i think will help us less experienced to know what to look out for
I also paddle and fish in Torbay, though I normally launch my Prowler 13 from Paignton or Goodrington.
Now in my previous kayak (an old Waverider from Australia) stability was poor and some of my outings tended to involve quite a degree of swimming too.
The only times that I've been out of the Prowler are:
1. On purpose, (in deep water) to practice getting back in, about a dozen times in succession. A good confidence-builder, assuming that you can do it ! (And if you can't, you may find yourself in deep poo).
2. Coming in through a gentle surf onto Paignton beach, I lost concentration, the back swung around and over I went in 6 inches of water. This was particularly annoying as I was just congratulating myself for completing an uneventful trip from Totnes, down the Dart and around Berry Head - over 23 miles according to my GPS.
From reading other posts it would seem that coming in through even a small surf is the most likely time for a wetting, particularly if you have a Prowler, which seems prone to yawing in these conditions. Some of the guys have suggested it's better to back in, although I've not yet tried it myself.
The only other time I came close was when one of the commercial pleasure boats plying from Paignton came up on me from behind at full pelt as I was trolling off Livermead. Apart from nearly capsizing me, he sliced through my line too, he was that close. Look out for those dangerous so and sos !
Personally, I wouldn't linger too long at Berry Head as conditions there can change dramatically very quickly, and it's a fair way to the nearest landing place at Brixham beach.
After fishing in St Mary's Bay, I was coming back around Berry Head just as an (unpredicted) Easterly wind blew up. Big waves were actually breaking over the stern and onto my back as I half paddled half surfed towards Brixham. Really scary stuff and had I capsized, the kayak and I would both have been cast onto the rocks.
As I usually paddle alone, this experience has made me rather more cautiuous and respectful of the sea.
And, although I am a strong swimmer, I ALWAYS now wear a PFD.
Don't be over confident because you've never been dunked - it will happen, so be ready for it !
Maybe see you around one day.