> My beginners teaching day is Wednesday. ?I also have ?Caroline show up
> then who is rebuilding after severe brain trauma, ?on Wednesdays she
> stays in our small lagoon and reviews some basics.
> So I have Ed coming back next wednesday, who is deaf, and a new
> sculler Walter who is blind.
> Ed's been out a few times, ?so we're in cahoots, ? I'll put Walter in
> a double with me.
> It'll be pitch dark, ?only Walter won't be bothered. ?Walter considers
> himself an accomplished kayaker and canoer and has been asking just to
> jump in one of the team boats and he'll figure it out. ? How would he
> know better, he's never seen it!!!
> I'll let you know how it goes, should be a rodeo.
Went very well this morning. Walt was a top 2% in coordination, and
while I had to adjust my planning considerably to get him through
the parts we sighted ppl take for granted, we covered more this
morning on the water than a typical first day student, got him
backing properly, and a bit of hold water.
1. Walt was used to trailing the boat in carrying kayaks with
a partner. I wanted him to lead so I could properly "cox"
us. I had him bring his cane so he could be responsible for
his feet, and that worked well.
2. The Saturday walk thru of the property I had him do
before today was an hour well spent. He got here this
morning already oriented, arrived early and found his way
to an erg before I got there. Saved SO much time on
3. walking on to the float and "toe to the edge" with the
boat caused me a bit of trepidation. Walt felt comfortable
dropping to a knee when the boat went in the water,
that worked well.
4. Had him do it all, open oarlocks, put the oars in, etc,
in the same way I have sighted ppl. One minor mistake
was that usually I'll have ppl open the outboard oarlock
before grabbing the oar to put in it. I realized this was
a bit much for him not seeing, so I put the oar out
on to the wing rigger, so he could open the oarlock, feel
for the shaft, put into the oarlock and lock all in one
basic motions. I don't do this with other beginners for
marginal reasons I won't explain now.
My method for stepping in a boat, feeling the balance,
then bending down to touch gunwhale for balance on
the inboard and reaching out to do the oarlocks was
very effective for walt.
5. I'll typically stick a first day person in an aero, have
him walk off the end of dock, then stop, bow out. I'll
hold the boat steady and work them through holding
the handles, dealing with crossover, feathering,
most of a proper grip, and finally some hands only
rowing, first a few strokes square and adding in feathering
I did this with him in the stern of the double, then
when he'd demonstrated his ability to row ok, I pulled
him back in and got into the bow.
When he was first in my grasp, we worked initially
on feeling the blade orientation through the oarlock/sleeve
Walt wanted to put a piece of tape on his handle to
let him know which direction the blade was facing.
I assured him it would be unnecessary, that by a
few sessions, he'd be able to feel the position of
the blade. So we spent some time feeling the positions.
once he could feel the differences, I had him pull the
oar inboard again so he could feel the blade shape
and feel the sleeve/collar shape.
Went very well. Later after rowing around. I had
him spin his oars quickly in different directions so
he lost track, then had him try to find oars flat position.
I did the same (without looking of course).
He's able to get oars out of the cabinet, though
currently I'm his guide, I walk in front and make
a footfall scrape every few steps and he's got
He learned to back AND the rudimentary correct
hold water. I generally teach backing first, then
hold water, but I reversed it today so that I can
get him to feel how to position the blades to recover
on the water in backing. My method was good, I
rowed a few strokes easily and had him feather
the blades flat and slightly back so he could feel
the blade flow. Had him hold for me several times,
played with the adjustment of how much pitch vs
how much holding pressure, then taught him to back
from there. Went very well. He backed expertly.
We rowed a dozen strokes then had him back again.
(sometimes confusing for beginners.)
Good athlete, will be a good sculler.
One more time in a double next week, and the
following Friday I'm launching him in an Aero.