Occasional thoughts and deeds of an Engineer
RSS icon Email icon Home icon
  • Friday Night on the boat.

    Posted on May 30th, 2008 cwmoore No comments

    com! Her finner du de beste og mest seriose casinoene pa nett , slik at du selv kan prove deg frem uten bekymringer.

  • Retire or not to retire?

    Posted on May 28th, 2008 cwmoore No comments

    Work has been slow for everyone but I am the slowest and my kind workmates have given me a little work.  This I appreciate very much because as a consultant every hour is billable and if you are not billable a high percentage of the time you go on part time or you plain go.  I am sort of at a cross roads – what to do?  There is no work in Indiana or Michigan other that what I am doing.  Manufacturing is just about down the tubes so that leaves the major employers as the local and state governments.  China is hurting us folks!

  • What is going on?

    Posted on May 28th, 2008 cwmoore No comments

    We left the boat Sunday evening to get back to town for the memorial Day services held in our little town.  Way back when there was a parade and a marching band and we would all march from the school to the cemetary where we would meet the American Legionnaires who would present the 21 gun salute.

    Today it is a little more subdued and we have a prayer, a short speech from our State Representative (who lives in town or we would not warrant that dignitary) and a longer speach from some veteran or the Lions Club president.  Then the junior high school band plays The Star Spangled Banner and a couple of other songs and it finishes with the 21 gun salute.  Small town stuff but I was brought up believing in such things and we carry on the traditions with a trip to visit the dearly departed.  Then a family lunch that gets smaller every year and so winds up Memorial Day rememberances.

    In the afternoon we kayaked up stream to an lake with no name and then a little farther up towards Long Lake but SAM was getting tired so we turned around.  On the way back I took the short detour to Mud Lake which is behind the old Turkey Farm.

  • Memorial Day Weekend: Saturday night

    Posted on May 24th, 2008 cwmoore No comments

    We awoke early, loaded the truck and drove up to Saugatuck to the boat.  It wad windy from the West.  Lots of loads of clothes, food, electronics, etc.  I am tired by now but no relief.  Time for the sails – so we put them up.  In total the weigh about 100# but the heaviest is about 50# and we started with the roller furling headsail first.  Then the inner staysail which is club footed.  We finally ended with the main sail and this was the toughie.  The wind was up and we missed the boom track twice but finally succeeded in getting it all together.  Late in the evening we raised the main and tied in the first and second reefs.  We should be already to go.

     Out slip is 5′ 6″ deep and we are nearly striking the bottom.  So, we complained and received a deep water slip but it is at the end of a long pier – the center one – so now we will be slip 153 which is a port side position.  In some respects this is a plus as the reverse gear tends to walk the boat to port so it will pull towards the dock.  However if the wind is from the South it pushes you towards the dock and makes exiting doubly hard.  At least we have 8′ depth and will not strike bottom this year.

  • First Night on the Boat

    Posted on May 20th, 2008 cwmoore No comments

    I called Tower Marine to find out when they were going to put my boat in the water.  They said it was already in but they for got to call me – THANKS!  Anyway I threw a bunch of clothes, gear, electronics and headed out for Saugatuck.  I arrived about 1530 – 1600 hrs.

    I got everything loaded and water put in the tanks and mounted the jib club foot and the boom.  If it is calm tomorrow I may try to put the sails on.  It is supposed to be cold tonight.  I think the heater is up front so I might plug it in.  So far everything works OK that I have tried..

    I am listening to Delilah on the radio.  I started this years ships log am not totally settled in but at least I went to the store to get some breakfast items and some hormel chili for lunch tomorrow. Opps, I forgot to set the barometer – better do this now.  OK, its done – 29.55 and supposed to rain tonight.  There is rain on the radar but it is up north right now.  Time to cruise the net.  BFN.

  • Strong Winds Sunday..

    Posted on May 19th, 2008 cwmoore No comments

    We took our kayaks out to Oliver Lake with the intention of going down to Olin Lake which is about a mile.  After starting to cross the narrows to the other side it was pretty gusty so we followed the shore line.  We would have to cross an exposed point where we could see lots of whitecaps (25 mph winds) so we decided to push back into the wind and go down the Northern side.  We took it easy and followed the shore line back to our starting point and beyond.  By then SAM was getting tired so we retired back to the put in ramp and declared that another day we would make the trip. 

    The water was exceptionally clear and the bottom was sandy and solid.  Maybe we will take the fishing poles with us too when we return.  This will be a good lake to practice rolls and other maneuvers as well.

  • Common Arm Injuries in Sea Kayaking

    Posted on May 12th, 2008 cwmoore No comments

    New South Wales Sea Kayaking Club

    By David Winkworth

    What you don’t know can hurt you

    In sea kayaking, our bodies are the engines that power the whole show, so not only do we need to keep them operating at peak efficiency but we also need to recognise the first signs of a problem.

    We may consider our arms as the linkages from our bodies to the paddle – and our paddles do much more than simply move us through the water… we also use them for steering and support strokes. To perform all these tasks our arms and wrists must move through a broad range of movements.

    Injuries to arms and wrists in sea kayaking are not uncommon and even the slightest twinge has the potential to develop into a chronic condition. But long before this occurs, the pain and discomfort  from an injury may be enough to abort that expedition you’ve been planning for months!

    I propose in this article to cover three common arm/wrist injuries. I have had the misfortune to have experienced them all, although only one of them was caused through paddling. Two of them required surgical intervention. You will see that none of them are ‘paddling specific’ injuries and you may indeed know people who have experienced these injuries through other sports or through their occupations.

    For reports on shoulder problems, I would refer you to Nick Gill’s excellent offerings which can be found in previous issues of NSW Sea Kayaker and on the NSWSKC website.

    So, you might indeed be wary of these injuries for yourself, but what if you’re the leader of a Club day paddle or expedition? An expedition is only as fast as the slowest paddler and the slowest paddler may be the slowest because of an arm injury! It is vitally important that you, as leader, are aware of all problems in your group. There is also the responsibility of all paddlers to keep the leader informed of any injuries. Early intervention is the key to a swift recovery.

    De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

    Sometimes called simply tenosynovitis, tendinitis or intersection syndrome, it is without doubt the most common arm injury in sea kayaking. It needs to be treated immediately.

    What is it?

    Tenosynovitis is a painful inflammation of tendons in the wrist caused by friction. It almost always occurs in the wrist directly behind the thumb where two tendons intersect. If you hold your right arm out with palm and fingers vertical, thumb on top, the injury site will be on top of your wrist about where your watch strap would go around. Now, using the fingers of your left hand, pinch the top of your right wrist as you clench and unclench your right hand and you’ll feel the tendons working.

    Nerves, ligament

    Tendons are fibrous tissue which connect muscles to bone. Some tendons run very close to each other (such as in the wrist). In these locations they are protected and separated by their own sheath which secretes a thick fluid called synovia to lubricate the tendon as it passes up and down the sheath. When a tendon is called upon to work hard it swells slightly and puts pressure on the sheath as it moves. If the sheath is unable to secrete enough fluid to lubricate the tendon’s movements, it dries out (so to speak) and heat develops through increased friction. This is definitely a case of ‘oils ain’t oils!’

    If the activity causing the problem continues, there is increased blood flow to the site and quite visible swelling. The area also becomes painful and inflamed. In severe cases, a squeaking noise (called crepitus) can be heard quite clearly. It is a disabling condition which can prevent use of the affected hand altogether.

    If the activity causing the inflammation continues, scar tissue can develop in the sheath inhibiting further lubrication. The condition may then become chronic and require surgery to slit open the sheath and remove scar tissue.

    What causes it?

    Generally, it is caused by rapid repetitious movements of the thumb and wrist and is common in assembly line workers. Interestingly, the occurrence of tenosynovitis in assembly line workers is more common in those workers performing a task for the first time, which leads to the observation that it is also a more common injury for those new to sea kayaking than it is for the old sea dogs (trip leaders should remember this when leading paddles for those new to sea kayaking). The condition can also occur more readily in the old sea dogs who have had a lengthy rest from paddling. It would seem that there is some conditioning factor here and that those returning to paddling after a lay-off should do so gently at first.

    In sea paddling, my opinion is that it is almost always caused by holding the paddle too tightly. This may be due to instability, nervousness, strong winds, aggressive steering strokes, etc, and it may only be for a short time but once the inflammation has started, it is highly unlikely that the tendon will repair itself that day.

    Trip leaders would be wise to organise experienced paddlers on a paddle to closely observe the paddle grip of those new to sea kayaking. Wind, short steep seas and narrower kayaks may make newer paddlers hold on too tightly. Look for tightly closed hands around the shaft with no relaxation phase during the return.

    The condition may also be caused through the use of an unfeathered paddle and the associated wrist cocking, although it’s my observation that the condition occurs equally with feathered and unfeathered blades. In any case, the trend these days in feathered paddles is away from the old ’90 degrees or nothing approach’. Some paddlers are now using feathers of around 45 degrees and I think it’s unlikely that such a small feather angle would contribute to the condition. You can test the tendon work required for gripping tightly versus wrist pronation for yourself: Pinch up the tendons as described above, clench and unclench your fist while noting the tendon tension and movement, then note the tendon movement with wrist cocking as you would do while paddling. Quite a bit less with the latter isn’t it?


    Like many inflammation type injuries, the first and best treatment is rest. That is, rest the limb from the action suspected of causing the injury. In this case, it is rest from paddling IN CONJUNCTION WITH a splint that immobilises the thumb and wrist. The splint can be made of anything – clothing, bandages… even sticks and duct tape! Anything that stops the tendons moving will be OK.

    If it happens at sea and you’re alone, you don’t have much choice – you have to paddle ashore. If it happens to someone in your group, stop them paddling immediately, put some more clothes on them, clip on a line and tow them ashore. What you do there and then will determine whether or not they can paddle tomorrow or the day after. Once ashore, they may still need help with getting out of paddling gear, erecting tent, etc – be aware!

    OK, rest, splinting… maybe some anti-inflammatory medication. The next step, if those aren’t successful, is a visit to the doctor for a corticosteroid injection into the tendon sheath. If the doctor gets it in the right place, the relief is instantaneous and that may even cure the problem… as long as the arm is also rested.

    Some years ago I had tenosynovitis in my right wrist. I gave it a week off and went back to serious paddling. It wasn’t enough and the condition became very painful, squeaky and chronic. While the success rate in surgical intervention is less than 100%, I did go for it… and I was lucky. It may not be the same for you!

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    I’ve never seen a serious case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) caused by sea kayaking but, nevertheless, paddlers should be aware of its early stages as it can be quite uncomfortable. CTS is also known as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and I remember its occurrence being common among keyboard operators, hairdressers and process workers. I think that awareness of OH&S issues in recent years has seen the introduction of better work practices and maybe it’s not so common these days.

    What is it?

    CTS is pain, numbness and tingling of the fingers (thumb and first three fingers only) caused by compression of the median nerve where it passes under the carpal ligaments. Carpal ligaments run across the heel of your hand (on the palm side) just in front of your wrist. Under the ligament, in the carpal tunnel, run veins, arteries, eight flexor tendons and the median nerve. There’s not much room in there and any swelling of the tendons (doing work, remember) can put pressure on the median nerve causing tingling and numbness.

    If the pressure in the carpal tunnel continues, the nerve can become scarred, further tightening in the tunnel and leading to pain (especially at night) and ultimately, loss of hand function.

    What causes it?

    Well, quite obviously, the flexing of the wrist in paddling. I believe this condition would be more common in those paddlers who use feather angles of near 90 degrees. As the wrist is cocked one way and then the other, the tendons in the carpal tunnel are flexed back and forth, they swell slightly and put pressure on the nerve. A tight grip on the paddle shaft may be a cause too.

    I’ve seen paddlers with tingling and numbness at sea during rest breaks shaking their hands to restore feeling, believing their problem to be poor circulation or numbness due to cold water. It is most likely these were not the causes of their problems. They were experiencing mild Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.


    Once again, the best treatment is rest. I used to experience occasional finger tingles at sea and I found that a few rest stops would see the end of them. If the problem persists, longer rests may be needed.

    Splinting the hand/s, especially at night is also helpful. Corticosteroid injection into the carpal tunnel is also claimed to be of benefit. In cases where loss of feeling in the hand and fingers is evident, a simple surgical operation to slit the ligament to relieve pressure on the median nerve is performed.

    If a paddler in your group complains of tingling and numbness in their hand/s during a long paddle, you could:

    • introduce longer and more frequent rest stops
    • advise them to switch to an unfeathered paddle IF they are using a feathered blade
    • tow them for a while to rest their hands

    Tennis Elbow

    The medical name for this injury is Epicondylitis. It basically means ‘a lump above the lump at the end of a bone!’ There are two types of Tennis Elbow or Epicondylitis.

    They are Medial and Lateral Epicondylitis. The latter is by far the most common injury.

    What is it?

    Despite its name, Tennis Elbow is not as common among tennis players as you would think. It is common in golfers, bricklayers, squash players and surprisingly violinists.

    Tennis Elbow is a tear or overload injury and occurs at the elbow. Hold your arm with the elbow at right angles. On the outside of your elbow you can feel a bony lump about halfway up your elbow. This is a lateral epicondyle (now you know!). Tendons of extensor muscles in your forearm attach to the bone here.

    What causes it?

    Can you remember ever bumping this bone on a doorway as you’ve walked through and mentioned that you’ve bumped your funny bone? You can? Well, that’s often the start of a Tennis Elbow injury. The tear of the tendon attachment point onto the bone often follows a bump which you may or may not remember. It may be something simple such as opening a jar,  wringing wet clothes or feathering a paddle blade which does the final damage.

    Once it’s happened though, you’ll know about it! It can be very painful and simple tasks such as picking up a cup of tea or shaking hands become impossible in severe cases.

    There is usually no swelling although the site of the tear is very tender. Normal elbow movement is possible but resisted extension of the wrist upward is painful. Holding up a paddle in one hand can be similarly painful. In fact any action requiring gripping with a palm-down attitude will cause pain.


    The good news is that the injury will respond to treatment. The bad news is that a full recovery may take 6 months to 2 years!

    Rest is the first line of treatment. This should involve RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) as required. Anti-inflammatory drugs are also used if the injury is acute.

    Corticosteroid injections are also used and surgical intervention too in severe cases.

    Stretching and strengthening exercises are also prescribed during recovery.

    I think an unfeathered paddle may assist if the tennis elbow injury is in the right arm.

    If a Tennis Elbow injury occurs on a paddling trip, rest would be the first treatment to try. Depending on the severity of the injury, take a few days off, do some walking, read a book perhaps and then try some reduced effort paddling. Above all, listen to your body. More pain will mean a longer recovery.

    When you do your pre-paddle stretches and warm-up routine, don’t neglect your hands, wrists and forearms.

    If you suffer an arm injury, use commonsense: rest the injured limb immediately and then, as the man says, “If pain persists, see your doctor.”

  • Detroit Tomorrow

    Posted on May 12th, 2008 cwmoore No comments

    Tomorrow morning bright and early I have to leave GR and go to Detroit to attend the last BOD meeting of ITS Michigan.  My three years are up and rewarding ones they have been.  From here forward remains uncertain but I am still the webmaster and no one else has really jump up to take the job so I assume I will continue for a while.

    It is almost 2100 hrs so I cannot write more because it is shower time and then bedtime for the early rise.  I’ll try to write more tomorrow night if I get home from the dinner at a reasonable hour.

  • Mother’s Day

    Posted on May 11th, 2008 cwmoore No comments

    The Mother’s Day service was good and inspiring, originating in Luke and Peter, which dealt with Martha and Mary.  The Pastor has a nice voice with a powerful resonance so took on extra meaning.  Afterwards, several of us went to Bob Evans for lunch and had a good time bragging about grandchildren and telling various stories. 

    When I got home I fell into a deep sleep that lasted until past 1530 hrs.  Strangely, I was dreaming of traveling on a motorcycle westward towards LA to Martha’s home.  I was lost and did not know what route to take.  Try as I might, I could not remember which road to take and I was looking for a simple map showing routes.  Instead, a man was trying to sell me book and inch thick that showed details much more that I wanted and a tourists description of the area.  I then awoke to leadened skies and rain.

    Later, I went to the gas station and put $106 into the truck & two 4 gallon gas cans – a new record to be entered inot my life’s record.  Not a pleasant one I can assure you.

  • Kayak News

    Posted on May 7th, 2008 cwmoore No comments

    Last Saturday the 3 May we met a group of kayakers from Indy and Ft. Wayne at the US-327/US-20 Pigeon River parking area with the intent of going down river to Mongo.  The day started nicely enough with good paddling temperatures in the mid 60’s.  We got started about 11:00 and planned about 4 hours for the trip.

    Things did not work out as planned.  Over the winter lots of trees had fallen across our river path.  About half we could jump or pushed over by some of the faster paddlers (and kind folks).  The other half it was in and out of the kayak, pulling it through the muddy banks and around the obstacle and then back into the water for another 1/4 mile and the next obstacle. 

    About a third of the way through the trip the kayak in front of me got stuck going across a submerged log.  As luck would have it the avenue across the log was only about 4 ft wide and there was not room for both of us.  The current took me and I was abeam the river and the tree.  As I hit the tree I could not lean into the tree and I did not have the experience in the boat to bring the up river side up (since I could not do the lean) and in less than a second I was upside down. 

    The current under the tree was intense but after a few tries I found purchase of the sandy river bottom and could stand up.  By then my paddle was floating down the river and my kayak weighed 500 # full of water. 

    SAM made it through the whole course without a dunking but we had to really fight the last mile straight against the wind of 20-25 knots and falling temperatures.  By this time it was 1700 hrs and we were cold, tired and cranky but after a seemingly never ending trip we made it and put our kayaks on this nice trailer someone had built.  By the time we reached the site where we started we had bought the trailer.  We emptied the trailer and hooked it up to the truck and took off pleased as punch.

    Now we are going through the endless and inane process of getting a homemade trailer licensed.  That will be another story another day.