Whitewater Forum: Recommended Cowtails
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Recommended Cowtails

Printed From: ProfessorPaddle.com
Category: General
Forum Name: Whitewater Forum
Forum Discription: Open Discussion Forum. Whitewater related subjects only
URL: http://www.professorpaddle.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=9653
Printed Date: 19 Jul 2018 at 2:29pm

Topic: Recommended Cowtails
Posted By: kebm1979
Subject: Recommended Cowtails
Date Posted: 26 May 2010 at 11:25am
Finally years after taking my whitewater rescue class, and always just using a waist throwbag with include about a 6' rope and carabiner.
I now have a rescue vest but I need to buy a cowtail for it.  Any suggestions on which one to get and length?  I was think of getting NRS long tow tether
http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp?pfid=2191&pdeptid=1045 - http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp?pfid=2191&pdeptid=1045
I usually prefer not to clip in and just nudge the swimmers boat over with my bow, but it would be nice to clip in for calmer class II water. 
Thanks for your advice.

Everyday has at least one happy hour

Posted By: dragorossinw
Date Posted: 26 May 2010 at 11:46am
The less stuff hanging off your vest the better.  If you use a cowtail, leave it tucked in a pocket. 

Tony Z

Posted By: kebm1979
Date Posted: 26 May 2010 at 1:56pm
Yes, thanks for the friendly reminder.  It will be one that I plan to have securely fastened into my vest when not in use.

Everyday has at least one happy hour

Posted By: chipmaney
Date Posted: 26 May 2010 at 3:34pm
Chris from Wave-trek recommends the short tow tether since it's less prone to get in the way and is more apt to keep a tethered boat in line with your intended direction.

For everyone out there without a rescue vest and/or tether, keep in mind that while the tow tether can be used to rescue boats, it is more importantly a vital piece of equipment for other people to RESCUE YOU if should become pinned, broached, or otherwise entrapped.  Might be pretty hard to attach pull it out of your pocket and attach it if such an event occurred....

if you haven't take a rescue course and learned how to use your tether, i highly recommend it.

sitting all alone on a mountain by a river that has no end

Posted By: jP
Date Posted: 26 May 2010 at 6:20pm
yeah, to augment what was already said I'd say it comes down to how you stowe the tether in your jacket so that its neat and tidy and can't create entanglement problems. Checking it each time you put on your vest to make sure it ain't sloppy, ect.

Good point about the tether, Chipper. It's also worth mentioning that the quick release webbing be run through the quick release buckle properly so that it is ready to go if you were unconscious, and someone had to rescue you as Chipper suggested.


Posted By: meryl
Date Posted: 26 May 2010 at 7:27pm
I made this cowtail from some bungee cord and some 1/2" tubular webbing. It stretches from about 16" to about 36". It was cheap and easy and it seems okay to me, but it doesn't seem like many other people make their own. Am I missing something?   http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1246564030#!/album.php?aid=69022&id=1246564030

Posted By: matta
Date Posted: 26 May 2010 at 7:33pm
I have a long one and wish I had a short one for stowability reasons. I initally wanted the short one b/c I thought it would tow better and it probably would, but in practice, the long one works just fine when actually attached to the boat.
Beware, many cowtails come with biners that are to small to fit around a paddle shaft. Not really necessary for picking up gear reasons that often, but nice to have when practicing handrolls, instructing someone, etc.

Posted By: water wacko
Date Posted: 26 May 2010 at 8:10pm
Meryl, I have one like yours, but I bought mine. I have a regular sized biner on the end, and my Kokatat Ronin PFD has a little pocket on the side I can stuff the biner and few extra inches of tail that hangs loose in to. It also has a grommet for attaching a "quick release" style attachment point for the biner to attach to also. I've noticed some vests are now featuring different ways of incorporating cow tails into them.

Posted By: Wiggins
Date Posted: 27 May 2010 at 9:51am
Remember if you want to use it in rescues situations to get one that has a weighted rated cowtail and carabiner. Last time I was in the market for one Chris from Wavetrek told me that not all of them are up to the task of bearing heavy loads.

I smell bacon

Posted By: jP
Date Posted: 27 May 2010 at 9:58am
Yeah- one thing about the biner being big enough to clip onto a paddle:
I think that's a good feature. Because a paddle drags easily enough behind a boat once it is on a tether. Then that frees you up to bulldoze a boat in if you prefer that method . I usually prefer to bulldoze boats in to the bank. It is more difficult than towing, but usually when these situations arise it is somewhere above a rapid where I don't want to be clipped into a boat- quick release or not.


Posted By: kebm1979
Date Posted: 27 May 2010 at 10:15am
Thanks so much for all the good input.  The strength factor is an important one for sure.  Anyone have a good link to where I could buy one that meets the recommended suggestions?
I also like bulldozing the boat, i've always been nudging them no wonder it was taking me a while to get them to shore;)

Everyday has at least one happy hour

Posted By: jP
Date Posted: 27 May 2010 at 11:01am
yeah, Bulldozing is tough with today's boat designs...

the extreme rocker (especially with short playboats) makes it hard to not slip off one end or the other. And since your own boat has plenty of rocker as well with a blunt bow, it's harder to hook the cockpit rim.

I remember when it was easy to hook a cockpit with your bow. Boats were pointy and had less rocker then. Once you had your bow in the cockpit of the swamped boat, you could drive that thing where ever you wanted, if you were a skilled kayaker.

Today, the best way to bulldoze a boat is really with two good kayakers. each one trapping an end so that the boat has no where to go without being pinched between the two rescue boats. Of course, this takes skill, and more importantly, awareness on pat of the rescue boats to work in tandem.

Here's another area where floatbags become important: A swamped boat with fully inflated float bags can be flipped upright easier, and then it will also be easier to bull dose since your bow won't ride up on a capsized craft with lots of rocker, causing it to slip off one end or the other. A righted kayak will also not get anchored to undesireable currents as much- the bow and stern being out of the water.

Kinda off topic now, but hey, it is related...


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