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Towing a Sailboat by Kayak

I haven’t been getting out paddling enough this year! I’ve either been out of town for family things, or I’ve been bicycling (just completed a week-long loop around the Columbia river gorge). Since I specifically named this blog for kayaking I have not been writing about my bike trips and therefore have been rather quiet! Perhaps I need to change the blog to kayakbikegrrl or something.

I now have the perfect reason to post an update though: I recently towed a sailboat from my kayak!

But first some background: a friend and I went to the Seattle Arboretum for an easy afternoon paddle. I’m used to getting to the arboretum from Lake Union so it was a treat to put in at the University dock. We were already in the midst of the destination and saved at least 30 minutes of paddling time each direction.

We went straight into the arboretum under the bridges and came across a group of ducklings with their momma! They were so adorable. It was surprising to see them at the start of August; shouldn’t the babies have been born around spring? We saw plenty of other young ducklings, but these were the youngest by far.


Here is a GPS image of the general route we took, starting at the U and going counterclockwise.

arboretum rout

There are various nooks and crannies you can paddle into among the cattails and such. We went into several of these. You get away from a little more of the freeway noise and see a few more birds this way. Notice the new kayak I haven’t blogged about yet…

Arboretum offshoot

We did a big loop and ended back at the UW dock, but just before we got there we noticed a young lady in a small sailboat stuck in the middle of some lily pads. We originally continued paddling but then my friend suggested that perhaps we could tow her out. I didn’t have my tow belt but decided to go back and see if we could help her. I asked if she had a line we could use to tow and when she said yes I asked her to pull in her rudder so we could tow her out. There was only one line so it was tied to my kayak and I slowly towed her out while my friend documented the experience.

Towing a sailboat

towing a sailboat 2

There was a rescue boat there by the time we got out but I think he appreciated not having to motor through the lilies! It didn’t take long to tow her out, it was mostly just a tug at a time since we couldn’t really get any momentum. She was embarrassed but grateful. I never pushed to get a full explanation of how she ended up so far in the middle of those lily pads!

New Roll
I also did some rolling while on this trip, in areas that weren’t too murky anyway! I came up with a new roll too: the “forgot my nose plugs roll.” I’ll roll in salt water without plugs but am not so keen to do so in lake water. I did two versions of this roll, one is the crook of the elbow roll with the free hand holding my nose, the other was a shotgun roll with the free hand holding my nose. I've gotten sinus infections from lake water so wasn't keen on that experience again.

All images in this post were taken by Mark Canizaro.