|The Grizzly Boat, post-surgery.|
Grizzly bears love to chew up rubbery, flexible, boat-like objects. In the spring of 2007, an enterprising Grizzly attacked a brand-new Alpacka raft and destroyed it. The owner brought the shredded remnants to us. We were overjoyed.
The Challenge: Repair a bear-shredded boat in simulated field conditions.
The Tools: What we normally carry on a day-trip:
The Damage: The worse we've ever seen. Multiple massive rips, hundreds of bite-holes, missing fabric.
The Scenario: We assumed a field-repair situation: No fancy equipment, minimal supplies. We used a paddle blade as a flat surface. We used a pair of scissors, but a knife would have worked too.
The Results: Sheri made a workable, floating boat. Is it 100% airtight? No! Would it get you home? Yes! Is it pretty? No!
The Video is the best explanation of how it's done:
Raft Triage: The Cool Skill you'll never need...
|Grizzly Boat Interior. The white tape on the mouth valve is covering a bite-hole. Note that the seat has been cut out for patch material.|
Our discussion of Raft Triage is a bit like Boeing giving instructions on how to do a Flight of the Phoenix job on a wrecked 727, transforming it into a DC-3. But we can't resist, because it's so cool! Raft Triage was performed on the bear-boat, above - and that's the only time we've ever had to do it. Really? Yes. In another case, one of our boaters literally lost his rolled-up boat in a river. Months later, someone pulled it out of the riverbank and returned it to him, and it was still 100% seaworthy. Yup, we aim to build'em tough. Even for the most advanced boaters, this is an esoteric, worst-case-scenario skill. That said, it's pretty interesting.
What is Raft Triage? Triage is a medical term, originally French, used in major catastrophes to 'sort' victims for appropriate treatment. Structural Triage is done after a catastrophe like a tsunami or earthquake, when experts go through a determine which buildings are fine, which to fix, and which to condemn & raze to the ground. Raft Triage is our version of structural triage on your raft. It is:
Everything on your Alpacka is there for a reason. However, in an emergency, there's a specific order you'll want to sacrifice parts.
|Patching a Hole: sandwiched between tape is a mess of shreds, a big hole in the middle, and a piece of the seat over that hole.|
RAFT TRIAGE PRIORITIES, listed in order of criticality:
In real application, this is just a set of guidelines. The nature of the water obstacles between you and a safe, secure destination will determine what boat performance you need, but this is the 'basic triage template.' With this knowledge, you and your Alpacka are much better prepared to survive the worst the world will throw at you: a grizzly bear with a yen for urethane, an accident with a big bonfire, the zombie apocalypse...