Roadside Assistance

There are always times when you’ll wish you’d been better prepared.

Exhibit A:

Bodge-job rudder repair thanks to a nearby tree and a stranger with some Gaffa Tape.


We strolled up to register for Waterside B full of confidence about our Sunday morning pootle down the canal – a mere 17 miles. Pleased with our decision not to burden our support team with too much training, we were laden with 2L Camelbaks and a tuppaware with enough food to get us through the race self-supported. We thought we’d be out to Aldermaston and back in a jiffy.

Then after about 6 miles of battling through the wind and rain, disaster struck – our rudder wire snapped leaving us wiggling unfashionably across the canal.

Woefully unprepared with no tools, no spare wire and no support team, we were thrilled at the arrival of the Gaffa Tape Lady! Together we came up with the genius plan of stabilising our rudder so that we could at least continue the race steering with our paddles.

Needless to say, it was a far from perfect fix and we were left heading slightly to the left for the next two hours that it took us to get back. We briefly tried to get to the turn point and very quickly realised we were going no-where!

As every day is a school day, here’s some learning points:

  1. Always take a repair kit with you.
  2. Double-check the condition of your boat before going out – especially the rudder!
  3. Support teams are useful for more than just food and water.
  4. Paddling a K2 without a working rudder will make you miserable.
  5. There is a creative fix for everything!


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