I would like hear from those like me, who have had the opportunity (opportunity sounds more positive) for self rescue back into your Pro Angler. I capsized my PA14 a mile out in the Pacific ocean a couple months ago. The result was not pretty.
How it happened is another story, but the important part here is, I was only able to reenter my PA with the help from my buddy. He was about thirty yards away. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of not going it along unless you are 100% confident you can get back on your kayak. Anyway, I experienced two important parts to the self, ah, assisted rescue. First, I was unable to turn the kayak back over. My buddy helped with this. Second, and as much as I tried, I was not able to reenter the kayak by myself. My best bet was to reenter from the rear (stern) and was only able to do it by placing one leg on the bow of my buddy's kayak as I held onto the handhold on the back of my PA. I was then able to pull myself up and onto the rear deck and slowly moved into the seat.
I have made two important additions to the PA since the opportunity (just keeping it positive since I am here to write about it) occurred. First, I attached a short throw rope with PVC handle on one the side of the kayak. I use Velcro to keep it in place until needed. With the kayak overturned, I unfasten the rope and throw it over the bottom of the kayak making it much easier to turn it over. Second, I attached a rope ladder with two PVC rungs to the back of the kayak. With these additions I practiced self rescue in a large and deep swimming pool. The throw rope with the hand worked great. You want the rope just long enough to go about two thirds of the way over the bottom. It provide great leverage with your knees brought to the side of the hull while bringing it upright.
The rope ladder worked but was no easy task. In bad seas and wind it may not work at all. To assist myself I tied a rope to the bottom of the Vantage seat which extends to the rear of the kayak. I tied knots in the rope every 10 to 12 inches to make grabbing the rope much easier. Without the grab rope, it is very likely I would not be able to pull myself forward to get up on the kayak. What happens with the rope ladder is, once I placed my foot on either rung (while holding onto the rear bar), my foot would go directly up to the bottom of the kayak. I feared this would happen even before I tried it. I wish I was 25 years old again but I'm not, and at 6'-2" and 240 lb. and plenty of gray hair, it was difficult at best to get back into the boat. There, I said it . . . boat. The PA as you know is not small kayak, it is a ship, vessel or boat, just big! The opportunity did not deter my joy for saltwater fishing as I have been back twice since. The pool self rescue is a great start and I will be doing it again. Most assuredly, I also need to do some ocean practice with my buddy along. I am working on a much better solution to the rope ladder and will share that here once I have made it happen. My goal is to be totally self reliant and able to get back onto my PA without any assistance. Nonetheless, I will not go out without another kayaker with me.
Please share your "opportunities" here, so we can all benefit from your experience.
PS - I forgot to mention that my front hatch container was almost entirely filled with water. Lucky for me I carry a hand bilge pump and made quick work of removing it. There was no way I could have lifted it to pour it out. I also removed the tackle boxes from the hatch near my feet and pumped water out of the hull. Attention Hobie . . . I am not telling you something you don't already know; the front hatch is a real problem and needs your complete attention to help us make it as water tight as possible. I'm working on that issue myself for now. Lots of talk on this subject in the forum.