Sunday, August 10, 2014

PaddleHand Review

At last…

Here it is….

The long-awaited…..

Proper Course PaddleHand Review!!!!!!

And I can confirm after exhaustive (not to mention exhausting) product testing of the PaddleHand on my Laser last Thursday... that it performs exactly as promised and I will never go sailing without it again.

I received a PaddleHand to review at the end of April and I took it with me sailing on 27 days in May, June and July. But not once on those days did the wind become light enough to require the use of a paddle.

Then in July I hurt my back so I didn't go sailing for a few weeks.

Finally this month I felt my back injury had healed enough for me to hit the water again. The weather forecast on Thursday promised a gentle 8 knots from the north, but the weather forecast was wrong. The wind died almost completely after I launched in Bristol so I got out my PaddleHand and paddled out from the mooring field into open water where some zephyrs were teasing me to sail. I did sail for an hour or so. Sort of. To say the wind was light, shifty, and variable would be a euphemism. But it felt good to be on the water again and sorta kinda moving. Then I had to use the PaddleHand again to return to the beach.

This is what it says about the PaddleHand on the PaddleHand website.

When using the PaddleHand I lay face down on the foredeck and paddled with it using my right hand. It seemed to be propelling me along quite nicely. Just for comparison purposes I tried paddling with my hand only, and it was way way slower.

On my way back to the beach after my sail I did a more scientific test. I used the PaddleHand to paddle a measured distance, from opposite the Thames Waterside Bar and Grill at the end of State Street to Quito's, another waterside restaurant, this one at the corner of Independence Park. (Don't ask why I measure distances on the water by using waterside bars as landmarks. I just do.) I would paddle for about 30 strokes and then let the boat glide for about 30 seconds or so. Then repeat. So a fairly relaxed effort. It's about a fifth of a mile from the Thames Waterside to Quito's (if you are relatively sober) and it took me about 6 minutes on the water. So by my calcuation that's about 2 mph.

It may not sound super fast but it's better than sitting around waiting for the wind to come. And one of these weeks after Tuesday night sailing when the wind has totally died and the sun is setting, the PaddleHand will help me beat all my sailing companions to the beer.

And after all, winning the race to the beer is what it's all about, isn't it?

Go to and buy one. You too can be first to the beer.


Pandabonium said...

I have a cousin who was born with paddle hand. His mother drank too much beer during pregnancy I think. Happily, the condition was corrected surgically.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

"F2B" should be inserted into the RRS's, IMO.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Should be a point better than "DNF".

Tillerman said...


Anonymous said...

what happen??? twenty years ago every one knew to stand on the front of the mast and flip the sail side to side, today when i do it, its like the alieans have landed...dont use a plastic piece, learn to flip the boat side to side!!

Tillerman said...

Thanks for the tip Anonymous. I am aware of that technique but I am not very confident or competent at it. Probably something to do with the fact that I suffer from SFOWAAATRGBWSUS (Severe Falling Over When Attempting Any Activity That Requires Good Balance While Standing Up Syndrome.)

O Docker said...

I am shocked that you - of all people - would endorse the use of a product like the PaddleHand in Laser competition.

From its introduction, the Laser has always been a simple boat, devoid of complicated rigging and designed to level the playing field, making the competition one of pure sailing skill. Laser sailing has never been about gaining an advantage through the use technical gimmicks and trickery.

Since one of the most important psychological factors in light air sailing is the drive to reach the beer, sailors with a PaddleHand aboard have a distinct advantage over those who don't. This, in effect, creates two classes of sailors on the race course - those who can afford these Mommy Gloves and those who cannot.

Laser sailing should be about teaching self sufficiency and the ability to react to changing conditions on the race course as they happen - without unfair outside assistance from devices like the Mommy Glove. The sailor who reaches his beer fair and square is a better sailor and a stronger person.

Mommy Gloves should be banned now.

Tillerman said...

Beer changes everything.

ROC said...

A faster way to get back to shore/beer? I have no problem with it. Can't wait to get one!

Anonymous said...

Getting in front of the mast (on your tummy) requires some extraordinary skills. I find it tricky to slither around the mast.


Tillerman said...

I am more of a shimmier than a slitherer.

ROC said...

I paddle from the cockpit on my knees so I can steer while paddling. Works well.

Tillerman said...

I have very long arms.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

I forgot to mention my diagnosis of SFOWAAATRGBWSUS played a factor in my recent relinquish of my Laser-28.

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