The Jinx Weekend Stats...

Thursday, 19 April 2007
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As I have written about before, I regularly paddle with a pretty hard-core group of men and woman paddlers. We paddle all winter and normally ice doesn't get in our way. This winter has been a weird one as we all have been so busy, we haven't had a lot of paddle time.

This weekend has what we have started to call it the Jinx weekend. For the past three years, this is the weekend that if something is going to go wrong, it will. We have had several accidents and for us that means actually coming out of our boats in surf and usually around rocks. Normally it is nothing to serious (a quick contact tow and then lots of teasing) but once it was a little serious (Lots of good learning afterwards followed by even more teasing).

My friend Sean recently sent out this note to the gang and I couldn't help but post it here (with his permission of course)...

Hello all. I'm looking forward to getting out this weekend either on Saturday or Sunday (hopefully both). I've been doing some regression analysis on a variety of factors related to the upcoming jinx weekend. Here is what I have concluded:

1. THE JINX WEEKEND - Based on historical data the third weekend in April (approximately April 21 through 24) is a time when someone in our group (which I have defined as myself, John, Erik, Liz and David) is likely to capsize.

2. THE DOUBLE JEOPARDY CLAUSE - If you have capsized already on April 21, 22, 23 or 24 in the Toronto harbour area you are unlikely to capsize again. (Erick capsized in 2005 but not 2006 and Liz, John and Sean (in that order) capsized in 2006 but did not capsize in 2005). This data suggests that David is at the highest risk of capsize this coming weekend. I am at the lowest risk. Liz and John are low/medium risk and Erik is at a medium risk.

3. THE EVEN NUMBER FEMALE RULE - Based on historical data around the capsizes, the safest configuration of a paddling group is to have even numbered paddlers with at least one female on the water. This configuration produces the least consequence capsizes. All male groups on the water tend to be associated with the most significant capsizes and odd number paddling groups are the most dangerous ( i.e. Erik, Sean and David paddled in April of 2005 with Erik capsizing in rocks and in 2006 John, Erik and Sean were on the water as mayhem ensued).

4. ROCKS - In all circumstances it is dangerous to be near rocks. All April capsizes in 2006 and 2007 have been related to paddling near rocks.

5. THE APRIL NOR'EASTER - 2005 and 2006 capsizes have occured when a nor'easter arrived in western lake Ontario on a weekend. Historical data suggests it is best to avoid these.

That's the type of data analysis everybody should be doing...

So this is the 4th anniversary of the Jinx weekend. What am I going to do about it? I'm getting out of Dodge. I'm flying out to Victoria to do some paddling and meet with a client about the new Trade Association of Paddlesports and West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium websites that I have been working on. That's what has been keeping me off the water all winter!

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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