The Sea Guide Towline MKII is the love child of the original Sea Guide Towline and the Sea Bean Towline and as such has kept the best genetic material from each of its parents. With the twin long and short lines from the Guide and the compact form of the Bean it really is an evolutionary leap.
The towline bag is cleverly constructed with origami like folds of tough durable Cordura into what is best described as the shape of a large Cornish pasty. This unique shape means that when you open up the large velcro fastening, the mouth of the bag sits wide open making repacking at sea easier; and as you close it the folds naturally envelop any stray bits of rope helping pack it away tidily.
The bag is mounted on a 50mm webbing, adjustable waist belt with a cam buckle release & toggle. There is a slider which allow's adjustment of the buckle position so it can be set central around your waist.
The 14m long towline comprises of 5.5mm floating braided rope, which is attached to the belt with shock cord and the tow rope is then connected, via some whipping and self amalgamating tape, to a Whetman Kraken carabiner. This makes for a nice firm grip to handle the carabiner. It is also supplied with a float that moves freely on the line but can also be positioned to suit your needs by simply using a couple of overhand knots.
The second short tow is a separate section of reflective rope which is connected to the central point of the bag and exits out of the drain hole in the base of the bag. It is operated without opening the bag. This second tow is primarily designed as a contact tow however it has many other uses. It can be clove hitched to the main line to shorten it. It can be clipped around a paddle shaft & allow it to float free, leaving the paddlers hands free. It can also be useful in a throwline rescue situation; once thrown the throwline end can be clipped to the short tow & the rescuer is then hands free to tow out the casualty. Another application is when assisting from the rocks on a rocky landing in swell, the wearer can be clipped in position on a belay line to prevent being washed into the sea.
There are stainless steel D ring to park the karabiners on either side of the waist belt. The positioning of these is further forward that on some towlines. Presumably this is to provide ease of clipping when the bag is worn at the back. This however doesn't prevent you wearing the bag at the front. Either towline can be clipped to either side meaning you can position them to prioritise your dominant hand.
The construction of this hand made in the UK bag looks and feels like it will last a long time. It's sturdy construction and well though out features make it well worth its price and for a sea kayak guide, leader or coach that is using it every day it represents great value.
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By Philip Clegg
With over two decades of working in the sea kayaking industry, Phil can be found on a daily basis coaching for Sea Kayaking Anglesey. That's when he's not expeditioning, playing or putting kit to the test.