The Whetman Equipment Sea Bean Elite is a small compact waist mounted towline that offers big performance. The Elite evolved from it’s slightly simpler sibling the Sea Bean. The difference between the two is the Elite has a stiffened joint where the rope meats the carabiner and the addition of the carabiner park on the waist belt.
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. Or Oggie, Empanada, Calzone or Croissant depending of where you look at it from. 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.
The bag is mounted on an adjustable waist belt with a quick release plastic cam. The 5.5mm floating braided rope is available in 10m or 14m and is attached to the belt with shock cord that can be cut off, removed and the rope tied into the metal D ring if your prefer your tow rope without it. 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. The self amalgamating tape does degrade after a few years but can be DIY replaced. It should be noted that this system has a metal carabiner without a float. This isn’t a problem for us as we usually remove them anyway but your carabiner will sink if dropped.
The Kraken is a stainless steel carabiner that has a clean snag free nose. It was developed by Whetman Equipment specifically for sea kayaking. It has some nice features including a bent back that matches the curve of the sides of a sea kayak which means it can be single handedly slid under the deck lines and rotated to clip the line. The one draw back we have with it is it can be prone to unclipping when towing in bouncy waves, due to the way the wire gate sits over the nose of the carabiner. If that is a problem for you it is available with a variety of other carabiners too.
By Philip Clegg
Approaching two decades of working in the sea kayaking industry, Phil can be found on a daily basis coaching and paddling on the coastline of Anglesey. That’s when he’s not travelling the world expeditioning, coaching and testing kit.