Posts Tagged ‘sea kayak with no weathercocking’

This past weekend I visited Sweetwater Kayaks and played with five kayaks.  I want to thank Russell for letting me play with each boat.  Most retailers are quick to sell products.  And Russell is very accommodating.

I am 175 lb,  5′ 11″ tall, 30″ waist with a 32″ in-seem, my arms are 6′ 1″ long with a size 9.5 shoe.  The day I paddled the wind was gusting between 15 to 20 miles per hour with a slow incoming tide.  I chose to paddle in a triangular route to test these kayaks over a one mile course.  I focused on paddling with out the skeg forward and backward on this triangular course and used bow draws, stern draws, and low braces to test the turning capabilities.  I added no extra gear into the kayaks.  And used a Scottish made 215cm Lendel Paddle with Archipelago blades.

  • Greenlander Pro, NDK
    • fish form, rock solid with no weather cocking, lot of knee room – I would need to add knee and under thy padding, comfortable seat and back strap, little rocker, slow to turn up wind with a low brace, moderate turning up wind with a bow rudder.  With a little edging this is a sea kayak with no weathercocking
  • Anas Acuta, Valley Sea Kayaks
    • Swede form, moderate weather cocking, snug knee room – no extra padding is needed, I would want a different seat, I liked the back strap, rocker, easy to turn up wind with a low brace,
  • Nordkapp LV, Valley Sea Kayaks
    • Swede form, slight weather cocking, moderate knee room – it would need some padding under my thys.  It has a comfortable seat and back strap, rocker, easy to turn up wind with a low brace,
  • Cetus LV, P&H Sea Kayaks
    • Swede form, slippery lots of weather cocking, knee room is perfect like wearing a pair of pants – no additional padding is necessary, comfortable seat and back strap, rocker, easy to turn up wind with a low brace, I had some problems getting the skeg to fully deploy,
  • Scorpio LV, P&H Sea Kayaks
    • Swede form, slippery lots of weather cocking, knee room is perfect like wearing a pair of pants, comfortable seat and back strap, rocker, easy to turn up wind with a low brace,

I have ruled out the Nordkapp LV because of the higher volume deck. The Nordkapp LV deck just looks odd when I sat in its cockpit.  I already own a plastic Chatham 17 by Necky Kayaks; thus, I am ruling out the Scorpio.  Currently I am looking for a little more play in my future kayak.  So the Greenlander Pro is dropping to the number three position.  However, if I was doing a major expedition I would most definitely want the rock solid paddling experience of the Greenlander Pro.  So, that leaves the brand new Cetus LV competing with the tried, true, classic Anas Acuta.

My next demo will be to load the Cetus LV, Anas Acuta, and Greenlander Pro with a weeks worth of gear.  I will be doing this sometime in January.  It will be interesting to see how they handle with gear.  I also plan on putting them through the ringer with Greenland rolls and braces.

Your ideas are always appreciated – Jeff

Update: January 24, 2011 “Test Paddling NDK Greenlander Pro

wind_monsterJeff Cooper of H2Outfiffers shared with me a simple analogy to explain weather cocking. A common definition of weather cocking is that “a boat moving forward points into strong winds”. I have heard some people say that wind pulls the front of a kayak. I have never felt wind pull me. Then I have heard that wind pushes the back of the kayak, and a lower volume stern will decrease its surface area. Wind pushing the back of a boat is an interesting idea when the paddler is of average size.  On a sailboat, wind pushes the sail, and a person in a kayak is more apt to catch the wind than their stern due to their increased surface area.  Unless the surface area of the stern is greater than the paddler’s torso. All of these aforementioned ideas can make a person’s head spin.

Thankfully, there is the picture of an icebreaker that can make weather cocking easily understood.

 

icebreaker

 

The front of an icebreaker is static. Behind the ship is a smooth waterway. The back of the boat glides free and this is where boaters steer their craft. Forward motion of all sea going vessels produces this effect. Wind always has the most push against the tallest and most exposed surface. The body is what wind pushes. The stern of the kayak slips downwind due to the push on the paddler. The person moving the kayak forward is the cause that produces the effect of the back of the kayak to slip downwind.

Another way to think of weather cocking is to have you and a friend work together to illustrate an experiment.  Hold your arm out strait.  Have a friend gently push your arm at the elbow moving it three inches.  Then hold your arm out strait again.  Have the same friend gently push your arm at the wrist moving it three inches.  When your arm is pushed at the elbow (the center of the arm) you wrist moves father than it did when pushed at the elbow.  The same thing happens in a kayak.

 

To compensate for this natural action use a: rudder, skeg, stern draw, combined with edging (j lean)  and have short forward stroke.

There are the other variables that can increase the appearance of weather cocking: current, flowing seas, hull design, paddler’s weight, how gear is balanced within the hull, the length of the paddler’s paddle, and the length of the paddler’s forward stroke.  All of these variables can increase the appearance of weather cocking.  And we will explore each variable in future posts.  When you find the perfect combination you have a better chance of paddling a sea kayak with no weathercocking effects in most sea conditions.

—Jeff