Why did I not do this before......Adding ballast.

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T4Mac
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Why did I not do this before......Adding ballast.

Post by T4Mac » Thu May 18, 2017 4:17 pm

I have been a tad disappointed with my progress in my Capella 166. I bought it in January and have had coaching on fundamentals but never seemed to get comfortable with the boat whilst practising what I was taught, even feeling a bit wobbly when taking photo's. I am 5' 10" and 17.5 stone and have been SOT kayak fishing 3 years.

As I have a trip to Scotland with a couple of over nights, I thought I'd practice putting some weight in the boat. Started with 2 litres of water secured in front hatch and two litres of water secured in the rear hatch.....Good grief, it's a new boat and so stable I know I could happily fly fish from it. Paddles like a dream.

So I am happy as Larry and just thought I'd spread the joy :-)

But then I thought. I wonder if my heavy upper frame is the problem or could I get away with a smaller Capella 160 with no ballast?

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Stick with the 166!

Post by nickcrowhurst » Thu May 18, 2017 4:57 pm

All other things being equal (which they aren't) a shorter kayak with the same beam will be less stable. (Think of the reduced immersed volume on the down-side at a given angle of heel)
Adding ballast to a sea kayak has an honourable history. Derek Hutchinson (RIP), author of "The complete book of sea kayaking" describes using lead for this purpose (page 47), particularly for people with big upper bodies (page 23). ISBN 0-7627-2825-6 £2.75 delivered from: http://bit.ly/2rvub4k

As you paddle more miles you will find that you can gradually reduce the weight, and still feel confident.

Nick

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T4Mac
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Re: Why did I not do this before......Adding ballast.

Post by T4Mac » Thu May 18, 2017 5:35 pm

Thanks for the feedback Nick. Makes sense.

Just ordered the book from ebay as that site has no paypal and I'm not a fan of giving card details if I don't have to.

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PhilAyr
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Re: Why did I not do this before......Adding ballast.

Post by PhilAyr » Thu May 18, 2017 10:17 pm

Also try lowering the seat. Just doing that alone made a big difference to my stability in a Quest.

Phil

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Re: Why did I not do this before......Adding ballast.

Post by sleepyfolk » Thu May 18, 2017 10:34 pm

My brother in law discovered the same thing with his Capella, paddled round to the pub in newlyn from mousehole, grabbed a bit of shopping from the co-op and a Chinese takeaway and discovered a totally different kayak on the way home, he'd had it for about 8 years and never put anything in it before and always found it a bit twitchy.
I am unsure as to the correct size of takeaway to achieve the perfect balance

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T4Mac
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Re: Why did I not do this before......Adding ballast.

Post by T4Mac » Fri May 19, 2017 8:20 am

Will take a look at that Phil.

I am unsure as to the correct size of takeaway to achieve the perfect balance
:-)

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TechnoEngineer
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Re: Why did I not do this before......Adding ballast.

Post by TechnoEngineer » Fri May 19, 2017 6:48 pm

Keep the ballast close to your seat (just behind the seat is probably the best location) - this minimises the swing momentum of the kayak.

Also make sure there are no surfaces (e.g. a half-filled water bottle) and that the ballast cannot move. A diving weight works well for doing this.

Also check that the trim is OK; so you can lean forward and backward when paddling to turn into and away from the wind.

Sea Kayaker magazine used to show stability curves on their kayak reviews, in most cases the kayaks were more stable when loaded. For example:
http://www.tideraceseakayaks.co.uk/wp-c ... _Xcite.jpg
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Re: Why did I not do this before......Adding ballast.

Post by pathbrae » Sat May 20, 2017 2:23 pm

I picked up a SH Nordkapp HM a few years ago and could barely get it up onto the roof of the car. When I got home I found 3 x 7Kg bars of lead glassed in behind the seat! That was maybe a bit of over-kill!! I never paddled it with the lead in the boat so can't comment on how much it changed the handling, but it must have almost been self-righting in a capsize.
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Re: Why did I not do this before......Adding ballast.

Post by Irish Sea » Sat May 20, 2017 7:38 pm

Generally speaking the old Nordkapps are good candidates for a bit of balasting but 21kg of lead is indeed a bit excessive. I find just having my normal day paddling gear (savety gear, spare clothes, lunch, drink) in the boat is all it needs to take the edge off a bit. Maybe around 5kg in total

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T4Mac
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Re: Why did I not do this before......Adding ballast.

Post by T4Mac » Sat May 20, 2017 11:17 pm

Pretty much what I had. 1 litre water weighs 1kg - so 4kg in total.

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Re: Why did I not do this before......Adding ballast.

Post by Owen » Sun May 21, 2017 12:08 pm

T4Mac wrote:
But then I thought. I wonder if my heavy upper frame is the problem or could I get away with a smaller Capella 160 with no ballast?
Your upper body size is most likely the problem, you don't need a smaller kayak you need a bigger one. If you can get the chance try out as many boats/different size boats as you can, it's the only way to find the right kayak for you.

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Re: Why did I not do this before......Adding ballast.

Post by Mac50L » Sun May 21, 2017 12:43 pm

T4Mac wrote:I thought I'd practice putting some weight in the boat. Started with 2 litres of water..... Paddles like a dream.
Been there, done that about a decade and a half ago. I tried a tortured ply hull. The only "comfortable" way of paddling it was with 3 litres of water just behind the seat. However it got to the point that I'd throw the kayak in the water and go paddling and realise I'd not added the ballast but hadn't noticed it.

A tippy kayak is the best way of up-skilling. A brace is so instinctive that it isn't noticed where as owning / paddling a stable kayak is actually a liability as far as a paddler's skills go.

My other, newer kayak has hard chines so though narrower (510 mm), feels a bit more stable.

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Re: Why did I not do this before......Adding ballast.

Post by Yellerbelly » Mon May 22, 2017 10:06 am

The club has a number of old square hatch plastic Capellas and the handling is awful, weathercocks even with the skeg fully down. I thought it was me when I was a beginner. What is so wrong with this design I don't know.
Anyway, some weight stuffed by the skeg improves things, your flask and dry bag. Stiffens up the tail. So ballast can be used to improve handling too.
Anybody else find this?
. . . . Ben

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Re: Why did I not do this before......Adding ballast.

Post by rockhopper » Mon May 22, 2017 12:01 pm

Depending on what I plan to do on a days paddling often depends on which hatch I pack stuff into. If I fancy doing carved turned and being fairly manoeuvrable I tend to load the front hatch which lifts the back end of the kayak slightly higher meaning that it releases earlier when tilted to one side however, if there is likely to be any reasonable sizes waves coming from anywhere behind or any surfing then I load the rear hatch which helps keep the back end engaged and so helps to stop the kayak turning. This is on an Rockpool Alaw Bach (or an Isel).

Rog.

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Re: Why did I not do this before......Adding ballast.

Post by TechnoEngineer » Mon May 22, 2017 12:49 pm

Yup, bow-heavy trim in surf is not a great idea :D
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