Weighting a kayak...

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Beryl
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Weighting a kayak...

Post by Beryl » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:00 pm

Hi. I’m on my first sit-in and am finding it over-lively in confused estuary chop. This is stopping me familiarising and gaining confidence as quickly as I’d like. Would some small waterproof sand bags be worth experimenting with? The boat is called the Willow. I’m 160lbs. Thanks in advance.

https://billthomasmaker.com/pages/willow-sea-kayak
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TheEcho
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Re: Weighting a kayak...

Post by TheEcho » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:43 pm

Can you take the seat out and sit on the floor? That will increase stability. But it depends whether your complaint of an over-lively nature is instability (likely to capsize) or too quick to turn/hard to hold a course.

mcgruff
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Re: Weighting a kayak...

Post by mcgruff » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:14 pm

Hard chine designs are known for low initial stability but good secondary stability. The low initial stability can make them feel unstable & precarious but it also has a positive side in that it also makes the boat respond less to chop coming from the side (once you're used to handling it). You might need to get some solid experience on calm water before you get a feel for it and start to feel confident.

Weight will slow everything down a little but you'd need to add a lot and it's going to roll around inside the boat in a capsize, making recovery harder.

And if the boat wasn't built with watertight bulkheads/compartments it would sink as soon as it filled with water.

Mac50L
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Re: Weighting a kayak...

Post by Mac50L » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:39 pm

Beryl wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:00 pm
Hi. I’m on my first sit-in and am finding it over-lively in confused estuary chop. This is stopping me familiarising and gaining confidence as quickly as I’d like. Would some small waterproof sand bags be worth experimenting with?
Yes.

One of mine was a tortured ply hull and I used either 3 litre (3 kg) or two to make 6 litre (6 kg) of weight via wine cask liners bags filled with water. It is advisable to drink the wine first - but not just before going kayaking. So sand in bags would be just as good. Try to make sure it isn't going to shift sideways

After a month of kayaking I'd notice I'd gone out and not fitted ballast but "So what?" Basically it was an easy up-skilling method. Get used to the kayak and you will get more proficient. About a year later on a trip I had two seal pups clamber on to the aft deck. In the video taken by another kayaker, I did a reasonably violent brace but if I'd been asked about it would have taken it as just the normal thing needed in that situation.

The kayak I most commonly paddle has a beam of 510 mm (20") and is hard chine and feels more stable than the tortured ply hull.

The tortured ply kayak can be found in "The Book of Canoeing" by Dennis Davis, pub 1969 and then in Sea Kayaker magazine a couple or more decades later.

The Willow sea kayak should handle reasonably stably but as a new kayaker, you need to get used to how a kayak reacts to waves and chop. "Time on the water." is what it is about.

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Re: Weighting a kayak...

Post by Ken_T » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:18 pm

Hi Beryl,
If you choose to weight the kayak, I would use water bags so that the boat will not sink if it fills with water (even if you have bulkheads, air bags or fixed buoyancy). If you can I think you would be better off getting used to the handling on flat water, then moving up to more challenging conditions. If you ballast it is better fixed so that it doesn't impede righting a capsized boat.
Ken

Chris Bolton
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Re: Weighting a kayak...

Post by Chris Bolton » Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:20 pm

In the short term, while you develop confidence, some ballast weight will help. You're right to think confidence matters; once you can relax and let the boat find its stable point it becomes easy, but you need to develop the muscle memory, and you can only do that with time in the boat. If you find you need ballast in the longer term, you would be better changing to a more stable boat. As Ken says, I would use water not sand. Water has the advantage that you don't need to carry it after you finish paddling, just empty it out. I would use empty plastic bottles, and hold them in place by inflating a buoyancy airbag above them.

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Re: Weighting a kayak...

Post by Beryl » Sat Jun 29, 2019 10:18 pm

Hi. Thanks for the useful advise.
I’ve made up a seat out of a Lidl camping mat that gets me closer to the bottom of the boat, nicely tight across the hips and a slim pillar back support. It looks awful but customising the fit of itself has made me more at ease in the kayak.

I’ve made up a couple of ‘sausage’ sand bags each weighing 15 kg to try. I’m waiting to get back on the small estuary I’m most familiar with.
The best thing about the ‘willow’ is it’s 19kgs. This, in practise means I don’t think twice about going for a paddle if conditions allow. I can see there are better ideas about but this is very much a temporary experiment to hopefully learn something....

Time on the water.... I’m trying! I was on the Restronguet spur of the Fal Monday paddling up until grounding on an turning ebb to share a magical moment with hundreds of Mullet feeding furiously, half in and half out of the water. Tuesday was a bumpy ride in Penzance harbour; with an increasing easterly driving in through the entrance and reflections off the harbour walls I wasn’t comfortable at times but that was sort of the point of it. Out again today post gales on the Helford but sober conditions kept the sandbags in the boot.
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Re: Weighting a kayak...

Post by adventureagent » Sun Jun 30, 2019 3:32 pm

Beryl wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:00 pm
Hi. I’m on my first sit-in and am finding it over-lively in confused estuary chop. This is stopping me familiarising and gaining confidence as quickly as I’d like. Would some small waterproof sand bags be worth experimenting with? The boat is called the Willow. I’m 160lbs. Thanks in advance.

https://billthomasmaker.com/pages/willow-sea-kayak
Hadda do a mind-shift. I was thinking "sit-in" was a political statement.
CELEBRATE LIFE: PADDLE by ALL MEANS !

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PeterG
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Re: Weighting a kayak...

Post by PeterG » Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:51 pm

Hard chine boats by their nature are happy on the chine, as the boat tips it become harder and harder to capsize until the chine becomes the hull. Just try some edging and paddling on the chine on flat water and you will see that the apparent instability when you are dead upright is not really instability at all and then let the boat move as it will in choppy water and just ride it not resisting. Zen and the art of the hard chine. If your head is over the boat it will not capsize whatever angle it adopts to find a nice way through the waves.

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Re: Weighting a kayak...

Post by Beryl » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:34 pm

Hi Peter.
I came across paddling on the chine very quickly! When I first got the boat I was expecting to swan along swiftly and gracefully, and to be fair it does it so in tranquil conditions. However my small estuary at Gweek conjures up all sorts of winds most of the time with its many side creeks and attendant valleys. A video of my first outing there would have amused forum members as it was very gusty and I occasionally passed quickly through the direction I was intending to travel!
The Willow has no Skeg and probably desperately needs one; but for the minute it’s proving useful for developing at least that skill, though it can be quite tiring. Sometimes it’s a relief when there is a headwind!
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Chris Bolton
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Re: Weighting a kayak...

Post by Chris Bolton » Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:26 pm

The Willow has no Skeg and probably desperately needs one; but for the minute it’s proving useful for developing at least that skill, though it can be quite tiring. Sometimes it’s a relief when there is a headwind!
When I started paddling sea kayaking no boats had skegs, so we learnt to paddle them on one edge in crosswinds, and chine can make that easier. When you say it's a relief to have a headwind, I'm assuming the Willow wants to turn into wind. That's the safe thing, but in the absence of a skeg putting your gear and/or ballast towards the stern will reduce or eliminate weathercocking. Just don't overdo it, as leecocking can get you blown to places you don't want to go.

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Re: Weighting a kayak...

Post by PeterG » Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:44 pm

Weather cocking is basically good, some popular modern designs that appear perfect in light winds, start lee cocking in stronger winds making them dangerously uncontrollable. We've had several incidents in the Club at F6 and above. People saying 'I never have to use my skeg' is a warning light. My first Anasacuta was skeg less so I'm well versed in edging, but I have to admit a skeg does make for an easy life.

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