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

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.

Ken_T
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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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