Animal, vegetable or mineral?^

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NickB
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Animal, vegetable or mineral?^

Post by NickB » Tue Apr 29, 2003 7:58 am

Another thread on this site has mentioned comments about choice of kayak, my beloved Orion has been described as an Onion by the uninitiated, in almost the same breath as admitting it was the first boat to the beach. This in the same company as a number of Nordkapps, a Sirius and others including a double, others also apparently referred to the Orion as a Cadillac.

Nordkapps described as tippy, ocean cockpits as difficult to get out of, plus a myriad of other comments all exist on kayak experiences.

Previous experiences of mine include, many moons ago when paddling a Meridian in a small group with another Meridian and a non-ruddered Nordkapp, having to wait whilst the Nordkapp followed a large semi circular track to the same location as the Meridians, due to the Nordkapps inability to track as efficiently.

My vote goes for the stable (good for navigating, eating, drinking, binos and photos), fast (but Cadillac like luxury) Orion (not onion)as animal, not vegetable or mineral, the early non-ruddered Nordkapps gets the (contorted hazel!)vegetable vote and due to its decrepit state my old Meridian should have been buried with the other minerals.

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Re: Animal, vegetable or mineral?

Post by Craig Addison » Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:16 am

It's the paddler not the boat!! Early Nordkapps can be a bit of a pain, the HM changed all this and then along came the jubilee, a truly wonderful boat, (not biased at all) :D
I once left an Orion for dust whilst paddling back from The Needles one day, I was in an Icefloe, (now there is a pig of a boat in a quartering sea) much to the Orion paddlers annoyance, said it must have been due to the shorter waterline lenght of the Orion compared to the Icefloe, I have to say though that the Orion is a vast improvement on th Icefloe, being that you can actually turn the boat!
C'mon Nick you know you want a Nordkapp :lol

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Meat and 2 veg please!

Post by Jim » Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:35 am

I think the original reason for us starting to call the Orions "Onions" was due to the wonderful joined up name painted on each boat which reads as onion at first glance.

I had written loads more but the stupid connection went screwy! I'll try again tonight

JIM
Edited by: Jim  Image at: 4/29/03 10:31:00 am

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Re: Animal, vegetable or mineral?

Post by Sue » Tue Apr 29, 2003 10:46 am

I can't resist joining in this one!

Nick is so right, the Orion is THE BOAT

(quote) "stable (good for navigating, eating, drinking, binos and photos), fast (but Cadillac like luxury) Orion

How can those philistines call it an ONION???

Onions make you cry, the only time my Orion made me cry was when it turned upside down, and then it was case of, to quote Craig, "the paddler not the boat"

Sue

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Having typed this in notepad first, I guarantee it is long!

Post by Jim » Tue Apr 29, 2003 12:24 pm

The debate over which sea kayak is best will always rage, even though the answer is clearly the Nordkapp!

Firstly I should answer the question over the finishing order on the last day:
- One HM had retired at Stoer (novice sea kayaker, problems with stability)
- The Jubilee contained the Nordkapp Guru, he dropped back to make sure the tail enders were OK (one was in an Onion)
- The other HM was up front for most of the final leg, however his son is younger, fitter and had something to prove despite paddling an onion.

In an awesome display of strength the Onion narrowly beat the HM!

3rd was a Huntsman - a nippy, tippy dayboat, which I have reason to beleive was very lightly loaded all week, especially that day!
4th was my Sea King - as long as a Nordkapp, but with hard chines so no match really. I had already outrun almost everything else earlier that day passing on the message that we were heading in to Stoer to abandon the HM and Sirius!

The double, well have you seen an excursion? My best theory is that the windage of a blobby double with 2 paddlers slowed it enough for the most determined singles to keep up, at which point the crew would have been demoralised and slowed down more.
Other theories include hanging back to provide support, and the fact that the final leg sorted the men from the real men and half of the crew was a woman (now a real man?) - I know that's sexist, it is supposed to be humourous though.

The surprise was the Baidarka Explorer not coming in last, must have been those carbon composite kinetic touring blades that made the difference!

BOAT CONSIDERATIONS:
********************

I said before that the Onion is a fat boy boat, well it has a keyhole cockpit and a fairly wide breadth coupled with an apparently short length. The hull must be fairly slippery though because these Cadillacs of the seas didn't seem to be at any disadvantage.
My first impression was one of how can they go for a week in something that short? However it clearly has plenty of beer capacity because plenty of beer was produced from them - probably due to the width.
Whilst I used the term "fat boy boat" I don't mean that literally, I'm a fat boy and reckon that any sea kayak will be OK for me, it's more to do with psychological warfare and making me feel better about my Sea King!

One thing I wondered was how the Quest fits in? No-one I asked seemed too sure, but I seem to recall Mike B singing it's praises as a fat boy boat? Is it an expedition version of the Orion, or is it even wider and more stable? I know it comes from the same line, but how does it fit in???

Now we had a Nordkapp Guru with us so I have heard plenty about Nordkapps!
Nordkapp Guru has had his HM for 22 years and can't accept that anything could be better - so why was he paddling a Jubilee?
First we need to understand Nordkapp evolution, in the beginning there was the Nordkapp, long and sleek with a huge capacity, no hatches and a pain in a quartering sea.
Over the years things evolved, bulkheads and hatches became normal, and the Hull was Modified (giving the HM) by addition of a small but effective built in skeg.
Eventually oval hatches and keyhole cockpits became available, and the hull was redisigned with more volume in the shape of the Jubilee. The Jubilee did away with the skeg of the HM and carries a lifting skeg.
Now there are certain things an old school Guru doesn't want:
- A keyhole cockpit -> chance of deck implosion in big seas (damages the aesthetics of the sheerline a bit too)
- A lifting skeg -> Guaranteed to break
- An oval hatch in the front -> Risk of implosion, more area to leak (can't fit a band like on a round hatch) and will destroy the look of the front of the boat. Rear Oval hatches are fine, they are protected from the worst of the weather and very useful!
The evolution continues, Valley are now reworking the Nordkapp deck mould to include an oval front hatch - even if the Guru can get an HM hull made, he'll be stuck with a vulnerable ugly hatch.
In desperation he decided to buy a new boat anyway before the oval hatches came in and had to settle for a Jubilee with a keyhole (or fat boy as he calls it) cockpit and a lifting skeg.
We didn't have the weather to implode his deck, but the skeg broke on the first day (leading to endless jokes from Onioneers along the lines of "check this out: skeg goes down, skeg comes up, skeg goes down....", and ribbing from HMers "you don't want one of those, you want one of these").
Nordkapp Guru still has his HM and could very easily just go back to paddling it until it falls apart round him, he was for a whie contemplating moulding an HM style skeg on the Jubilee.
However by the end of the week the jokes ceased to have any affect, as he announced that the Jubilee tracked perfectly well without the skeg so it obviously didn't need it anyway. Not sure if he's going to rip the skeg box out though!

Anyway, back to the point, the Nordkapp is one of the fastest big volume expedition boats out there, and also one of the tippiest. The HM tracks very well unlike the original and will outrun almost anything with a decent paddler. The Jubilee is a fat boy version, with more volume, a loose fitting waistband (I mean keyhole cockpit) and a bit more stability, but it is still damn fast.
Even the Jubilee is one of the longest and narrowest singles! Nordkapp Guru actually reckons the Vyneck is faster, and there are some sea kayaks designed for racing which must also be, I think he doesn't consider a boat a sea kayak if it can't carry enough beer, or is too flimsy to carry it's beer in a force 4 and above!

I didn't actually try either the Onions or the Nordkapps so can't make personal experience observations. I know I could keep up with 2 out of 3 Onion paddlers, and only the novice Nordkapp paddler last week - even then I was hanging back giving him support, and every now and then the Guru would urge him to a spurt and he left me standing still!

I didn't see too much of the Sirius, I've seen them before and they look fairly sleek, however I know some folk don't like them, they do seem popular with women and smaller paddlers though so almost certainly not fat boy boats!

Everyone seemed to have tried a Huntsman (I may have used one once?) and it was generally agreed that they are 'orrible 'untsmen! My brother struggled to track well, but then he rather incredibly seemed underladen for the week - I suspect he sneaked some gear into the Baidarka!

The Baidarka Explorer is an interesting boat, Hutchinson claims he designed it for stability, i.e. taking photographs and cine film on expeditions, which explains the apparent lack of speed. It is the heaviest boat I've come across unladen and although shorter than the Nordkapps and Sea King seems to have Tardis like cargo capacity! Dad always struggles with weathercocking, but this might be due to loading, because on a couple of trips he was right up there near the front.
Certainly when you get something that heavy moving it is not going to be easy to stop, it seemed to shrug off the headwind with it's superior momentum - I think Dad must have learned how not to fight it as well!

My Sea King, as I say is long but not as fast as a Norkapp as it is wider heavier and hard chined. It was the only chined boat on the trip so I had no direct comparisons, but I could catch anything except the Nordkapps with enough focus! Generally I slipped back into an easier going support role, either with the Baidarka or the novice HM, but when I settled into my own pace I was quite well positioned in the group.
It's stowage powers are not legendary, it will stow a lot, but sometimes the chines make stowage a bit awkward and I was aware of voids in packing from time to time - I didn't have enough stuff I could just allow to get wet to fill them all. Hard chine boats have fantastic secondary stability, and it is fine for taking pictures from - even getting my SLR out solo on several occasions.
It has been a few years since I paddled an Anas Acuta, but I reckon the Sea King handles (and looks) like a big version of it. The Anas Acuta is a day/weekend boat but is pretty fast and stable for it's class, I'm not sure the Sea King has the same pedigree but various things Nordkapp Guru has said at various times suggest it might not be too bad in the big picture.
Nordkapp Guru apparently built several Sea Kings in the past, but doesn't seem to want to tell me what he thinks of them - can't be too bad or he wouldn't have built more? He also admitted that he really liked the Anas Acuta, but could never go back to carrying lightweight kit and dehydrated food :-) He also said he saw a lovely one when he went to pick up his Jubilee, I almost thought he was trying to convince me to get one of my own!

The Excursion is a polythene double that is like a cross between a topo duo and a sea kayak. It comes with a rudder fitting, but the rudder is extra. Which is why this one had a home made rudder, which worked fine until aluminium fatigue tore the lugs off. My makeshift skeg worked miracles on it's tracking ability though - it has none without a skeg or rudder.
Stowage wise it must be OK - the crew were sleeping in separate tents with separate catering which made it a squeeze, but that was possible.

As for the unknown boat, we don't know what it is! It is short (almost no rear deck) and wide, perhaps wider than an Onion! It also has a flatter U shaped hull than anything else. Almost certainly designed as a dayboat it was certainly put through it's paces - and the owner is fairly new to sea paddling!

If I were to get a different boat what would it be? I think (without the benefit of having tried one) that it would be a second hand Nordkapp HM. Maybe I'm a sucker for Guru stories, or perhaps it's because I've witnessed the speed of these things. Why not a new Jubilee? Apart from cost (ooooh, just think of a luverly carbon Jubilee), I'm crap at packing and landing - the skeg box will be in my way and I will wreck the skeg!

Of course there are hundreds of other boats worthy of consideration - Inuk, Romany explorer, Quest etc. etc. but all signs seem to point towards Nordkapps!

So who here paddles what then?

JIM

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Stuff

Post by Mike B » Tue Apr 29, 2003 4:41 pm

Goodness! Lots there Jim!

Right - Quest! Long at 17'9" and narrow (ish) at 22ins, certainly only a little wider than a N/kapp and a bit narrower and longer than the Orion.

Orions are surprisingly fast methinks, although I do really suspect that the ability of the paddler to move the thing thro the water is as important as the ability of the boat!

Our Raasay/Rona trip may provide some evidence - three paddlers, as follows:

Nordkapp - very fit, strong paddler. Annoyingly fast!

Plastic Capella - very fit, strong paddler, somehat less experienced but just about kept pace with the N/k, albiet admiting he was working hard!

Quest - somewhat less fit, old fat bloke. :D Steady pace all day, a little (well, a lot) behind the speed merchant but still able and willing to party at 9.30 when the youngsters went to bed |I after our longest day of some 36 kms.

Speed isn't everything anyway and what's the point of blasting along when a nice steady pace does the job and you get to admire the scenery.

Seriously, I was surprised at the Capella being able to (almost) match the N/k - strong paddler! There is no doubt that a well paddled N/k is one fast boat. Having said all that, its driver admits to a certain unwillingness to take the hands off the paddles in anything remotely bumpy, and he's a very competent paddler.

Having had one, I understand his views. Mention has been made of other factors like storage, cockpit size and the like and comfort has to be a major factor too. On a purely personal basis, I found the N/k physically too small for me at 6'2" and (hmm) nearly 18st. The Quest is far more suited to my size.

I also found I got lower back ache, which I dont in the Quest and it does have a very, very comfy seat. Having said that, the seat in the Aleut II is lovely as well.

We all know that excessive stability can be a bad thing, noticably in bigger seas but overall I rather suspect that people want to err on the stable side and certainly a N/k will give the impression of being unstable. It is essential to learn to trust it though as it has excellent secondary stabilty and I never capsized mine in the year I had it, even when I was learning to use it, having had a Capella prior to getting it.

Sirius' have a loyal following, they are spacious and fast but I must admit I found the V shaped hull quite disconcerting. They came in various sizes I think, which might account for their popularity.

The business of imploding decks and hatches is largely overstated I suggest. Never, ever heard of it happeniing in this country and I suspect modern materials and design counter the perceived risk. But I stand to be corrected.

Mike.






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Re: Stuff

Post by sub5rider » Tue Apr 29, 2003 5:26 pm

I did some Nordkapp/Orion comparisons last week....

Paddling side by side with, or astern of, a Nordkapp I was counting & comparing paddle strokes. I had smaller blades (kinetics) than most of the Nordkapp paddlers. Both the Nordkapp paddlers I compared myself to were using around 8 strokes to my 10 when paddling at the speed of my Orion.....

I _do not_ care for HM's at all, I just don't find 'em comfortable to sit in for any length of time, but I _shall_ try the Guru's Jubilee given the chance, and if anyone wants to lend me a Quest for the w/e I'll try that too !!


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Stuff

Post by Mike B » Tue Apr 29, 2003 7:26 pm

Sorry, but you can't objectivly compare a N/k and an Orion.

Most old(er) sea boats are less than comfortable, you have only to witness the lash-ups applied to most of them in an attempt to create some comfort!

Bits of old karrimat, inner tube, attempts to create backrests or some form of back support. I've seen everything from old foam blocks and BDH bottles to knotted rope covered with padding. Underdeck areas are adorned with a variety of old tat, usually knackered karrimat bieng used to try and cushion the ergonomic disaster that is the average old sea boat design.

Original N/ks are as uncomfortable as most. Certainly they are excessivly small and cramped. The Jubilee is MUCH better, nothwitstanding my personal issue with size and that back problem.

I have to say though that the Quest is just about the most comfortable craft I have ever been in! They have clearly put a lot of thought and effort into the seat design and it really does work. It works so well that they tell me they are not prepared to sell the seat on its own as they regard it as a USP. Oh well, out with the fibreglass me lads, and a mould I will make!

There is one area we forgot to discuss earlier. Looks. The Quest is ok but it really appears a bit "chunky", it doesn't have really graceful lines. The bow is sort of ok(ish), the seat and cockpit is superb, the overall lines are reasonable but the stern is an asthetic disaster, in my less than humble view.

In fact, grace and sleek beauty are perhaps not areas that P&H excel in, could it be said? The Orion is certainly a bit rotund, as is the Capella. THe old Icefloe is certainly portly and even the Sirius is a little so. Perhaps Mr Hutchisons designs were geared to his personal likes and preferences and maybe whoever designed the Valley boats was of slimmer stature???? :D

The N/k though is pure grace and beauty! It just looks so right, even if the upturned stern serves no useful purpose whatsoever. Maybe the old addage "if it looks right, it is" holds true and I must admit I do admire them.

Any chance of a Jubilee "Plus" I wonder? It needs to have a slightly higher rear deck to allow the backrest to sit higher up a long back, perhaps a little more volumn at the stern for more beer and stability for those with a higher centre of gravity. Drop the height of the fore deck ever so slightly to compensate.

I'll be first in the queue.

Mike.


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Re: Stuff

Post by Jim » Tue Apr 29, 2003 8:42 pm

Mike, did you try an Aquila? From the details on Knoydart's website it looks like a huge boat - too big for a 15.5 stone weakling like me I presume?

Mikes points about comfort are good, but as for the whole "bits of tat hanging around the cockpit area" argument, he clearly hasn't seen the way most of us pad out brand new playboats, never mind old sea kayaks! My sea kayak padding is much more tidy than my playboats!

Backrests are quite important, mine is a good design (despite being by Eurokayaks) but it is worn out, that is to say the foam inside it migrates to the bottom whenever I get in the boat and nothing I can do will make it stay in place! I keep thinking of switching it for something better, better made that is, the design would need to be much the same!

Seats, seats, seats! I've no doubt Nordkapp Guru would reminisce about the days when he used to mould his seats and cockpit rims and cut them to his own personal preference, to my mind the whole cockpit rim/seat combination has always been a bit of a nightmare though! However the seat in my boat is of this type and is fairly comfortable, with a layer of karrimat! I do get a dead bum after a while, and I was considering cutting a notch away at the base of my spine to try and alleviate this. If I'm totally honest though, it doesn't match up with my backrest - the seat needs to move back an inch, but being moulded in I can't do that without serious engineering work, or replacing it with another seat (pauses and thinks now, do I still have an old spud seat, and could it be forced into the cockpit?????). The Backrest is realistically as far forward as it goes, I could redo the slots but the top straps would be too stretched to hold it up properly then!

Anyway, getting on to my point, just because the quest is the most comfortable boat you have found, others (smaller people for example) might find it really uncomfortable. I tend to pad any boat enough for me (not a lot usually), and would argue that this personalisation is an important part of setting your boat up - after all the one you try might be subtley differently set up to the one that arrives at your door fresh from the factory!

With regard to the HMs Nigel can't abide, the yellow was recently aquired, the Red/White borrowed. The owner of the Yellow had previously tried the Red/White and I beleive the Guru's old boat and didn't get on with either of them, however by chance he found the yellow one for himself which just happened to have the seat a bit further back, which brought his knees a bit further back and made the experience completely different - he is quite comfortable with it!

I guess the motto there is that second hand boats are pot luck - I've been lucky that mine is actually pretty close to good for me (i.e. not bad enough to bother about modifying!), you really should try before you buy. Which is of course to agree with Mike - newer boats tend to offer more adjustment before sticking in the foam padding, but that's not to say you can't make old boats right for you.

I haven't mentioned footrests yet - I hate keeper style ones, and can't get on with swing out fail safe jobs, I just have a large chunk of foam with a recess carved to take a large BDH, together it makes a fine footrest!

JIM

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Stuff

Post by MikeB » Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm

Jim asked: "Mike, did you try an Aquila? From the details on Knoydart's website it looks like a huge boat - too big for a 15.5 stone weakling like me I presume?"

I did consider it, and (funnily enough) Dave told me of an ex-demo he had, but after I'd committed to the Quest. So I never tried it! It certainly IS a big(er) boat.

I've never actually seen one "in the flesh" and the only comment I found when researching suggested it was perhaps a little dated.

(But I do like Valley boats - - - - maybe I should have tried it)

As regards your point about the smaller paddler perhaps not fitting in the Quest, that is indeed a consideration. However, picking up your point about the problems of moving a seat, the Quest DOES have the facility to be moved forward a bit.

The seat is actually separate from the cockpit rim - it "hangs" on a couple of bolts (which also gives it a very slight ability to pivot up/down) and the rim has been drilled to allow a forward mounting position.

Footrests! Ahhhhh >: now thats another story! Quest has nasty, flimsy "keepers" (but so do most these days) and I do not like them, one having come off while rolling!

Now, that might be down to poor technique of course! However, I prefer a failsafe solution which works 99.999999% of the time, even with poor technique! So, a second-hand pair of Yakimas is about to be fitted! MUCH more substantial.

We did discuss this a while back - I don't like foam much and the fitted footpump makes most of the other options a bit impractical. I do like your foam/BDH idea though - sounds excellent.

Actually, thats another area we haven't discussed - footroom/wellie space - hmmmmm, the Quest allows me to wear my size 11 Hunters if I want to, and not have to resort to booties! Dry feet!! :hat

Mike.



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Re: Stuff

Post by Rockhopper1 » Thu May 01, 2003 1:10 pm

Hi,

Reading about different boat designs it reminds me of some observations made about the P&H range (for those who never heard of me my father started P&H in 1967 and up until recently I was a Director).

I was on a course run by Glenmore Lodge at Skye and went along as "a customer". Glenmore Lodge were using all P&H kayaks and for most of the week I stayed incognito as it was interesting to sit listening to all of the comments about the boats without anyone being guarded.

One guy there was always the joker and I asked him what he thought of the different boats. His analysis was as follows....

The Sirius is like a sexy Swedish blonde, feisty and desirable but always slightly out of reach.
The Vela is too young and inexperienced to get too involved with.
The Orion is your dependable Aunty.
The plastic Capella is the girl next door who you flirt comfortably with

and

The Skerry (there was one in the group) is the fat cousin who is always trying it on with you (apologies to Valley :-) :lol

On that basis I wonder what type of female the Knordkapp would be?

Julian

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Re: Stuff

Post by sub5rider » Thu May 01, 2003 1:15 pm

"On that basis I wonder what type of female the Knordkapp would be?"

Aristocratic haughty bitch ?

Orioneer



:lol

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Re: Stuff

Post by Mark R » Thu May 01, 2003 4:15 pm

Julian Patrick - 'up until recently I was a Director'

Julian, nice to see you here. Just out of interest, were you involved in the design of any of P&H's boats?

The Nordkapp, by the way, is clearly a bloke.


-----------Mark Rainsley

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Boat design

Post by Rockhopper1 » Fri May 02, 2003 10:01 am

Just out of interest, were you involved in the design of any of P&H's boats?

Regarding sea kayaks (P&H used to be involved in anumber of kayaking disciplines and is still 3 brands, P&H Sea Kayaks, Revenge polo kayaks and Gorilla paddles)I was involved more in the strategy side i.e. deciding what needs designing, at what length, width etc. When I got interested it was all Derek Hutch boats, Icefloe, Orion, Fjord were all derivatives of the same design at 60cm width and Baidarka/Dawn Treader, again the same design with different ends at 52cm width. Basically there were fast boats and stable boats with not much in between. And yes I do believe Derek's boats were of a freeboard that suited himself. At the time North Shore were doing well in the middle range, i.e. boats at about 56cm. After the market research I did a marketing plan which basically said "dump the wide boats except the Onion (oops Orion), replace the Baidarka with a new design (Sirius)and put something (in plastic and glass) in the mid stability zone (Capella). Also part of the plan was to replace the seating which was in those days bloomin awful.I did some work on the Sirius (most done by Peter Orton) and also designed and shaped the Vela (small kayak, not so prominent as niche market). Years ago I shaped the Iona for Derek Hutch and a two person and three person tourer for the Swedish agent. I was also the person who instigated the new seating system after interviewing over 100 paddlers and finding comfort to be the number one selling point.

The Sirius, Capella and Quest were all designed by Peter Orton (note that the Sirius was based around Derek's Baidarka hull - don't worry he knows!).

The Quest came about when some customers suggested that the Capella was a great kayak but they would like something with a little more tracking capability. The Quest is a cracking kayak, fast and stable and it does superb leaned carved turns.

When paddler's buy a kayak they often discuss speed and stability. Speed is an interesting one as I do not believe it is possible for most paddlers to judge the speed of a kayak by paddling it. I have paddled a 17' sea kayak followed by a 14 ft. design tourer and to tell you the truth it is hard, even with this wide variation to feel a difference (without having a comparison paddler with you). I know someone who is at the moment trying to assess this for various designs using GPS and a heart rate monitor (in other words keep a constant heart rate whilst paddling and see how far you get in say 5 mins, swap boats and do it again), should be interesting. This information might worry a few manufacturers as who knows what it might throw up.

Stability is one of those things that is down to the paddler. At the moment I live in North Wales and am paddling a lot in the poly Capella (which is actually a surprisingly quick boat). Once moving I believe it to be very stable but somebody else I paddle with finds it rather tippy and unnerving. Having said that in lumpy conditions I struggled to put my woolly hat without looking like an accident waiting to happen the other day. Paddlers like to feel stable when "faffing around" at a standstill. The Romany is a stable boat at rest and does well because of this.

Edging and carved turns - very important part of boat design and superb in Capella and Quest but very poor in some designs (will not mention here). If buying a new kayak always test this.

Anyway - am in danger of rambling, any questions gladly answered (although am somewhat biased of course :-)

Bye for now
Julian

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Re: Boat design

Post by Jim » Fri May 02, 2003 10:31 am

Julian,

How would one go about getting into kayak design? I'm sick of shipbuilding!

JIM

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Re: Boat design

Post by Rockhopper1 » Mon May 12, 2003 12:44 pm

Designing boats is not actually that difficult but you won't find any courses on it.

Very Rough Guide to designing a sea kayak

Find some old glass touring design that nobody makes any more but don't tell anyone in case you upset the designer!. Out of fibreglass sheet (laid up on flat Formica board) shape some sea kayak looking ends and slot them into the ends of the boat. Using a mixture of resin and thickening powder shape the ends so it looks like a sea kayak and blend ends into boat. Want it longer? cut it into three bits, widen the gaps and glass it back together again. Want it more stable, slit it along its length and widen the gap and glass it back together again.

Cover all kayak with resin filler mix. Sand smooth. Wet and dry. spray with ICI filler. Wet N Dry. Buff. Wax.

Take a mould off of it.

Paddle it and test it and then decide it has too much rocker - put cuts in the hull, change rocker, glass together, fill cuts.

Repeat mould bit.

Anybody can do it - even in the garage at home. Sell the rights to a manufacturer at £25 a pop, they make 1000 boats a year, you work on the next design or go paddling - easy. Ask Derek Hutchinson.

Julian

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Jim
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Re: Boat design

Post by Jim » Mon May 12, 2003 6:05 pm

I worked as a laminator for a year (and part time as a boatbuilder even before that) so I am familiar with the back breaking work involved in fairing and sealing moulds (and of course the plug) - Not something I'll ever look forward to doing :-)

My biggest problem is one of space and facilities, I don't have room to mould a playboat in my 4th floor one bed flat, and you'd be looking a decent sized garage minimum to produce a 17 foot plus sea kayak in!

I have been considering producing designs (for dinghies and maybe kayaks) and have thought about the process of prototyping. Apart from the space there is the problem of materials and equipment, scott bader is hardly the best place to shop and I never noted any of our other suppliers (doh!). Also it seems now that you cannot get foam rollers anywhere, so what do you use for hand layup these days? I guess I was spoilt by working with epoxy and vacuum bags, all stuff I'd have to dispense with for prototyping unless I was feeling very rich!

Come to think of it I have friends who make polo boats so they must have contacts I could get!

On the positive side I do know how design boats by theory, which should only leave speed and stability to trial and error tweaking ;-) Of course I can't use the design software at work for homers so I'd need to lay out on that or do it all by hand (pauses for a moments thought) - forget that!

One day I'll take my thoughts off the floor and stick them on the back burner!

JIM

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Re: Boat design

Post by sub5rider » Mon May 12, 2003 10:05 pm

"working with epoxy and vacuum bags,"

The latter are no problem if you have access to a few old fridges....

Powerboater

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Re: Boat design

Post by Jim » Mon May 12, 2003 11:35 pm

"The latter are no problem if you have access to a few old fridges...."

What do you do, rig the compressors up as vacuum pumps?
I'd still need hoses, breech units, bags and bag tape, if I'm getting all that together I might as well buy a vacuum pump as well! Then there's the power for the pumps and heating, disposal of chemicals etc. etc. etc.

Premises come first, I could do with a lock up to store some of my boats in, who knows one day I might get round to renting somewhere....

JIM

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Re: Boat design

Post by sub5rider » Tue May 13, 2003 9:04 am

"What do you do, rig the compressors up as vacuum pumps? "

Indeedy!

It works for bagging foam/carbon/kevlar/glass composite model aircraft wings. To get razor-sharp trailing edges, amongst other hings. I've done 4 x 3m sections in one go, with just the one ex-fridge compressor. These do tend to be fairly simple shapes tho'. Never felt the need to do a fuselage that way.


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