Builders' Forum Archives
Posted by LeeG on Apr 13, 2005
It's worth looking at british boats like Valley or NDK, the first thing you'll notice is an attempt to reduce windage as much as possible. For whatever hull shape there is if you have the least amount of hull in the air you'll be reducing the force of wind. My $.02 is the shape in the water is the most significant factor determing degrees of weathercocking and responsiveness (lean introducng steering control) to compensate for weathercocking. After that total windage has effect on horsepower required to head in a particular direction against the wind. Some high windage hulls can be fairly neutral, Arctic Tern and Mariner Express for example. You'll have good control in strong breezes but you'll slide sideways more than a low windage hull with the same weathercocking characteristics.
Low windage hulls can tolerate a bit more weathercocking than high windage hulls if they're responsive but if they aren't it's irritating just the same, Dagger Baja or Perception Shadow for example.
Rudders/skegs can be useful and/or required on those kayaks that aren't responsive to a lean but that in and of itself doesn't mean the design is flawed,,unless the marketing says "tracking aids not needed". Long racing/touring kayaks are a good example of designs that can utilize rudders and free up the hull from handling attributes that work against low wetted area/speed that is required for a fast hull.
Production boats are kind of all over the map on these attributes with some boats utilizing a skeg for fine tuning (Necky Chatham) and some requiring a skeg for brute force control on weathercocking (Wilderness Systems Tempest). I'm not familiar with the Brit boats except Derek Hutchinsons Gulfstream but the general sense I get is that they don't venture outside a bell curve of handling compromises as you'll find in many northamerican production kayaks that take some attribute to an extreme,,and a rudder is tossed on to solve the problem. It's kind of like squeezing a waterballoon,,you can't squeeze too hard for some one characteristic (speed,weight,cockpit room,etc) without a disturbing bubble popping out from left field. Back to Moes original question,,if the total load is less than 300lbs and the winds are more than 15mph I'm pretty sure a rudder will be appreciated. Brandon Nelson (former "Team CLC")toured down Baja in a Ch18 with a total paddler/kayak load of around 400lbs. It gets very windy in Baja and he said a rudder is a necessity.
In Response to: Re: rudder by terry on Apr 13, 2005