re. hip/thigh(knee)

Posted by LeeG on May 21, 2005

A general overview of outfitting. The Chesapeakes are stable enough that the average beginning paddler who is not paddling in waves nor knows how to roll/brace will feel comfortable butt balancing in a loose fitting kayak. "Butt balancing simply means sitting in the middle of the kayak and not relying on braces and ones connection at the hips/thighs to maintain control as opposed to allowing your center of gravity to take the kayak to the capsize angle then your knees/hips bringing the kayak up with a brace to the water.

Until you take the kayak in waves or learn to lean to the capsize angle (check out Derek Hutchinsons video "Beyond the Cockpit") you won't see the necessity of fitting hip braces to hips and thigh/knee braces to thigh/knees. The coaming/thigh brace area of the deck is fairly high so it'll take a deep set of thigh braces to connect to ones knees/thighs. The trick in outfitting is to get as much general support between the seat, hips, back and thighs(primarily top but side and bottom help)that any one area doesn't become a pressure point. For a flat water paddler you don't want pressure points on your sit bones. For someone learning to roll, going into bouncy water and learning braces gently (check out that video) it's nice having general support when your kayak is at a 45degre angle and not anyone part of your knees/thighs/hips are getting pressure points. You don't need snug fitting,,just outfitting that fits what you're doing. If you're not sure what you're doing then outfit the cockpit in a way that gives you options for changing things around as opposed to gluing in things to fit a particular type of seat. Regarding the filleting of wood hip braces where the plywood is making a Y or T joint to the underside of the deck it's worth trimming the wood to fit well, applying a neat fillet on the inside edge and glass tape on the other side. I've seen a few thigh braces that were put in sloppily with a smudge of thickened epoxy and they tore out from the back band pulling them inwards. Hip braces can be made from glassed 4mm okoume or unglassed 6mm. It's worth applying some extra epoxy or glass where the backband routes behind the hip brace as it'll wear through a single coat of epoxy. For someone in the "expedition" mode you can put the 1"webbing through a length of 1" tubular webbing. Even better is making the hip plates wide enough for three vertical slots to route the back band into the hip brace (no #8 screw into sheerclamp) and letting the excess webbingdouble back to provide another length of webbing between the back band webbing and the hip brace to reduce the wear on the wood and the webbing.

In Response to: Re: seatplacement, hip br by LeeG on May 21, 2005


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