Re: Chesapeake vs Cape C

Posted by LeeG on Feb 18, 2006

"performance" is not a specific term but from efficiency/wetted area it's got a bit more wetted area so it's less efficient, takes a bit more effort to move at the same speed than the CapeCharles.

If by performance you mean responsiveness to paddler input in wind/waves it's a mixed bag improvement. It has more tracking than the Cape Charles so it doesn't swing upwind (weathercock)as quickly as the Cape Charles or as severely. It has more windage, stiffer tracking and less weathercocking. With the Cape Charles you can lean for weathercocking but at some point the severity of weathercocking overcomes skill.

With the Chesapeake there is less weathercocking but as the wind increases the paddlers skill to correct with a lean becomes less effective. The difference with the CC is that the substantial rocker of the CC shortened the waterline on a lean, with the Chesapeake the waterline doesn't shorten up beyond a certain angle of lean which is long before the capsize angle. This is where a skeg or rudder comes in.

Stability is greater.

Load carrying is much greater. Not sure how much but I'd guess the total volume of a Ch18 was 20% more than a CC18 and that the volume in the hull was 25% more. If you look at the photo of Brendan Nelson in the Ch18 with the fish there's a frypan on top of the aft deck,,he's probably close to 240lbs wet with at least 100lbs of stuff in the heavily made kayak,total weight might be over 400lbs, then look at all the freeboard still showing.

Regarding wave performance: the nearly symmetrical (fore/aft) CCharles bow buries severely compared to the much higher volume Chesapeake which has a better fore/aft balance. The Chesapeakes really don't have high volume bows,they have high volume hulls with better balance for waves. Although if you get a Ch17LT or 18LT you'll notice green water coming across more easily than the standard ones but still not like the Cape Charles.

An interesting comparison would be to put a Ch17LT and a Shearwater17 next to each other. You'd swear that the Shearwater would bury more easily as it's obviously a smaller volume below the sheer. But if you get into waves you'll find that it corks up right before green water weights the deck whereas on the 17LT it'll experience a bit of a green water and slow down punching through the wave.

Another factor in wave performance is broaching characteristics. The Cape Charles is well rockered with little volume in the ends. So when it slides into a broach you're pretty much in the low spot with the ends getting buffeted around. Kind of busy and responsive as long as things aren't too far underwater. If it's not side surfing and not bow burying you can jiggle things back on course. The Chesapeake will be slower into the broach simply because it's stiffer tracking and less likely to get knocked off course if the waves aren't too big but the flip side is it'll take better timing on wave tops to correct. Once the broach goes into side surfing the CC will bobble around your mass with the low volume ends getting grabbed/torqued easily. The Chesapeake tends to get locked into side surfing with less jiggling but more connection to the wave (more boat, more freeboard,less rocker,straigher chines) so it's more of a catapult to shore as opposed to a bouncy hay ride.

the Chesapeake is a better design. In high winds/touring a skeg/rudder is desirable especially if you're lightly loaded.

In Response to: Chesapeake vs Cape C by Ted on Feb 18, 2006


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