It's been a while since I've been on the board. Hope everyones having a good time. I have an odd question based on an observation I had when I went out with a friend on some sit-on-tops.
We were out in some confused seas, by the breakwater of our local marina, and I was just sitting there, loosey-goosey and allowing my kayak to do it's thing underneith me. I looked over, and my friend had just about flipped over his sit-on-top (I didn't know that was possible, I've stood up and walked around on these things) After coming to help him, I watched him more carefuly, and realized that he wasn't allowing the kayak to just roll under him, but was rather, sticking rigidly to it, so that when the boat rocked, he did to, instead of just pivoting at the pelvis and keeping his torso upright.
I am, unfortunately, a bit of an autodidact, and what I know of kayaking is just what I've learned from messing about, a few videos, and talking to people on here. However, I'm also a martial artist and motorcycle racer, and it occured to me that it might just be the ability to losen up and relax, and allow the motorcycle/kayak/person throwing me across the mat to do their thing, and just go with the flow that helped me deal better with the confused seas than my friend who was a bit more rigid.
So, that's what got me thinking...
Kayaks tend to come in 2 general shapes: short and fat, and long and skinny.
A shorter, smaller kayak is going to have less wetted area (unless it makes up for its shortness with more width) A longer kayak has a longer waterline, but that only matters as you approach hull speed. If you're a lazy/slow/weak paddler like myself and very seldom approach hull speed even on short boats, this is probably moot, but having less wetted area reduced resistance regardless of speed. So, to this ends, a shorter boat might be easier for a slower paddler to paddle at speeds under it's hull speed. (is this right so far?)
Now, the narrow boat has 2 advantages. The first being that it's (lack of) bredth reduces wetted area, but the second "advantage" to my way of thinking, is it's inherent lack of stability. It will more easily roll and wiggle, and allow you to throw it around with a pivot of the waist than a more stable boat would, which is more inclined to do what the water is doing, and if you don't like it, too bad. (is this right ?) I think this might be a large part of why I prefered the longer narrower boats to the shorter more stable boats. I certainly don't paddle anywhere near hull speed on either of them, but if you're loose and relaxed, the narrower boat seems to feel more connected, and easier to move around, providing a somewhat more organic and connected feel than the more stable boat. It's more like wearing a boat than being in a boat. Is this realistic, Or is it more likely that the narrow boats I've been in might have had cocpits that better fit me better, and any boat with a tight cocpit will feel the same way?
If the above are both correct, I was wondering, since a number of boats seem to have a lot of excess boyancy so one could trim some length or width from them, would a short, narrow boat be a decent idea for a rec boat? Or would anything significantly short and narrow (say, 16' x 19") be so small that to get enough boyancy to hold an adult it would have to sit so low in the water as to negate any real advantage?