Ive had my westriver 180 since roughly 1998. along the way I purchased the plans for the MKII sailrig and did that as well. Now I have to tell you , I built the entire rig - then in some minimalists yen, I decided to make the trimaran configuration a tacking proa instead. Some pros and cons in that, though in the end I like what I did- here are some points Ill touch on...
1. If you never sailed your kayak - you have utterly no idea what you are missing. In even moderate winds, its quick relentless power that drives you through everything at speeds a kayak racers would envy. Chop, spray,
whatever - you go through it and keep on going. The sailrig doesnt care and bracing is a laughable concept.
2. In making your sailrig a proa - you wont find this terrific savings in cost of materials. Fact is the clc amas were never designed to carry the loading of a single outrigger and while they will do you fine in moderate conditions - you dont want to be in that craft in three foot chop and fifteen knot winds. As a result one of my clc mkII ama is now getting a high volume reconstruct - too - Im adding a little extra wood to the akas to help with the mass of it all. I would recommend 6mm ply for the extra mass in the ama along with 4 to 5 inches extra hull depth. More mass to keep from lifting and more bouyancy to keep from sinking.
3. Dont do a tacking proa to go faster. You wont. The MKII is steadier on all points of sail. Do the tacking proa if you wish less set up and take down as well as open access on one side to facilitate less encumbered fishing and photography. Still the proa is FAST - lol - amazingly so - I was hitting 7mph in ten knots wind on a broad reach.
4. My tacking proa allows the weight of the sailrig to rest between ama and main hull fulltime with out the cantilevering action of flying an opposite ama in the hair - hence - pressing down on the main hull. Im utterly amazed out how well my hull stays dry in chop and its a fine ended racing hull.
5. Leebaords are cool. MKII trimaran or my tacking proa - the leeboard dynamics were startlingly amazing. I always viewed the leeboard as this makeshift ungainly thing that was not as sleek or cool as the traditional keel placed configuration. Hah - wow was I wrong. Buddy, when your craft starts picking up speed the efficienc of watching this foil cutting the water - not humming, not vibrating - just cutting it like a quck hot knife through butter - its a cool thing to behold. Ive seen and heard the water making sucking sounds between the my ama and hull as Im surfing along with speed to spare and this rushing jet of water sluicing around the leeboard. Its a cool dynamic to behold and Im floored the darned thing is so positively vibration free. True to Harris's design, I radiused the front and tapered the following edge and its magic. I contemplated making the leading edge razor sharp - resist this - the radius is the way to . My leeboard is mighty!
6.I want a backrest. Without the need to paddle and the effrtless power of wind carrying me along I want to relax a little - layback a tad [keeping the bow high] and relax - instead there is no such "seat back" for the lower back and the coaming doth not make a good seat back. So Im working that part out.
7.Dont worry about "learning to sail" . My experience was minimal in a sunfish decades ago. The sail tells you what it wants. If you dont move - your either to close to the wind or the sail needs to be swung the other way - by and by it teaches you. Im amazed how close I can sail into the wind. Hasrris stated within 100 degrees - Im wondering if its better than that.
8. If you do go with a tacking proa - consider a smaller sail or sewing in reefs on the 40 thats standard. I use a 32 sq. ft. sail thats reefable down to 25 and its perfect. again the 40 sq.ft. will send you along faster and in offshore water, I would say safer as well.
9. I didnt need to hike out but I have sailed in moderate conditions. I did fly an ama though and in the proa world that can be dicey. again the MKII amas were never designed as tacking proa hulls [they do remarkably well but in guarded conditions].
10. ahhhhhhh yes - beam. I guesstimated 5 1/2 feet of beam for my tacking proa. Too narrow [and still it sailed like gangbusters - again in moderate conditions]. Instead go for 7 feet beam. It takes a little out of your speed as the drag is increased the farther from the main hull, but the stability is markedly increased. And again - still you'll get 7 mph peak speeds in 10 mph wind. I cant argue with that. At 5 1/2 feet its just too too narrow - itll work in moderate lake chop but thats about as far as Id go and no heavy air.
11. Lastly, if the tacking proa seems to suit your interests I recommend the following. Leave the MKII amas be and save your trimaran sailrig configuration. Instead, order some 6mm okoume, and ten strips of wood for the aka. Ten strips is a lot but it adds to the mass of the proa rig and - in my case - I may string up a tramp on it - never for hiking out. I refuse to do it. But as a camping measure in shallow protected [millpond] waters . Everything is the same - leeboard, rudder and all.
12. Oh did I say rudder? Let me tell you something - the westriver 180 of yore is about as easy to turn as the titanic. Its too stiff really for most applications with a narrow advantage in flat water. I was rather fearful about putting a rudder on a craft that refuses to turn like most other seakayaks do. I figured the hull tracks so strong, the rudder would only act as a speed break slowing me down and barely turning at all. Let me tell you straight away - WWRROONNGG. I built the rudder that came with the CLC plans - I even added an inch or so forward to add a balancing effect to it. Buddy - this kayak turns like its greased. I was startled. Im like - "nooo waayyyy" - yes way. If you too own a WR180 and possibly thought it tracked to hard to use a rudder - it turns like magic. But heres the real beauty - I nailed it with the 1" forward for a balanced rudder design. I can set the rudder via its long pole to the left or right moving at 5 kniots or whatever and the darned thing holds position. Sure eventualy it will migrate but it never ever - not once - fought me. I would move it where ever and then lay down the pole on the aka in semi disbelief.
Anyway - go along with your MKII - but if you want an after project - project - consider a hefty high volume 6mm thick proa hull - ten feet length but an extra 5 inches freeboard. I havent officially finished the improved volum hull but in tests it did prove itself well. Coinsidering the 6mm - rememebr you need more mass to hold that one ama down - but you need the extra freeboard to keep it above the waterline.
Anyway - thought some of you might appreciate this. Too if it throws a little extra biz to clc so be it. Whatever you do - dont build a proa high volume hull out of 3mm - you need the mass.
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