Rule of Thumb?

Posted by Mac on Jun 2, 2004

OK, I know before I ask that I'm dreaming if I think there is a simple answer to this - but I'm a newbie kayaker and hope springs eternal.

I have a 19' kayak that has an Artic Hawk type prow (ie: very sharp) with a Pax type stern. It is hard chined with a LT profile (ie: very low)). Bow and stern are very low volume - read knife edged. Beam at cockpit shear is 24 1/2". From what I can - see very little rocker. I was pathalogical about checking for twist.

I'm 6', 240lbs and stiff, my seatback is max rearward so I can (just) get in and out. From the photos I've seen, the yak still looks a teeny bit front heavy.

Paddling into the wind and chop is fantastic, as the weathercocking and flow keep the boat very straight. When paddling with the wind, or even in a dead calm, I find the boat wanders randomly to port or starboard (nautical eh?), and requires a good knee hang and a sweep or two to correct. A bit later - here we go again - same side or t'other. (Kinda like a car with too much toe out)

Am I digging in up front? Should I try adding weight in the rear hatch? Am I that crappy a paddler? (Pls don't say "All of the above").

Here's where I ask for the "Rule of thumb".

How do I try to correct this wandering without resorting to a rudder?