Re: Rule of Thumb?

Posted by Kurt Maurer on Jun 2, 2004

Mac, in LeeG's response, he subtly asks "what sea kayaks have you paddled that didn't act as you describe?" From the little I know, I'd say his question could be directly translated into "this sounds pretty typical to me..."

When I went from my plastic 10' x 30" Tupperware boat to the Mill Creek 13, I was astounded by the improvement in tracking, among other things. So I naturally expected to see even more wonderful things from a 16- to 17-foot sea yak. My first exposure to same came in the form of a builders' meet, where I got to try several boats. Funny thing, the first I tried, a Chessy 17LT, wasn't very much different from my MC13 at all, performance-wise! In fact, none of them were, except for the WR180. I remember it tracking like a train, hands-off so to speak, but required hiring a tug boat to get 'er to turn. I thought that unless I wished to paddle a speed record attempt to Singapore, I don't like this boat...

My Cormorant, as with most every other (rudderless/skeg-free) sea yak I have had the oppurtunity to paddle so far, has a bit of a wandering nose. The sole exception being a traditional skin-on-frame baidarka that sported a hull shape amazingly similar to the WR180.

In fact, my Cormorant wanders more than the lovely little fat guy, the MC13! But then, it corrects easier too. I find that it just plain pays to pay attention, and lean a little here and there, in order to hold a course in calm to light conditions. It's just like flying airplanes, where it becomes second nature to steal quick glances at the panel constantly, even when you're perfectly enraptured with what's going on out the winder or desperatley engrossed in avoiding leaving a smoking hole on somebody's property.

Watching where you're going is just something you do, and correct as necessary, I believe. At all times. Period. Like being aware the wind is blowing you into a tree with a hornet's nest in it while you're taking a picture of a bald eagle (although this particular example is good for developing highly efficient sprint technique).

So yeah, sounds to me like you're coming along famously. Some folks like to refer to a rudder so they don't have to pay attention to corrective strokes, while others, like me, revel in building good paddle technique as part of the fun of it all. The way I see it, every last stroke I take has some corrective elements to it anyway.

Cheers, Kurt

(who gets his first rolling lesson tonight)

In Response to: Re: Rule of Thumb? by Mac on Jun 2, 2004