WR18 paddling report

Posted by Steve in Ottawa on Jun 8, 2004

I don't recall if I had announced the launch of my WR18 or not. I've been waiting for pictures and just haven't got around to getting them developed (or scanning them in).

Anyway, after maybe 8 outings over a period of a month, I have the following observations/questions.

First, the boat is a lot more stable than I expected. Granted, I'm comparing it to a solo whitewater canoe, but I expected it to be tender. Right from the start I felt quite comfortable.

Second, it seems very fast. Of course, I'm mostly comparing it to canoes again so it isn't fair. I'm looking forward to paddling with some other sea kayakers.

It seems to roll quite easily. I haven't finished my hatch latches yet, so I only taped the boat up once for repeated rolls, but it wasn't much harder than I remember with a whitewater kayak (granted that was a long time ago).

It seems to weathercock like a SOB. Again, I don't have much of a frame of reference, having not paddled many sea kayaks. Usually I can correct for it ok but I had one situation in about a 35 km/hr crosswind where it was very difficult to make her go where I wanted. Even in moderate winds I need to really sweep on the upwind side. I'd appreciated any advice on paddling techniques for dealing with weathercocking. I was surprised that she points into the wind, because the rear deck is very low.

I am VERY glad I didn't spend any extra time sanding or putting on extra coats of paint or varnish (three coats of each). I launch on a concrete boat ramp so you can imagine what the bottom looks like already. Nothing through the epoxy (or even into the epoxy) but the paint is taking a beating.

I am having lots of fun paddling this boat. It's incredibly satisfying to paddle a boat you built yourself. There are a couple of you in Ottawa that I've communicated with in the past. Drop me a line if you want to paddle together.