Re: To foil weathercockin

Posted by Dave Houser on May 17, 2007

I do not want to hurt my head on this on. The easiest method of trimming an existing kayak is to move some weight around. If you are paddling a kayak with no cargo the only weight to move is the paddler. To reduce weathercocking you move the paddler back which changes the attitude of the kayak i.e. the bow comes up and the stern goes down exposing more of the front deck and front sides to wind, reduces the depth of the front keel, reduces the exposure of the rear deck and aft sides to wind and increase the depth of the aft keel all contribute to reducing weathercocking. And it will affect the hydrostatics and aerodynamics some maybe better maybe worse. But since I do not paddle in Olympic races I am not going to worry about a fraction of an ounce of drag one way of the other. The next easiest method of trimming a weathercocking kayak is to add some fixed skeg. Easy to do just glue it on. It adds very little drag adds a lot of tracking (and adds turning effort) and has no moving parts. Adding a deployable skeg is another option. When heading into the wind you leave it up to weathercock. When heading down wind you put it all the way down to leecock. And in crosswinds or especially quartering seas you dial in the right amount of skeg to minimize correction strokes. Then there is the rudder, the kayak designer�s answer to all directional design flaws. It does not matter if the kayak weathercocks or leecocks just stomp a pedal. Ideally for minimum drag you would want a ruddered kayak to be wind neutral with the rudder down and held centered to minimize the rudder use and its drag. I like to rely on cowboy self-rescues so I do not want a deployable skeg or a rudder in the way. And besides moving parts break or jam. I choose not to deal with that offshore or on the beach miles from the car. So now to your question, sure adding more wind exposure to the bow will reduce weathercocking without altering the underwater attitude of the kayak. You could make deployable and trimable surface But I see it as just more moving parts to go wrong when you are six miles off shore chasing whales or when you pearl surfing into that beach 10 miles from the car. I am a minimalist so I want just one moving part on my kayak, the paddle. It is the most reliable of all configurations. So with a finished kayak in hand, I trim by moving the seat. In fact I test paddle, in a brisk crosswind, every kayak I build before installing the coaming and cutting the deck hole to full size to assure a wind neutral finished boat. If I wanted to avoid changing the underwater attitude of a kayak and correct for weathercocking I would just build a new kayak with a higher bow while I paddled I one in hand (trimmed bow up to be wind neutral).

In Response to: To foil weathercocking by Camper on May 16, 2007