Re: Locate combing Ches17

Posted by Dave Houser on Aug 13, 2007

Cockpit location is my most commented subject on bulletin boards. I always test paddle my kayak builds prior to installing the coaming. The seat location influences if a rudderless or skegless kayak will weathercock (turn into the wind) or leecock (turn downwind). And seat location then determines the coaming location. At the stage of installing the coaming on a S&G the hull and deck will be glassed an epoxied, so if you also epoxy seal the cut edge of the undersized cockpit cutout, all wood will be waterproofed. I take the coamingless kayak to the local bay in a brisk wind and paddle crosswind. I move back in the cockpit while paddling until the kayak quits weathercocking and note my back location in relation to the deck. I like my fist (5 inches) to fit between my back and the finished coaming on a wind neutral kayak. The only hitch to this is method is the rear bulkhead must be at or behind the aft edge of the final cockpit opening so the installed bulkhead may limit moving the coaming back. In a perfect world the aft bulkhead should fall right at the edge of the final cutout to expedite draining water, when treading water by yourself miles off shore. Sure beats using a bilge pump to remove that extra ten gallons when bouncing around in white caps with your skirt half off. I moved my seat back three inches from plan location on my standard Ches 17 to make it wind neutral. If or when you carry cargo, it should be loaded to keep your kayak wind neutral; more weight goes in the rear hatch than the front hatch.

If you install a deployable skeg you want the kayak to weathercock when the skeg is up and leecock when the skeg is down. Rudders should be the most efficient if the kayak is wind neutral when the rudder is down.

I like a wind neutral kayak with no moving parts (other than the paddle). And since I do all of my paddling in the open Pacific Ocean dealing with wind and waves is a major concern. A knee lift (edging) is usually all that is necessary for course correction in a wind neutral kayak. Sometimes I will hold a knee lift for 3 or 4 strokes to avoid a sweep stroke; edging is less tiring than even occasional sweep strokes. Edging toward a crossing wave or swell is much more effective than edging away because the bow turns much easier down the face or the back of a wave than up.

In Response to: Locate combing Ches17 by Robert Miller on Aug 12, 2007


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