Kayak vs. Thames Rowing Skiff - a personal experience

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by SailorDon, Sep 15, 2014.

  1. SailorDon
    Joined: Apr 2013
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    SailorDon Senior Member

    Benchmark for rowing:
    I have accumulated some rowing experience with my 17' Thames Rowing Skiff over the past 16 months. I have logged over 1,400 miles of water under the keel. I keep a good GPS record of every rowing trip. For instance, today I rowed 5.0 miles non-stop in 1 hr 11 min.
    [​IMG]

    Experiment for kayaking:
    I have very little kayaking experience. Yesterday I had an opportunity to "test drive" kayaks at Austin Kayaks Demo Days in Conroe, TX. No charge!
    [​IMG]
    The price was right for the "test drive".

    I was quite disappointed at my kayaking performance. Maybe I am doing something wrong. I busted a gut trying to make these kayaks go, but I could not sustain 4.0 mph. I was lucky to get 3.5 mph.
    [​IMG]

    Both kayaks I test drove gave me "wet butt". I have never had "wet butt" in 1,400 miles of rowing my Thames Rowing Skiff.

    The problem with the Thames Rowing Skiff is that it weighs 130 pounds and requires a trailer to go from lake to lake.
    The kayaks weigh about 70 pounds and can be carried on roof racks.
    Almost all of my rowing is done launching from a boat lift in my boathouse.
    [​IMG]

    Is my dismal kayaking performance due to kayak design, or am I doing something wrong? :confused:
    .
     
  2. NoEyeDeer
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    NoEyeDeer Senior Member

    It's largely due to the design of those kayaks, which are short and wide. That means they have heaps of wave drag and wetted surface drag for a kayak. Try a K1. :D

    Or, if you prefer rowing (as I do) you could simply build a lighter rowboat. :) It would be perfectly possible to build your current boat at close to half the weight.
     
  3. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Try this kayak.

    http://laughingloon.com/north.star.html

    You might not need the biadarka shape, but this is more representative of a kayak easy to push at a higher speed.
    Lots of different choices available, lighter than a plastic sit on top with much less drag.

    Or try this http://yostwerks.com/SeaBeeFrameA1.html I built one of the multichine boats for a friend's son.
    They went paddeling for the sons first time. The father rented a plastic sit on top like you showed.
    After 20 yards my friend realized he was having a hard time keeping up (he is a long time canoer and instructor) so he asked his son (13 with no experience) how he was doing - just fine dad. Eventually they switched boats and the father estimated the plastic kayak was ~2x the effort to keep a modest speed.

    I think you just learned the same lesson.

    It was kayak design. You are a more sophisticate user than most first time kayakers.
     
  4. SailorDon
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    SailorDon Senior Member

    By presenting my Thames Rowing Skiff as a benchmark, I assumed competition type kayaks were out of the question.
    Besides, I would end up upside down in a heartbeat in one of those K1 designs.

    The kayaks I test drove were about 30" wide. That is narrow compared to my 45" wide Thames Rowing Skiff. They were about 1.5 feet shorter.

    If I could get the same performance out of a kayak as I do with my rowing skiff (same distance for same calorie burn in the same amount of time), I would have a hard choice between rowing or kayak. But for the moment, I do prefer rowing because of my kayaking lack of performance.

    I have come very close to buying a Heritage 18 Carbon Fiber rowing skiff (90 pounds). (Little River Marine, Gainesville, Florida)
    [​IMG]

    The problem with rowing is that you see where you've been instead of where you are going. :)
     
  5. SailorDon
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    SailorDon Senior Member

  6. bpw
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    bpw Senior Member

    Any decent kayak should be able to cruise at 4mph+ for quite a long time. The 24 mile Blackburn Challenge kayak race is frequently paddled in about 4 hours by slow amateurs. The fast guys do it in three.

    I suspect your disappointment is a combo of paddling some pretty slow boats and also not having enough seat time to be efficient. A proper sea kayak may surprise you.
     
  7. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    The North Star is a large sea kayak, easily able to take your height.
    The cockpit is as large as I have seen them.
    Stiff joints could make it difficult to enter, I'm not so spry myself.

    If you are in Austin, my son has a SOF kayak, 17' x 22" wide with an expanded cockpit (more knee room). I'm sure you could try it out in Town lake from one of the convienent launch points. You might need your own person to assist in getting in the boat, he has been working long hours.

    22" might be more challenging than you want to do your first entry for a sit inside kayak.
     
  8. SailorDon
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    SailorDon Senior Member

    Part of my requirement for a recreational kayak is that it has easy entry and egress. 99% of the time, I will be solo. Assistance is out of the question.
    I don't want them to have to use the Jaws of Life to get me out. [​IMG]

    Of the all the kayaks at the Austin Kayak Demo Days, not a single design was sit-in. Why is that? Maybe they don't sell because they sacrifice ease of use for high performance. I don't know. I'm just observing a fact of the Demo Days. No sit-ins.
     
  9. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    OK, for ease of entry you need to go old school.
    A new version is shown by Dave Gentrys designs.
    http://gentrycustomboats.com/C15 page.html
    This boat is also wider - more stable, somewhat more drag, but I don't think it could ever be similar to a sit on top plastic job.

    Dave also builds theses, if you don't what to do one yourself.
    You probably could narrow one of these from 31 inches to around 24 or a little bigger. Not as much easy recreational paddling but faster.

    This style is also represented by an older set of designs - Blanford kayaks.
    Folbot is an older design of the same style, no longer made (they have newer fold up kayaks) I had one and found it very easy to paddle - 35 years ago. It was 16' and I somewhere between 24 and 30 inches wide.
    In trying to paddle with an aluminum Grumman canoe with two aboard, I had to stop and wait for them every so often.

    Actually, I think you could put the Gentry/ Blanford style cockpit on a Yost kayak, or even the North Star (this might look a little strange).

    You don't need to worry about jaws of life. If you are thru with the day, just roll the boat over and you will slide right out! :D:D
    I believe many beginning paddlers are scared of being trapped in the boat, which is just very far from the truth.
     
  10. SukiSolo
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

  11. SailorDon
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    SailorDon Senior Member

    Always nice to have a "Jolly Joker" provide some comic relief.:D
    I have never heard of an arthopometric racing canoe before, no less seen one.
    .
     
  12. SailorDon
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    SailorDon Senior Member

    [​IMG]

    The C15 looks like a design I could successfully paddle. I don't know about maintaining 4.0 mph for 6 miles (or even being able to achieve 4.0 mph), but I should be able to get in and out of the kayak with the large cockpit opening.

    I don't figure there is any chance I will ever get to test drive one of these. :(
    .
     
  13. NoEyeDeer
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    NoEyeDeer Senior Member

    The Chuckanut 15 is a bit big for a solo canoe/kayak as it's quite beamy and better suited as a double. The 12S would be best as a one person boat. This has better performance than the original 12 and is easier to build.

    http://gentrycustomboats.com/C12 page.html

    [​IMG]

    Email Dave and ask him if there are any of his Chuckanuts around your part of Texas. There's a good chance somebody has built one down there. If there's one around, you could probably swing a test drive (even if it costs you a six pack).
     
  14. Dave Gentry
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    Dave Gentry Junior Member

    Thanks for the nods, everyone.

    Don, I will be at both the Sail Oklahoma and the Port Aransas (TX) boating festivals, in October, and I plan to bring a Chuckanut 12 with me - you are welcome to paddle her all you like . . . no six pack required. :)
    [​IMG]
     

  15. SailorDon
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    SailorDon Senior Member

    I don't plan on attending Sail Oklahoma, but I am certainly bringing my Selway-Fisher Mandarin 17 to the Port Aransas Wooden Boat Show (for rowing and showing). I look forward to meeting you and discussing your boat designs, especially RUTH 18' wherry design.

    On Friday, Oct 17, I plan to row the 2 miles from the Port Aransas Marina to visit the Lydia Anne Lighthouse which is on the kayak paddling trails in the Port Aransas/Rockport area. If there is enough interest, perhaps we can form a rowing and paddling posse to make the pilgrimage! :D

    I believe I would overload the Chuckanut 12 design. Your website states maximum recommended load at 225 pounds. I've got that beat by a substantial amount, and that is even without the six-pack that is required to keep me going!:)
    I'd hate to run out of gas (errrr....beer) in the middle of the marina. :D
    (It's called dehydration.)

    If you think it is safe and worth a try, I will take you up on your offer of a test drive.
     
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