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Roll A FreeB?

Walter T

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I am going to build a FreeB for my grand daughter. She is 19 and maybe 110 pounds. She has paddled the Tupperware Boats and really likes the river trips we have in the area. No white water to worry about. Should we need to worry about weather or not she would need a spray skirt and the ability to roll? Can you roll a FreeB or is it to stable for that?  If so, I will try to fine someone to teach the skills needed. l might have to build one for myself (66 years old) too so I can join her on some adventures. We have a lot of lakes and rivers to explore here in Wisconsin.

Thank you


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What a good grandpa you are! I believe that it would be very difficult to roll a boat with a beam of 36 inches. Has your granddaughter practiced rolling narrower boats? In any case she could certainly use a sprayskirt to keep water off her lap, but she would likely have to settle for a wet exit in case of capsize. If she is not expert at a wet exit, she should practice that under calm conditions, including popping off the spray skirt. And here is a word from the voice of experience: "Make sure that the strap at the bow of your spray skirt is on the outside."


Another thought: Depending on the conditions of the waterways where she will be paddling, a Ravenswood Low Volume may be a better boat. Many, if not most, kayakers start out with wide, short recreational boats and, with a little experience, switch to a narrower, longer, and faster model.


Have fun, Andy


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One paddling place that the "real" kayaks (15'+) do not fare well is narrow winding rivers.  Turning radius there out weighs cruising speed/ease.  Having used a FreeB in such a place it is a very viable design, even for an experienced kayaker.  It is Jeff's only kayak that addresses this. It is wider because it has to be to float, and you just have to live with that for a cornering boat.  Other than that, if she really wants to kayak, not just play around, build a real kayak. The boat should fit the need/want.

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