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Am I too big for it?


mwagner
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I repaired a 1960-1970 ClarkCraft canvas on frame kayak.  Removed all the wood trim and torn canvas, repaired some cracked wood and then covered it with 850 nylon and waterproofed with 2 part poly.  When I sit in the boat the gunnel at the stern is almost at the waterline while the bow is showing the last stringer.  While the bottom is fairly flat in the middle third the two ends are very curved and both ends also curve up (rocker).  I have moved myself so far forward that the there is little room left in front of me in an otherwise large cocpit of 49".  I can at least stay dry now but it is still very tippy.  My question is could 230 pounds and a 6 foot 3 inch frame be too much for this 14.5 foot relic?  I have read about sitting near the rear of the opening and adding weight to the front until it sits level in the water but to me this is just adding even more weight to the boat.  My loving bride refuses to get in it after seeing me execute about 15 perfect 1/2 Eskimo rolls on my maiden 30 minute voyage. 

 

Since this is the first kayak I was ever in I rented a commercial one (old towne 12.5) that also had a very large opening and called a recreational boat.  I felt like I could about stand up in it.  It initially seemed tippy until I leaned farther and then it just stopped.  It took some good effort to get it to continue to lean further.  I was also sitting in the rear of the long opening with plenty of leg room and very comfortable.

 

I enjoyed playing with the rehab of this boat but my main reason was to use it but it seems very unstable and even uncomfortable sitting about to the forward limit of the opening.  So is there some measurement I can take that might tell me if I am just too big for this boat?  When I balance the boat across a sawhorse it is pretty much in the middle of the boat (very symetrical) which is about 29 inches from the rear of the opening.  A difficult place to sit.  I took it to a neighbors pool to check for leaks before using it and it seems to float very evenly both front to back and side to side. 

 

Any insight from this group is appreciated.  To me it is a very cool looking boat, light weight, but with me in it is too stern heavy and thus trying to balance on a round log.

 

Thanks in advance for any comments,

Mike

Oregon WI

 

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It sure sounds like you are exceeding the weight design for the boat based on what you are experiencing.  How much lighter is your loving Bride?

 

Under 150?  I know I am setting you up for very dangerous water here.  Whatever you do do not answer the question out loud or in print.

 

But If she is in the 150 range I am willing to bet that she will find it quite comfortable and you will have your answer and she will have a nice Kayak.

 

Length is not sole determiner of stability as you found out with Old Town 12.5 .  Length is a  major determiner of speed though. 

 

Likely if you measure the width of the two the Old town is substantially wider.... and slower and heavier than the skin on frame.  Like I said it will probably be a great fit for your wife.

 

You on the other hand might want to check out Kudzu craft and see what else it out there for skin on frame kayaks that would be a better fit for you.

 

http://kudzucraft.com/

 

So, on the p[erfect 1/2 eskimo roll thing,  were you doing the hard half or the easy half??

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Hello Ray,

 

That was the reason of asking her to give it a go.  If she could sit in a more normal location and it wasn't tippy then my weight is wetting too much skin.  I had better say a buck-fifty is a fair assessmant.  Yes it its much lighter than the shorter plastic boat.  My bathroom scale said 31 pounds but at the time I did not have the seat installed.  Very easy to lift and carry one handed.  I did check out Kudzucraft and bought one of his books and found it a good read.  Another book by Cunningham was also informational.  Between those and some internet reading I got very interested in trying to build one on my own.  During my search for long clean 'cheap' boards ran across this old wood and canvas that needed to be reskinned.  I thought the long boards just got really cheap as I gave about $50 for it.  A little glue and lots of clamps and the frame seemed good enough to skin.  Corey at the SkinBoatSchool was helpful in setting me up with materials for skinning and helpful tips to boot. 

 

I attached some pictures but remember I am not a photographer so they are what they are.  More of a translucent offwhite that looks to be getting a parchment tint to it.  So far I am comfortable enough to go out and not get wet.  My first day was the only time I went swimming and about those Eskimo rolls?  Definitely the easy half.  Almost like I wasn't trying at all!  First two are of the finished boat excluding seat.  The next three are my maiden voyage.  Just in, hanging on and man overboard!

 

Thanks for the comments,

Mike

 

 

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Hey Mike,

 

I am a bit shorter than you at 5'7 but scale in at about 215# I find my 15 footer (designed as a double in the 1940's) to be quite stable and I sit almost all the way aft. Megan has a 13 footer which feels a bit small to me.  Very minor changes in the height of the seat make large changes in the stability of the boat. I sit in a kayak seat directly attached to the floor boards, tried sitting on a throwable float cushion and it was to high. Same kayak ,several years apart.  Hope this helps.

 

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  I have moved myself so far forward that the there is little room left in front of me in an otherwise large cocpit of 49".  I can at least stay dry now but it is still very tippy. 

Moving fore or aft isn't going to do much if anything to make the boat feel more stable.  Most real kayaks don't feel stable at all to novices.  Being stable is a learned skill.  But it is also this instability in calm waters that make it more stable in rougher water.  Stability (while still in flat water) and speed are inversely proportional.  I don't mean that there is a proper ratio, but stability comes from flat bottoms and beam, both of which make the boat slower, and both make the boat more unwieldy in waves.

 

Off-hand it looks like your kayak is sitting on her lines in your photos.

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Mike:

Ray is correct; you look to be sitting too high. You're trimmed by the stern a bit, as well, but that's not a big deal. You didn't describe your seating arrangement, but you should have just enough cushioning on the floor under your butt to be comfortable-- no higher. You should be low enough that your knees can go under the deck, rather than be higher than the coaming. You don't need to keep them there, but that's how the geometry should work out. Lastly, you didn't mention the beam of your boat. In the photos, it looks pretty slim. Narrower boat require more core strength and balance. In the photos, you're leaning back. In that position, you can't use your core muscles effectively to balance. Here's something you can do while watching TV: Sit on the floor instead of sitting in a chair and work on sitting upright like you would in a boat.

Have fun, Andy

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As others have said - The lower you can sit, the more stable the boat will feel and it doesn't take much for an improvement. That's the most important change you can make. In addition to that, though, I think you will feel a little more improvement if you can get farther forward in the boat. If the stern was a little higher and the bow was a little lower the boat would have a little more initial stability. At least it looks that way to me.

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