Re: fastest bicycle

Posted by CLC on Oct 27, 2006

Once you're in a kayak that's less than 24" wide and longer than 15 feet, the differences in speed are less pronounced. The boat design is probably only about 10% of the speed equation, which is enough to win a lot of races but less noticeable in casual paddling. The other 90% of the speed equation is the engine---you. Not just strength and endurance but also paddling technique.

I've observed much the same effect in cycling. You can spend thousands on fast road bikes, but all of the speed tweaks amount to only a fraction of the speed advantage. The rest of it is conditioning. I went on a casual 25-mile cycling trip years ago, myself on a relatively fancy road bike, a companion on an inexpensive mountain bike. He was an athlete in far better shape and erased forever my notions of equipment compensating for conditioning. I was gasping and behind, he was coasting along.

The Pax 20 is definitely, objectively faster than a Chesapeake 16, but the difference is not pronounced except in a race with one alongside the other. And I know strong paddlers who'd be faster over a long course in the 16 than I'd be in the Pax 20.

A side note about "1.34 x square root of waterline." This is an elastic number except for heavy displacement, non-planing hulls, which are limited by the bow and stern wave they create. Extremely narrow hulls show little wave-making drag and seem to be more limited by wetted surface. Long surfskis and boats like the Pax 20 show little wave-making drag at 1.8 or 2.0 x the square root of the waterline. But they've hit the wall with wetted surface.

Pax 18 & 20

In Response to: fastest kayak? by steve on Oct 27, 2006