Re: getting interesting

Posted by LeeG on Oct 6, 2007

These are questions CLC should be able to answer.

My very rough recollection from paddling the WR18 five years ago was that it could be made to turn more easily on an extreme lean than the Shearwater/Merganser 17. The Shearwater always feels like it's in a slot with little tendency to slide sideways or slew in a turn. A rounder bottomed hull with some rocker can slide sideways a bit more. But that's not entirely a difference of four vs eight panel hulls.

The Current Designs Caribou is based on a four panel plywood hull and it can slide sideways depending on where it is on a wave compared to the Shearwater.

Except for some slight tippiness the Shearwater/Mergansers are a good compromise in tracking/control.

I'm guessing a WR18 could be paddled faster than a Shearwater 17 but that the difference in paddling effort at average speeds is negligible. The WR18 is a significantly bigger boat than the Shearwater17. To come up with .1mph differences you're paddling pretty hard to begin with.

Regarding 'handling'. That term, like "performance" or "enthusiasts kayak" is usually undefined and malleable. A boat that is more controllable with waves off the stern would be a more pleasant handling boat than one that sticks into broach. That could be one area to describe handling.

"carving turns" is kind of a strange term like "secondary stability". A kayak is turned, some kayaks can turn easily from a stationary position and some kind of slot into an arc with little sideways movement or slewing. That characteristic isn't necessarily good or bad, it's distinctive. Maybe there's a dictionary somewhere that defines "carving turns" To my mind a kayak that is simply maneuverable doesn't necessarily "carve turns" as you would edges on skis.

A final thought, that some characteristics can be articulated and agreed upon by 80% of experienced paddlers doesn't necessarily mean it'll be something that adds/detracts from one's paddling enjoyment. It could just as well mean folks have something to talk about when not building/paddling.

In Response to: getting interesting by Mike Coughlin on Oct 5, 2007