Modified whitewater kayak for the intracoastal

Submitted by elitopus on Mon, 06/22/2020 - 09:40

Hi all

I’m relatively new to kayaks, but not new to boating. I’ve been sailing my whole life, and have a few sailboats including a wood lightning. 
 

I’ve been using a too small for me kayak up to this point, and have been looking for an inexpensive upgrade. Eventually I’d like to build one of the plywood kit kayaks, but for now my budget is somewhat limited. 
 

I know you guys are knowledgeable on hull design, and different hull shapes for different applications, so I thought I’d ask this question here. 
 

I found a 14’ kayak for sale that appears to be an old whitewater kayak that someone has added a skeg to. So, my question is how would this kayak be out on the intracoastal waterways, or in a lake? Besides the skeg, is there anything else I could do to make it track straighter? 
Or is it more work than it’s worth. I appreciate any input. 
 

https://imgur.com/a/8gwjZmy

 

I couldn’t get my pic to load on the forum pic loader. Hopefully the imgur link for you. Thanks. 

JohnAbercrombie

Mon, 06/22/2020 - 12:45

I'd keep looking for a better candidate while using your current kayak. What are you using now?

That fixed skeg (?) is going to be 'a pain' to use. 

Plus, you'd probably want a sprayskirt, deck lines, flotation bags, etc... all $$ 'down the drain'.

 

 

 

Hi

Thanks for the input. What about the fixed skeg (fun?) do you think would make it a pain to use? Turning? The extra depth it takes up? Hitting stuff with it? 
 

The main things I’m curious about are how slow this would be compared to a normal kayak, and how easy it would paddle straight. 

JohnAbercrombie

Mon, 06/22/2020 - 16:51

The main things I’m curious about are how slow this would be compared to a normal kayak, and how easy it would paddle straight. 

If you can arrange a test paddle, that would be the best way to find out.  Or just take a chance - I wouldn't pay more than $25-40 for something like that, so not a huge gamble.

'Normal kayak'...compared to an average 16 foot+ sea kayak I don't think that old WW boat will be much fun to paddle straight. Compared to an 9 foot poly kayak it might be OK. 

I see boats like that one  on the 'used for sale' listings locally, but I've never talked to anybody who has paddled one on open water. 

https://www.usedvictoria.com/classified-ad/Fibreglass-vintage-kayak_35967689

 

Re: Comparing this WW kayak with a poly 9 footer, that’s almost exactly right:)

 

I can get this ex WW kayak for cheap, and might take a chance on it. I was just reading another recent thread where the OP was talking about adding a keel, skeg, or rudder to his OT Loon. Sounds interesting, and inexpensive. 
 

If this boat I’m looking at is fiberglass like I think it is, it should be easy to mod and play around with. I’ll be the guinea pig who takes it out on open water and reports back ;) 

 

JohnAbercrombie

Mon, 06/22/2020 - 18:59

If this boat I’m looking at is fiberglass like I think it is, it should be easy to mod and play around with.

Exactly! You can try lots of different 'mods' without fear!

:)

Skeg, rudder, convert existing fin skeg to an under-hull rudder, deck fittings, bulkheads, hatches etc etc...long list of fun experiments.

Make sure you have flotation inside the hull; I'm guessing there are no bulkheads or hatches. If you don't have air bags, even rolls of bubble wrap inside trash bags will be better than nothing.

 

Have fun!

 

At 14 ft it may just be a recreational kayak. They were cranking these tubs out carelessly in the beginning  with no care about performance. Perhaps the seller would allow you to try it in a pond and if the price is right it may fit the bill for some summer fun. I had a woman friend who had one and I put a skeg on it with an electric glue gun the she uses it and it works fine. It is what it is. I think she paid $50 for it and for her, ideal. Lastly... a skilled paddler can make that boat dance in surf or do all kinds of stunts and even roll it.

mick allen

Wed, 06/24/2020 - 17:13

I've never talked to anybody who has paddled one on open water

Not that I wish to admit to it, but I have many times - even loaded . . . . still have one [beaten and thrashed and repaired many times - who else would want it?]. The general heritage of these is as ww boats, so they maneuver, roll,  have predictable motions and are hard to keep straight but therefore are great to learn control on - and as mentioned cheap - sometimes free.

But the boat shown has such a low bow and unless the skeg is detachable [can't quite quite tell from the photo], it's just not worth getting - as maneuverability is a desirable characteristic. Either one of those being present is a deal breaker no matter if even free. And even the ckpt-back looks just a little high so the range of rolling methods may be curtailed somewhat . . . so I would pass.

Unpacked in open water they have all the characteristics of a maneuverable, round sectioned ww boat [as one would suspect] but in a fairly long [compared to ww boats today] hull that can be paddled at a reasonable speed - even better than many of today's less well-shaped recboats. If tracking is a concern, successively gluing shallow, long keel shaped pieces just just until handling is ok, is a possibility - but then you lose the control learning - but a big skeg at the back like shown probably [probably as I havent paddled that arrangement] will give lee cocking just when you don't want it.  But packed, they become a swath torpedo that will mainly punch [and not ride over] thru waves giving quite a wet, annoying ride,  heh heh - wear sunglasses.

So for getting started for no money, a slightly better shaped boat like this has given me hours and days of enjoyable as well as useful fun. They are light, so easy to carry and lift on the car, and for the lack of money, provide a reasonable return for many types of fun on the water.

 

 

 

Thanks guys for all your input. I decided this was probably only a temporary boat for me at best, and I bought something else instead. I ended up with a used Wilderness System Sealution 16’ 6” kayak that I found on Facebook for a really good price. 

Because of my proximity to the intracoastal (and ocean), I wanted something I can kind of grow into. I also spend a bit of time each year on Lake Ontario, and I think that kayak will be good for that as well. 
 

My goal to build a plywood kayak when I get enough of a work area again. I have some experience in building/woodworking, and am hoping to get the plans and cut the plywood myself. I know the cuts won’t be as good as the CNC cut plywood, but I think it’s possible to make it look nice. 
I’d honestly like to use the wood kayak on the fresh water, and the poly boat in salt water. 

[quote] My goal to build a plywood kayak when I get enough of a work area again. I have some experience in building/woodworking, and am hoping to get the plans and cut the plywood myself. I know the cuts won’t be as good as the CNC cut plywood, but I think it’s possible to make it look nice.[/quote]

When you cut the panels use a handsaw, not a jigsaw. As for that versus CNC, why? CNC will cost and you want it cheap. All of my more than half a dozen and my partner's two have all been done with hand tools.

[quote]I’d honestly like to use the wood kayak on the fresh water, and the poly boat in salt water. [/quote]

Why? We use our plywood kayaks on anything that is wet and have done for decades. The oldest one I have was built in 1983 and still ready for use. Remember the kayak should be built to be used so if it looks too good you'll worry about scratching it. does it look reasonable? Does it float?

Also we never glass the hulls, glass only on the seams. Epoxy coating then paint over. You can use varnish but here UV will degrade it. That, very little glass, saves a lot of money and weight and if ever, note "if" repairs are needed they will be easier. Do I ever hit rocks when out paddling? Yes, always. Repairs? A bit of paint sometimes.

Cost - about $600, possibly a bit more if more expensive plywood or other components used. Everything such as rudder, pedals, hatches, etc. are all built by me, mostly to my design. There are details available if you want them.