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Re: Rocky asks "What is better?", or Bullwinkle selects a yak
Date: 8/11/1998, 7:41 am

You know, having watched kayaking competitions, virtually every boat in them came out the other end with it's paddler, still floating. Oh they may be damaged, but they sure weren't destroyed.

As for things like math models, test samples, and using real boats, there's quite a bit being left unsaid.

Math models are wonderfull things, but they still aren't the end all be all of design perfection. You know that as well as I do. That's why places with some of the best computer modeling software, NASA for example, always use test labs as well. Calculating the fail time of a spring is a wonderfull thing, but it takes a fool to not ever bother to check the spring in actuall operations for breakage because the math says it won't break until the xth cycle. One also have to be carefull to perform the right math. Modeling an arch using a flat beam with give erronious values, no matter how carefully added the numbers are. And even with all that, wheelies are still mathmatically impossible for motorcycles, and bumblebees still can't fly.

Test samples are wonderfull things to. I personally love them. But as you yourself have pointed out regularly, fiberglassing varies tremendously, and you need a large data pool to extrapolate out serious numbers. Even then, how the extrapolation is done, and how the data is applied changes the end application. Take luan plywood. Many people here have warned about it's poor nature, especially due to poor core pieces. I've certainly seen them with poor cores. I very carefully selected my pieces, making certain I didn't have any with poor cores. So the blanket statement that luan is lousy is certainly misleading. To claim as some have, that it's impossible to build a good boat from it is absolutely false.

Even the real boat or equipment testing is is hard to perform and innacurate. Especially in claims of the nebulous "better". Working at the B&D test labs we used to get calls all the time from marketing people wanting to know if this was better then that. Almost never could I answer that. Oh saw A cut faster then saw B, but saw A made a more raged cut then saw B. Which is better? There is no simple answer. It is very rare to encounter a product that is worse then another in every category. That's why there are so many different tires on race cars on the identical track for the same race. You might race better on tire A because it's got higher peak traction, I might race better on tire B because it's got more feedback. Is tire A better then tire B? Certainly not as a blanket statement, but definately so for you.

Shoot George, you and I could go head to head with my first time boat, a Millcreek, and still not be able to arrive at any consensus about "better" as it relates to your boats then mine.

Would yours have its glass laid up better then mine? Certainly! Would yours weigh less then mine? Absolutely! Would yours be faster then mine? Undoubtably! Would yours be better then mine though? That's not answerable. For mine does what I want just fine. Your boat, being better built, lighter and faster might not suit me as well, and hence would not be a better kayak. Visa-versa as well of course. A superbly built Millcreek just might be a misurable boat for you, no matter who built it or how beautifully it was done.

It all ends up reminding me of a story I heard from a boat builder. He encountered a fella who was crowing up the wonders of his new coring technique by letting people pound on the hull of his boat at a show with a hammer. People were whaling away at it, with virtually no damage, proof positive about the superiority of cored hulls. Then this one builder turned the hammer around, hitting it claw end first. Punching through not only the outer laminate, but the core material and the inner laminates as well.

Turned the proud builder of these cored hulls sick with horror as he realized what this meant to all the people he'd sold boats to of this design that lived in areas with sharp rocks instead of rounded boulders.

Didn't prove that solid hulls are better then cored hulls by any means, but did once again demonstrate that there is no simple universal best.

If you're interested in some sort of competition whereby you can market your boat as being proven better then someone elses boat George, you aren't ever going to get any takers. I certainly wouldn't bother. Even if I knew to the bottom of my heart and soul that my boat was better then yours. It's just not worth it.

But on the other hand, if you'd care to improve the fleet, learn from others, and not smear, crush and destroy competition I'm quite confident that as many shows and such as you get to you could undoubtably find people to kayak with and then compare boats and damages and building techniques with. If you're ever out this way you are certainly welcome to come paddle with me and we can compare boats before and after. Just remember that I don't represent CLC. :-)

Messages In This Thread

Re: Rocky asks "What is better?", or Bullwinkle selects a yak
NPenney -- 8/11/1998, 7:41 am
Re: Rocky asks "What is better?", or Bullwinkle selects a yak
Mark Kanzler -- 8/11/1998, 11:28 am