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Old 06-07-2011, 12:14   #1
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How Long a Kayak ?

Hi all,

I currently have some inflatable kayaks and have been thinking of bringing things to the next level and getting a longer, plastic or fiberglass ocean kayak with a rudder... These are significantly longer (in the 14-20 foot range).

I'm wondering- does anyone have kayaks this size on their boat? Is it easy enough to deal with? I'm able to lift heavy stuff up onto deck pretty easily.

I was looking at garhauer's curved stanchion attachments which would let me mount the kayak on the outside of the lifelines, thus avoiding the shrouds.

Am I missing some big reason why this shouldn't be done? I've seen many posts on people with inflatable or foldables, but haven't seen much on people bringing the full sized guys around... Maybe for a good reason! Have others done this?

Thanks,

Matt
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Old 06-07-2011, 19:07   #2
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Btw I'm on a 42' mono... Anyone have a big kayak on a similar sized boat?
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Old 06-07-2011, 19:48   #3
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Re: How long a kayak?

I've been around inflatables and they never strike me as equal to hard kayaks. So I think you're on the right path. That and if I had to blow it up each time, I might as well just pitch it out.

Have you paddled a long narrow kayak? A few thoughts.
* Long kayaks tend to be more tippy. Unless you want to take the time to learn rolls and such, you may not like it.
* You really don't need a rudder to steer. One more thing to break, getting it on and off the boat. I would not, not for a sailboat accessory kayak.
* Longer boats track better, but they are worse in tight spaces (don't turn).
* And yes, longer kayaks are faster! you knew that.

And placing it outside the rail seems like a very bad idea, but I don't know your boat. But getting a hard kayak on and off should be no problem. They slide on the deck and a child could get ours up and down the sugar scoop.

Our choice. I've paddled whitewater and longer kayaks, but this seemed to work better for us on the boat.
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I would paddle a longer boat first; many people hate them.
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Old 06-07-2011, 20:02   #4
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I have a 14' kayak on a 30' boat.... Works fine. I have wide side decks and store it on it's side against the lifelines.
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Old 06-07-2011, 20:40   #5
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Re: How long a kayak?

Wouldn't the kayak make contact with the water when well heeled?

If you really like to paddle, a nice kayak is hard to beat. I hear what thinwater is saying about the rudder, but if I were going to take a real sea kayak on my boat, I'd just be careful when launching and get one with a rudder.

My experience with the sea kayaks I have paddled is they are stable and unless in a seaway or heavy wind you'll not tip much. Good idea to learn to self rescue though. Unless your pretty athletic or have some paddling background, you'll find it very difficult rolling a sea kayak, particularly with any gear stowed.

How 'bout on some chocks on cabin top?

csh
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Old 06-07-2011, 20:52   #6
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Re: How long a kayak?

We had 18 and 19 footers with rudders (sea kayaks) and they are actually quite light, especially if made in kevlar or carbon fiber. Having had one with a rudder I wouldn't get one without, but I did not use it as much as I thought I would. As for rolling, as someone else said, forget it with these if you have much gear stored. Easier just to bail out and remount but that's a different skill you will need to learn. A sit-on-top seems like a better option.

Can't see storing one outside the stanchions. That seems too precarious.
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Old 06-07-2011, 21:42   #7
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Re: How long a kayak?

IF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT SEA KAYAKS, the median length will be around 16 feet. Beyond that, it takes an exceptional paddler to benefit from the increased waterline. This is because few of us paddle with enough horsepower to overcome the increased drag of a longer waterline.

Realize, please, that sea kayaks have as much diversity in terms of LOA/LWL as sailboats. I keep a 15' LOA kayak on my sailboat that has more waterline than some 16' boats. It's a rudderless design (Eddyline), which I appreciate because jib sheets can tend to rip rudders off during a tack. But beginners tend to need rudders on longer sea kayaks. The longer the yak, the more you'll need a rudder.

Don't begin by asking about length. The real questions you want to pursue are about load (how much the kayak can carry) and stability. THIS IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEA KAYAKS AND SAILBOATS: some yaks are more suitable for beginners, and others are boats that only an expert should paddle.

Also, when selecting an appropriate sea kayak, the beginning point is your size/weight. I'm a foot taller and 100 pounds heavier than my wife. I am unable to use her boat, and she is unable to use mine. Period. This even though both of our boats are in the $2,500+ price range, and both of us are expert paddlers.

Finally, you need to consider how you'll use the yak. The two kayaks we keep on our sailboat are not the yaks we use for expeditions. We could spend three or four days on our boats, but if we want to go for multiple weeks, we always charter expedition yaks at our destination. This works great for us, because if all we're doing is going for a paddle for a few hours to explore an anchorage, we're better off not dealing with heavy, expedition boats.

Hope that helps.
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:31   #8
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Re: How long a kayak?

I've been carrying around a sit-on kayak for about 8 years now. Its plastic, and I lash it inside the lifelines on a 45 ft mono. Not sure how long it is, as it was a prize for a regatta in Malaysia, so didn't buy it.

I've had a great time paddling it around in warmer waters. Here in Hanalei Bay, I've gone up the river and surfed with it. Its not as fast as the longer more expensive versions, but its stable, light and virtually indestructible. Goes to weather easier than a SUP...
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:57   #9
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Re: How long a kayak?

Are you actually going to carry any gear and how big are you? This speaks to Bash's comments.

The best thing is to try some out.
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Old 07-07-2011, 09:49   #10
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Thumbs up Re: How Long a Kayak ?

We were paddlers before we were sailors. Here are some semi random thoughts you may want to consider.

Re rudders: Rudders are handy for beginners. As you gain more experience you will probably need them less and less for stearing. However, they are very nice to have when paddling in any sort of cross wind. Some really experienced paddlers prefer a skeg, which helps with tracking in a wind, but without the complexity of rudder and cables.

Re length: Longer boats are faster, track better, and have more storage for long trips. However, for casual exploration from a mothership, anything over about 15 ft should be fine.

Re type of boat: I did a bit of paddling down in Texas, and sit atop boats were the way to go because of the hot weather. Up here in Alaska, no one uses sit atops (you would freeze your butt), and everyone uses a cockpit and spray skirt. Just depends.

Re material: Fiberglass or kevlar boats are light, but expensive and require maintenance. Plastic boats are heavier, but cheaper, almost indestructable, and require very little maintenance. My choice is plastic. Whatever type you choose, make sure you get inner bulkheads, or else add floatation bags.

Re storage on a sailboat: Storage outside the lifelines sounds like trouble to me, except for short trips in fair weather. Other options depend entirely on the boat. I've seen people put them inside the lifelines, on cabin top, on top of a bimini etc. As you said, clearance from sheets, etc is the issue. Our boat is really too small for any of these, so we use an inflatable on our sailboat, and use our hardshells for kayak exclusive trips. Around here there are a lot of water taxis who transport kakakers out to prime paddling areas. Some of those guys mount car type kayak racks (for example Yakima racks) on cabin tops.

Re self rescue: With practice it is quite possible to eskimo roll a loaded sea kayak. However, rolling is a skill that takes considerable time to learn, and must be maintained. You should learn buddy rescue methods for when paddling with someone else. Paddle float rescues are quite effective when solo, and (contrary to some reports) can be done even in choppy waves. One advantage of sit atops is that they tend to be wider and more stable, and one can re-enter from the water without too much trouble.

Other thoughts: In another thread there was a great discussion of visibility of kayakers. Get a red, orange, or yellow boat. Wear a similar PFD. Make yourself as visible as possible. The real risk isn't so much from sailboats (they don't go so fast), as it is from powerboats. Getting run down by a big powerboat traveling at high speed would not end well!

Enjoy paddling!
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:29   #11
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Re: How Long a Kayak ?

You can drag a plastic kayak across gel coat safely; not so with frp on frp.
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Old 07-07-2011, 15:29   #12
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Re: How Long a Kayak ?

Not sure how much weight you want to carry or if it is just the weight of the kayak you are concerned about but i have a "wave walk" it is good on my often sore back and in smoother water can take many supplies to the boat and pretty good when exploring. they have a site to look up all the details but they are Catamaran shaped about 14' long and 2'6'' wide.I replaced a sit on with this as i was sick of getting wet and my back suffered from my posture on it .
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Old 07-07-2011, 16:01   #13
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Re: How Long a Kayak ?

Just went out and measured mine---10 ft, plus or minus. I weigh 165 lbs
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