Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kayak Stability

Yesterday I had a prospective boat building student try out some kayaks so he could see what would be suitable for him.  Turned out he wanted a small boat that was light weight and stable.  Also turned out that his idea of stable was much different than mine.  Also had a light come on in my head that illuminated the part of the stability equation that connects stability with boat weight.  The long and the short of it is that aside from form making a boat stable, weight also does, especially for a small boat where the weight of the passenger can easily exceed that of the boat. 
So my prospective student was essentially asking for two conflicting characteristics in a kayak, light weight and stability.  Furthermore, he illuminated once again what I already knew but need to be reminded of periodically that operating a small boat takes some minimum of physical dexterity and strength.  And my prospective student was below the bar on both counts for traditional kayaks.  I could have put him in my sixty pound plus baidarka lounger boat and he would probably have been fine, but he kept telling me that he wanted a light boat. 
So as you might expect, the deal fell through.  No sale on the building of the boat.  Still, I learned something. I know I could have had him build a boat that was sufficiently stable even for his needs but his fear of the boats I did have available was greater than any promises of what I could do for him.

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