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Submitted: 09-05-2000 by Tim Gittins
The Arluk 1.9 is a vee-bottomed, single-chine, slab-sided hull. Sides slope out about 15 degrees from the vertical. Length: 19 ft. Beam: 22 in. Waterline beam when empty of tripping gear is probably 20 in. Length is deceptive as the bow has a long rake out of the water. The ends look like as if some mammoth hand pinched them between its thumb and forefinger - they are very "hollow". There is very little volume actually in the water for the first three feet and last two feet. This is quite typical of Necky designs tho' on the Arluk 1.9 it is more extreme. When the sun's shadows fall just right its a very sleek effect.
Anyways, the outcome of designing the ends this way is that when in short steep swells/ chop the ends of the kayak sink into the crests in front and behind while the center portion of the kayak is resting in the trough thereby enhancing stability. This is very effective when in the narly stuff but I believe it contributes to broaching when surfing - the bow tends to cut too deep in the back of the wave ahead. Another outcome is that the Arluk 1.9 is alot less stable initially than many other kayaks with 22" beam and fuller ends.
The 1.9 rides low in the water - especially when loaded to the max. When starting out on a week - 2 week trip expect to get alot of water riding over the bow. The narrow bow pierces every wave vs. riding over it. It is very easy to edge into waves and edge for turning. It catches swells and wind waves easily and easy to keep surfing for long distances except in surf or steep, close-together waves where it perls into a broach. Once broached the 1.9 rests comfortably when the paddler is bracing on the face/backface of the wave while leaning into the wave.
The 1.9 comes with a rudder and probably most paddlers would need it. I find it weathercocks noticably - especially in the lee of low land where the water is flat but the wind strong. However, I took my rudder off mainly because I love the low profile of the stern - the rudder takes away from that beauty - but also because the 1.9 is very responsive to leaned turns (and very unresponsive when not leaned). I'd estimate that I could paddle a 360 degree circle with a diameter as tight as 25 ft using only forward alternating strokes and a constant lean - no sweeps, paddle-ruddering or other steering strokes. Having said that, I would caution taking the 1.9 on extended open ocean trips without the rudder - where you will encounter tides and rips and currents. The low volume ends can catch/trip on currents/rips more easily risking capsize. The rudder can really help by freeing your strokes up for power only strokes.
Gear volume is moderate. If you have to pack alot of your water and can't refill every night you'll be limited to a couple days. Otherwise you could stay out for two weeks or more if you can find fresh water every night.
Cockpit volume: I'm 6'1" tall with size ten and a half feet. I always have to have my feet angled out as they don't fit when straight up except right down the centerline. The cockpit opening is keyhole with pretty good grip for my knees tho' I glued rubber padding on the underside of the deck. I also cut off the coaming extensions that give the cockpit opening that 'keyhole' look - they were more a nuisance and my knees/thighs didn't touch them. The stock seat is a foam slab stuck right to the kayak floor with a foam covered plastic arch back rest. I didn't like it (especially the back rest) and replaced it with a slung homemade fiberglass bucket seat molded to my own butt. Behind the seat I installed an electric pump. Bulkheads are 2" closed cell foam. I'd like to replace them with 1/4" fiberglass-foam sandwich (while moving the forward bulkhead back about a foot! - alot of wasted space there right now plus more volume to pump out should the cockpit flood).
Gear hatches are large. Coverings are neoprene with fiberglass protective lids. Leakage is slight in very choppy water. About a cup from rolling practice.
Roll-ability is fair to good. I've found alot of other boats with greater volume at the ends easier to roll.
Deck layout could be better. Raised hookeyes are used to thread the safety lines and decklines - bad points there. Desperately needs recessed fittings. I've banged the damn things so many times. Foredeck is peaked (like an A), not flat or rounded. Pros: provides knee height while keeping minimum the extra volume in the cockpit.
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