Length and width
Posted by: WaterBird on Jul-01-13 3:31 PM (EST)
QUOTE: "As an example, Perception makes a 14' Carolina that is 24.5" wide and then some sea kayaks go several feet longer. I am probably wrong but it would seem to me that going from my current boat to a boat one foot longer and 2.5" narrower would not be a major step but my thinking may be totally off."
Each 1/2 inch in width makes a noticeable difference, as does each foot in length. 14' x 24.5" should feel quite different from 13' x 26.5". The length of your current kayak is fine for rivers, but it's particularly wide, which means slow and hard to turn,
But how do you know how long and narrow to go? For each person there is a point somewhere in the middle that feels just right for the person's abilities, the body of water, the conditions, and the useage.
There is such a thing as too much stability. If you're sitting still fishing, 26.5" would feel stable to you. But as you try to turn a wide kayak you find that it resists turning. A good kayak is stable when you're sitting still but allows you to lean it on its side for turning. For this a width of 24" and less is best.
In your case, your main problem is width and I would look for something about 13'-14' long and 24" wide with a shallow V hull. If you choose carefully, you should gain quite a bit of speed and ease of turning with such a boat.
15' x 21" is too radical a step for you at this time, until you have discovered what you want to do with your kayak and your skill has developed.
My philosophy is to get the shortest, lightest kayak that paddles the easiest in given conditions. There are downsides to unneeded extra length: the kayak is heavier, harder to put up on your car, harder to turn, and harder to store in your garage. For "stop and start" paddling a shorter kayak is better because it takes less effort to get it moving. A long kayak is only faster once you get it up to speed and keep it up to speed.
So that's why I think you would be happy with something around 13' to 14' at this point in time.
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