Small Boat Design

Discussions around designing small boats including kayaks and canoes.

Minimum Wetted Surface Area Riddle

I have been playing around with the Bearboat software with a view to creating a fast flat water kayak, ie fast over long distances rather than sprints. The fastest paddlers here seem to use boats of about 6.2m and go faster than the K1's provided the races are longer than 10km or so. However, my experimentation with Bearboat suggests that you can't get the wetted area down with a long boat no matter how narrow you make it, and the K1 length of about 5.2m appears optimum. At speeds of 7 knots say, I thought wetted area was all important. The top surf skis (Fenns etc) also are getting very long (6.2m plus). Can anyone tell me whether the longer boats just look fast and are fooling their owners, or whether there is some other reason why the long boats are popular? I can understand there might be advantages of a long boat in waves, but on flat water?