Small Boat Design

Discussions around designing small boats including kayaks and canoes.

Primary stability

I have obtained a 'sea kayak' of some old design. I'm over 16 stone (108kg) in weight with most of my weight in my gut and backside. I'm over 6 ft tall with most of my height in my legs and over the age limit for sensible paddling. Anyway, it was bought unseen and I didnt fit through the hole in the top. I have now cut away the rim of the cockpit and gained the necessary extra space to fit in. 'Just'. I sit on the rear deck , place my legs down the hole at the front and slide in, with knees just grazing the front of the cockpit. I intend to add bulkheads, knee braces, etc to make it small volumed, and with good flotation. That all sounds fine and I'm not too worried.

I tried it out and it is impossible to get into in water. I cant stand in it (Supported by paddle or wall) and lower myself down, like my racing K1. It doesn't just wobble, but immediately does a fast roll. Even with one leg on sand and the other in the boat it wobbles like a jelly, as I try to step in.

So I place just in the water close to the beach and sit on the deck behind the cockpit. Wobbly but safe enough with a little support of say one hand reaching down to the sand. Now to slide in, I place one hand each side behind my bum and lift just enough to slide. The wobble becomes extreme and water pours in one side and then the other. This will be better once I rebuild the cockpit rim as it will be an inch or two higher, but is still worrying because there feels to be a significant risk of capsizing before I get in.

Q1: Is it my technique for getting in?

Q2: Would a retractable skeg cure the problem? Retract it once paddling?

Q3: The ideal place to fit the skeg would be at the front of the cockpit and there would be other problems if I fitted it at the back. As I dont intend to use it when paddling, but might do so if I found it useful, what is the rule for fitting them? Assumedly for paddling the centre of power should be in front of the skeg????

Q4: How does one get into such a boat from a wharf say, where stepping down is necessary?

Inciently, if I get in with the boat lightly grounded on the beach and slide the boat into deeper water, the boat paddles like a dream. Its easy to paddle, runs straight and yet turns with very little leaning. It also feels more stable than my racing boats. One racing boat is undersized for my weight and I have to keep paddling or brace continuously, but takes slop and river waves very well; we just go under them. My other one is wide flat bottomed and I dont know the point of tipping because I've not been there, but it is a pig in choppy water, because every wave suggest that I am about to find that 'edge'.

Any advice welcome.

Gil

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Primary stability
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