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Re: Wind and its effect on kayaking

: Ah wind, a blessing or a bain...
: As a sea kayak instructor I get asked alot why wind does the things it does
: to our boats.
: When paddling into the wind the bow of your boat holds fast into the water,
: carving through it as you move (if you are actually moving!). While you
: may not have any forward movement, the action of your paddle PUSHING the
: boat forward helps to keep it pointed in one direction. As soon as you
: stop paddling the wind takes over and will have it's way with you.
: When paddling with the wind (paddling down wind or in a following sea)or a
: quarting stern wind (wind blowing from behind but off to one side) the
: boat has a tendancy to weathercock (be pushed off course from behind).
: When affected by weathercocking generally the boat wants to turn back into
: the wind. This is caused because the water pressure at the stern of your
: boat is less than the bow. Think of it this way your bow pries the water
: in front of it apart. Then the water must spread to the widest part of the
: boat. Once past the widest part the water comes back together but in a
: confused fashion, there are many micro eddies surrounding the stern of
: your boat. Because of this, the stern of your boat is more loose in the
: water than the bow. It is easier for the wind to push the stern around
: because it is not set into the water or waves like the bow is. When this
: happens the stern is pushed downwind and the bow is pushed upwind, and so
: you have weathercocking.
: It may take less energy to paddle WITH the wind but it is easier to go in a
: straight line paddling INTO the wind.
: Paul
: Paddle Canada Level 2 Sea Kayak Instructor (candidate)
: Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of British Columbia Level 2 Guide

Hi Paul,
What you write works for manageable winds, but not in high winds. In high winds a different set of laws seems to come into play, such as your bow working as a sail as you crest a wave into the wind or your stern as you run before it, and you find yourself being slung about sideways and being unable to point into the wind or come round at all, for, as it feels to me, the the downwind end of the boat seems to be anchored and becomes the pivot and things happen back to front. You end up sideways to the wind and pinned - not fun if the waves are big and breaking.
I don't paddle with rudder or skeg, but if these are down they will only compound the problem I think.
JohnK

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Wind and its effect on kayaking
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