TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

weight verses speed ( opps sorry Gerald) efficiency ,durability, and general performance Time to pick on Pogo here :D
The K1 at 10.2 lbs bet is a good sprint boat,now lets talk about what a sprint is, straight line, clear water ,no obstructions,very short duration high paddle strokes,very hard for a novice to stay on top of.
For me none of the above attributes are desirable in the world I paddle in.

Marathon boat you spoke of broke in half because of too light construcktion ,now that is not a good recommendation to me, To light in a racing situation , everyday paddling in my world I would have chunks scattered to the gulf of Mexico.
The weight thing really came home to me on the last trip I made on the Brazos, had one s@g that weighed in at 30 lbs, and kelvar high dollor racing type canoe, The Brazos was not kind to them, my Brazos queen was loaded heavier,handled the wind better,and was faster .I could have run off and left them, I used my boat and didnt baby it they had to baby theres.
So in my world the light weights lost again.
Now as I understand it every boat has a weight that it will be efficeint carring,to much you loose ,not enough you loose.
That should get a discussion going.
Ps If I want a really light boat it would not be a stripper are even wood ,it would be a foam composite boat,short life and built for one specifick task.and thats what the light boats you listed are, not everyday boats with good characteristic and longevity.
User avatar
By gerald
Hey I love light weight boats. They are a joy to load, unload, and portage. I don't think we should build any heavier than we need to to meet our individual needs. Nor do I think we should build so lightly that the boats can't stand up to what each of us do. We are all individuals with unique abilities, requirements, and desires. That's it in a nutshell.
User avatar
By Pogo
Thanks for cranking up the thread, Ron, this is a subject near and dear to my heart as you know; but lately I'm about half skeered to bring it up. But I refuse to believe anyone wishes to stifle discussion, and seriously doubt there is as much disagreement as one might suppose from reading these exchanges. Having said that, please let me enter this discussion by speaking in generalities.

Generality number one: Race vehicles are almost always ultra light weight specimens of whatever the thing is being raced, as is a lot of the ancillary equipment that goes along with it. To wit, graphite/kevlar boats and graphite paddles for canoe or kayak races tend to be the rule rather than the exception; incredibly light - and incredibly expensive - bicycles and helmets etc. utilizing the latest technologies are used in the Tour de France; I could go on, but I think I make the point. Competition gear/equipment is almost always the lightest ever, any arguments? So . . . whyzat? Again I say: performance.

Generality number two: For 20+ years I was in petro-chem engineering, a designer of steel structures and concrete foundations and such, so I know a little about structural requirements, loadings, forces, etc. In order for a structure to carry a heavy load, it must itself be heavily built, we can all grasp that readily I think; but there comes a point in any engineered structure where, if it is built too heavily, it begins to require additional reinforcement to support its own self . . . and that situation is self-defeating.

With boats and lots of other vehicles, there comes a point where mass causes its own damage through the momentum it generates, so you don't want to build TOO heavily. Conversely, a super light boat, or whatever, can conceivably bounce off objects heavier examples would go crunch on. It really does work both way, you know. In lots of instances, safety is rather on the side of lightness, than stoutness, for these reasons, though I would never venture quite so far as to say it's a perfectly safe position to take with boats as we know them here. But then, neither is it totally unsafe to say, either, as the TWS competitors demonstrate every year.

And once again: I've built and paddled the heck out of ten boats. All are very light, most are ultra light. None have ever suffered a failure. I paddle plenty of rocky rivers, and would build heavier if I were breaking stuff . . . but I ain't so I don't.

That's my start. :D
User avatar
By gerald
I have suffered damage to some of my boats. Must be because they're so heavy. Lugging and ramping them across and over logs, stumps, stobs, dams, rocks, and rapids tends to do that to the heavy old dinosaurs I paddle.

Certainly we should strive for as light as possible yet still survive under the conditions we EACH paddle in. Holding a boat up with one hand, balancing on one foot while twirling a burning baton in a skinny kayak, and rolling kayaks in mirror smooth water is not a true representation of the practical uses of that, or any, particular boat.

Just yesterday I watched a woman do flips, handstands, and other fantastic balancing on a 2" pole that was being held and manipulated by two men. Does this mean that we should all be able to do this--or even try? There's not a chance in the Salton Sea that I'll ever be able to do that--not even when I was a young gymnast.

By the same token does this mean we should all strive to build that 9 1/2 pound sea kayak marvel? Nope. Let's build what we need.
User avatar
By gerald
Certainly you can't be talking to me since I've been stating that we should build as light as possible for the conditions we'll paddle under.

It might also be because I'm trying to keep things realistic for the prospective new builders.
User avatar
By DarrellS
As a new boat builder (2 boats) I would step in here. Your first boat will be heavy. You will use more of everything than needed. My Pirgoue is probably ten pounds heavier than it should be. As you gain experience you will not use so much epoxy and your boats will get closer to the "advertised weight". Don't get discouraged as you gain experience the weight will come down. But I do build my boats at little heavier because of the enviroment that I paddle in.
User avatar
By TexasZeke
I probably have no business here other than I enjoy a good argument...I mean debate from time to time

disclaimer: these are only my thoughts and could be wrong. Do not attempt this at home

Most race vehicles are light because they accelerate faster than a heavier one would. In a drag race you accelerate from a dead stop to the finish in what 5-10 seconds. In Nascar or Indy racing you accelerate on the straights and brake on the turns and do it again. You do the same in bike racing plus you have to push whatever the weight is up the hills, again, light is easier to accelerate. In boat racing, and Gerald can correct me if I'm wrong, a light boat can be carried easier/faster than a heavy on plus accelerate from a dead stop faster. I do agree all sports do go light weight, but I don't think it is because by being light it makes it inherently fast. It does mean that they will accelerate faster, be easier to handle, and be easier on the other components of said vehicle.

Please don't get me wrong, I wish I could fish out of a 30lb boat and have it last. It would be much easier to load, unload, move around the shop, ect. I would rather eat the extra weight and gain the insurance it provides.

Please understand, I am picking on nobody. These little boats are all about trade offs. What I'm willing to give up you might not be. What is vital to me may be of no use to you, and the guy down the street thinks we are both nuts and should be building something totally different

User avatar
By Pogo
No worries, mate. Anyone is welcome to pick on me all they want, though it might come with a price: the more you rag on me, the more I'll give you to rag on me about. I am a 7th generation Texan after all, and any other Texan will know exactly what I mean. I'm all about common courtesy and respect, and, of course, TKF TOS; but after that, it's open season. Fire at will! :D

I say a boat is constantly accelerating any time it isn't decelerating unless it's at a standstill; velocity is never constant, or self-sustaining. Therefore, excess weight equals drag, and the less drag present, the more efficient the hull. In theory you want as absolutely an airy-light a hull as possible for paddling, but accept weight for structural purposes to ward off damage from contact with the real world. Easing the portage process is a happy, and very important, by-product (and, I'd guess, a pretty effective limiter of how much crashability you build into a marathon boat).

Earlier, I mentioned the K-1 sprint boat that's 17 feet long, has an adjustable seat and aluminum "river" rudder and pedals, and all up, ready-to-go weight of 10.2 lbs. I'd like to learn more about *why* it's built so light, with paper-thin hull sections in some areas and what must be hideously expensive kevlar honeycomb sandwiches in others, not discuss why it isn't an appropriate fishing kayak (sigh). So thank you for re-introducing the possibility of arguing about - I mean, debating - the variety of considerations so many boat builders enjoy kicking around.

When fishing a river like the Llano in my 33-lb Merlin canoe, I try not to bounce off too many rocks, as you might imagine would be the case. But at that kind of weight, it doesn't kill me to lift it over obstacles or do an outright portage. You drag yours, I'll carry mine; it's just another one of the many, many choices we are all free to make for ourselves, and none are right or wrong.

And one last point: I consider beginners too; but it's their job to catch up to me, not mine to slow down to them, and I give 'em credit for being able to handle it if they want to enough. I like it when others raise the bar for me, so that's what I pass along.
User avatar
By bowgarguide
I have been doing some thinking about this weight deal ( I know straining the old brain). I agree with most of the views on here,Pogo likes them light,and has about the same amount of builds I have,Gerald likes a little hevour with a hundred builds, Like Zeke says light is easier to get moving.
Darrel makes a good point that the first boats are usually weigh much more than the second build.
Lets start with the light weight being easier to move,thats true, but it also means less momentum,outside influnces like wind, current, have a greater effect ,just like your paddling does.
A good example is a ping pong ball and a golf ball throw both of them ,the lighter one can be thrown fast but it slows fast and the wind will blow it all over..The golf ball goes father and outside variable influence it less. Zeke was talking about a dragster and being light ,all true but you still have to get that power to the ground and you can get to the point of diminishing returns ,just wheel spinns and not going as fast.

Here is my take on this subject,a 30 lb wood composite canoe is not going to be as tough as a 45 lb canoe, the 30 lber will load easier and move from a dead start easier,maintaning that speed may be harder because of momentom and outside variables,lighter boat should require more maintance,
First time builders ,light should not be a driving factor,they dont have the expertise yet to walk that fine line.
I really think the disagreement here is priority,Pogo ,strives for a light boat,it works in his environment,the roll,enjoys being able to perform them.Pogo still is not satisfied with one boat ,look at the sea kayak he is building and then look at the canoe he paddles,both for entirely different uses. No rolls in the canoe,its wider and shorter so not as much speed.
I can handle up to 50 lbs with no problem,so that is my goal of a limit on weight. Most of my boats are in the low forties,rolling is not one of my interest, low profile for helping in the wind ,a high priority, Tough for my environment, I hit rocks,run up on gravel bars,drag my boat up banks.Reasonable speed and comfort,an open cockpit means I can spend hours instead of minutes paddling,
Ok here is my point priority's ,Pogo has one set and weight is one of the ost important to him ,I want a little hevier boat that will stand more abuse,Gerald wants the ultimte marithon boat.
I dont think we are disagreeing on anything but what our personal Priority's are ,if it fills the bill for you. Thats the style you need.
User avatar
By gerald
TexasZeke: You have just as much right here as anybody.

The only bone I have in this debate is that when you build, buy, or otherwise choose a boat it should be one that fits your requirements.

If your ultimate goal is to build the lightest boat possible then that's what you should do. Your design, building method, and materials should reflect that ultimate goal.

If your ultimate goal is to build a marathon boat then your design, building method, and materials should reflect that goal.

If your ultimate goal is to build a fishing boat then your design, building method, and materials should reflect that goal.

You see where I'm going with this don't you. I'm saying to build a task specific boat that fits your requirements.
Just because I prefer fast cruising long distance boats doesn't mean I should try to convince each and every one of you that that's the only kind of boat to have. It's not. There are hundreds of good reasons to have a boat and a design for every single task. Sometimes a boat can handle several tasks and that's what we call a general purpose boat. What I'm trying to do here is help anybody who is interested to build or buy a boat that will make them happy--not make me happy. It's not my boat! I have mine--I want more.

Ok...a word about weight. The first boat for many people will be 60 to 80 pounds. That could be a lot for some boats--for others maybe not so much. After building such a boat most people will avoid saying how much it weighs. Heck....I've built a boat that weighed 75 pounds. For a 16' general purpose boat my goal is 50 pounds or under. For an 18' marathon boat I shoot for 40 pounds. Sometimes I make it--sometimes I don't. My marathon boat with the Safari layup is 42 pounds. The lightest 16' general purpose boat I've ever built was 36 pounds. The lightest race boat I ever built was 32 pounds. I am just getting started on 2 boats. My goal for one, a type of fishing boat, is 65 pounds or under. My goal for a 17' sitin/sot is 40 pounds. Weights are going to be all over the place depending upon the type of boat and intended usage. It's that simple.
For most people building a general purpose boat I think they should set a goal of 50 pounds or under. If you make it, fine. If you don't--no problem. The next one might. I just don't want anybody to be faced with an unrealistic goal for building a boat.

For world class paddlers in world class competition where time for first through last can be measured in hundredths of a second a very light weight boat can make a difference. For the rest of us--it makes no difference. The same can be said for world class marathon boats and paddlers. For the rest of the marathon paddlers, which includes me, the light weight boat is for the portages. I don't know how many times I've got to say that.

...and there you go. My bone has been gnawed down to a nubbin....
User avatar
By bowgarguide
This quote maybe is the misunderstanding
And one last point: I consider beginners too; but it's their job to catch up to me, not mine to slow down to them, and I give 'em credit for being able to handle it if they want to enough. I like it when others raise the bar for me, so that's what I pass along.

I feel a little differently than you do about this, I want to see a new builder build a good serviceable boat that fits them, and if I can help them great . Catching up to you is a joke I assume. Not to hurt your feelings ,but you have some nice boats that fit you,you follow a set of blueprints somebody else draws,You build boats using construction I am not iimpressed with .
Now to me you need to buckle down and catch up. :D :D :D
Pogo and I like to pick on each other :D :D :D
User avatar
By TexasZeke
For the record mine came in between 70 and 75lbs. Not a problem at the start of the trip but at the end of the day a bugger to haul up the bank and load. I will strive for the next one to come in at 50lbs or less.

Please expect questions in the coming days concerning that
User avatar
By Pogo
Well, that last quote about not cutting noobs a lot of slack wasn't what I *really* meant . . . . but I won't feel too badly about it because my *actions* say exactly what I mean: I have expended much time and effort to post build-a-long web sites for almost every boat I have built. And the latest, in progress even as we speak, hardly centers around advanced techniques; in fact, it specifically focuses on elementary stripping essentials. As in, for noobs. Because there was a first-time stripper project going on at the time, and I thought I'd do a good turn by sharing some experience. Never asked for anything in return, and never will except to "pass it on".

And speaking of what I say, I hereby ask forgiveness for evidently being a really crappy writer. I've tried to be clear that I do not propose to dictate what others ought to be doing. In fact, I believe I said many times that I only keep my views known in case interested parties come along looking for the sort of information I am enthusiastic enough to specialize in. If my enthusiasm comes through a little strongly, well, who's doesn't? Give me a break, for the life of me I cannot figure out how to type more plainly.

As the Elephant Man once said: "I am not an animal!"

And yes, I believe Ron and I see eye to eye where it really counts, boats be damned. :D :D :D 'Scuze my French.

Zeke, considering the method of building, your boat came in light by my reckoning (which isn't advertised as worth much in this case). There was no fiberglass or epoxy in it, if I recall correctly?
By CoolfinIE
Just a few thoughts.
A foamcore composite can be stiffer than wood of equal thickness. It's just that plywood is already a composite and it's proven good enough for the job and very handy to obtain a reasonable cost. So we find it hard to justify improving on it at an extra cost.
The problem is that a very thin hull has little mass to withstand an impact, and it is probably made of such rigid materials that cracking and brittleness becomes an issue. Kevlar which is immensly tough ( but hard to work neatly with) is the solution for brittle thin composite hulls and the accidental knocks and bangs they suffer.

What is interesting is that International moth yachts are made light in many ways, but one is very relevant to this thread. That is a 2mm ply hull with carbon cloth inside (away from impacts) to give rigidity, and kevlar outside to withstand abrasion and impacts which would otherwise damage such thin hulls.
So an intelligent choice of the composites to be used has allowed a successful extreme low weight hull to be home made, which is viable, and can compete with foam core composites of extremely advanced expertise (and cost).

I'm sure that using the same technique a very strong and durable kayak hull could be made from 3mm depron, aircell or coremat, fibreglass cloth outside, and basalt cloth inside, with a little inside frame for added rigidity. Such a hull would weigh very little.
But ply would be sooo much less work!
User avatar
By gerald
CoolfinIE: Thanks for your post. Very interesting--and you are right in that being relevant to the kayaks we build, or may build in the future. I find myself falling into a building rut sometimes, but maybe this will be a wakeup call to help me remember to keep looking at other methods and advancements in materials. Cost and ease of construction will always be a factor, but there are a few instances in specific task boats where the extra cost is more than worth it. I've got to get my head out of the hull and look around more.
By artistwood
you can have it light and have it strong. composite construction, ie stripper with a couple of modifications. first, use 3/16" strips instead of the normal 1/4" ones, then reinforce the bow and stern stems with a chopped FG, resin, silica, wood flour mix. i have a paddel tipped with this for use in rocky areas and can slam it down into a concrete drive and havent chipped it yet. build your boat normaly then remove a small layer of wood from the stems just above the waterline down to the keel, around 1/4", fill with this mix and when cured, sand to the normal shape, then do your layups as usual. as for the hull, 2 layers of 6 oz cloth outside and inside the hull, a 3" wide srtrip along the keel from stem to stem, 1.8 oz kevlar cloth over that from the waterline down, 1 coat regular epoxy to hold the kevlar, 3 coats of a silica, graphite epoxy mix. when cured, sand smooth and your boat will be darn near bullet proof. it's very light weight and can take incredable abuse. a friend of mine in wisconson, broke a rope on his canoe while on the interstate and the canoe ended up doing a 70 mph slide along the concrete. it scuffed the hull......he constantly runs rock infested rivers and has yet not damaged the boat. at one point, he hit a rock just below the surface hard enough to throw him out. the boat was unhurt. i guess my long winded point is that you can have it both ways and enjoy a light, safe boat........bear
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Ok, thanks