A new discovery (for me)

-- Last Updated: Apr-28-13 1:41 AM EST --

I was paddling with a friend on his first trip in a kayak, on a slow river. I was in my Alchemy S and was paddling backwards watching/coaching.
I may be crazy, but the boat felt more efficient going backwards. It seemed to cut the water better with little or no bow wake. I then dropped the skeg as an experiment and it was pretty easy to steer with the stern nailed in place by the skeg and sweep strokes to move the bow around.
I realize this is not earth shattering information, it was just a lot of fun.
The squared off stern of the Alchemy now makes the squared off bows of the speedster boats make more sense to me. It appeared (to me) that the shape helps in addition to just adding waterline to the hull.

I’ve always wondered about that. I’ve noticed that in most boats. I’ve gotta think it’s just an illusion though.

I’ve always enjoyed paddling backwards as well. I think the feeling of it being easier (hydrodynamically speaking) is due to the paddling position and bracing. I generally paddle backwards strictly by torso rotation, just plant the paddle and twist. This uses the big muscles of the back and since you’re bracing directly off the back band or seat back, it seems like it takes less effort. I don’t think it does, though - check the glide after getting up to speed forward vs. backward, that would tell the tale.