British Boat Drives Left

I recently purchased a CD Sirocco (a “British” style plastic 'yak). I love the boat and for the most part it’s a joy to paddle. However, it has a tendancy to want to “drive on the left”. Meaning, it (or likely I) tends to track to the left. It seems that regardless of the wind direction, the boat tends to drift to the left. If I stop paddling it’s more pronounced. If I stop paddling and raise the skeg, it’s a very quick and noticeable left turn. It’s quite possible that it’s my paddling technique and that I’m somehow causing the boat to turn, so here’s some background on that. I’m left-handed, paddling with a “right hand control” 220cm Werner Camano (feathered).

Anyone have any suggestions for things to look for the next time I’m on the water?

You might try…
… Setting the boat in the water empty and see if it sets level and then sit in it and have someone else sight it… also sight the keel line on dry land, check the skeg for centering or a bend. I have used beat up rental Siroccos and never had that problem… ???

Have a real pro paddle the boat

– Last Updated: May-03-04 10:11 AM EST –

Sometimes boats do have distortions that cause too much bias in the forces on the hull as they move through the water. Much more often, a beginning paddler does not place the left blade as well as the right, and so the boat has left turning momentum at all times. Answer could be anywhere between these two. Please let us know!

Liberal ?
Perhaps you just naturally lean to the left.

Anything hanging off the stern?
I keep a yellow rag tied to the back end of my kayaks as a flag when I’m hauling them in the back of my pickup. If I let the flag drag in the water on either side of the kayak it will cause it to turn that way, as if I were doing a stern rudder stroke. You wouldn’t think a little bit of lightweight cloth could cause a turning effect on a kayak, but I suppose it becomes heavier when wet, and has enough frictional resistance to do so. Now, I make sure I have it tied in a knot on the back deck so it can’t drag and the problem is solved.

Mine too
My VCP Skerray RMX always veers left when I stop paddling, and seems harder to correct when the wind wants to make it turn left. It has some slight “oil can” dimples on the left side under the cockpit, but I’m not sure if they’re enough to cause a noticable difference. It is a rough water boat and is not designed to track well anyway.

Most people

– Last Updated: May-03-04 9:45 AM EST –

have a strong arm and alesser arm . In order to balance it out another set o eyes may help ar it may just take time for you to adjust . have you had this experience with other boats ? The other suggestions may be it also . In an empty boat something as small as a lexan of water can cause this also . I think having some one else paddle it may get to the problem quicker.

I’d be surprised it’s the boat
The scirocco is a solid shape. It’s also a bit ‘rolly’ so if you have any tendency to lean to the right it’ll manifest itself as a leftward turn. It’s not meant to be a mindless straight tracking kayak. What do you have to compare it to?

I agree, it’s quite possibly me…
This is the first kayak I’ve owned. I’m not an absolute beginner, but I’m far from “experienced”. I understand this boat isn’t meant to track perfectly straight, but I find myself constantly doing correcting strokes on the left and it gets a bit tiring. As for other boats to compare it to, I’ve paddled a 14’ Perception Carolina and a 16’ Perception Captiva. Both of these had rudders and it’s quite possible I have to unlearn a bad habbit. I need to pay attention to my stroke next time I’m on the water which is why I was hoping someone could point out things to look for. As for the lean, I had my paddling partner watch me and if anything I was leaning left to try to compensate for the leftward drift. There’s nothing dragging from the boat (other than the skeg) so that’s not it. With the exception of the paddler (me), the boat was empty. Would loading the boat down a bit help with this? I’m 5’11" and weigh about 185, so it could be that the boat might need a bit more weight in it.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

Can you rent a glass gulfstream

– Last Updated: May-03-04 12:32 PM EST –

and keep the skeg up and paddle in a place with little wind? That might help give you some perspective.

Have you paddled other boats withOUT…
the rudders and skegs deployed? That could discern whether it’s your technique or something weird about the boat.

My plastic kayak has a slight tendency to steer left, made much more pronounced when the sun is shining strongly from the right side (makes the left side contract to a reverse “C” shape), and canceled out when the sun shines from the left side (if strong enough, then it warps to a regular “C” shape and wants to pull right). Even sitting indoors, the kayak has a bit of a left curve, which explains the pull to the left.

I do not get this pull when paddling other boats, but till I studied the situation carefully, I wondered if it was my paddle stroke.

Well, it’s gonna be on or the other
American boats usually tend to track right - go figure.

I’ve experienced similar kinds of situations in new or borrowed boats (kayaks or canoes). I’d suggest you stick with it for a while, not worrying too much about what is going on. Give it some time, focus on a nice even stroke and being comfortable in the boat. I bet it (you) will be tracking fine after a handful of outings in the boat.

Seda turns left
This post exactly descibes my new Seda (aboout 14 feet) — it turns left — ususally when I stop paddling — even if then wind is blowing from the left — just does a U turn. It has a 2 foot flag on the back — I’ll take it off and try that. It also came with a rubber add on rudder. Maybe its the coreallis effect (LOL)- making it go left. In any case it always wants to go back to the dock.

If the wind is fron the left

– Last Updated: May-03-04 3:37 PM EST –

a good boat should turn slightly to the left.. Moreso if the wind is coming fron 11 o clock, than if it is coming fron 9 when it should be pretty close to neutral.

Once turning momentun is built, it tends to continue but a U turn is pretty wild.

and once again
most folks have astronger arm and a weaker arm which usally causes their boat to turn towards the weaker arm . Try easing off the power on the arm that you do most things with --or increasing your power on the arm you donot use as much .

I’ve got a Sirocco and I agree with LesG. It’s very easy to lean it a little off center. Initial stability isn’t real solid but the secondary is.

Leaning, or…
My Skerray is super sensitive to leaning…the slightest lean will initiate turning. Another possibility is a bent skeg; I had it occur with my boat and it caused a slight tendency to turn when the skeg was partially deployed. The plastic skeg was easily straightened by hand and the boat tracked true again. Good luck

funny you should mention that
I saw a few Tempest 170 with curved plastic skegs,looks like something happened after they were cut out of the big sheet.