Last time out I was in following seas in the Sirocco and kept broaching. Used sweeps but it was a lot of work. What’s YOUR secrets in following seas? What do you do to stay on course? Thanks! B.

Two words
Rudder, Skeg

That’s what they are for :smiley:

Edge and Sweep
Usually a following sea is off to one side a bit, causing you to broach to the same side mostly. What I do is edge and sweep on the side I’m broaching to to counter act it. The real trick is to start the edge and sweep before the wave startes broaching you so that the kayak already has some momentum turning in the opposite direction of the broach, and if everything goes well, the two forces will balance out. But you’ll always be working. Sometimes it’s better to go “with the flow” and take a less direct or zig-zag route.

Timely Topic
Two weeks ago three of us were racing back to the take out in conditions you describe. I was pleased to see my ruddered buddy working as hard as my skegged self. Edging and sweeping and yeah, it’s hard work. I would love to paddle the new Zephyr in those conditions.

inside edge and high rudder
twist your torso, watch the shoulders and push like hell. sometimes you go from edging to full on leaning. either way, in steep fast seas, it’s work, work, work for sure.

until someone builds the perfect underhull retractable rudder!

2 weeks ago on the ICW with a stiff

– Last Updated: Apr-26-08 8:26 PM EST –

wind pushing us, I primarily ruddered and let the wind do the work. Trying to sweep the bow straight was wearing me out.

What he said plus
The skeg will help. Remember though that the Sirocco and the Gulfstream have been nicknamed the “broach-a-matic”

Do any of you yakers …

– Last Updated: Apr-27-08 1:15 AM EST –

... ever just reach back and plant a paddle blade near the stern to act as a rudder? The paddle blade being many times larger than a rudder or skeg, it wouldn't take much angle of attack to exert a lot of sideways force. In a canoe, paddle-ruddering is way more powerful an alignment tool when moving at a decent speed than a sweep, and what's more, it's effortless. It works on my guide-boat too when surfing to the extent that's possible on our inland lakes (ruddering by dragging one oar blade right alongside the stern). To prevent broaching when sliding down the face of a wave, this oar-ruddering method even outpowers a sweep on that boat, and that's saying a lot, since there's probably nothing in the small-boat world that sweeps more effectively than planting both feet and yanking that 8-foot oar! (actually, doing a reverse sweep at the same time with the opposite oar creates an almost totally unstoppable steering force, but that's a techinique that is almost never needed).

Just curious, not suggesting that I "know" what works in your boats.

uh ya, that’s what i posted
inside edge, and high rudder. with the paddle of course.

When the race is on - no. Ruddering is a last resort fix because it reduces forward momentum. When the race is on I’m more likely to try an extended sweep.

A while back I was out on a very windy day and discovered the extended sweep with my GP. Very effective for correcting weathercocking


"inside edge"
i.e. edge towards the rudder? I ask because typically when I pry I edge away from the rudder to unlock the stern.

PS: Thanks, everybody, for the advice. I was working and everybody says you should be working, so it sounds like I was doing it right. I was just waiting/hoping for that post that would contain the secret to no work. :wink:

Terminology Mysteries
Sorry. I never would have guessed that your use of a “high rudder” had anything to do with what I was talking about, because for the most correction with the least amount of speed-robbing drag, I’m thinking ‘arms low, paddle blade waaaay back behind you next to the hull’, which doesn’t remind me of the word “high”.

I wonder if the original poster missed this just like I did. It’s usually not much good to tell someone nothing more than the name of a technique if the nature of that their question suggests they’re not already aware of that technique.

Simple-use the following seas !
Just as each wave is about to try to play it’s trick on me, I just paddle straight ahead only a little faster and slide on down the slope until the wave smooths out in front of me.(almost like a mini surfing session)

Quartering, following seas are a whole different ball game.



some boats are a lot less "work"
than others under certain conditions. The difference between something like an Explorer and Sirocco in following seas is pretty significant.

Paddling following seas in my Mariner is just downright fun. She loves to surf.

just paddle faster
why didn’t I think of that


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a ruddering stern brace on the side away from the impending broach before and just as it begins. Put your paddle non powerface down behind you near the hull of the boat. Use it like a rudder to keep your bow headed to leeward. Practice it in calm conditions first so it becomes reflexive then try it in waves.

I have had the same problems in my
Sirocco. Tried a rudder stroke and then a sweep. Quite a bit of work. My solution was to leave the Sirocco at home and use my Avatar which wears me out a lot less. I wonder if the fact that the Avatar skegs drops down deeper than the Sirocco’s is the reason it does not try to broach as much?

The boat design is key here.
My first closed deck boat was a Gulfstream, and I really found that it wanted to broach–hence the nickname broach-a-matic.

After owning that boat for 6 years, two years ago, I purchased a Nigel Foster Shadow. It’s much easier in following seas - wants to surf not broach.

Last month, I sold the GS and bought a plastic Capella to replace it–didn’t have space for both and usually paddle the Shadow, just wanted something for rocks.

Found that the Capella is faster than the GS and handles following seas better. It might just be time for another boat. You know, one for each of the different weather forecasts. LOL.

Weathercocking Sirocco
It’s been a while since I paddled a sirocco, but if I remember right, it didn’t weathercock any worse than an Explorer, unless you are comparing to an Explorer with the skeg down.

One thing about the Sirocco is that edged sweep correction seemed easier and more effective than the Explorer.