Ferry angles - long boat vs short

I have done a fair amount of paddling this year in cl 2 whitewater. I’m comfortable entering and exiting currents and crossing eddy lines.

Do you find that if are crossing an eddyline in a longer sea kayak that you need to cross with more upstream angle? In my limited experience if I use the same angle in my sea kayak I end up pointing further downstream than desired. I suspect that the increased length means that there is more time for the current to push the nose downcurrent.

Or I could try crossing the eddyline with more speed in the longboat…

Yes, but hull design as well as length
makes a difference. Even with relatively short WW boats, a more tubular hull will have to be pointed more upstream, while a flattish hull may be able to plane, sideways, across the current.

You got it

– Last Updated: Sep-19-08 11:54 AM EST –

The longer the boat, the more conservative the angle has to be when leaving the eddy, especially if the water is pushy. It also helps to have good speed - the sooner you pierce through the eddyline zone, the better.


nice one
That’s one of the better explanations of long boat versus short boat technique I’ve seen. NOC has some good folks writing for their school blog…

I guess I assumed the original poster
was crossing the eddy line to ferry accross the current. The NOC blog is excellent for crossing an eddy line to go downstream, but doesn’t say a thing about ferrying.

One could separate the issue into three lengths and types of boats: sea kayaks being paddled (for whatever reason) on easy whitewater; longer whitewater kayaks including slalom boats and oldies such as the Pirouette; and “new school” short boats. The NOC blog pertains mainly to the latter two classes. They somewhat ignore the fact that some old school boats, such as the Pirouette, simply work much better going into and out of eddies, and from one eddy to another, than short new school boats.

As for sea kayaks, it will depend partly on whether a particular one is mainly tubular, or whether it has sharp chines and substantial flatness on the bottom. I have not yet tried my Necky Looksha Sport in whitewater, but I would expect it to offer more options for turning out of eddies than a more tubular boat. Still, a conservative 30 degree crossing angle, and plenty of space and time to execute the turn, are needed. No touring or sea kayak is going to “snap” into or out of eddies the way a well designed whitewater boat will do.

Ferry angles - long boat vs short
I probably could have phrased things better. I am not taking my sea kayak into class 2 whitewater; but I am paddling in tidal currents which do have noticable eddylines.

I mentioned my class 2 whitewater experience mainly to state that I do have some experience in moving water. And that if I use the same speed and angle that I would take in a 17’ boat to cross a particular eddyline and that I would use to cross in an 8’6" boat(and end up in a ferry angle to cross the current) I end up pointed across or down current and have to adjust radically.

You’re “Guessing” Right…
in your orginal post. Take a more conservative upstream angle. The longer boat means current has much more to grab before your body actually crosses the line.

Dont’ worry about this or that attribute of the boat. The boat you got is the boat you got. Just as did in class II WW, you learn to handle the eddyline by playing with it by the angle of exit/entry across the line and by the degree of lean you take.