Going faster

-- Last Updated: Feb-26-05 11:16 PM EST --

Has anyone heard of a product you can put on the bottom of a kayak to make the boat go faster in the water.

Some products claim to do this, but
I have not seen evidence proving that they do. When I refinished two fuzzy composite kayaks, I sprayed the surface of one with a product designed for speedboats. The boat seemed faster, but was it due to removing the fuzz, rolling on and smooth-sanding the resin, or spraying on the magic product?

I think you are going to be disappointed in your search.

Work on what’s inside the kayak
Tuning the motor will yield better results.

The forward stroke
takes longer to master than a reliable roll takes to acquire.

wood preservative
My beautiful old kevlar seda glider looked terrible from years of scratches and did not know how to sand it so used some left over wood preservative from deck and it looked great. Try a small amount so it does not eat or dissolve large section of your boat. I think it is faster and maybe stronger because it is smooth and mayybe thicker.

not really
ICF regs forbid coatings but I haven’t seen any coatings that work much anyway. I’ve heard that graphite based coating work to a small degree but wear off quickly. I’ve also heard that wet sanded dull surface have less surface tension that polished and waxed surfaces, but I haven’t seen the tank tests to prove it.

A smooth surface is all that is needed in reality, dull, polished or whatever, just make sure it is smooth.

Scratches, fuzzing, etc… increase skin friction dramatically, take care of these and you’ll have the hull as slick as is practically useful.

Just to stir the pot a bit.
A smooth surface may be exactly what you don’t want. Consider the dimpled surface of a golf ball. Or the dimples and grooves on the bottoms of some WW play boats that make them looser on a wave. When I used to windsurf one of the problems was avoiding having the skeg spin out. Skegs were as smooth as can be and this was done in part to avoid cavitation. The bottoms of skis are often wire brushed to create small grooves that increase speed.

Yes, and at least from two manufactures

– Last Updated: Feb-27-05 12:51 PM EST –

Both of those coatings were tested while Greg Barton was in the National Team during the 80's.

One of those, it is/was made by 3M, and while tested by Barton and team mates there were proven gains of several seconds. Barton did not use it at the worlds (I guess the one in German at that time) because of fear of been disqualify. Anyway, the following year, the ICF forbade its use and by microscope inspected the hull of selected boats, Barton's among other.

Yes! Greg in person told us last February.

To me, although the coating "thing" is real, it is only worth it for world athlete who are at top performance and one or two seconds might be the different between qualify or not. For most of us, a couples of seconds per 1000m won't change the equation much, so hit the weights, the water, wherever works for you, and train hard...


PS: 2 seconds per 1000m is about 40 seconds per 12 miles

12 miles races are almost always won for more than 40 seconds, even between top paddlers...

I think you’re thinking about hyspeedkote. I put it on my QCC400, and I do think it made a difference, although obviously that’s very subjective. Read up on it at their website and you’ll see their argument does make sense.


oh my, miracle stuff here
Some gems from the website:

-A remarkably more comfortable ride, no matter the hull material or water condition, also far less bow slap and pounding

-A quieter hull at all speeds, and additional speed for racing, getting to a fishing hole, or cruising

The stuff might reduce skin friction a bit and save you a couple of seconds per 1000m but these claims are just silly.

As has already been stated, you might shave a second or two with the right coating or sanding job but you aren’t going to make a pig boat fly anymore than this hyspeedkote is going to stop a boat from pounding in a head sea.

No quite

– Last Updated: Feb-27-05 4:56 PM EST –

It was made by 3M and quite, quite, expensive. Because they were testing it, there was only available for the National team. Barton did not know if the product was ever available for the public.


Star Bright Boat Polish W/Teflon
… I have taken a real liking to "Star Bright Boat Polish With Teflon. Two applications make the composite hull as smooth as glass, and real easy to keep clean. It helps protect the deck from UV rays too.

… It is probably just “my” imagination, but I feel like I am going faster.

Happy Paddling! :slight_smile:

Great stuff, but…
… I get the sensation I’m actually a hair slower after an application (I use the Starbrite product - but for upkeep/protection not speed). Makes me think the light sanding with fine grit is better for adhering a water layer than having a sheeting action.

Two main schools of thought on hull treatments: getting water to repel or to cling. Proponents of either have all sorts of logic. Given the relative insignificance below Olympic speeds I won’t bother to pick a side of that debate.

Best is probably something ablative (wears off) that becomes a sort of super boundary layer (maybe the mysterious 3M stuff?), but I’d think that would limit it to short distances like 1000M.

Wash the boat & train harder!
I try & keep 303 only on decks & plan to try Starbrite with teflon. Getting rid of slime build up can only help.

I think what you are looking for is…
The Electriak. It is an experimental device that rivets to the stern of your kayak and has internal controls for steering, turning on/off, reverse etc.http://foxxaero.homestead.com/indun_001.html This is the website for this thing. Don’t like the idea of drilling holes at the bottom of the hull though. Interesting idea though.


– Last Updated: Mar-01-05 10:00 AM EST –

if you want to go that route why not a mokai?


it's like a kayak and a pwc. you could putt around the harbor and yell at yourself.