Hard chines or soft chines

Excellent answer, Salty. Many, me
included, have been confused by the issue of “sharp” chines. WW playboats often have sharp, even complex, chines so they are “loose.” WW slalom boats are often said to have “sharp” chines, but they usually don’t. They have somewhat rounded chines that help grab eddies when they are tilted on one edge or the other.

P&H Sirius soft-edged, hard-chined?
If I understand correctly, the P&H Sirius is a soft-edged, hard-chined kayak. Although the transition from bottom to side is rounded, it has two very definite flat surfaces. The pronounced V-hull has two flat surfaces that meet at the apex; the sides of the kayak are so flat I can set it on edge on dry land and it will stay there indefinitely.

Is my understanding correct?

May not help, but
If you ask a boat builder about chines he will say the chine is where two distinct flat or nearly flat hull surfaces meet. It is the junction and not the shape of the hull that constitutes a chine. No flat hull surfaces, no chine. The chine or junction of the hull surfaces can be “hard” in which case the junction is abrupt/sharp or “soft” in which case there is a rounded junction of the hull surfaces.

A rounded hull shape is not a soft chine boat because it has no chine and the keel line is not considered a chine. An Eddyline Nighthawk would be “mostly” a rounded hull not a chined boat. I use the term mostly because kayak hulls are often complex and the Nighthawk, as I recall, has a distinct chine at the stern. An NDK Explorer would be a soft chined boat and an Anas Acuta would be a hard chine boat.

Your description of the Sirius hull would make it a soft edged, chined hull, but it is technically incorrect to call a hull with a soft chine as a soft edged, hard chine boat. Of course many folks use these terms differently when describing kayaks and it is not uncommon for someone to say a kayak has a soft edged hard chined hull, but my understanding is that is not how a boat builder would use the terms. Does not matter really, so long as everyone knows what is meant.

it doesn’t matter
seat time is more fine than chine design.

get a canoe then you don’t have to worry about it.

hard vs soft
I’ve had both… still not sure which one is best…

I bought a new soft chine and really had to sell my used hard chine… they were both good all around kayaks… the hard chine did some things better and the soft did other things better…

In general I would recommend the soft chine, but for a person who wants to develop their balance and edging skills, they should paddle a hard chine for a while…

The Nigel Foster high volume is on my short list for a second kayak (because I need a high volume kayak) for camping and it would be nice to have hard chined kayak…

I disagree eel

– Last Updated: Dec-02-09 12:53 AM EST –

But you are partially correct. If you were discussing larger power vessels I would completely agree. In some cases this is scemantics and way beyond the level of the kayak consumer. Take away all the terms and what matters more than a specific edge characteristic is the overall shape of the hull / cross section / rocker / etc.

Many kayaks with hard edges are modeled after traditional skin on frame designs. Surfing is where this stuff has an effect and it's very different than what most think. As a past designer of very successful boats I wouldn't know where to start in an explanation. It's too complex for the average consumer and really doesn't matter at the end of the day.

soft in ww, hard in sea

I think we agree

– Last Updated: Dec-02-09 8:36 AM EST –

I was only commenting on how the term chine has been traditionally used. I did not intend to comment on what impact, if any, the type of chine had on how a boat performs. I agree it is the overall shape of the hull that determines how a boat performs. I once asked a naval architect why he liked his kayak. He walked around it talking about curves and volumes from bow to stern. The term chine was never used even though most paddlers would immediately focus on that boat's chines as its defining characteristic. As to the original question that started this thread, beats me. My guess is it would depend on the preferences of the paddler.

soft with molded hulls
hard with skin on frame or plywood

Yeah agree
Yep I get your point. The Architect was focusing on what mattered. In ship building terms are very regional world wide. In kayaking the word “chine” for most means the literal shape of the edge, rather than the shape and volume of the transition. That’s OK, but can be misleading.

In a big following sea surfing a hard edge “can” make a hull more playful, but at displacement speeds it’s the shape overall that dictates feel. Hard edges do cause drag which is again no big deal in a touring kayak but would be on a race kayak, which is why you don’t see them there.

What if the traditional builders could have made a rounded edge?? Might they have done so? Who knows. Baidarka is pretty close.

I fear to tread on this

– Last Updated: Dec-02-09 10:56 AM EST –

"What if the traditional builders could have made a rounded edge??"

I've gotten hammered on this point before, but I believe there are examples of traditional Greenland hunting kayaks whose overall hull shape is, within the confines of the method of construction, relatively rounded in places compared to say a four panel S&G kayak. The replica I paddle has volume in a sharp, high sheer bow, but with a slightly rounded hull form in the water as it transitions to a much flatter bottom with a more defined chine behind the cockpit ending with an integrated skeg. Highly evolved hull shape seems to me. Do not know for what waters it was designed to perform in and how, but someone had definite ideas about hull shape when they built it and shows Greenland hunting kayaks were not all the same and design philosophy was not static or crude.

Stay focused on the skills of the pilot and don’t worry about the chines. A truely good pilot can adapt to any design. Without skill the boat, no matter how good or bad the design, means nothing. Most recreational paddlers may never reach the level of performance that their boats can take them.



– Last Updated: Dec-02-09 4:53 PM EST –

Think it through...
There are tons of thoughts on which boat is good for this or that depending what a person is hoping to do.
Big $$ for lots of these boats. I sure would want to consider what I'm buying for my money.

Thinking....what do some of the world renowned kayakers do...well hard to believe...they design kayaks!

Though not about kayaking Farley Mowats book "The Boat that wouldn't Float" is a nice read with a little humor...