Into the wind?

So i just took my kayak(dirigo120) out for a cruise around the lake and towards the end of my trip the wind picked up a bit and i had to paddle into it to get back to the launch. I found that i was actually going faster and straighter Into the wind, i assumed it would be much tougher, im a noobie and just found it odd.

I’m new
to this as well and found I went straighter when heading directly into the wind. Regarding speed, could that just be perception rather than reality?

Could be
Maybe it just felt like i was going faster than i really was.

Perception of speed can be skewed

– Last Updated: Jun-08-12 12:59 PM EST –

I'd bet that the extra splashing prompted the illusion of faster speed. It's not always as easy to gauge boat speed as you might think, though with practice, one learns to "see through nature's tricks" to some extent and be less easily fooled. That's even more true if you make use of a GPS on a regular basis (best of all, just use a GPS directly when you want to make a speed comparison).

Also, you might have been going straighter, and the absence of side-slip might have helped, but if the wind was strong enough to induce serious side-slip when going crosswise to the wind, it's really doubtful it wasn't slowing you down when going straight upwind.

Possibilites abound
It could be any or all of the below -

You were paddling more strongly going into the wind.

You had some small wind waves on your stern and at your side going the other way that were making it harder for you to paddle straight.

The wind itself was pushing you around - some weather cocking that you don’t know how to handle yet - until you turned so it was dead on your bow.

You are sitting and/or paddling a little not centered and going into the wind negated its effect more than the other directions.

You only thought you were going straighter because of the fight with the wind - a GPS or a compass may have indicated otherwise.

If you really want to know how straight you are going, get a compass on your foredeck and see what it is recording.

agree about perception
you’d have to clock it to know for sure, but I always feel like I’m flying as I paddling into wind waves and feel like a slug with a tailwind. But I know it’s just my perception.

I appreciate all the feedback, and will defintely try the gps or compass ideas, im live in oakland county in SE Michigan, if anyone lnows of any beginner classes or paddle groups let me know, i have no problem in addmitting i could use some help and instruction, id rather learn good concepts now than try to break bad habits later.

Its called weathercocking
Many kayaks like to point into the wind, which is called weathercocking. That is why it seemed easier to go straight into the wind.

I doubt you were going faster, unless you eliminated correction strokes you were making to keep the kayak going where you wanted. Correction strokes rob energy from forward motion. Once the kayak was going straight on its own, maybe all your energy was forward stroking, possibly making you go faster.

It’s great that the boat was weathercocking the way you wanted to go. It is a lot of work when the boat wants to weathercock, but not in the direction you want to travel. But, that’s what skegs or rudders are for.


Air Speed Higher -Ground Speed Low
Definitely were not going faster by ground speed headed into a strong wind.

Eliminating corrective strokes
is a big deal.

I own a GPS from my biking days. When I first started kayaking, I took the GPS along, mostly for navigation purpose. What I found was I was going slightly faster against a slight wind (5-10 knot) than I was going down it.

Not knowing how to surf wind waves, I was broaching every few seconds when going down wind. That took 1 or 2 corrective strokes every few seconds. It adds up.

Also, since the wave (and trough) was coming from behind which I couldn’t see, I was taking a lot of “air strokes” when the boat was sitting on the crest of the wave. More wasted efforts.

Going upwind, all I had to do was dig in hard with my paddle. (and I could see clearly where the water is, to plant my paddle).

Dead calm paddling
Whenever I paddle on a dead calm lake, I feel like the boat is sluggish.

Yes, I always go faster into the wind. I can feel it on my face. :slight_smile:

How about the joy of
The tide going one way, the wind goon the other and you trying to paddle ACROSS both! Now that’s a rollicking good time for a NooB

Agree 100%. I hate paddling in dead calm. Feels like you are not going anywhere :frowning:

Oh, yeah
I remember wondering the same thing, and I posted it on Pnet, too. It sure FELT faster going into the wind.

Some GPS stats told me otherwise.

Wind on face, perception of effort expended, and ease of going straight into the wind (tracking-wise) all combine to make it seem faster…until the wind speed gets stronger. There’s a point at which it just turns into a grind and you can tell from the rate at which you’re passing shoreline that it’s definitely slower than when calm or with a tailwind.

But with wind from the side, there can be so much correctional work that going into a headwind of similar speed is easier. When you face the wind, your kayak presents a much smaller profile to the wind than when it’s broadside or partly so!