Kayak tracking in still water

Hi all, we have 4 dancers & 2 accadia’s in our fleet.

Has anyone done a successful modification on the Dancer to help improve still water trackability?

Perhaps a fin or two? Rails fore to aft??

The accadias are not a problem.

Thanks, Graeme Dearness.

Dancers are whitewater boats
The primary function of a ww boat is not straight tracking on flat water. However, as far as ww boats, the Dancers probably track better than most more recent models.

I believe Dancers are pretty close to what the Brits term ‘General Purpose’ boats. They can be useful boats for training and honing skills. Learning to paddle a Dancer straight should improve your forward stroke.

Your profile…
Suggests you paddle thru stretches of rapids, or am I not understanding that correctly? If that is right, you want the Dancers to be highly maneuverable. And they are perfect boats for a mixed use situation.

Great practice tool
I have a Pirouette S that I use for practice in making a boat go straight. I run the occasional river with it, too.

I’d suggest not modding the dancer, and learning to MAKE it go straight. I’ve gotten so good with my Pirouette that I take it out on flatwater paddles just to keep my touch at it. Makes my Sea Kayaks feel like they’re on rails.

One approach

“Bonding a skeg to a polyethylene kayak”

But I agree with the others that learning to paddle a whitewater boat straight on flat water can develop good technique. Sit up straight, keep the stroke out it front of you, look ahead, small corrections early.

How long are your paddles? If they’re too long every stroke becomes a sweep, which makes the boat turn more.

strap on
Without permanent alteration of your boat, consider a strap-on skeg by Feathercraft. http://www.foldingkayak.com/accessories.htm#Skeg

I agree with Wayne Smith’s views.
While a whitewater boat may veer and even skid when you stop paddling, it will run straight just fine when paddled actively. Make sure your strokes are relatively short and “forward”— don’t prolong your pull-through. With a “forward” paddling style and a firm catch, the bow will jog from side to side a little more than with a touring kayak, but the boat will want to go where you want to go.

Maybe what is bothering you is that when you stop paddling, your Acadias tend to coast in a relatively straight line, while your dancers will veer or skid unless you throw a correction stroke. But even this problem will gradually diminish with practice. Your Dancer brains will get so that you can get a good, fairly straight coast when you stop paddling.

I don’t recommend skegs for Dancers or other whitewater boats. A skeg that can’t be withdrawn will nullify the whitewater handling, and will interfere if you are crossing gravel bars or hunching over logs. Besides, even if those are large-cockpit, Proline Dancers, they are old and you may be replacing them soon.

Thanks - I might try a …

– Last Updated: Jan-04-09 8:32 PM EST –

... home-made version on my Perception Sonoma 13.5 to see if it helps any in winds. I can understand the OP's desire to "track straight" on flat water - even the Sonoma that is touted as a good tracker by the Perception brochure wastes too much energy to correct it or jsut to keep it straight, compared to if it had a skeg.

Basically, I can make it go perfectly straight on the average but it will go over a symetrical S-curve as each stroke makes it turn a little - just the nature of short boats. But I have to watch every single stroke to be the same as the one before and that gets boring after a while if all I want to do it go from point A to point B ... A WW boat will do even more of this wobbling no matter how good the technique but it helps learn to even-out one's strokes, no question about that -;)

Thanks for advice
Thanks for the replies, all are relative and helpful.

I obviously joined the right forum.


Pirouette S
What a fabulous boat! Though the lower volume version of the Pirouette, at 6’, 180, I fit in my friend’s. He takes his out on afterwork paddles paddling with canoes and sea kayaks. He is such a strong paddler that the first time I met him years ago he was passing me paddling his Pirouette S when I thought I was cranking in my Elaho.

He also owns a Dagger GT as well as an Avocet and an Artic Hawk, but he says he is never giving up his Pirouette S.