Kayak trimming

Is there any rule of thumb for trimming a kayak for best all around performance? I’ve got an Epic 18X Sport. I generally trim my fast canoes half to one inch bow down. Thanks.

Could you explain
what and how you are measuring to come up with the 1/2 to 1 in bow down condition?


I’m sure I know less about this than you
but isn’t the reason for running a fast marathon canoe just a bit bow down related to the relatively broad, flattish area amidships, which might tend to cause the boat to climb if the boat were NOT trimmed a speck bow down?

This consideration applies much less with a narrow, high speed kayak like you have. I don’t see anything about the underside, amidships, that would tend to climb onto the water at speed. My guess is that you should try running the boat trimmed dead level, unless you later realize that the boat is climbing rather than cutting its bow wave.

Incidentally, the other poster’s question is interesting. Do you have an efficent and practical system for determining how a marathon or similar canoe is trimmed when just sitting with the crew aboard? Do you have a way to tell whether the trim of your boat changes when you are paddling hard? I could use such a system.

do not trim!
try stretching first, as per the manufacturer’s instructions

Trimming a kayak bow heavy can cause two issues. 1) Weathercocking and 2) Poor turning ability

It depends on the kayak and the conditions, but in general, I’ve found this to be true. Leaving the stern high causes the wind to affect it more, and the bow digs in, and affects your ability to turn.

If you want to go fast, even trim, like with just you in the boat would be the best – that’s the trim the boat was designed to perform best at. That’s assuming you’re within the design range of paddler weights.

What I do for long multi-day trips is to mount my compass on the deck (It has an inclinometer on the top), and set the boat in the water empty. I notice where the inclinometer is, and pack the boat so that it still reads the same loaded. Then I get in, and adjust if necessary (I know what it reads when it’s just me in the boat, and re-adjust to that if necessary, which I usually don’t need to do). Never had a performance problem doing that, even in big seas.

the winner.

Way beyond me
OK, this trim concept is way beyond me, but I am going to save it and when I get a bit more knowledgeable and have a kayak with an adjustable seat, I will refer back to it.

I’m still working on being consistent with the torso rotation.


Mt. Pleasant, SC