Problems with Tracking

-- Last Updated: Aug-03-07 6:37 PM EST --

I recently purchased a patriot kayak. I've tried it two times and have had trouble with it tracking to the left. When I get the kayak going straight and stop paddeling it seems to track to the left consistently. This starts out gradual, but if I don't correct it it will turn about 90 degrees to the left. I can force it to track to the right, but it seems to track to the left without any effort on my part. I've read the reviews about this kayak and some people mentioned tracking problems, but I assumed the tracking problems happened with both directions.

This is my first kayak and my only other kayaking experience was a rental. So I'm wondering if the problem is more likely to be me or the kayak. My right arm is a lot stronger than my left. So I don't know if I could be pushing too hard with the right even when I'm trying to hold back. Besides this its a great kayak and I would hate to return it if the problem is me. Any ideas how I could test this?

Also when hanging a kayak by straps from the ceiling is it better to hang it upside down or right side up? I'm hanging it right side up now(I had the problem with tracking before hanging it). The patriot is 12ft and my garages ceiling is only 9.5 ft. Do you think its possible to stand it in a corner or would it be leaning too far away from the wall?

Thanks for reading all of my questions


– Last Updated: Aug-03-07 6:50 PM EST –

There is also a foam piece in the bow of the kayak. Does this have any purpose? Like a fool, I tried to remove it from the kayak thinking it was packing material. I stopped trying to remove it when I discovered there was a screw at the top of the kayak holding it in place. Could messing with this have had any affect on the tracking? The guide doesn't mention anything about the foam piece.

The foam is flotation
it is to keep the boat from sinking if it should get filled with water.

On the tracking: are you possibly sitting on one side or do you have more gear on one side than the other.

Try centering your body more.

Have someone on shore or in another boat get directly behind you and see if your boat is leaning to one side.



Also understand
that kayaks behave the opposite of bikes when it comes to turning. Lean to the left, the boat will veer to the right, and vice versa. So if you are already leaning slightly to the right, and as the boat veers left your instinct has you leaning even more to the right to “correct” you may be making it worse. It is unlikely that the problem is the kayak. It is likely to be something you will sort out once you’ve had more boat time.

also try back and forth
Side winds can cause a boat to turn upwind (weather cocking). Make sure you do your testing when there is either no wind, or do it in both directions relative to the wind.

I think the other responses cover the tracking issue pretty well.

I would recommend hanging the boat from theceiling sideways, so that the deck is perpendicular to the floor.

Never ever mess with the “Grey Thing” in the bow…

Right Pam?


– Last Updated: Aug-03-07 11:23 PM EST –

Thanks for all the replies.

I'm going to try to take it on a slow river tomorrow.