question on secondary stability/edging

Id like to know with kayaks when you lean it enough that water starts to spill into the cockpit should the kayak still be able to hold your weight at that amount of lean(secondary stability ?) or did I pass the point of no return and be ready to plant a brace stroke.Im 5ft 10" and 170lbs and I had the Impex Mystic with its 21.5" beam shallowveed hull and now a Merlin LT which has a 23" wide beam shallow veed hull.They both are very easy to edge till I start getting water spilling in (if I dont have my skirt) and theres just no stability at that point it can go either way and Im ready to brace. They are small kayaks and I wonder if I went to a wider beamed kayak say 24.5" it might support my leans better.I dont want to go with longer boats .Anyone?

I don’t know about 'should’
but in the three kayaks I have that aren’t recreational kayaks, I can edge them with the skirt edge just under the water. This is in a static situation on flat water, without a scull or brace in the water.

Without a skirt, I guess this would be similar to your situation where the water just starts to pour in.

Any further edging and I’d need to brace if static or probably do some kind of supportive stroke if moving.

By the time the water is at the combing of my QCC 600 I feel like I’m right on the edge. I think this is something that will vary from boat to boat.


no, it shouldn’t

– Last Updated: Oct-08-09 4:02 PM EST –

be able to support your weight with that amount of lean. The more flexible you are, the further you can edge your boat without support, so I'm sure it's possible in many cases. Wider can offer additional stability overall, but within sea kayaks, stability has more to do with shape than simply width, and which kayak you can edge furthest doesn't mean anything anyway. I would say this line of thought is pretty much off base (I mean this in a kind way). In maneouvering on edge, your goal is to master not only kayak edge control, but paddle placement, paddle blade edge control, paddle strokes, and momentum. None are independent of one another. Which kayak you can maneouver best ends up having very little to do with which boat you can edge the coaming further under without support. Unfortunately, once you start to get the knack of it and enjoy using it, you'll have water in your boat the moment you turn away from the dock without a skirt on.

Wider doesn’t translate to more edge
As above, the hang point is a combination of hull design factors. Wider doesn’t necessarily get you better secondary. If you are talking 24 inches, it can easily be worse because the designers will assume the likely user is more of a rec boater who won’t be edging the dickens out of the boat.

I can get the edge of my skirt under water and still not capsize in most of the kayaks in the basement, but I have my body in a C shape so that my torso is still over the center of the boat. If I actually lean my torso out the same way as the boat is being edged when the skirt is under water, I (or anyone else) will capsize.

If the boats were under volume for you, it’d leave you sitting lower in the water so less edge would have water coming in. But given the cockpit size and deck height of those boats, I am not sure you could be really tall or large and get into them.

Frankly, if you are in the boats you mention why aren’t you using a skirt? These are both sea kayaks and those who made them likely assumed the paddler in it would be skirted.

Don’t use water spillage as gauge
The width of the cockpit relative to the hull makes a difference. It takes a high degree of edging to get my Explorer LV’s coaming side in the water…because it is a downsized keyhole rather than the normal-size one. The edges are far inboard from hull’s edge.

Another kayak might have a wide cockpit with the coaming rim close to the hull sides.

I do have and use a skirt.
I was only using the water spilling in as an indicator of sorts when in the lean or full edged position if the boat is still suppose to have some reserve stability to hold you (assuming of course that your in a C shape maintaining posture over the cockpit)that you still dont have to brace yet. I realize that there are many other small factors that make up for that secondary ability but just for width of beam as the example. Take the QCC 600x, its a narrow beamed boat but it was designed for medium- larger sized people to about 180lbs.With that in mind if the boat is leaned to where water could spill in if you didnt have a skirt is there still some holding power for that sized person? Just wondering whats a good secondary stability or how do you apply that statement.


– Last Updated: Oct-08-09 6:54 PM EST –

Having a lot of secondary stability doesn't relate much to how far you can lean. Instead it's more that when you do lean "somewhat" far (combing may or may not be in water) that you can _feel_ some building resistance to falling over. This is then helpful because it gives you that extra split second to react and brace unlike a boat with very little secondary. Also, if you slightly over react (edge/brace) then some secondary may help avoid flipping over on the other side immediately.

At least that's my not overly educated impression.

I have paddled a 600x
To me it has remarkable secondary stability far short of dipping the combing in the water and flooding the cockpit if you did not have a skirt. You can also edge it well short of that and turn quite sharply. If I was a muscled beanpole with great flexibility I am sure I could do remarkable things with edging (I definitely am not such a person). But why?

Maybe not secondary stability, exactly

– Last Updated: Oct-09-09 1:31 PM EST –

What you seem to be looking for is the tendency of the boat to actually stop and hold you at the point of what tends to be called secondary stability. That is a more comforting response to many (myself included coming home from a tiring paddle) than behavior like the old Sirius or the Nordkapp LV, where the boat will happily slide beyond that point.

I am sure someone could argue that these boats had as substantial a secondary stability as one with a very clear hang point, like the NDK Explorer or the Valley Aquanaut, at least on paper. In fact someone recently did, based on some stability charts. And we ran into a guy a few seasons ago who felt the Sirius was an more solid boat because it flowed so smoothly thru its stability points. (Obviously he had a solid roll.)

I mentioned in the thread talking about stability charts that what often was felt to be good stability was a boat that had a very clear, pretty hard hang point when it hits what is oft called the secondary stability point. You seem to want a boat to do that. The thing is, not all boats do, even ones that may seem to have similar stability curves on paper.

So your answer is still maybe/sometimes/depending on the boat.

Why do you lean?

– Last Updated: Oct-09-09 11:02 AM EST –

You should first ask yourself WHY do you want your kayak to be tilted sideways (edged).

People edge for two reasons:
(1) when they have lost their balance or
(2) when they want to turn.

When you have lost your balance, you are "leaning" off-center. A more stable kayak will help you get back-up from a bigger lean.

When you want to turn, you ideally do not lean but use your flexibility to edge the kayak while your torso stays more or less upright (unless you are making some more exagerated turns like when surfing fast or trying to turn on a dime). A too stable kayak will make it very hard for you to edge without leaning, which compromises your agility and ability to control the kayak (not to mention it can get tiring after a while).

Once you are past a certain point of skill, you rely less and less on the kayak's stability to bring you back-up. For a given skill level, body build, and conditions you paddle in, there seems to be a happy medium you can find for yourself.

Unless you are planning expeditions or other similar conditions where you do not want to flip if at all possible and do not want to have to brace, going with a kayak more stable than the average 22" or so wide kayak can give you, for your size, I think will only have you go back down once you improve your skills and stop relying on the kayak for stability so much.

So you really need to ask yourself the question if you want to rely on the kayak or yourself going forward - no right or wrong answer, just depends on what you want... By the way, I'm actually trying to answer the same question for myself, just the inches are different: I know the answer for me lies somewhere b/w what 18" and 22" can give me, just not sure yet exactly where I would find the happy medium between having to brace/pay attention too much and optimizing other prameters -;)

Some kayaks
like the NDK Explorer have that stopping point when edging, but IMO, it’s like paddling a rec boat. They are popular with a lot of instructors, bc they are very stable on edge, and are great for beginners too!

I didn’t ask this
I reread your post, and frankly it sounds like you are asking for a boat which you can edge fairly deeply but not have to brace. There is the bit that in dimensional water even less deep edging can be cause to throw a brace, but the value of bracing in allowing you you to do more with your boat and respond more quickly is a constant regardless of the flatness of the water.

Do you mean it to sound like this, or am I missing something?

should and edging
It depends on the kayak, it depends on you. I’m about 20 inches wide. Used to own a 20" wide kayak. When I put it on edge, it had no edge, the edge went under me and I went straight over. There’s no “should” in these matters, just what is. If you want something else, you get a different boat. (I switched to a 23" boat.)

If can comfortably edge until you get your spray skirt wet, that should translate into sharper turns. Bracing adds an element of support, or drag on one side to make a sharper turn, or both.

Many people distinguish between leaning and edging. Leaning puts your torso out over the water, edging involves your hips and keeps your torso over the boat.

You don’t still have that Mystic for sale, do you? :wink:

Yeah, I did sell my Mystic
and now have an Eddyline Merlin LT (yellow) that I bought used but in beautiful condition. I thought with its beam of 23" it would be more stable both intial and secondary from the Mystic but I didnt find any change at all.Im just wondering if maybe Im just too big for these 2 boats.I know how that building resistance or stiffens up when near the rails on my canoes are but I just dont feel that on these 2 kayaks.Yeah I can edge till water starts coming in and Im then at that hang point you mentioned but at that point the slightest disturbance from say a wave ,winds or my body movement and I could go over because theres nothing stiffened up,it smoothly can go either way.And thats what Im asking if I should be able to feel the hang point with some stiffening so that I can either use it for extreme turning or get ready to seriously brace.Again Im looking for something no more than 14ft.

At 5’10" and 170 lb …

– Last Updated: Oct-11-09 12:11 PM EST –

you are at the upper limit of paddler size for boats like the Mystic or the Merlin LT, but it's not like you are wildly over it considering that these boats carry volume for something like a camping load.

It is possible that the your problem is partly in actually feeling the hang point, not it's solidarity. Do you get there by lifting your opposite knee and leaning into it, or by just sliding your weight over as much as possible and letting the boat settle at that point? The latter is a better way to securely find that point.

Though the easiest solution is probably, as someone else here mentioned, spend some pool time this winter and develop a roll. That'll make this moment at the edge a non-issue. It seems a better long term solution for kayaking than limiting yourself to boats that don't get you at this point to start with.

Don’t use cockpit in the water
Different boats have different size cockpits. I have to put a Gulfstream/Scirocco in up to the cockpit to get the same performance I can get from a Tempest 170 edged barely up to the Wildy letters. Tempest has a smaller, less oval cockpit. It’s knowing your boat and what you expect from the edge. Both boats will spin in their own footprint and feel reasonably stable. But you are on edge . . .

Those Impexes are a pretty boat. (Not that there’s anything wrong with an Eddyline!) One more thing you might try: It wasn’t until I started learning to roll that I became comfortable with edging. Somehow spending time on your side in the water or upside down translates into a greater sense of comfort rightside up. Don’t ask me how it works, it’s a mystery. Anyway, so I advise that. Find yourself a pool or shallow water or instructor and try working on that. Just an idea. (Too bad about the Mystic–it had a lower combing in the back, good for a roll. Plus, such a pretty boat …)

Yes, pool time will be in order
I think when I try to edge I do use my hip and knee pressure to tilt it but like I said theres no resistance letting me no Im near the hang point unless I look at it visually.I have taken bracing and roll classes with the Mystic.

one more thing
You have a Nighthawk, I used to have a Merlin XT. Both have a fairly pronounced v-hull. I used to be terrified in my Merlin XT (it was essentially my first boat) until one day I noticed it lying on its side on the garage floor and thought “I bet that’s the angle it wants to be at; I bet that’s where its secondary kicks in”. So I sat in the boat right there on the floor and got used to edging at that angle. And sure enough, the boat loved to be edged to that extreme on the water! It was like having two boats in one/two hulls in one–upright and on edge. For what it’s worth. Maybe that will help. Something to try anyway. Good luck! (And check out EJ’s “Bracing and Rolling” DVD.)