Securing the load in the hold

I have a 'glass Solstice GT. I want to put some ballast inside the hatches to see if I can get a more favorable trim. I’ve bought some flexible water carriers in 3 and 5 gallon sizes I plan to fill at launch. My first attempt will be 5 gallon at the front bulkhead and the three gallon in the aft. Of course, I don’t want them rolling around, upsetting my balance.

I’ve though of gluing in D rings or other device, probably 3, one in each corner and on on the bottom, and then making a net to keep it in place.

Is there any other ideas, either for attachment or even what to use for the ballast?



San Rafael, CA

Float bags
Get the good-sized ones, tapered. Blow them up after stuff is loaded and before you launch and you have both secured gear and some protection if you get a hole in the boat while you are out there. Much easier than fussing with D rings etc.

If you need to fill three and five…
gallon cantainers with water to get you kayak trim, then I think it might be time for a different one.



Well, about the trim
Jack’s point is a good one. The Solstice GT goes straight well, but even the GTS is a lot of volume of boat in the water compared to some of the newer low volume boats. What kind of trim problem are you trying to solve? You might get some good advice her from people who have owned a Solstice series boat.

problem to solve
I kayak on SF Bay and surrounds, getting caught out in 20k winds and short, steep chop is not hard to do, in fact pretty much a daily summertime occurrence.

The GT does not turn well to windward in these conditions and people around here with experience have suggested that a bit more weight would give me more control. Since these are folks with considerably more experience than I have,I want to give it a go.

Improved technique with edging will help too. I normally paddle with rudder up, but do need its help, and edging with an extended sweep to turn through. This past weekends rough water recovery practice showed up the weakness in both the technique and possibly the boat. Both of these folks are ex GT owners, so they have some credibility. I need the larger volume cockpit because I’ve got large feet. With GT I’ve just enough room.


– Last Updated: Jul-01-08 12:00 PM EST –

Ex-Squall owner myself, and one of the general characterisitics of the Solstice series is that they are real trackers which will take a lot of edge and manhandling to get turned in those conditions. The GT is more obstinate than my Squall was as well, more volume.

I can see it halping a bit, but I am not sure that the weight will give you the effect you ultimately desire. You are essentially sinking the boat into the water deeper and while that'll lower your windage and all that, you still are not likely to get a spritely and quickly responsive feeling. Very stable though - good luck finding any wave that could knock down my Squall when I had her at full load. And I usually had lots of time to appreciate that feeling since it felt like I ws paddling a Humvee - once I had the boat moving fully loaded I really did not want to stop.

I'd suggest that, while you work out the present issue, you keep demoing boats that may have somewhat high foredecks but are better sized for you in volume P&H may work for you, for example, or the Force boats (4 maybe 5) or maybe the CD Gulfstream. As loyal and honest a boat as the Solstice series is, over time it will get old to be hauling that much ballast onto the boat for every trip.

I don’t miss that one bit
Ex-Squall owner here. That kayak was a PITA in the conditions you describe, even with a heavy camping load. I must’ve hauled between 80 and 90 lbs on the Alaska trip and I can assure you that the boat being much lower in the water didn’t improve its handling. What the weight did was to make it ride a little smoother. It had a great glide in calm water but became a horse of a different color with some bounce in the water. Jekyll and Hyde. I got used to it/learned to deal with it, but I like the Tempest 165’s handling soooooo much better. It’s the difference between fighting a boat vs. having it work with me.

I do agree with you that it’s worth experimenting to see if changing the trim improves anything. Doesn’t cost anything but some time and effort. You might still end up wanting another kayak, but you will have made a better-informed decision.