tracking or not

My Solstice GTS, (without its rudder), my Mariner Express and the Wilderness Systems Shenai all are quite neutral in cross wind. On protected water, even in strong wind, I have no trouble holding any course with a bit of lean. Paddling down wind on the open ocean in rear quatering conditions with waves and chop, the straight tracking GTS (without its rudder) is far easier for me to hold on course the either of the other two, far more maneuverable, boats. The Express and the Shenai lean turn beautifully and easily, but I find myself being knocked off course continually by the waves (not the wind).

Is my technique bad? I have had the Express for 10 years so I am certainly used to it. The Shenai has similar turning properties to the Express, though it is a different hull design, and I get knocked off course just as much. Both are easier than the GTS to bring back on course, but in the GTS I hardly ever have to bring it back since it does not get knocked off course in the first place, and I can therefore paddle the GTS much more efficiently in rougher conditions.

So is a straight tracking boat just easier to paddle straight ahead than a maneuverable boat, assuming that weather cocking is NOT the issue.


yes 2

I do most of my paddling
on Lake Superior where the waves are usually wind waves that are close together and steep. My limited experience in these conditions with 2-4 stern quartering waves is that a manuverable kayak will take a lot of correction strokes to stay on course but the strokes are not very strenuous. I find that when a strong tracking kayak get’s thrown off course it was very hard and strenuous to get the kayak back on course. For myself I found this to be a safety issue. I choose to paddle a kayak with moderate tracking and find that It seems to be a good balance in steep stern quartering waves.

to play , manurverability is key. but to hit a mark on an Island 3 or 5 miles away, or to actually seriously “Go somewhere” Stiff tracking is better. IMO

I’d just add that the farther I’m going the more I want a long, fast, straight-tracking boat.

With a rudder to complement it.