Turning vs. spinning, hard vs. soft

I’ve been paddling my S&G (hard chine) kayak lately and finally learned what a nice carved turn feels like. This boat is easier to turn in a tighter radius as long as it is already moving forward, compared with my soft-chined CD Squall.

However, in testing how few strokes it takes to spin it around 360 deg. in one spot (stationary), I am finding it harder to handle than the Squall. I am sure part of this is my relative lack of experience in the new boat, but I also wonder if the hard chines can actually hinder this type of turning? I do put the boats on edge while sweeping.

Also, with the Squall, I can get way over with the coaming well below the water and rotate the boat by changing the pressure on the forward or rear edge of the paddle blade while sculling. I am finding this harder to do on the S&G.

the chines can create resistance when spinning, in contrast to the ‘on-the-move’ carve. they are basically little plows when spinning. the softer chine is not so plow-like.

sounds like the comfort of putting the s/g boat ‘deeply’ on edge might be an issue as well.

remember to look at the big picture of hull design when making judgements. The squall is a solid tracking hull with big hips, allowing for straight ahead tracking and BIG secondary on the hips.


Look beyond chines
I suspect the difference in maneuvering between the two kayaks has little to do with hard vs. soft chines.

I am not familiar with either kayak, but small differences in other parameters, rocker for instance, will have a much greater impact on handling than whether the boat has chines or not.

Chines are often credited by traditonalists as a device for dramatically increasing stabilty and carving. Chines are often criticized by modern designers for significantly increasing drag. Both sides are mostly wrong. Chines have not been proven to have any discernible affect on either handling or drag.

What He Said…
though I have to admit problems in keeping the Squall on track, compared to some my other boats. I think the Squall’s rocker and rounded chines allows for more “sliding” (or spinning) whereas the hard chines will want to carve in movement but resist spinning when resting.


What’s interesting…
is that when I sit still in wind, the Merganser holds its position better than the Squall does.

I like both boats but they definitely have different feels. I can scull with the Merganser’s coaming in the water–just not as deeply as in the Squall. Maybe more practice in it would help. OTOH, the Merganser’s hull seems to resist this.

Not trying to start a war of “hard chine vs. soft chine”. Just interested in hearing other people’s feedback if they have noticed the same traits.

while it may not be ‘proven’…

– Last Updated: Sep-28-04 7:44 PM EST –

It is obvious on the face of it that a hard chine will resist being pushed through the water (on a stationary turn) to a greater degree than a soft chine. IMHO

I also have both soft and hard chined boats and have observed this phenomenon.

Width helps spin

– Last Updated: Sep-28-04 10:22 PM EST –

The wider the boat, the greater the reduction in waterline with a good lean.

Chines dig in and do stop spinning. I bet a legend would spin about as well flat as on a lean.

The shadow will out carve a legend by an amazing amount. I think the width gives it a more accentuated "wing" efffect to drive the turn. In adition to the effect noted above.