where can I read about chines?

and what they look like and how they affect how a boat moves/floats etc? it would be nice to see some diagrames with front on views displayed side by side, so I can see the differences, subtle or extreme. :slight_smile:

Here’s a quick one

– Last Updated: Aug-17-06 1:51 AM EST –


I just grabbed it from googling 'kayak chine diagram' You probably want something for fiberglass designs. I'll be interested to see what others reply here too.

Paul S.

thank you pstivers3!
now I understand :smiley: or at least, a heck of a lot better than I did.

It’s still the boat tho’
Just a note - there are overall hard and soft chined behaviors, but other factors like the amount of rocker in the boat’s hull and how well its volume is suited to the paddler can make more diff in how it feels than how it is chined. In surf or similar conditions my Vela has some distinct hard chined behaviors compared to my Expl LV, but for day to day paddling the relative fit of the boat to my size and how tightly the bow tracks has more of an impact on how she feels paddling. You still need to sit in boats, and lessons will go a long way in helping you know what you are looking for.

All that said, more research is always good. The closer you can get to the best boat on your first try, the less likely it is you’ll have to turn around and do the same thing all over again in a few months. (Many or most on this board who sea kayak did it the hard way at first.)

Def. on the rocker
How much rocker a boat has can play a huge part in how well it tracks or doesn’t.

Conversely, if you want a nimble handling boat you probably want that rocker.

Both observations w/o a rudder/skeg obviously.

While it’s great to understand…
…something about boat design, chines are just one aspect of hull. While they do define the shape, they alone do not define the handling of the boat; there are simply too many other factors involved. One cannot assume much of anything about a boat based solely on the chine shape.

As Brian said…
the chines are just one aspect of boat handling. I am an absolute novice at this, and also find it real interesting. I found that Nick Schade’s book on building a strip kayak offered a great chapter or two on hull design issues.


You can also check out:

www.kayakforum.com (use the search)

and also:


I just finished my first sof, and have been intrigued with the chine placement, along with the rocker, beam, displacement, etc and how my boat will ultimately handle when I get it into the sea.

Fun stuff…so much to learn…which is great.



what is the ‘rocker’?

Rocker is
in layman’s very imprecise terms, which is all I aspire to when it gets to hull design, the amount of upsweep the boat’s bottom has from where it would lie if the keel or centerline were exactly straight all the way along the boat’s length. You can see it by sitting the boat on the ground. A boat with virtually no rocker will have its bottom on the grass evenly all the way. A boat with a lot of rocker will have the middle on the ground, but it’ll curve up and away towards one or both ends.

It’s usually both, but if you do this trick with my Vela you’ll see the front sitting mostly on the ground and the rear behind the cockpit fading much more up into the air.

More rocker roughly tends to mean that it turns more easily and is less likely to track straight, but there are so may other aspects of hull design that even that has to be taken as just a very rough statement. Length, width and shape of the hull can make a boat with a fair amount of rocker turn more or less easily.

All boats are a compromise along a continuum because both going straight and turning are critical attributes. At the extremes you have boats like the Pintail that excel at not going straight and plumb bow boats like the Swifts that tend to show up in the Northeast that greatly prefer to go straight. And each works best for a particular purpose, long trips or playing in waves, for a paddler of a particular size range. The boat can be oversized for the paddler so that it is harder to get to the point where it responds well, a not uncommon issue for women.