kayak outfitting

Outfitting kayaks is making them more suitable for a particular application, or use. For example, rigging (outfitting) a kayak for fishing typically involves adding rod holders, paddle holders and fishing electronics to it.
Outfitting a kayak can be a one-time project, or an ongoing process that evolves as the kayak owner’s learns more and discovers new and better ways to improve they kayak’s performance, as well as better suit their personal needs and liking.
Kayaks an be outfitted with special seats, motors, outriggers (stabilizers), fish finders, downriggers, anchor trolleys, sails, and more…

More kayak outfitting and rigging information »

Thrust in Electric Trolling Motors for Fishing Kayaks

Thrust is a unit of measurement that manufacturers of electric trolling motors for fishing kayaks and other boats use to describe propulsion capability. Thrust is measured in units of weight. In the USA it’s usually pounds (lb.).

This can be confusing, since we often tend to think of propulsion in motion terms, or in horsepower (HP).

Before going further, we’d better clarify what weight and thrust have in common:

Thrust of an electric trolling motor for a fishing kayak

This (rather crude) illustration shows a small boat on the water.  The boat is equipped with an electric trolling motor and propeller unit whose measurable output is 36 lb.  The boat is attached by a line to a 36 lb weight that’s pulling it backward.  Since the motor unit can provide 36 lb of thrust it will keep the boat in place: It would be strong enough to counterweight the 36 lb weight, but not strong enough to get the boat to move forward.

Once the battery gets weaker and/or the propeller entangled in seaweed the thrust achieved will diminish and the 36 lb weight will drag the boat backwards.

Similarly, if we lifted the propeller out the water it would still thrust the boat forward, but much less so, since it would be pushing against air that’s hundreds of times less dense than the water this propeller was designed to work in… In this case the 36 lb weight would easily win this tug of war.

Note that this simple model describes thrust without using speed terms.

There is no simple formula that can help you convert thrust to horsepower or vice versa, although the terms are closely related to each other when motorized boats are concerned.

In our case Thrust is the directional force resulting from the rotation of a propeller at a certain speed. Different propellers rotating at the same speed will generate different thrust. The same propeller will usually generate more thrust at a higher rotation speed (RPM).

Horsepower is a unit of measurement for power (it’s quite obvious isn’t it?…), which is the ability to do work. Power is described by weight lifted over a distance during a certain time.

1 HP is equal to the power needed to lift the weight of 550 lb over a vertical distance of 1 ft – in 1 second.

Just by looking at these numbers we can sense that not every human is capable of producing 1 HP – not even for a short period of time.  Most of us can produce much less than 1 HP over long periods of time, such as when paddling, biking etc.  Estimates vary from 0.2 to 0.4 HP, but that doesn’t mean much for us as individuals.

So, going back to our illustration, if we had a 1 HP gas engine on top of the dam, and that engine was attached with a pulley to the line holding the 36 lb weight, we would be able to lift that weight up at a staggering speed of over 15 ft per second (550:36 = 15….).

Apples to apples: How can we compare the 1 HP gas engine to our 36 lb electric trolling motor?

We need comparable, that is mutually convertible units of measurement. In this case it’s HP and Watt.  To convert Watts (W) to a horsepower rating (HP) simply multiply the Watts by 0.00134

In other words, a 750 W electric motor (1:00134 = 746…) produces the equivalent of 1 HP.

In boating terms, Thrust would be the result of applying this power to move a boat through the water by connecting the engine to a suitable propeller and letting it move water… In order for such a comparison to make some practical sense we need to assume certain things about RPM, type and condition of propeller, boat size, boat speed etc… It’s really not that easy.

More specifically, when it comes to electric motors for kayaks you shouldn’t be tempted to get a strong motor that would consume your battery power too fast.  If such a thing happens you’ll have to paddle your kayak back with a heavy battery and motor on board…

Read more about motorizing fishing kayaks >>

A W Fishing Kayak Rigged With an Electric Trolling Motor

We’re getting reports about people sailing, rowing, surfing, paddling and driving their W kayaks… -When we get enough pictures we publish a ‘story’ page.  The latest story is from Vermont. It’s about Dan Carroll’s electric trolling motor system project for his 2007 W fishing kayak, a.k.a “The Mean Green Machine”.  We call it a ‘system’ because it includes not only the motor but a clever, user friendly steering device as well.

Fishing kayak rigged with electric trolling motor

Dan cruising in his electric W fishing kayak

Dan showing a fish he caught onboard his electric fishing kayak

And here’s the first fish Dan caught in his motorized W fishing kayak

NEW: read more about motorizing fishing kayaks >>

Scott’s First W Kayak Scouting Trip This Year – Minnesota

Last year Scott Johnson from Minnesota bought a 2007 W fishing kayak that he’s used for photography and bow hunting (See full story).

This year Scott got himself a 2008 model.  With two W kayaks Scott can enjoy W kayak trips in the company of guests, and this time it was his nephew Justin, who’s also an avid hunter and fisherman.

Scott's fishing kayak - Minnesota

Here is Scott’s report from their first W kayak trip this year: -“The rivers are finally coming down to a safe level but they are very stirred up and muddy. My nephew Justin and I went for our first paddle together yesterday.  More major erosion has widened out the river even further. When we started out we were on a 45 degree muddy incline – I positioned my 2008 Wavewalk kayak square to the water and said “This is how you get started” – a little thrust and I was on my way. I hit the water and bounced the front end a little but easily maintained my balance. Justin was grinning, he also managed the water slide entry with no problem. Going with the current is lots of fun but no work… We saw an eagle on a sandbar eating a fish, it took off and when we checked out the carp he was still flipping around. We had our fish poles but the river was so muddy it seemed pointless.

Justin paddling Scott's 2007 W fishing kayak

Justin paddling Scott’s 2007 W Fishing kayak

The important thing is we had a great time just cruising down the river. We are both impressed with the Wavewalk kayaks, they are very versatile. Temps were around 90 so a couple hours was enough. The next outing will be an all day, fishing, shore lunch on a nicer cleaner river. I found a manmade lake about 20 miles frome here. I geuss it has a sand bottom and is nice and clear. It has crappies and sunnies in it, maybe some good fishing will materialize soon!  -Scott”

erosuion on the river bank - Minnesota

More reading about photography from a kayak >

W Kayak Angler – View From Another Angle

Sometimes we tend to forget that kayak fishermen are people with additional interests in life besides fishing… Some have families, and they like to share their experience and even their boat with family members and friends.

Such is Dan, from Vermont (see Dan’s W Fishing Kayak Review).

Dan standing in his fishing kayak

Dan invited his daughter Emily and her friend Tunie to try his 2007 W fishing kayak, and like him they had no problem paddling standing:

Girl standing in fishing kayak and paddling

Girl paddling standing in fishing kayak