Tag Archive: car top

To car top a kayak means to attach it to the car’s roof for traveling.

The smallest and greatest skiff

Skiff design, built, main advantages, and noteworthy shortcomings

Skiffs come in different sizes and configurations, and similarly to Jon boats, they are flat bottomed mono-hulls, a feature that reduces draft, which is advantageous for fishing in shallow water.
But this design feature also makes skiffs less seaworthy compared to other boats of similar size.
This is yet another example of specialization that enhances the product’s performance in one application while diminishing its performance in others.
Skiffs’ limited seaworthiness is the reason for their being unpopular as boats for offshore fishing, and opinions about their performance in bays and estuaries are mixed. The skiff design’s limited seaworthiness is one of the reasons why owners of big boats and yachts don’t use small skiffs dubbed microskiff as tenders.
Typically, skiffs’ hulls are molded from fiberglass, mainly because this material is more durable in saltwater than aluminum, which is the most common building material in Jon boats. However, fiberglass doesn’t perform well in terms of impact resistance, and it requires maintenance, while other polymer resins (plastics) such as Polyethylene don’t.
Fiberglass is also heavier than Polyethylene, too heavy to make a small skiff that’s lightweight enough to be transported on top of a vehicle’s roof, namely a portable skiff.
Skiffs are propelled by one or more outboard motors mounted at their stern.

Typical skiff features

Depending on a skiff’s size and level of outfitting, it may feature a center console, a casting platform at its front, and a tall structure at the stern, for a person to use for poling and/or for sighting fish for one or more anglers fishing from the deck.
Skiff are sometimes outfitted with an electric trolling motor, typically mounted at their bow.
The main advantages of a frontal casting platform are that it offers the angler a broader range of casting, be it with bait, lures, flies, or a fishing net, and it puts a bigger distance between them and other fishers working from the middle of the deck.
The main advantage of a center console is that it improves the driver’s comfort and stability, relatively to driving from the stern, and it allows them to drive standing.
Poling is both exhausting and rather ineffective as a mode of propulsion, and therefore increasingly unpopular among anglers who fish the flats and other shallow water. This leaves the poling platform to serve mainly as a watchtower, and possibly as an ornament.
Electric trolling motors are quiet, and they can be controlled remotely, which is one of the reasons that more skiff owners use them these days.

Microskiff – a class of very small small skiffs

Microskiff is a term that refers to compact skiffs, namely of small size, and typically of reduced features as well. The smaller size saves money on gas and maintenance, but the need to transport microskiffs on a trailer still presents a challenge in terms of launching and beaching, as well as storage.
At the lowest end of microskiffs both in terms of size and price, is a group of large size boards, some of which feature backward pointing extensions that provide extra support for the outboard motor’s weight, and some that don’t. These boards usually offer enough stability and load capacity for just one user (I.E. “solo” skiff), and they hardly offer any free board, which pretty much guarantees that this user will get soaked, whether they like it or not.
As far as comfort is concerned, these large size boards marketed as microskiffs or “solo” skiffs seem to be designed with no concern for ergonomics whatsoever, to a point where watching a video featuring such a skiff might give the viewer an uneasy feeling.
In terms of portability and transportation, their small size allows for an unusually strong person to transport one on a pickup truck bed, but car topping such a vessel is beyond reach for anyone who’s not a professional weight lifter.
Most of these board type skiffs are molded from fiberglass or other cold-molded resins, which reduces their impact resistance, durability, and therefore reliability.
The board skiff that’s made from Polyethylene weighs 150 lbs without the motor, which is still too heavy to rival the portability of most fishing kayaks and canoes, and let’s not forget that square-stern canoes can be outfitted with small outboard motors…
Despite their small size, including a beam (width) that’s narrower than the beam of conventional skiffs, board skiffs do not paddle well, a factor that reduces their appeal to anglers who fish skinny water and water where aquatic vegetation abounds.

The Wavewalk S4 – the smallest and greatest skiff

In physical terms, the Wavewalk S4 is smaller and much lighter than any skiff, microskiff, and board skiff, and it its Polyethylene hull makes it more resistant to impact. It is the only skiff that anyone can car top without help from a second person.
The S4 can carry up to three adult fishermen on board, which is comparable to the crew size of good size skiffs, and it enables these anglers to fish at the same time and standing up, which is something that only full fledged medium sized and bigger skiffs may offer.
The S4 is a much seaworthy skiff that can be driven through ocean waves and other choppy waters without problems, both in a solo mode and with a second passenger on board. The patented combination of its twin-hull (catamaran) and saddle seat is extremely stable as well as easy for the users to balance, even more than a personal watercraft (PWC).
In fact, driving an S4 in the ocean and in choppy water is pure fun.
The S4 offers plenty of free board, which is good news for passengers who are looking to stay dry, and it is the only skiff that can serve as a tender for a big boat or a yacht.
The S4 offers its passengers to use the entire internal space of its twin hulls for on board storage, and this makes its storage capacity rival with full fledged and good size skiffs.
Like a full fledged skiff, the S4 can be easily outfitted with a front mounted electric trolling motor.
And unlike any other skiff, including the smallest board-type microskiffs, or kayak skiffs, the S4 works really well as a paddle craft, namely kayak or canoe, to a point that some owners use it as a fishing kayak, without even motorizing it.
Typically, the S4 is used with outboard motors in the 3.5 HP to 6 HP range, but it can be powered by bigger motors.

In sum, the S4 is a craft that’s so advanced in performance and versatility that it deserves a class of its own.

 

 

 

Read more about the Wavewalk® Series 4 (S4) »

 

Wavewalk S4 skiff – Launch anywhere you want (demo movie)

This demo movie shows one person downloading a Wavewalk S4 from a vehicle’s roof rack, and carrying it from the parking space down to a rocky beach that we chose as a location for shooting video just because launching any other skiff from there would have been impossible.

 

 

How much HP for my S4 skiff’s outboard motor?

Updated December 1st, 2017

The purpose of this article to answer a frequently asked question (FAQ) from prospecting clients, which is “What outboard motor should I choose for my S4 skiff?”

The answer is that the outboard motor and propeller you should choose for your S4 depend mainly on two factors, which are

  1. How much power you need: How fast you want to go, in what kind of water, and how many passengers you’ll have on board
  2. How important to you is the motor’s weight.

There is a trade-off between power and weight, namely that the more powerful the motor, the heavier it is, and the harder it is to carry it.

In any case, the motor should be a 20″ log shaft (L) model, and not a 15″ short shaft (S) model.

Recommended reading: How to measure an outboard motor’s propeller shaft length? »

Propeller Pitch

Another trade-off that you should know about is related to propellers: High pitch propellers are designed to deliver less torque (push force) and more speed, and they work best with lightweight boats, while low pitch propellers are designed to move bigger and heavier boats, but they should not be used with lightweight boats, since they can make the motor go at a too high RPM.

Outboard motors manufacturers’ websites say that (quote) “UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU EVER USE A PROP WHICH WILL ALLOW YOUR OUTBOARD TO OPERATE ABOVE THE OUTBOARD’S RECOMMENDED MAXIMUM RPMs”.

Propeller pitch information is available on outboard manufacturers’ websites.

Practically, this means that since the S4 is an extremely lightweight boat, you should outfit the outboard motor for your S4 with the highest pitch propeller available for it.

Diameter – Don’t try to use a propeller from a small outboard with a bigger outboard.

 

SMALL OUTBOARDS

 

For the S4, small size means a highly portable but under-powered outboard motor.

2 HP outboards

Outboard motors in this class weigh around 30 lbs, which makes them fully portable even for a user who’s not very strong. A 2 HP motor can propel an S4 skiff with one person on board at speeds up 8 mph, even in choppy water. This speed would decrease as the boat is required to carry more passengers on board. S4 owners who tested such motors with their S4 skiff reported that the boat felt under powered, which means that they felt like going faster, but the motor lacked the power required for this. For this reason 2 HP motors are not popular with S4 users. Another reason for their lack of popularity is the fact that being air cooled makes these small motors noisier than bigger, water cooled motors.

Propeller pitch –
The Honda 2.3 HP comes with a 4.75 pitch propeller

 

MEDIUM SIZE OUTBOARDS

 

For the S4, a medium size outboard motor means powerful enough but still portable. Motors in this 3.5 HP to 6 HP range are the ones we recommend for most users.

3.5 HP outboards

Outboard motors in this range weigh around 40 lbs, which makes them still portable, but less so than 2 HP motors. A 3.5 HP motor can propel an S4 skiff with one person on board at speeds up to 11 mph, even in choppy water, and it can propel the boat at 8 mph with three passengers on board in moving water. This size motor is popular among S4 and W700 users, as it offers a good trade-off between power and weight for people who must lift the motor or carry it by hand over long distances.
These motors are also less expensive than bigger ones.

Propeller pitch –
For their 3.5 HP motor, Tohatsu recommends either the 7 pitch (Plastic) or 6 pitch (aluminum) propellers, for lightweight boats such as the S4.
We say get the 7 pitch, unless you think that you need the more durable aluminum propeller.

 

6 HP outboards

Outboard motors in this range weigh around 60 lbs, which makes them portable only over short distances, and not for everyone.
A 6 HP motor can propel an S4 skiff with one person on board at speeds of up to 18 mph, and it can propel the boat at 13 mph with three passengers on board.
6 HP motors are the second most popular motors among S4 users.

Propeller pitch
For their 6 HP outboard used with lightweight boats (such as the S4), Tohatsu recommends their 9 pitch propeller.

 

BIG OUTBOARDS

 

8 HP to 10 HP outboard motors are too heavy to be carried by hand, and they may be too powerful for inexperienced drivers to use safely. However, they come with electric start instead on manual start, which is a nice feature. They also come with an alternator that can serve to power small electric devices.

8 HP outboards

Outboard motors in this class weigh around 80 lbs. At such weight, these motors can no longer be considered as portable, and the main reason to use them is the fact that are offered with electric ignition, which eliminates the need to start them by pulling a cord. People who like driving at high speed may prefer these motors to less powerful ones. The S4 outfitted with an 8 HP motor performs well in choppy water, but it could feel over powered for an inexperienced driver, which should avoid using such motors with their S4. Heavy users may benefit from driving with a U-jointed tiller extension, in order to move some weight forward from the stern towards the middle of the boat.

Note that these bigger motors don’t come with an integrated fuel tank, but this isn’t necessarily a problem, since external fuel tanks can fit inside the S4’s hulls.

9.9 HP outboards

We tested the S4 with a 9.9 HP Yamaha outboard, and it worked well. Practically, this class of heavier and more powerful motors offers no advantage over smaller motors unless you feel you must go at high speeds, and you’re capable of driving small boats safely at such speeds.

We recommend that inexperienced drivers avoid using high power motors. Instead, they should pick a motor within the 3.5 HP to 6 HP range.

 

MUD MOTORS

Mud motors feature a surface drive, and they offer a huge advantage to people who want to drive in very shallow water, mud, water with many underwater obstacles, and water with plenty of vegetation.

6.5 HP mud motors

Mud motors are bulkier and heavier than regular outboard motors. A 6.5 HP mud motor weighs around 80 lbs, and it’s not portable. The reasons you’d want to use such a motor instead of a regular outboard of similar power are if you need to go in very shallow water (skinny water) and mud, and if you fish or hunt in water with plenty of vegetation and underwater obstacles. The S4 performs very well with a such a mud motor. We do not recommend using less powerful mud motors because typically, these motors require more power than regular outboard motors do.

 

ELECTRIC OUTBOARDS

Electric outboard motors

Some electric trolling motors are described by their manufacturer as “outboard motors”, namely comparable in power to small outboard gas engines. If you consider such electric motors, we recommend remembering the laws of physics, and applying the formulae for Kilowatts to Horsepower conversion, which are:

  • 1 KW = 1.34 HP
  • 1 HP = 0.745 KW

No amount of words may overcome this reality.

Electric motors are discussed in the Electric Trolling Motor or Outboard Gas Engine section of this article »

 

 

 

 

Wavewalk S4 with 2 HP Honda outboard in strong wind, lake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

By Pyt Rotary

Ontario, Canada

Lake Simcoe is a 280 square mile lake in Ontario.

12km/h [7 mph] with Honda 2Hp against wind of 24km/h [15 mph]

Lots of fun except my rocky mistake to not have enough gas with me.
I got excited and let the boat run for 15km straight into the lake and realize I am out of gas.
I paddled back half the distance and got gas from shore.
Now I know… From now on I will carry enough gas with me.
Luckily I paid with just one blister on my hand.

I did come back at night and feel SUPER SAFE in it.
It is a great, fantastic boat.

 

(added comment) –

The S4 is SUPER, SUPER, SUPER stable. It does not sway at all.
I have been in bigger boats with V shape hulls.
Those boats don’t have the same stability on the water as the S4. The waves hammer them straight in the teeth.
The catamaran design cut the waves like a knife cuts through butter.
Definitely there is room for more HP on the S4.

It was my fist ever trip with a gas motor, I do use W500 with an electric motor but never played with gas before. Lots of fun. Now I can reach easily lots of my fishing spots.
Regards from Ontario, Canada.


(added later) –

After 7 years of tests I think I found the best way to store the rods on Wavewalk, at least for me.

The challenge was in S4 where drilling on the back side where the gas engine reside is not much appealing to me.
So what I did was to buy 2 Homer Tool boxes from Home depot $10 each and use the box to store dry different items at the tip of the S4.
The end of the fishing rod where the reel is, rests on the box and the tip is secured on the upper side of the kayak with sticking Velcro (same Home Depot).

I had some exist on water testing and I can carry easily 4,5 fishing rods in S4.
Since I like the concept I start to think how I can fit that in W500.

I got 2 plastic rings from dollar stores (shower curtains rings) and secure them with a round screw inside the tips on back side under the transom. The handle of the rods rest inside the rings, the tip of the rods is secured by same sticking Velcro in front of W500. 2 rods can be stored easily inside a W500 this way.

Now I am still in doubt to install the same rings in S4 as well since the setup is so successful for me in W500. I will still used the Tool boxes as storage (2L of gas, gloves, tackle, ropes, anchor).

More kayak fishing with Pyt in Canada  »