Tag Archive: sailing kayak

Review of the Wavewalk S4 – first impression

By Rafael Francke

California

Background

Rafael owns a catamaran yacht that he and his wife Heidi designed. For the past six years Rafael and his family have used a Wavewalk 500 as a tender boat for it, as well as a versatile fun boat, which they sailed with a DIY outrigger.
Rafael was looking to replace his Wavewalk 500 with a bigger Wavewalk 700, but he decided to order an S4 as soon as he heard that we were planning to offer such a boat. Rafael and his family waited patiently for several months for the S4 project to materialize, and they were among the first to receive their order. This is Rafael’s “first impression” review of his Wavewalk S4-

Outboard motor: I had no problem at all.

Sailing by wind: I tested the W S4 in light wind, and it handles very nice. Sailing without a rudder, and without a dagger board, I can control the direction by moving my location in the W S4 front and aft.

Very easy seating on the saddle.

Paddle: Too bad I didn’t order an extra long paddle, because I found that my common 8 ft kayak paddle was too short.

The W S4 is more stable than I expected. It’s a real pleasure.

One of our friends likes the S4 and he’s thinking of getting one too.

 

 

 

 

Read how a few weeks later, Rafael’s S4 survived a car accident, and how he repaired it »

UPDATE (August)

After Rafael repaired his S4, he and his family started using it in various applications –

Says Rafael: –
“The S-4 is alive and well, in the picture, last week the S-4 is decorated for a dinghy party.
There is a lot of interest in it.
In two days the S-4 is going on a camping trip to Oregon to see the Eclipse. We hope to use it on Shasta lake.
When on the water the S-4 is a very stable boat, using the 3 hp Yamaha it moves very nice.
It is little heavy to lift on to our “big” boat, but it pays back when in use on the water.”

Outriggers

this product has been discontinued

Wavewalk® Sailing Outriggers

These outriggers fit the W500 and W700 series, as well as canoes, and many common kayaks.
Wavewalk® Sailing Outriggers provide more stability than most outriggers, thanks to the combination of larger size floats and longer arms (crossbar).
Other advantages are their light weight (10 lbs total), ease of installation, and their versatility, as their inflatable floats can also be attached directly to the boat’s main hull, without any intermediary rigid structure.

Sailing Outriggers Product Info

Dimensions:
  • Width (side to side):  6′ (180 cm)
  • Outriggers’ Length (front to back): 5’4″  (162 cm)
  • Total Weight: 10 lbs (4.5 kg)
  • Volume: 2 x 8.65 gallons  (2 x 32 liter)
  • Positive Buoyancy: 2 x 70 lbs  (2 x 32 kg)

Materials: 

  • Structure: 3/4″ anodized aluminum bars
  • Inflatable Tubes: 30 MIL HD PVC
Made in USA
Wavewalk Outriggers 1024

Wavewalk® XL Outriggers

Price: $455.

Shipping: $90. in the continental US (48 states), $100 to addresses in Canada and Alaska.

this product has been discontinued

Installation

  • The crossbar can be easily attached to a W500, W700 and any canoe that features a gunwale. Drilling is required. The crossbar can be attached to some kayaks too, and if this is not possible, straps can do the job. The crossbar features wing bolts – no tools required when attaching / detaching during regular operation.
  • Each outrigger is quickly and easily attached to the crossbar by means of one eye bolt. No tools required.
  • The tubes can be easily inflated / deflated via a large-size mouth valve. No pump required. The inflatable tubes are attached to the aluminum bars with carabiners, for quick and easy attach / detach.

Why use outriggers?

OUTRIGGERS Main USAGE and POSITION

Outriggers main role is to provide secondary stability, namely help in preventing the boat from capsizing. If you’re counting on a pair outriggers as stabilizers, namely to provide primary stability when the boat is level (I.E. not tilting sideways), you’re probably not using them correctly, or not using the right boat, or both.

When outriggers touch the water, they generate drag that slows down the boat.  Therefore, if possible, the outriggers should be mounted high enough, in a way that prevents them from touching the water unless the boat tilts sideways dangerously, so much that the user and passengers could lose balance and the boat itself capsize.

How high above the water should you mount the outriggers?

The height depends on factors such as your skill level as a boater, the size of your sailing rig, and how reasonably confident you feel about being able to handle the situation before the outrigger touches the water and starts supporting the boat.

Outriggers for fishing kayaks and canoes?

If you fish out of a canoe or a kayak, the last thing you want is outriggers, because sooner than later they’ll snag your lines and provide great opportunities for the fish you hooked to get away.
On top of this, most outriggers out there are too small and feature arms (crossbar) that are too short. These outriggers offer some initial (primary) stability, namely an impression of being stable, but they are not effective in supporting your weight in case the canoe or kayak tilts strongly on its side. In other words, the secondary stability these outriggers offer is insufficient in more difficult situations, and that’s when they’re mostly needed.
Another reason why canoe and kayak outriggers are not particularly effective is that they’re attached to the boat’s rear section, and therefore add stability mostly in that area, while having very little effect the middle section of the boat, and no effect all as far as stuff that happens in its front section. And as everyone knows, stuff happens…

For these reasons, we do not recommend using outriggers for fishing kayaks and canoes.

Outriggers for paddling?

Outriggers may add stability, but they also generate quite a bit of drag, and if you need to paddle over long distances you may find that the added outriggers make you too tired to enjoy your trip.

What about outriggers for motorized kayaks and canoes?

Not a great idea, unless the outriggers you use offer a sufficient amount of buoyancy, and most of them don’t. Again, thinking you’re stable isn’t the equivalent of being stable in real-world terms, namely as soon as you lose balance and the outrigger has to support your weight.
If you want to motorize your canoe or kayak, get a pair of big outriggers. This is especially true if you use a powerful outboard gas motor, as those are not as forgiving as weak electric trolling motors can be.

Outriggers for sailing

Yes!
Practically speaking, if you want to sail a canoe or a kayak, you must  compensate for these boats’ deficient stability (and compensate for their other deficiencies by other means*).
Sailing a canoe or a kayak with a rig featuring a good size sail (say over 35 square feet) exposes you to sudden gusts, and to capsizing, and that’s where outriggers are a must-have.
But not all outriggers were created equal, and the bigger the outriggers the better stability they deliver. And when it comes to stability, there’s no such thing as “too stable”. If you want to put the odds on your side (you do!), you should get large-size outriggers.

Boats from the Wavewalk® 500 and 700 series are more stable than any canoe or kayak out there, which is one of the reasons why you can motorize them more effectively, but sailing is different: If you’re planning to use a good size sail with your W, you should consider outfitting it with outriggers, and attach them as closely as possible to the mast, namely in the front section of the boat, where they would be more effective.

 

Canoes and kayaks track poorly, which is why they require a leeboard to reduce downwind drift, and a rudder to allow for tacking and tracking when they’re sailed. Wavewalk® kayaks and boats track very well, which is why you may sail them without a leeboard and a rudder, but only up to a certain point determined by your sailing skills, sail size, and wind power.

this product has been discontinued


 

More info on outriggers

How effective are outriggers for your fishing kayak’s stability?

How Effective Can A Fishing Kayak’s Outriggers Be?

An Umbrella Sailing Assist, by Gary Rankel

For some time, I’ve been exploring ways to ease or reduce paddling in reaching some of my farther off fishing sites. I’ve researched motorizing my Wavewalk with both gas and electric models but, in the end, don’t want to add even a minimum of 30-40 pounds of weight, or put up with the added hassle of keeping gas, charging batteries, related maintenance, and anything other than a totally quiet experience on the water.
I’ve also taken a few umbrellas out with me exploring whether any might ease my journeys and save me a bit of paddling, but most were not practical, did not stay securely in place or allow me to paddle and steer when deployed. Not that I’m lazy, mind you; I still enjoy getting my exercise, but at age 72, I could use a bit of relief on my 8-10 mile paddles.

While looking at umbrellas online a few weeks ago, I stumbled across one from Radio Flyer that looked interesting. It’s specifically for children’s wagons.
I ordered one, and I’m glad I did. I’ve had it out twice and it works well.

The umbrella is 31 inches high and 26 inches in diameter when extended which is large enough to catch the wind yet small enough to not totally obliterate my view going forward. It has a bendable, tilt handle which can be rotated 360 degrees, and stays in place when set. The powerful clamp (you need to use both hands to open it) attaches securely to the W’s cockpit rim via a groove that is intended to attach to the lip of a wagon, but looks made for the W. These features allow for a secure, hands-free operation, allowing me to paddle and steer at the same time that the umbrella propels me forward.

The clamp can easily be slid or moved to any portion of the cockpit lip, but works best for me when positioned directly in front. When not being deployed, the umbrella, still attached to the cockpit rim, folds down and totally out of the way for fishing. When positioned on the side of the W and pointed downward so that a small portion of the umbrella touches the water, it might even serve somewhat as a makeshift sea anchor or outrigger (however, I’ll have to experiment more to determine related usefulness). And, of course, it can provide a bit of shade.

While the umbrella is an option only when the wind is blowing roughly in the direction you want to go, if you’re like me, and plan your trips to take advantage of the tide and wind, it can provide a nice boost.

I won’t be setting any speed records with my umbrella and won’t be challenging Yoav to a race in his souped up W, but I think the Radio Flyer may just make a few of my longer paddles a little more relaxing.

I’ll be ordering a couple more for backups, or maybe to deploy two at once.

Gary

Sailing Umbrella 015

Click images to enlarge –

 

 

Read more about Gary’s kayak fishing trips »

How effective are outriggers for your fishing kayak’s stability?

What is an outrigger?

An outrigger is defined as a framework supporting a float extended outboard from the side of a boat for increasing stability. In kayaks, outriggers usually come in a pair mounted at the rear, so as to interfere as little as possible with the kayaker’s paddling and fishing activities.

Why are fishing kayaks required to be so stable?

A fishing kayak is required to be stabler than other kayaks for a number of reasons –

  1. The first reason is because the kayak’s operator is often busy fishing, which means they cannot pay much attention to balancing their kayak as they scout for fish, operate their fishing gear, and handle a fish they just caught.
  2. The second reason is that people who paddle sit-in, SOT or hybrid kayaks do it while being seated in the L position, with their legs stretched in front of them in a way that prevents them from being effective for balancing. This is the reason why the paddle is the principal means such paddlers have for stabilizing these kayaks, and this means that it’s easier for them to keep their balance while they’re holding their paddle and preferably using it for paddling.
  3. The third reason is that people who pedal a kayak find it even harder to balance it, as their legs activate the pedal drive from the kayak’s center line, with their feet l moving high over the deck. In this awkward position the legs are prevented from contributing even the little help in balancing that they could have contributed in a paddling mode. This makes the notion of a hands free pedal fishing kayak part of the realm of fantasy (a.k.a. hype).
  4. The fourth reason is that some people who believe sit-in and SOT manufacturers’ hype try to fish standing in or on their kayak, only to find out that in reality they don’t feel stable enough, and balancing their kayak comes at a price of a continuous effort, both in physical and mental terms, i.e. micro-adjustments and focus.
  5. The fifth reason is that some people have balancing problems resulting from a deficient sense of balance, a neurological condition such as multiple sclerosis (MS), artificial knees or hips, or simply because of old age or just because they’re big and tall.
  6. The sixth reason why people look to outfit their fishing kayak with outriggers is because when they outfit it with a powerful motor the higher speed increases the chance of accidents, which calls for improved stability.

How do outriggers work to increase a kayak’s stability?

An outrigger’s float is a buoyant object who’s much lighter than water. As such, an outrigger can resist downward pressure that’s pushing it into the water. Being attached at a considerable distance from the kayak’s longitudinal center line gives the outrigger’s float a mechanical advantage over whatever that pushes the kayak’s main hull downward on the same side, such as the kayaker’s own weight. This mechanical advantage enhances the outrigger’s effectiveness in stability terms.
I other words, the bigger the outrigger’s floats are and the further away they’re attached from the kayak’s center line, the stabler that kayak is likely to be.
In contrast, small outriggers that are attached close to the kayak’s hull, or outriggers that are part of the kayak’s hull and are deployed sideways by a lever system have a small effect on the kayak’s overall stability.

How effective are outriggers in terms of increased stability?

Small outriggers offer some initial (primary) stability, so they can have a psychological effect of diminishing the paddler’s fears and boosting their confidence. But when push comes to shove, that is in case of an accident or even a common case of lost balance, small outriggers offer too little secondary stability to prevent the kayak from seriously tilting, which is enough to dump its passengers overboard. This is especially true if the kayaker happens to be standing up or elderly, big and tall, suffering from balance disabilities etc.  – In other words, people who have a better reason to use outriggers in the first place are also more likely to lose balance and fall overboard because the outriggers they use are not big and buoyant enough. This is to say that between using small outriggers and using none, the latter option has some advantages…

Folding outriggers that are integrated into the rear end of the kayak’s hull and deployed outward by means of a lever have the same effect as small outriggers. Such kayak offers little stability when its folding outriggers are not deployed outward, and when its outriggers are in the open position the overall stability it offers is comparable to the overall stability offered by a regular wide SOT kayak with no outriggers. This means that if you have no intention of fishing standing on the deck of a big regular fishing kayak, you shouldn’t even consider a kayak that features outriggers that are integrated into its main hull, even if the manufacturer of such kayaks is seen stating in a promotional video that their product offers (quote): “the buoyancy equivalence of an 8 ft wide boat” (end quote)… BTW, the beauty of such a statement is that because it’s so obviously and ridiculously false, it probably fails to mislead anyone.

Light rigs – Outriggers built from thin, small-diameter aluminum tubes might bend or snap when exposed to strong pressure. This is especially true if the floats are big and located at a big distance from the kayak itself.
Outriggers made from thin steel rods can bend, and outriggers made from thin wooden beams can break.
Outriggers poorly attached to the kayak could get torn out of their place in case of an accident.

Can outriggers create problems in paddling and fishing?

Indeed they do, and these problems are worth consideration:

1. Extra drag

Typical outriggers are several times shorter than the kayak’s hull itself. This means that as the kayak moves, the outriggers move at speeds that are many times higher than their own hull speed (Froude number). This generates a disproportionately large amount of Residual resistance (Rr) as well as extra Frictional resistance (Fr), and the kayaker feels their combined effect as extra drag on the kayak, which makes it slower and much harder to paddle.
But this is not the end of the drag story, since the outriggers also generate their own wakes, which interact with the wake generated by the kayak’s main hull in a manner that increases turbulence and works to further increase drag. This additional unwanted effect is especially strong in outriggers that are mounted close to the kayak’s hull.
And if this wasn’t enough, outriggers also increase the kayak’s exposure to the wind, and this tends to reduce the kayak’s directional stability. In other words, it’s almost impossible to paddle a kayak outfitted with outriggers if you don’t outfit it with a rudder as well. But since rudders reduce the kayak’s speed by 10% in average, it’s possible to say that a kayak outfitted with outriggers is not one you’d like to paddle simply because paddling it would prove to be to hard for you, unless you’re out for a short trip on flat water.

2. Extra weight – problems with transporting and carrying

Let’s face it – fishing kayaks are the heaviest kayaks out there.  Many fishing kayaks weigh over 70 lbs, and the most barge-like of them weigh up to 120 lbs. Such size already makes it impossible for many anglers to car top their kayak, and forces them to transport it on a trailer, which clearly defies the purpose of kayak fishing in yet another way.
A pair of outriggers can weigh over 20 lbs, which transforms even a kayak of reasonable weight into a barge in terms of transportation and carrying it to the beach and from it back you one’s vehicle.

3. Mobility problems

Kayaks equipped with outriggers simply don’t move as well as other kayaks do. This is true for shallow water with obstacles, seaweed or grass, for rocky beaches (‘rock gardens’), and for moving water where the outriggers make the kayak harder to steer and control.

4. Fishing problems

When you fish out of any boat including a kayak, you strive to get out of your way any object that could interfere with your fishing lines, whether when you cast, reel in a fish or land it.  Outriggers are large size and intricate structures that are located close to the kayak, and as such present a constant threat to your lines – In fact, people who fish out of kayaks with outriggers are always careful to cast as far as possible from their kayak’s rear end, and since most kayaks already present typical restrictions on anglers, any additional limitations are not welcome, by definition.

What is the best type of outriggers for my fishing kayak?

Ideally, you’d want your kayak outriggers to be as long as possible, so they generate as little drag as possible when the kayak moves in the water. After all, you want to go places, which is why you got a kayak in the first place.
You also want the outriggers to be as big as possible so they have more buoyancy, and thus work better to provide the required additional lateral stability. As far as you’re concerned, outriggers are mission critical!
You want the outriggers to be attached to the middle section of the kayak, so they work to provide stability on its sides and not just in its rear, where you don’t necessarily need it – As they say: Location, location, location!
You want the outriggers to be as small as possible, so they don’t weigh too much. Kayaks are supposed to be lightweight, remember?
You want the outriggers to be attached to the kayak’s rear end, at a good distance from you, so they won’t interfere with your fishing activities… After all, fishing is what got you to buy the kayak in the first place, right?

Bottom line: There’s no such thing as ideal outriggers, which is why you need to carefully weigh the whole idea before you go forward with it.

Are outriggers even necessary with a W500 kayak?

We recommend outriggers for a W kayak being sailed, and by this we mean real sailing with a large size, powerful upwind rig (i.e. not merely a ‘kayak sail’). This is because of the considerable destabilizing lateral forces produced while sailing such a big rig in strong wind, and because we think that most recreational sailors lack the experience and skills needed to sail a W kayak under such circumstances.  Furthermore, we recommend that such outriggers be sturdy and of large size so they may provide enough support to compensate for the sailor’s lack of agility, experience, etc…

Otherwise, people who suffer from a severe balance deficiency that prevents them from sensing the kayak or reacting effectively (e.g. multiple sclerosis) should consider the benefit of adding a pair of outriggers to their W kayak.

Anglers who want to stand on top of a poling platform stretching over the cockpit of their W kayak may gain stability by adding outriggers to their setup, but they would gain more stability, convenience and safety by standing inside the cockpit, on the bottom of the kayak’s twin hulls, with their feet located below waterline – like all other stand up W kayak anglers do. The W design works better than anything else as far as stability is concerned.

When it comes to motorizing (i.e. outfitting the kayak with a powerful outboard motor), outriggers might complicate steering because of the high speed involved, meaning that an outrigger hitting a wave at 8 mph would affect both the kayak’s directional stability and its lateral stability (balance). This in itself is an unwanted effect that could have safety implications. As for outriggers that stay out of the water, their effect is limited to begin with, since they are rather ineffective for adding initial (primary) stability, and by the time they come in contact with the water and start preventing the kayak from further tilting (i.e. provide secondary stability), the kayaker may have already lost their balance and gone overboard.  Attaching large size flotation modules to the kayak’s sides seems to be a preferable solution.

Outriggers are impractical for paddling a W kayak in tandem, because the presence of the outrigger near the stern would restrict the motion of the rear paddler’s paddle.


 

DIY W Kayak Sailcraft Circumnavigating the World Ten Miles at a Time, By Robin Gleason


I want to get to the rigs that are off shore at between 1 and 10 miles. I want to sail home. I want a catamaran that sails and possibly for long coastal camping trips. I want a sailing W. I had been looking at [sailing catamaran kayaks] and musing about building one from carbon and then it dawned on me the W!
No better time than now to share my fantasy about the Great “W Sailcraft” circumnavigating the world ten miles at a time…

Robin

DIY sailing and fishing kayak - Oklahoma

DIY sailing and fishing kayak - Oklahoma

DIY bow structure for sailing and fishing kayak

DIY bow structure for sailing and fishing kayak

DIY bow structure for sailing and fishing kayak