Tag Archive: speed

Wavewalk S4 driven with a 6 HP motor at full throttle (movie)

We shot this video in Westport Point and Horseneck Beach, two locations in Westport, on the southern coast of Massachusetts.
Driving the S4 with the 6 HP Tohatsu outboard is exhilarating – fun beyond belief, regardless of what you do.
The boat handles very easily, and inspires confidence at high speed and when going through other boats’ wakes. Based on our tests, we can say that experienced drivers can drive it with a more powerful motor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wavewalk S4 vs big powerboat at high speed

By Captain Larry Jarboe

Florida Fishing Kayaks

 

 

 


 

Larry also offers guided fishing and diving trips in the Key Largo and the areas that surround it »

 

More fishing adventures with Capn’ Larry »

Jon Boat Stability vs. Wavewalk® S4

Are Jon Boats Stable?

 

If you ask whether Jon Boats are stable, some people would say that they are, and others would warn you to stay away from them because they are tippy and unreliable. Their answer would depend on what they understand by ‘Stability’, what kind of Jon boat they see in their mind, and in what kind of water they see it being used, and these are often based on personal experience.

Is there a stability difference between a Jon boat and a skiff?

Both skiffs and Jon boats are flat bottom lightweight boats that differ in certain hull details, materials used in their construction, and deck structures.
Both are designed to offer as much stability as possible for a small mono-hull boat going on flat water, and as such they are stabler than wide canoes and kayaks of the same length and width.
Foot for foot and inch for inch, we don’t think there are major differences between Jon boats and skiffs in terms of the stability they offer. In other words, a Jon boat and a skiff of the same size, namely both length and width, can be expected to be about as stable as each other.

The twin-hull (“catamaran”) Wavewalk S4 is the world’s most stable portable boat. It is more stable than many Jon boats that feature a bigger hull, as shown in these photos of three fishermen fishing standing in it –

Click images to enlarge

Who Uses Jon Boats, and Where?

Jon boats are small fishing boats that are popular among inland fishermen who fish ponds, small lakes, marshes, and slow moving rivers, namely flat water that’s usually well protected from wind, waves, and preferably from fast motorboats that generate big wakes. These anglers may fish alone, but typically they fish in crews of two. Bigger Jon boats can be used in bigger lakes and rivers.

Factors in Jon Boats’ Stability

Structure, size and passengers

A typical Jon boat features a flat bottom designed to make it draft as little as possible, and thus work well in shallow water, while other Jon boats feature a bottom that’s partially V shaped (sometimes referred to as “Semi-V”) that drafts a little more but offers better performance in choppy water. This V shape should not be confounded with the more seaworthy Deep-V design.
Jon boats can vary in width (Beam) from less than 3 ft to over twice as much, and this difference results in big variations in their stability, in this case initial (primary) stability, sometimes dubbed reserve stability.

When watercraft as small as Jon boats are concerned, passengers are typically the heaviest things on board, which is why passengers’ location and movements can greatly affect the boat’s stability.

Narrow-beam Jon boats are notoriously unstable, especially with a crew of two on board. Their instability can be felt even when they are used for fishing ponds and small lakes, where they are expected to perform at their best. Reading articles about Jon boat stability and user testimonials on this subject could lead the reader to the conclusion that any Jon boat that’s narrower than 48″ might not be stable enough for a tandem crew, and starting from this size, Jon boats get sufficiently stable, especially longer models. Another factor that affects a Jon boat’s stability is its length, since it acts as an enhancement to its width – A longer Jon boat is more stable than a shorter Jon boat of identical width (Beam).

External factors

External factors may destabilize a Jon boat as well, or at least destabilize the passengers on board – Such factors can be wind, waves and other boats’ wakes that hit the boat, especially on its sides (lateral waves).

Size matters, but it may not be enough

We found the following instructions for Calculating a Boat’s Capacity to Carry a Number of Passengers on a boating education website:
On boats less than 20 feet long, the following rule of thumb can be used to calculate the number of persons (weighing 150 lbs each) the boat can carry safely in fair weather and calm water conditions:
Number of passengers = boat length in ft x boat width in ft : 15
Example for a good size Jon boat or skiff: 15 ft x 4 ft = 60, and 60:15 = 4 passengers

However, the above formula seems outdated in view of the fact that these days the average adult US female weighs 160 lbs, and the average adult US male weighs 200 lbs.
Therefore, to calculate the number of adult passengers in a Jon boat, we suggest to use the same formula and divide the result by 20 instead of by 15.
Example for the same Jon boat or skiff: 15 ft x 4 ft = 60, and 60:20 = 3 passengers

Can the 13 ft long and 38″ wide Wavewalk S4 carry 3 passengers on board?
The answer is yes, in fair weather and calm water conditions:

Captain Larry Jarboe, of Key Largo, Florida. Click image to read the story

 

Balancing capability

When small craft are concerned, the boat’s own stability plays an important role in the overall stability of the combined boat and crew, but the passengers’ ability to balance themselves effectively is critical as well, which is to say that a wider Jon boat may not necessarily offer better means for its crew to balance themselves effectively –
Jon boats often feature rudimentary bench-like seats that are similar to ones found in canoes and dinghies, or high swivel seats such as can be found in bass boats. Neither types of seats are optimized for supporting the user’s balancing efforts, and they’re not very good in keeping their user anchored to their place and in full  control of their body’s center of gravity (CG).
This ergonomic deficiency exposes a Jon boat’s passenger to unexpected lateral (side) motion, as well as vertical motion, whether such motion is the result of an external force such as a wave or another boat’s wake, the movement of another passenger on board, or even the strong reaction of the boat to that passenger’s own movements.  More specifically, people on board a Jon boat can have a hard time finding their footing and balancing themselves intuitively, comfortably and effortlessly, and from the moment they lose their footing and balance, their own weight can act as an additional destabilizing factor that may tip the boat over, send its passengers overboard, and in some cases even overturn the boat.

A Jon boat of a smaller size works better as a fishing boat for one angler than it does for a crew of two.

Directional stability and lateral stability

Typically, Jon boats are motorized, and the flat bottomed ones can be easily deflected from their course as well as destabilized when going in lateral waves, especially at higher speeds. In such cases, the deficiency in a Jon boat’s lateral stability can become more problematic by the lack of good directional stability (tracking capability) that characterizes such boats, in particular ones that feature a flat bottom. People who use such boats are quick to head back home as soon as the wind picks up.
Jon boats with a V-shaped hull do better in waves and wind, thanks to the fact that they have some capability to go through waves and not necessarily on top of them, which isn’t the case with flat bottomed Jon boats that are essentially designed for use on flat water only.
This said, although Jon boats are not considered to be seaworthy craft, the bigger ones are sufficiently stable to offer a good experience to a crew of two or more anglers who fish inland, preferably in calm and protected waters, and away from fast motorboat traffic.

Stability: Jon Boats vs. Wavewalk® Series 4 (S4)

 

A detailed stability comparison between Jon boats and the Wavewalk® S4 is almost impossible to complete, because Jon boats vary so much in size and structure, and they can range from a flat bottomed, 32″ wide and 10 ft long (1032) boat to a V-bottom 72″ wide and 18 ft long one (1872), which can be assigned to another class of boats.

The Wavewalk form presents two main stability advantages:
The first comes from the fact that all the Wavewalk’s buoyancy is distributed as far as possible from the boat’s center line, where this buoyancy works more effectively to support lateral changes, whether such changes are external of generated on board.
The second advantage is the Wavewalk’s Personal Watercraft saddle seat that offers the passengers who ride it optimal, easy and intuitive means to balance themselves. This advantage is critical in view of the fact that the passengers’ total weight can be as big the the Jon boat’s weight, and it often exceeds this weight. For example, in the photo above, the passengers’ aggregated weight exceeds the S4’s weight by a factor of 5:1.

So, in order to avoid tedious detailed stability comparisons, let us simplify things and state that in general, the bigger models in the Jon boat class (over 54″ beam) are more stable than the S4, the smaller Jon boat models (less than 48″ beam) are less stable, and as for the the midsize models (48″ to 54″) the answer would depend on parameters such as their length (longer is more stable), and whether they feature a flat bottom or a V-shaped bottom, as discussed in the previous section of this article.

Bottom line: Compared to the traditional Jon boat design, the Wavewalk S4’s form and improved ergonomics add stability which is the equivalent of about 1 ft in width.

Portability and paddling capacity

More specifically, the Wavewalk® S4 is stabler than any car-topper namely portable Jon boat. Which is to say that if you’re looking for a Jon boat that’s more stable than the S4, you must take into consideration transporting and storing it on a trailer, as well as limitations in launching it, namely being dependent on launch ramps that come with trailer boats.

In addition, the Wavewalk® S4 is more stable than any Jon boat that can be propelled by means of paddling, whether it’s with dual blade (kayak) paddles or single-blade (canoe) paddles. This fact is particularly meaningful when very shallow water (‘skinny water’) fisheries are concerned, and no-motor zones (NMZ).

 

 

Seaworthiness

Generally speaking, Jon boats are not considered as being seaworthy, while Wavewalk® boats are more seaworthy thanks to their good  tracking capability and advanced ergonomics. These two factors allow for high performance when dealing with choppy water, which is why the S4 punches above its weight in terms of seaworthiness.

 

 

 

Payload

Small craft are penalized for their size in several ways, and one of them is their sensitivity to carrying more weight on board, which makes them slower and less stable. This is true for all boat designs, including Jon boat and Wavewalk. Therefore if you’re looking for stability for a larger crew of heavier people, say two big and heavy guys or more, your best bet is a very large Jon boat or skiff, that is 6 ft or more in width, and over 16 ft in length, and preferably with a V shaped bottom, so that you could drive it at higher speed. Two large size fishermen can go in an S4 and have a great time traveling and fishing for an entire day without experiencing any stability problem, even standing up, but they would not necessarily be able to go at speeds as high as a large size Jon boat or skiff offers.

My all-water electric fishing kayak

By Pyt Rotary (Thrac)

Ontario

Best Motorization for fishing –

After playing with my Wavewalk 500 kayak for 5 years in various bodies of water (rivers, shallow rivers, lakes, swamps, and big lakes such as lake Ontario) I did reach these conclusions –
IMHO, for fishing, the best motorization is the electric motor at 24V with a Digital Maximizer.
Advantages:
1) Silent
2) No smoke
3) Low maintenance
4) The Wavewalk is stable but once you deploy the electric motor down it becomes rock solid stable.

I am having fun on the big lake when I see big boats with V profile having sway (rocking side to side like hell) and my kayak with the trolling motor deployed is stable like a rock (no sway).
5) After trying over 5 trolling motors I did finally settle for 24V with 70Lb thrust. If I have the chance I will go for 100Lb.
There are some important advantages of 24V with the Wavewalk.
a) You need two batteries that will have the weight nice distributed in the twin hull for balance in the front.
b) 24V is more efficient than 12V (draws less Amps) therefore you don’t need heavy batteries. Two batteries of 22Ah (6kg each) are sufficient for over 24h or continuous trolling at 3km/h or 1.5mph
c) 24V does not need thick wires as 12V (less Amps draw)
d) 24V motor has a heavier coil than 12V (12V has 11Kg, 24V has 15Kg). The center of gravity moves low, than means more stability. A gas motor raises the center of gravity, so it’s not ideal.

The only drawback for an electric motor is that it does not have the power of the gas outboard, but with 24V I can cruise for more than 24 hours on penny in comparison with gas cost.
Plus the torque is instantaneous. And for trolling with 1.5-2mph there is plenty of thrust. You just need to dial around 15-20% of the throttle.
At full throttle the speed is 8Km/h.

I did prefer a simple mount for the motor, I just use a 2×4 regular wood from Home Depot.
There are many times when I don’t need the motor on the kayak, therefore simplicity is the best.

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Last performance of my motorized kayak was on 29 August trolling around 15 boats on Lake Ontario 3 km offshore at night chasing salmon.
Imagine how much gas those guzzler burn and in top of that with a slick W500 I can dance around those boats that steer like snails.
Actually after 10PM there were no boats around just me and another few kayakers in [fins and push-pedal driven kayaks] that were tired of pedaling and were close to shore.
A [fins and push-pedal driven] kayaker can’t match the advantages of a W500 electric motorized since pedaling for hours is not easy. Pedal drive is dead in shallow water or swamps with vegetation. I do use the Wavewalk in a rapid stream that has sometime just few inches of fast water. The pedal drive is useless there.

The best sprint on water is electric: instant torque at fingers tips.

I own two W500 looking to get one W700 to have more fun with the kids. No other craft has such open design.

I also got a 2HP Honda outboard for the W, and I will start to use it in Spring.
Here is already cold and fishing days are limited now.

Have fun, tight lines.

 

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Lake Simcoe, Ontario, September 2015

 

More about Pyt’s electric fishing kayak »


 

More fishing kayak reviews »

Stability vs. Speed?

Fishing kayaks are the stablest as well as the slowest of all kayaks, but not all fishing kayaks are the same, and the W700 is the exception: It is the most stable kayak out there, and it is as fast as a good size day-touring kayak.

It is a well accepted notion among many paddlers and designers that a kayak can be either stable or fast, namely the more stable it is the slower it would be, and vice versa. This notion is the product of the world of mono-hulled boats, and it is true for this form of vessels, but it falls short of being applicable to multi-hulls such as typical catamarans and W kayaks, which are more stable than mono-hull boats of comparable size, while being faster too.

We’ve discussed these issues and similar ones many times in the past, because they are important. This time, we found an opportunity to demonstrate this principle in a video footage that Michael Chesloff shot of Ernie Balch testing the new W700 (see his review) –
Extreme Stability is shown by the fact that Ernie, a 65 year old big guy who weighs 300 lbs just steps into the W700 and paddles it standing up without any problem.
Exceptionally good Speed is shown through Glide, which is the ability of a kayak to keep going forward on flat water after its passenger stopped paddling. The distance the kayak covers from this point to the point where it stops is the result of the kayak’s initial speed and the resistance of the water to its passage.
Ernie is not a kayaking champion, and the speed he attains while paddling the W700 is normal for a Wavewalk kayak, that is better than what he would have attained in another fishing kayak, but what happens when he stops paddling is noteworthy, as the W700 keeps gliding over a very long distance, until it slows to a halt in a patch of thick aquatic vegetation:

 


Another beautiful thing that can be observed in this gliding footage is how well the W700 tracks without any intervention from the paddler, not even a rudder, which no one has ever installed on a Wavewalk kayak because these kayaks are unbeatable when it comes to another type of stability: Directional Stability, a.k.a. Tracking.

Interestingly, SOT fishing kayaks are sluggish, hard to paddle, and they can’t glide. The reason for this is not just that their hulls are extremely wide and therefore generate excessive drag, but there’s much  more, and the article The secrets of the SOT kayak’s underside explains it.