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Topic: Break Wind (Part 2), and wave, some nifty techniques< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Capn Jimbo Offline
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Posted: June 26 2006,16:05

Welcome to Part 2 of Break Wind (and waves), yet another fascinating insight into how to use the wind and waves to your advantage.

There's little doubt that most of us dread WW-conditions.  "Drat!" we say when the winds start to exceed 15 and especially 20.  But it doesn't have to be that way...  

Let's start with some basics.  First understand your kayak and how ya load it.  Next time you're out put yourself sideways to the wind at a dead stop - and note which end of your kayak is blown off - the bow or the stern.  On most yaks - when sittin still - the bow will be blown away from the wind (not necessarily bad).  Or maybe the stern will.  

This has to do with windage.  My Pro, unloaded tends to have the bow blow away from the wind (to the lee), but when I have my windcatching cooler mounted, it's more neutral.  If the bow moves into the wind that's called weathercocking and is considered safer.

You can compensate by how you load your kayak.  If your bow gets blown around too much, you can add weight up front (which will lower the bow and it's windage).  Same goes for the stern.  

So far you're bored, and truthfully we are more concerned with what happens when we are paddling, and how to handle it.  For now know that almost all forward moving kayaks tend to turn TOWARD the wind (there's a very good reason for this, but I'm not tellin ya).  And this is not bad at all.

Let's say the wind is coming from your left.  It tends to blow you off course to the right, of course (pun intended).  But your moving kayak tends to point INTO the wind - to your left.  Don't worry about it.  Your left pointing kayak is actually compensating for the wind and working to keep you on course.

Now in a strong wind you may have to point even farther left to hold your course.  But the important thing is that your kayak tends to properly compensate.

So let it!

Now let's consider a different but equally common problem.  You are dealing with a strong wind from your left which keeps turning your bow into the wind (to the left) - but you want to go straight, keep the wind on your left.   And you're getting mighty tired of correcting your course back to the right.

Here's some tips:

First, you can shift your weight into the wind - to the left - causing a slight left lean.  Since a lean causes a kayak to turn to the opposite side, this will favor a slight turn to the right and will tend to keep you on course.

Second, you can lengthen your paddle toward the wind by shifting your grip to the right.  Your paddle will now be longer on the left/wind side and shorter on the right.  The longer paddle on the left will, of course, also cause your kayak to turn right and stay on course.

Third, you can make your left side stroke longer, stronger and more of a sweep, while you keep your right side stroke shorter, weaker and close to the kayak.  This too will favor a turn to the right and keep you on course.  In extreme situations you can stop paddling completely on the right side.

Fourth, there is one final trick for those who may get caught in really bad side winds - the kind where a rudder can save your turkey bacon (this one comes from sailors who lose their rudders in bad storms).

Carry a coil of line in your tankwell, with one end run through a pulley at the stern, and back to the well.  Now you can let out and tow as much line as seems to work best.  The towed line will tend to keep you going straight while adding some drag.  You'll have to determine just what length works best.  Make sure the bitter end has a nice big Figure Eight knot in it so it won't pull through the pulley.


1.  You can balance your kayak by adding weight either forward or back.

2.  A moving kayak tends to turn into the wind.  To a degree you can let it as it is compensating.

3.  To keep the wind on the side and maintain course:
a.  Lean into the wind
b.  Lengthen paddle on the wind's side (to the windward).  Wind side stroke is longer, stronger and more of a sweep.  Lee side is shorter, weaker and close to the kayak.

4.  Carry a tow rope.

5.  Send small bills and loose change in your leeward pockets to Capn Jimbo (this will effectively increase your windward lean).


Part 3 is next and deals with using waves to your advantage.  This is where the really good stuff begins...

Edited by Capn Jimbo on June 26 2006,16:11

Tight lines,
Capn Jimbo

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FuzzyBruce Offline

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Posted: June 26 2006,17:38

I really like to ride the wake/waves of big boats, hope some of your tips work for this.

My tip for wind is... get a sail  :D

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RDS Offline

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Posted: June 26 2006,17:46

Wouldn't a nicely rigged sail work as well or better than those tips and tricks?  :laugh:
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FuzzyBruce Offline

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Posted: June 26 2006,18:51

I sailed about 2 1/2 miles in about 40 to 45 minutes. Had a hoagie and drank a couple of beers while under sail, and even had a topwater lure trolling last weekend at Flamingo. Before this little sail, I did a beam reach for about 1.5 miles along the channal on the souteastern side of joe kemp. Only averaged a little over 2mph by my gps.

This was my relaxing return to launch site after several hours of fishing the flats between Joe Kemp and Palm key.

Not kayaking by purist definition maybe, but I caught fish and had a great time. Going to try again this Friday.

All my hobbies can or have hurt me!
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