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Unloaded Aleutian

Posted: Sat May 05, 2018 5:27 pm
by brillythekid
Hi everyone, trying to decide on a folder to build - for long excursions, and also for single day at the beach. Considering an Aleutian at this point since they're good loaded for long trips.

My questions: does an unloaded Aleutian behave very differently than a loaded one? The difference for me between a loaded kayak on trips, and an unloaded one would be ~45lbs, ~55lbs at most. For a light person (~135lbs) how would an unloaded Aleutian be? Should I consider a different boat all together, and if so - what would be recommended, or is an Aleutian still a good choice?

Another question - I understand the Inuits used to fit their kayak to their own body dimensions. Where can I find sources on that, or any other information on fitting a kayak to one's own dimensions?

Thanks!

Re: Unloaded Aleutian

Posted: Sun May 06, 2018 12:21 am
by JohnSand
There was a book on building skin on frame kayaks using your body for all measurements. I don't remember the title.

Re: Unloaded Aleutian

Posted: Sun May 06, 2018 4:46 am
by brillythekid
Thank you John. "The Aleutian Kayak" was recommended to me. Could that be the book you're thinking of? Problem for me in getting a book now is it will take too long and too expensive to get it where I am now. I will probably order it, or any other book that's recommended as having good information, for future kayak(s).

Just read in "Qayaq" by David Zimmerly that Baidarkas were used with ballasts - in other words it sounds like they were always loaded with some kind of weight. I'd love insights from anyone with experience with an Aleutian type kayak. How are they unloaded?

Thanks!

Re: Unloaded Aleutian

Posted: Sun May 06, 2018 10:01 pm
by JohnSand
I don't know. I often use ballast in dinghies, dories, and canoes, rowing or sailing. I have found that for a lightweight double paddle canoe, two one gallon water bottles makes a difference. I fill them before use and empty them to transport. I have also used beach stones as ballast.

Re: Unloaded Aleutian

Posted: Mon May 07, 2018 11:53 am
by brillythekid
That's interesting. So not only kayaks.

Re: Unloaded Aleutian

Posted: Tue May 08, 2018 11:35 am
by mje
Any boat will be a lot more stable with some weight down at the keel. Sea Kayaker Magazine used to publish stability curves for different loads that made this very clear.

Re: Unloaded Aleutian

Posted: Wed May 09, 2018 2:43 pm
by brillythekid
Very interesting. Counter intuitive to put weight into something you want to float. I'm learning interesting things here :)

Re: Unloaded Aleutian

Posted: Sun May 13, 2018 11:53 am
by mje
brillythekid wrote:Very interesting. Counter intuitive to put weight into something you want to float. I'm learning interesting things here :)
Visualize it this way: Ballast in the keel is at the lowest point in the boat. Thus rolling the boat involves lifting the weight to a higher position.

Re: Unloaded Aleutian

Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 6:03 am
by brillythekid
Nice explanation. Thanks. Then it sounds like when you're on the water you'd want it secured at the keel - in case you do flip over that it shouldn't find a new lowest point, making setting the kayak back upright very hard?

Re: Unloaded Aleutian

Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 11:43 am
by Alv
You do not always have to add weight. What you want to do to add stability is to lower the center of gravity. Placing your heaviest load close to the keel is a good start.

Re: Unloaded Aleutian

Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 3:12 am
by brillythekid
Hi Alv, you put the concept of "ballast" in more practical terms for me, as in how to load your kayak. Thank you

Re: Unloaded Aleutian

Posted: Wed May 16, 2018 6:47 pm
by KerryOnKayaks
I have helped people with tracking issues (with cheap hard shell kayaks) straighten out their boat's handling by adding 5 to 15 pounds of ballast in the stern. Sometimes the stern is so light and sits so high that it wants to "pass" the bow of the boat and will wander. Weighting it down to cause the water line to sink can help that. I've also used that in my 18' skin on frame kayak to aid in tracking and stability when it was lightly laden.

On board weight always changes the waterline, sometimes for better and other times for worse, depending on the kayak design and amount of weight. Not an exact science, more trial and error. You can experiment on a day outing in protected waters (before you commit to an adventure with substantial cargo) by taking a bunch of gallon water jugs and filling them from the river or pond, then variously loading the boat and testing how it feels.

Re: Unloaded Aleutian

Posted: Thu May 17, 2018 5:47 am
by brillythekid
Thank you Kerry, great suggestions. I will definitely do that