kayak propulsion

New speed record for a motorized W fishing kayak

Kenny “One-Shot” Tracy, a W kayak angler from Maryland, broke the speed record for a motorized kayak of the W500 series. He outfitted his W fishing kayak with a 6hp outboard gas motor from Tohatsu.
This powerful engine weighing 57 lbs empty propelled Kenny’s kayak at 13 mph in Chesapeake bay, at 1/3 throttle:

The kayak was stable and its driver stayed dry, and Kenny reported neither tracking nor steering problems.
Before starting his speed tests, Kenny outfitted his W kayak with side flotation.
The motor is mounted on a TMM 20 Wavewalk transom motor mount.

This successful test further reinforces the notion that when motorized, the patented catamaran kayak from Wavewalk can serve as a personal motorboat, or car top microskiff.

Review of 2013 fishing kayak design trends

A meager harvest when kayak anglers are concerned, and plenty of reasons for a good laugh 😀

2013 hasn’t been much different from previous years as far as fishing kayaks are concerned. The kayak obesity trend keeps being the main one, and it drives kayaks to reach titanic proportions. For example, kayaks that are 35 inches wide and weigh 80 lbs are almost typical, and a kayak that’s over 40 inches wide is no longer viewed as an aberration despite the fact that paddling such a kayak is quite a challenge, and almost impossible to do for medium and long distances. Leviathan barge kayaks weighing around 120 lbs are still considered as kayaks (at least by some) although even a seasoned weight lifter might find it hard to car top one, and people who buy them have to buy a trailer to go with them, which is yet another way to defy the purpose of kayak fishing.
The reason behind the persistence of this trend is the poor stability that fishing kayaks offer to their users, albeit the fact that kayak manufacturers insist that the kayaks they offer are very stable, enough to allow for kayak fishing standing… Go tell this to all those disappointed anglers who purchased such kayaks and found out that reality is different from bogus reviews and staged YouTube movies  🙁

Fishing kayak hulls keep featuring all sorts of weird longitudinal channels and vertical dimples that work perfectly to create more drag and by that further impede the kayaker and make it harder for them to paddle. The infamous scupper holes that were introduced as means to prevent the deck from collapsing but have since been hyped as drainage holes keep conducting water in both directions, which means they also drive water up and onto the deck, and into the paddler’s area.

In the twilight zone, kayaks with integrated outriggers are still being offered although the concept has proved to be rather useless in practical terms. It seems like the failure of the kayak industry to present kayaks that actually work for stand up kayak fishing drives more people to try outriggers.

New designs still appear on the scene, and they make one wonder if kayak designers have any ability to learn from others’ mistakes.

Pedal driven kayaks are still being promoted as the panacea, although reality has disproved most of their manufacturer’s claims as far as practical usefulness is concerned.

Kayak storage keeps relying on hatches, which are often inaccessible to the user while they’re out there in their kayak, trying to fish from it. Such hatches have an annoying tendency to fail to be waterproof, and that’s bad news for your sandwiches!

When ergonomic design is concerned, manufacturers seem to realize that the kayaks they offer are really uncomfortable, so they keep trying to come up with new ideas for seats, although it’s the seat itself together with the L sitting position that cause the back pain and leg numbness problems that so many anglers experience.

Motorizing… well, oddly enough, some kayak manufacturers tell their clients they can outfit their kayaks with powerful outboard gas motors. Naturally, not too many people buy into this nonsensical notion. The most ridiculous case in this regard is a kayak manufacturer who offers his clients to attach their outboard gas engine directly to the kayak’s transom, which like the rest of that kayak is made from a thin, rotationally molded plastic wall… It is only appropriate to apply Hanlon’s razor to this case, and say “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” 😀

And last but not least, fishing kayak manufacturers keep competing with each other by offering an increasing range of useless accessories, from cup holders to stand-up metal frames and stand-up ropes and straps… The latter being pure exercises in futility, at least from the user’s standpoint.

No wonder the Wavewalk 500 keeps being the most loved fishing kayak out there!

Motorized DIY stitch-and-glue W catamaran kayak – the movie, by Berny Marsden

I took it on Coniston water in the English lake district.
It is brilliant! The 43 year old Seagull 3 HP motor starts 2nd pull and has lots of compression. It’s very light and the perfect size for Banana Split (the boat). On my own it will do about 7 MPH, and in tandem with my wife Andrea it pulls 5 MPH.

I have made a centre board and am making a rudder, mast and sails as my next development. Sadly, the English winter is nearly upon us so I might not get the chance to test until the spring.

I have found a seaside boating lake that should be ideal for testing the sails.

Berny

United kingdom

More about motorized kayaks >

When a fishing kayak turns into something else…

Sometimes a design offers more than the eye meets. In this case, a patented fishing kayak offering unrivaled stability and comfort as well as unmatched storage space and dryness can turn into a self-motorized water skiing device by virtue of its small size, light weight, ease of use, and tracking capabilities.

Watch this video:

Just drive around, standing up, with no motorboat to tow you… And you don’t need to be an athletic youth to perform this trick and enjoy it.

The middle aged guy demonstrating the kayak in this video is 6 ft tall and weighs 200 lbs.

The basic model of this rotationally molded Polyethylene W kayak weighs 59 lbs. The 2 hp Honda outboard motor weighs 29 lbs, and the transom motor mount adds five more pounds to the total.
The driver controls the motor and steers the craft through the tiller handle, which is outfitted with an articulated (jointed) tiller extension allowing for effective steering even when the driver is standing up.
This little wonder fits on top of any car rack, and inside some medium and large size vehicles.
It’s easy to carry just by dragging in on the ground by a strap attached to its bow, as demonstrated towards the end of the video clip.

Is this an effective solution for offshore trips? It is, and a simple and effective cockpit cover would provide additional protection from spray.

This watercraft can be outfitted with detachable flotation modules that would keep it afloat in case of a capsize accident leading to much water getting inside.

The more traditional ways to look at this small boat are either as a motorized fishing kayak or a personal microskiff. The difference between the two viewpoints is related to whether you’re used to fish out of a kayak or from a motorboat.

Platform for standing higher on a kayak – for sight fishing, poling, etc.

Here’s yet another example of what unrivaled stability can offer in terms of additional versatility:

Platform for stand up sight-fishing from a kayak

Creating such a platform is easy and inexpensive, and you can design its surface area to be bigger or smaller, according to your needs. Furthermore, you can move this platform fore and aft along the saddle, to fit variables such as your weight and your fishing needs.
The versatility of this platform is also manifested in the fact that you can sit on it with your legs in the hulls, and your feet resting comfortably on the bottom. In this position, you can paddle, or operate an outboard gas engine mounted at the transom.

Naturally, when standing higher on a kayak, you lose stability, which is one of the reasons the W kayak is stabler for stand up fishing than all other fishing kayaks out there, and why it’s recommended to stand in a W kayak with your feet at the bottom of its hulls. The stand-up platform seen in the above picture would place you 16″ higher than if you stood on the bottom of the hulls, so you should expect to be less stable.
BTW, you can pole a W kayak while standing in its hulls, and there’s no real need for you to stand higher for this purpose.

Standing_platform_for_fishing_kayak_01

This stand up fishing platform is based on a pair of saddle brackets, but it’s possible to make one using different structural elements, and extend the platform’s width out of the cockpit. Having said that, one should remember that an adult cannot stand on one side on the kayak, especially not at such height.

Fly fishing sometimes requires scouting, and some fly anglers like to practice sight fishing, which consists of casting a fly at a fish as soon as they spot it. Standing higher adds some visibility in such cases, but reduces the effectiveness and ease of paddling, and increases the likelihood of losing balance and falling overboard, as if you were standing on a regular fishing kayak, and not in a W kayak, in which the saddle and extreme stability enable you to regain your balance and stabilize yourself instantly and intuitively in most cases.