Tag Archives: kayak load capacity

A multi-hull multi-boat for fishing, diving, and touring

Captain Larry Jarboe operates a small fleet of Wavewalk 700 and S4 fishing kayaks, as well as two commercial fishing boats, out of his docks in Key Largo, Florida. He uses these kayak – skiffs and boats to provide fishing, diving and touring guide services to tourists and local residents of the Keys and southern Florida.

Captain Jarboe, a master tonnage captain,  has become increasingly aware of the commercial potential of the Wavewalk S4 kayak skiff for his business, both as a paddle craft (canoe / kayak) and motorized with a portable, lightweight outboard motor.

But he also found a way to take this high performance and extremely versatile skiff to a higher level, namely use it to comfortably transport a number of passengers that he could have previously transported only in a full-size fishing boat. He created a multi-boat watercraft composed of three Wavewalk S4 skiffs attached in parallel. The middle one is motorized, and the two skiffs on the sides are attached to it by ropes that can be easily detached in case the passengers feel like continuing the journey by themselves, independently, whether in a paddling mode (canoeing or kayaking), or in a motorized mode.

The following video shows Captain Jarboe’s multi-hull multi-boat in action –

 

 

In technical terms, this modular watercraft is composed of three catamaran kayaks.
It can take up to six adult passengers – three in each of the side boats, plus the captain, who’s driving it from the middle boat.  Its total load capacity is close to 2,000 lbs, which is the equivalent to the load capacity of a fairly large leisure boat, or skiff. The passengers can sit in various positions, and stand up anytime they want.

Captain Jarboe experimented with various configurations of this boat, and he found that attaching the two side boats slightly in front of the central boat provided optimal results as far as control goes, and minimizing spray intake from the bow.

This modular watercraft is extremely stable and seaworthy, yet nimble enough to allow for trips in the mangrove creeks around Key Largo, as can be seen in the video.

In a broader sense, this new concept opens new possibilities in leisure boating, namely using the same smaller boats separately as kayaks (under paddle) or skiffs (motorized) for crews of one to three persons, and as a multi-passenger boat with room on board for up to nine adult passengers, for leisure and fishing trips and for entertaining guests, family, etc.
In other words, instead of having a big and expensive pontoon boat attached to your dock, plus a multiple canoes and kayaks, you could have use three Wavewalk S4 kayak-skiffs, and easily create an ad-hoc big boat out of them anytime you need to.

Captain Jarboe’s innovative concept also opens the door for guides on a budget, who can operate a fleet of small, very shallow draft and relatively inexpensive boats that offer a wide variety of services, rather than a big and expensive boat that offers a limited range of services, and is also limited to traveling in much deeper water.

The following photo shows three fishermen fishing standing out of a Wavewalk S4, which is outfitted with a 6 HP outboard motor –

In other words, Captain Jarboe’s multi-boat dubbed S4x3 can be used by groups of fishers who need to cross rough waters on their way to fishing the flats, or mangrove creeks, and back from there. The advantage of this concept over using big motorboats is the ability to fish shallow water without fear of reefs, oyster beds, sand bars and low tides. Its advantage over using kayaks is the bigger range of travel, better comfort, better stability, and many times more storage space – both in a joint configuration and separately.

How to add a poling platform and a high saddle add-on to your W fishing kayak

Initially, the saddle bracket was introduced as means to improve the saddle’s rigidity, and through that increase its load capacity, as by that the load capacity of the kayak itself.
But progress never ends in W kayak design: – The same accessory can be used for outfitting the kayak with a poling platform, and a high saddle, as shown in this images:

Poling Platform for Flats Fishing

Sight fishing and poling platform for kayak - fig 1 and 2

Figure 1 – Two saddle brackets                         Figure 2 – Two support beams

A pair of saddle brackets serves to attach the base of this poling platform to the saddle. Then, a two longitudinal boards are added as a support for the angler’s weight, and finally, the platform is attached on top:

Sight fishing and poling platform for kayak - figure 3

Simple, effective, easy to make, and inexpensive.

High Saddle Kayak Seat

Similarly, a high saddle is added to the kayak, for leggy users, and simply to provide yet another paddling and fishing position. Riding this seat causes no stability issues, since this position offers the angler’s legs a good way to support the upper body:

High saddle seat for catamaran kayak

Read the full article >

Consequences and Hazards of Overloading a Fishing Kayak

What Happens When You Load a W Fishing Kayak?

The illustration below shows a W500 kayak in three load points –
The left image shows it unloaded.
The image in the middle shows it loaded with around 200 lbs (91 kg). The load is distributed evenly front and back, so the kayak stays level, which offers optimal speed and control. The draft is shallow.
This load results in a slight splaying of the hulls, and no problem at all. Flex is built into the W design.

3 kayaks loaded

The image on the right shows the kayak loaded with around 360 lb (163 kg), which is the maximum load recommended for it. Assuming the load is distributed evenly front and back, the kayak stays level, and it’s still fast, agile, and easy to paddle.
-Watch tandem paddling demo video >
The hulls are noticeably splayed, but sitting on the saddle is still very comfortable, and stability is still good. This amount of flex in the kayak is still perfectly normal.
Waterline is considerably lower than the saddle’s gussets (reinforcement ribs), so there is no hydrodynamic problem, since the water between the hulls flows without restrictions.

What Happens If You Overload This Kayak?

It’s important to realize that you can overload the kayak even if you don’t load it with more than its maximum recommended load capacity. This can happen if you’re a heavy person (over 240 lbs), and you paddle it, or fish from it while being seated in the back of its cockpit, and not its middle. If a heavy person operates their W kayak from the rear of its cockpit, they can cause the stern to draft too much, and the waterline to reach the saddle’s gussets, which would slow their kayak. Overloading the stern could also result in excessive splaying of the hulls there, and if this is done repeatedly, over a long period of time, it might damage the kayak. A person weighing over 260 lb (118 kg) should avoid paddling this kayak altogether, out of safety concerns.

Overloading the W kayak with passengers and gear in excess of 360 lb can be hazardous –
Although the passengers may still feel comfortable and stable, and enjoy plenty of free board on flat water, their kayak would draft too much, and the regular flow between its hulls would be disturbed by the saddle’s gussets. This would make the kayak slower and harder to paddle. Furthermore, the splaying in the hulls might increase to a point where they could be damaged by the extra stress, and the kayak crew might need to stop the trip and paddle to shore because of water seeping in. Such damage to the kayak is easy to fix later, but you definitely don’t want to take the risk of finding yourself in such a situation.

Recommendations:

    1. Do not overload your W kayak, whether you’re going solo or in tandem, paddling or motorizing.
    2. Do not paddle this kayak in tandem, unless both yourself and your paddling partner have each paddled it solo before, and gained sufficient experience as solo W kayakers.
    3. Take the time to learn how to paddle this kayak when it’s loaded – Like any vessel or vehicle, the W kayak behaves differently the more it is loaded.
    4. For optimal performance, keep your kayak level. In order to keep it level, paddle it from the middle of its cockpit, not its rear. This is especially true if you’re a heavy person.
    5. Do not paddle your W kayak from its rear, unless it’s just for a specific purpose, such as surf launching, beaching, or going over an obstacle.
    6. When motorizing, drive the kayak from the middle of the cockpit, using a long, articulated (jointed) tiller extension. Don’t drive it from the cockpit’s rear.
    7. When paddling in tandem, try as much possible to distribute the load evenly between the front and the back of the kayak. Do not overload the back

See W fishing kayak’s technical specifications >