Choosing Your First Canoe
Buying a canoe is a difficult decision. There are hundreds of models to choose from. There are a wide variety of materials. The first step to take is to determine how you will use your boat. Will it be for lake paddling? Will you float rivers? Ocean surfing? Expedition tripping? Whitewater? Fishing ? How many people will you usually take in the canoe ? Where will you store the boat ? With canoes, carefully selected designs features will result in a canoe best suited to your needs. There are three overall design features you will want to consider :
(1)Length. Overall measurement from bow to stern ends greatly affects performance. Generally a longer boat is faster, a shorter is more maneuverable. Also, longer boats can carry more load on average.
(2)Width. Measured at two points on the hull “the width at the gunwales is the overall width of the boat; width at the 4" waterline approximates the maximum width of the boat as it normally rests in the water. The wider the canoe, especially at the 4" waterline, the more stable it will be. Also, the narrower canoes tend to be faster than wider boats.
(3)Center depth or height. This is the distance from the gunwales at the center of the boat to the water. At the bow and stern, another measurement of height is made. The greater the depth of a canoe, the more load it can handle. The higher the bow and stern, the more water it will shed in waves. However, deeper boats are more difficult to maneuver in the wind.
After thinking of the design configurations that seem to suit your paddling preferences, you should now look at hull configurations carefully. Let's look at them in a little more detail :
Keel Line. Looking at the canoe from the side, the keel line is the shape of the hull bottom from bow to stern. A boat with a straight keel line has very little curvature or rocker. This boat will track well in the water, will have good forward speed, but will be difficult to maneuver. A boat with moderate rocker will have a slight curve from bow to stern. It will turn easily, yet also track reasonably well. This is a good all around configuration. A boat with heavy rocker will maneuver very well, but track poorly. Whitewater boats have heavy rocker.
Choosing Your First Kayak
Appomattox River Company has the largest selection of kayaks in the country. We carry three types of kayaks whitewater, touring and recreational, which includes both sit-on-tops and sit-insides.
Recreational Kayaks are the most popular type of kayak that we sell in today's market. These kayaks are stable, comfortable, and made for fun. Recreational kayaks are popular with nature lovers, bird watchers, photographers and sportsmen. They have large cockpits for easy entry and the seats are built for comfort and usually have large adjustable back supports. There are two basic types of recreational kayaks, Sit Inside and Sit on Top.
Sit Inside Recreational Kayaks have cockpits and decks so you enter the kayak from the cockpit and sit inside the boat. They offer plenty of room for the paddler and you can move around in the kayak without feeling like the boat is going to turn over. The Sit Inside kayaks are dry and if needed you can use a cockpit spray skirt to keep out spray or rain. Spray skirts can also be used to keep air from circulating throughout the kayak which is handy on a cold winter day.
Sit-on-Top kayaks have no cockpit. You actually sit on top of the deck which is contoured with a molded-in seat area as well as a molded-in area for your legs and feet. They are sort of like a surfboard with a seat. Unlike a surfboard the Sit on Top recreational kayak is stable due to the extra width of the hull. This is the type of kayak you will most often see people playing with in the surf since they cannot fill up when capsized. This feature makes them popular with saltwater fishermen because if the fisherman were to flip over some distance from shore, he can flip the kayak upright and hop aboard. Also, freshwater fishermen often prefer a Sit on Top kayak because they often like to wade in the shallows and can easily sit on the kayak and float through the pools.
Whitewater Kayaks. Whitewater kayaks are designed to run rapids. They have rocker for maneuverability and are usually short (7 to 10-11 feet long). They are made of the toughest plastics available for durability. The whitewater kayak you select depends on the type of river running you prefer (rodeo, big water, steeps creeks), personal preference, and boat design. Our sales staff can assist you in choosing the right boat for your needs.
Touring Kayaks. These boats are designed for forward speed and straight-ahead tracking. They have storage compartments for carrying gear on extended or day trips. They are longer than whitewater boats (14-18 feet). We carry a number of different designs suited for short day trips, river paddling, extended open water trips, and everything in between. Our sale staff will assist you in selecting a boat for you.
Whatever your kayak needs. Appomattox River Company has the boat for you and the sales staff to make your buying decision an easy and enjoyable one.
Choosing Your First Touring Kayak
Simply stated touring kayaks are kayaks designed for traveling. They are usually fast, designed to go straight and have the ability to carry extra gear. A fast kayak will require less effort to paddle and can cover greater distances than a kayak designed for white water. Appomattox River Co. carries touring kayaks made from several different materials.
Materials: Low density linear polyethylene is the most common plastic used in touring kayaks. It is a fairly soft plastic and requires internal supports and careful forming to maintain its shape. Most manufacturers in the United States build plastic touring kayaks by rotationally molding linear polyethylene.
High density polyethylene is used by the Prijon Co. in Germany. They blow mold their kayaks and this system results in a rigid hull that does not require internal supports. The molds for this type of manufacturing are costly, so there are not as many different designs.
ABS Royalex is used by Pyranha Kayak Co., an English builder. Royalex boats are lighter in weight and the hulls are nice and stiff.
Fiberglass kayaks are made by layers of fiberglass cloth in a mold and impregnating it with a plastic resin. This results in a light weight, stiff hull. The gel coats on fiberglass boats are fairly delicate and can be damaged by hitting rocks, coral or oyster beds.
Rudders: Contrary to what most beginners think, the true purpose of rudders on touring kayaks is to help keep the kayak going straight, not to turn the boat. Turning the kayak is done by a series of correction paddle strokes. Commonly, these correction strokes are used to keep the boat tracking in a straight line. However, there are times when natural forces, such as a strong tail wind or a following sea, will make it difficult to keep the boat on course and this is when you want to use skeg or rudder.
Kayak Length: Short, entry level kayaks are offered in the 9 ft. to 10 1/2 ft. range. These are very popular with kids or adults who are going short distances or just crushing around in front of the lake cottage. They are quite wide and stable and can be used for fishing, hunting or bird watching. However, they do not offer much storage space and would not normally be used for a long trip.
The next general length category would be a kayak averaging 14 ft. to 15 ft. Most models this length are maneuverable enough to be used in rivers with mild white water and are also great for exploring the shoreline and covers of lakes. They are great for day trips and short overnight trips and will usually have one large hatch behind the cockpit for storing camping gear.
The last general length category is for kayaks 15 1/2 ft. to 17 1/2 ft. long. These models are fairly narrow and have fast cruising speeds. They have front and rear hatches for carrying plenty of camping gear. They can cover long distances and can make crossings on large lakes, bays and on the ocean.
Kayaking touring is a wonderful way to travel and explore large rivers, lakes or bays. They are wonderful stress relievers and can give you good aerobic workout after a long day in the office. Please give us a call if we can answers any questions.