Folders vs. Hardshells--paddling speed?

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Folders vs. Hardshells--paddling speed?

Post by overland »

I'm sure this topic has been debated here before, so please point me to a thread if one exists. I've been thinking a lot about this question because I just spent five days in the Boundary Waters with two folding canoes--a Pakboat and an Ally--surrounded by a lot of sleek and light Kevlar models. I'm guessing that this question pertains to folding kayaks, as well: how much speed is sacrificed by using a folder? In our case, there is some flexing of the boat as one paddles, but not a lot--at least not a lot that I could see. It's a little more noticeable in waves. Also, the pressure of the water changes the shape of the bottom a little--the fabric doesn't stay flat but scallops upward between the chines. The fabric itself isn't perfectly smooth; there are small wrinkles in some places. I don't know much these factors matter. Overall the boats we used seemed pretty taut--PVC over aluminum frames. And they paddled well--as far as I could tell. Does anyone have any insight into this question? People say folders are slower, but why? And how much?

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Re: Folders vs. Hardshells--paddling speed?

Post by Apathizer »

A link to a previous thread is below. Your ideas are generally correct. All other things being equal (seldom entirely true), most folder will be a little slower than hardshells because of the hull flex. When the hull flexes while moving forward some of the motion that would otherwise propel the kayak forward is lost to the flex.

I'll let you read the thread, but generally the difference isn't significant, and with highly rigid folders like Trak it's purportedly negligible. ... why+slower

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