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 Post subject: Average Paddling Speed
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 11:50 pm 
I'm curious what is considered to be an "average paddling speed" achievable in a good touring kayak (on flat water in calm conditions). I don't mean how fast you can go in a short sprint, but rather what speed can be maintained with reasonable to relaxed effort for a period of several hours. Preferrably from actual data, such as GPS tracks or time/distance measurements over longer distances.
I examined my GPS tracks from this summer's paddling and found my average cruising speed to be about 5 kmh, which I can maintain for 2-3 hrs at a time. For short sprints (say 5 mins or so) I managed to average about 8 kmh.
The reason for my question is this: I was considering getting a longer boat - something in the 14-15 foot range, for greater speed, but I'm wondering if it will actually make any real, significant difference?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:34 am 
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I average around 4.5 mph or 7km/h on a relaxed paddle in an 18ft Khatsalano I can do 5.5 for 5 or 6 hrs and sprint up to 7. Do a little faster in my Nordkapp. You would probably find a Cooper or a Whisper to be a nice cruiser. 15-16 ft boats are easier to keep speed say around 4 mph than an 18 or 19 foot boat. Although longer boats are faster, they take more energy to drive.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:46 am 
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Tsunamichuck's numbers are higher than mine in my Cooper, although that is my fastest folder.

My hardshells are faster than the Cooper, because they have cleaner hulls.

If you really want more speed, you will have to change the form drag or the parasitic drag. Either demands a better hull shape. Check out surf skis, for example.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:22 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

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Location: Spruce Head, Maine
Jaygee, at 5km/hr you're cruising at 2.7 knots/hour. I think with a kayak in the length you mentioned with roughly the same effort you'd cruise at between 3-4 knots. At 3.5 knots you'd have a 30% improvement. For instance, in the Puffin Swift SK review one of the reviewers could do 4 knots at "a relaxed pace" and sprint to just over 5. When the Fujita and K1 were reviewed the same test paddler could do 4.5 knots at a relaxed pace. I'm not saying everyone would produce the same speed at 'a relaxed pace,' I'm just giving these as a reference point. They say that a normal paddler can maintain something like 3-4 pounds of resistance while paddling. If you look at the SK reviews most of the kayaks cruise between 3-4 knots with this amount of resistance.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 9:26 am 
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Great answer, Paul. Global, and authoritative.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 10:15 am 
Gentlemen, thank you for your very informative comments - that is precisely the kind of information I was looking for. This is a great forum!

I guess I will have to get serious about looking for a longer boat, although I really hate to give up the comfort and convenience of my little Airframe.

My short list at this point consists of the Advanced Elements Ultra light, basically the same boat as mine, but 13' long (but I'm not convinced I would get a siginficant inrease in speed with this boat), the Puffin Swift at 14', or the Puffin II, also at 14'. I think the Swift would definitely be the faster of the two Puffins, correct? I would also consider one of the FCs, but it would have to be a used one at a price point of the Puffins.

What else would warrant consideration?

Since I'm not a "cold weather paddler", paddling season for me doesn't start again until about next Apr/May, so I have lots of time to find something.

Again, thank you for your very helpful comments.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 7:07 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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for a used Feathercraft K Light, Look at a Kahuna new or used, Folbot Cooper. Nautiraid Greenlander. Consider a hardshell too if you have the space.
My numbers may be higher because I have a lot of miles under my shoulders and I am a year round paddler.. At least 2 days/week.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 4:44 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

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Chuck,

The figures for the Khats show that it's 10%-15% faster than the Fujita 500 and K1 for a given output of energy.

The figures show the Khats doing 4 knots with only 3.6 lbs or resistance. This is 11% and 13% less resistance than the Fujita 500 and FC K1 at the same speed. Your all day pace of 4.5mph (3.9 knots) makes sense given you only should have 3.6 lbs or resistance at that speed.

At the higher 5-6 hr pace you mentioned you're doing 4.8 knots. Resistance on the Khats goes to 4.9lbs at 4.5 knots, and this is 15% and 14% less than the K1 and Fujita, respectively.

At 5 knots the resistance on the Khats pops up to 7.2lbs.

The SK reviewers are said to maintain a 'relaxed' paddling pace in kayaks that have 5.7 lbs of resistance at that relaxed pace. The same reviewer was able to maintain a relaxed pace in the fujita and K1 at 4.5 knots which equates to 5.7 lbs or resistance. This makes me think that the SK statement that the average paddler can maintain only 3-4 lbs of resistance is too low, the SK reviewers are super human, or some combination of the two.

Still, most kayaks seem to be able to do 3.5 knots with 3lbs or less resistance. This means that Jaygee should almost certainly be able to do 3.5 knots with an average kayak, 30% higher that what he's doing now.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:15 am 
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Paul wrote:
The SK reviewers are said to maintain a 'relaxed' paddling pace in kayaks that have 5.7 lbs of resistance at that relaxed pace. The same reviewer was able to maintain a relaxed pace in the fujita and K1 at 4.5 knots which equates to 5.7 lbs of resistance. This makes me think that the SK statement that the average paddler can maintain only 3-4 lbs of resistance is too low, the SK reviewers are super human, or some combination of the two.
I don't think that 5.7 lb figure is very far off the mark for fit paddlers. And, I bet "average" in this case refers to a large body of folks, many of them infrequent paddlers.

If you train at all, you can increase your ability to pull quite a bit, and still feel "relaxed" while paddling.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:00 am 
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jayygee wrote:
Gentlemen, thank you for your very informative comments - that is precisely the kind of information I was looking for. This is a great forum!

I guess I will have to get serious about looking for a longer boat, although I really hate to give up the comfort and convenience of my little Airframe.

My short list at this point consists of the Advanced Elements Ultra light, basically the same boat as mine, but 13' long (but I'm not convinced I would get a siginficant inrease in speed with this boat), the Puffin Swift at 14', or the Puffin II, also at 14'. I have been having success with the 3 Week Diet you can click here to read about my results. I think the Swift would definitely be the faster of the two Puffins, correct? I would also consider one of the FCs, but it would have to be a used one at a price point of the Puffins.

What else would warrant consideration?

Since I'm not a "cold weather paddler", paddling season for me doesn't start again until about next Apr/May, so I have lots of time to find something.

Again, thank you for your very helpful comments.


How are you guys tracking your speed? I'm new to kayaking and have just got a used Feathercraft Aironaut and I think it would be cool to see how fast I'm going.


Last edited by DownRiver on Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:39 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2015 7:59 am 
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Welcome Downriver, your thoughts on the new Feathercraft would be welcomed. Did you buy the one off Craigslist in Bellingham?

The only way I know to accurately measure speed is with GPS, such as this one:
http://www.thegpsstore.com/Garmin-GPSMA ... P2389.aspx

Best,
g

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2015 5:17 pm 
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DownRiver wrote:
How are you guys tracking your speed? I'm new to kayaking and have just got a used Feathercraft Aironaut and I think it would be cool to see how fast I'm going.


I use a map and watch and calculate after the fact, or official race timing

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:40 pm 
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Using a GPS I found my Very Lazy paddling speed in a Yukon or Aleut was around 2mph. With a reasonable amount of effort I could do extended paddles in my old Fcraft K1 at 4-4.5mph.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:23 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm

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tsunamichuck wrote:
I average around 4.5 mph or 7km/h on a relaxed paddle in an 18ft Khatsalano I can do 5.5 for 5 or 6 hrs and sprint up to 7. Do a little faster in my Nordkapp. You would probably find a Cooper or a Whisper to be a nice cruiser. 15-16 ft boats are easier to keep speed say around 4 mph than an 18 or 19 foot boat. Although longer boats are faster, they take more energy to drive.

That's consistent with what I've read and experienced. Longer boats generally have a higher top speed, but require more effort to reach that speed, while shorter boats have a lower top speed, but require less effort to reach it.

In my 15.5' Pakboats Quest 155 that cruises at about 3.5-3.7 mph with moderate effort. I had a Cooper (1' longer) that cruised at about 3.7-4 mph with about the same effort. I paddled a 17' Pygmy Boats Arctic Tern (wood hardshell) which cruised at around 4-4.3.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:52 pm 
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Greg's method is probably the easiest and most accurate way to calculate speed on a lake. If you are not on a lake you're on a river or bay or estuary or ocean. In which case the water is moving with, against or perpendicular to you... and this 'current' is a factor in your paddling speed. On water with a current you need three of four variables to calculate the fourth. Distance, Time, Current, Speed. With any three you can calculate the fourth. With only two you're making a ballpark estimate.

Unfortunately only very large lakes are charted. A nautical chart allows you to pick two distinct locations, measure that distance on the chart, then clock yourself between the two locations. This would allow a very accurate speed without the 'current' factor. Sizing up lakes with Google Maps is not only difficult but I get the feeling it's not too accurate. On moving water there are Current charts for many areas but the currents can be complicated to calculate, it's based on tides and is a little more complicated than just looking up a number like a tide chart.

So long story short... GPS on a calm lake day is your best bet.

If you're ever on open water, watching the water move around pilings, piers, or buoys is a great indicator of current speed and direction... then use that to your advantage... taking the tide into consideration of course... Here on the East Coast (NY), current changes 'about an hour after slack tide.

d

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