NSW Sea Kayaker

By Norm Sanders

See also an analysis and reply by John Winters

Watercraft design is more of an art than a science. Bill Foster, a master craftsman and wooden boat builder in Hobart often told me, “If she looks right, she is right.” (Boats are always “She.” The reasons why are too complex to cover here.)

As human beings, we all have an innate sense of what looks right. Put a squat, flat bottomed rowboat on the beach next to a sleek kayak with sweeping sheer and see which one draws the crowd.

Sheer, the line of the deck from bow to stern, traditionally starts high at the bow, dips amidships and then climbs back to the stern at a point lower than the bow. There is a reason for this. The bow is high because it must climb over waves. The midship area is low to allow access to…

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