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Super Fast Wod Strip USCA-Sea Kayak

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I thought some would find this ineresting.

At the start of the 19 mile Run of the Charles, I saw this strip kayak with wheels fixed on the rear deck. I thought it was just another crazy contraption. The fact is, this guy, Steve Rosenau, designed and built this boat to just squeeze by the USCA Sea Kayak Class rules. It turns out to be more of an over sized sprint boat but as a sea kayak and so he could use wheels at portages, just flip it over and run. This guy trained hard for the event and did the 19 miles in 2:39.

The following letter is from Jonathan Smith:

Steve Rosenau's sea kayak design is a joint effort between John

Winters and myself. I provided John with a list of dimensions to

meet all the common "touring Sea Kayak" class rules including the

USCA and the Sound Rowers System. I provided some general comments

on the type of paddler, type of conditions and estimated constant

velocity (Steve is consitantly exceeding this). One of the most

critical parameters provided was the boat's design displacement.

Nearly all touring kayaks are designed for much heavier loads than

they are ever raced with. Having paddled Winters pretty fast QCC700

and having studied sailboat design for many years I knew there was a

huge decrease in wetted surface possible over most touring kayaks by

limiting bouyancy requirements and then accomplishing this with the

roundest sections allowed by the class rule's waterline & overall

beam dimensions. The use of a full-time rudder was also mandatory

because of the great advantage it provides to making as efficient a

hull shape as possible. I commissioned John Winters to draw up the

design because of his software skills, sailboat canoe and kayak

design experience and established credentials.

Working with John Winters was a great experience. We had many

discussions on design, the state of the class rules, and the great

difficulty of trying to get the masses to understand the basics of

boat design, never mind the more complicated principals. For

example, John struggles to understand why most Unlimited boats are

around 21ft in length. In most marathon races with most paddler

weights a significantly shorter boat should be faster. Maybe the

Unlimited-like level of performance by our new 18 ft boat designed

to the much less slender Sea Kayak specs will open some minds. I


Steve Rosenau built his and my wood strip versions of the design in

his free time at his North Carolina home. They were built on

computer cut forms taken from Winter's 3D computer model. Steve

lives on beautiful Lake Norman, has many canoes and kayaks and has a

great love for paddling. He has beaten his personal records with the

new boat. I did not know when he offered to build the boats how

dedicated to paddling he is. It is amazing to me that he would

travel all that distance to do the ROTC. He also traveled down to

Florida over the winter to win the Bogey n Bacall race series in the

boat. Race 2 was in 35 - 40 mph winds! He plans on traveling back to

New England for his first Blackburn later this summer. Steve does

not have much experience in the ocean, but I suspect he will rise to

the challenge.

I plan on turning my wood stripper into a plug to make molds for

composite production. I have been getting my ducks in a row with

regards to materials and components and hope to get started on

bulding some boats soon. I am not sure how far I will go with the

project, but I hope to build at least two composite models, one for

me and another for Steve. After trying out many brand name ideas and

doing some research I am likely to call the boat the Fairbanks FSK.

I have a couple other models in my mind to fill out the Fairbanks

line, but I am taking things slowly right now.

Images of Steve and I trialing the boat on Lake Norman can be seen



Jonathan Smith

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Wondered when someone would drive a truck through the barely defined sea kayak rule. Epic started it and CLC with their Pax's are in the area, although they may be too narrow to be Sea kayaks. Unfortunately it will end the days of "run what you brung" but may mean more boats hanging from the garage roofs. Noted that you have bulkheads in the boat which is good. I suspect that sea kayak rules also should require hatches, deck rigging and a minimum weight.

Will be interesting to see how the boat does in the Blackburn in conditions... I remember one year that it was SCW out of the NW, breaking beam seas on the exposed leg that rolled an outrigger.

At 58 I just try to stay ahead of guys my age, and thats pretty hard in my old Nordkapp, a little easier in the North Bay.

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