Tracking ideas for Yak

I’m interested in trying some ideas for getting my Yak to track better in flat water. Here are the options I’m considering:

  1. A pole-like keel, as has been suggested previously. Would a 1.2 cm diam 60 in graphite rod affixed to the bottom of the raft make a difference? Does it need to be longer than the raft itself? How much longer? What would be a good way to attach it?
  2. What about putting a firm ensolite “girder” with a triangular cross-section (maybe 3 in on a side) V-side down INSIDE the raft bottom, held in place with a firm inflated Thermarest pad on top of it? Would that give the “hull” a sort of v-shape that would track better?
    3)Both of the above ideas?

Hi Mark,

I’ve messed around a little with a primitive version of your option B, and never got anything to work. I think it has potential though… it’ll just take a fair bit of tuning to get it to sit stably and do what you want.

I think a 1.5 cm rod would be enough to have an effect, but only a moderate amount. It’s basically a surface-area question, and 1.5 cm x 60 in is not that large an area. The reason I’d use a longer pole than the raft is that it’s easy to attach to (you just loop over the ends. But if it’s a hollow rod, you could run a string through it’s length, then run that up to the two front and two back ties… that wouldn’t require it to be as long. If you have something longer, then I think sticking it out the bow instead of the stern might be better, as it will give you more leverage on your paddle stroke.

Other things that help are a weight (usually your pack) up front, and the realization that tracking isn’t required in order to make good time on flat water. :slight_smile: