Kayak has a hard right drift

Problems with your kayak? Tracking to one side over the other? Taking on water? Losing Air? Post your questions, suggestions and answers here regarding issues with the kayaks.

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Kayak has a hard right drift

Post by QUATIN » Sat Jun 02, 2007 3:38 pm

I've recently purchased an AdvancedElements Airframe. I've read the manual and have taken the kayak out 3 separate times. It has a hard right drift that makes it very difficult to navigate. The manual says a misaligned floor, but I've tried to center it the last two times and there was no noticeable difference. It drifts just as hard and still towards the right. By paddling up to a steady speed and letting the kayak glide, the kayak itself will make a 180 degree turn in about 3-4 seconds.

The only thing I've noticed is that the fin is bent. I've tried heating the area as it says in the manual, but it does not appear to be returning to a straight position. I would say it is bent 30 degrees to the left. The manual says a bent fin does not affect performance much, but I can't figure out what else is causing this problem. What is going on and how can I resolve this issue?


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one cause for drift

Post by PJohanson » Fri Jun 08, 2007 4:26 pm

Are you trying shifting your weight? Or looking in various directions? These inflatables are so light that one has to sit with symmetry. A slight change of position will steer them. All I need to do to turn my Dragonfly is lift one knee or shift the big leg muscles just a little. Even turning my head will do it -- that might be from wind resistance as well as balance.
My friends and I practise rolling our boats and leaning waaaayyy over to be able to handle them well.
If the same right hand drift happens in other boats, then you're paddling harder with one hand than the other. A lot of people are stronger on one hand when doing a lot of sports. Be willing to change your grip a little to the left or right of center on the paddle.

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Post by QUATIN » Sat Jun 09, 2007 6:22 pm

I did try to be "symmetrical" when in the kayak and even if I shift my weight I can still notice the drift. The wind resistance thing didn't occur to me, but I would think that occasionally it would drift to the left if that was the case. I can get the kayak to go in a straight line if I hold the paddle a little longer on the right, but the instant I stop paddling to let it glide a bit, it will make a right turn. I'm thinking that perhaps the kayak floor deforms a bit once I get in. I may have to take it to a swimming pool and have someone look at the bottom of the kayak while I'm in it.

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Post by dbibbens » Tue Jun 19, 2007 1:58 pm

I have had this happen to me, too. Floor mis-alignment and under-inflation are the cause. There are warnings all over about over-inflation, but problems like the one you've describe come from under-inflation or mis-inflation.

Here is what I do to avoid the problem:
  • 1. follow the instructions precisely
    2. under-inflate chamber one
    3. fully inflate chamber 2
    4. fully inflate the floor
    5. return to fully inflate chamber 1
    6. fully inflate the remaining chambers according to the instructions

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Post by jmcdtucson » Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:29 pm

This is a really old topic, but I thought I'd add one more solution -- make sure your aluminum frame is correctly inserted.

When I first took my kayak apart to clean I didn't know about this and it had come out of its little pocket. Tracking from that point forward was horrible.

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