Thursday, 10 March 2011

How fast is the Taran…?

We've been testing the Taran in every manner we can think of since getting our first one in late last year, with an eye to using the boat on a trip later this year with some solid mileage requirements.
Today was one of those rare days when he bay was glassy calm, both Rob & I had a spare hour or two, and we decided to get the Taran out for a cruise, with the aim to try to operate about 10% above what we'd consider a long-trip paddle exertion rate.
The reason for this was to find out the boats' cruising speed, without hitting gasket blowing energy levels. We were hoping it would sit on 9kmh with this level of output, and got a pleasant surprise when we fed the GPS data back at the end of the paddle.
Our distance was 9.34km, which we covered in 57.45 minutes, at an average speed of 9.7kmh thereabouts. The graph of the trip is below, showing the consistent speed levels over the period.
Our conclusions are that this is quite a bit faster than we had previously thought on flat water, the environment in which our rockered sea kayaks are usually found out for terminal hull speed, without any following assistance to get their hulls planing & thus jump over their 'wall' of resistance.
We reckon it would probably get to 10.5kmh before walling up on the flat stuff, which makes it the fastest sea kayak we've ever had apart from the hybridised racing/sea kayak, the Valley Rapier.
The real revolutionary aspect, is that in comparison to the Rapier, the Taran is a barge in the way it feels on the water, from a stability perspective. The other thing it does with grace is glide, that lovely feeling when your boat runs smooth through the water without your paddle propelling it. If you're wondering how much of a difference this rare quality makes, hop into your own boat with GPS fixed, pump it up to say 9.5kmh, and then try to feel what it does in the water when you finish the power phase of your forward stroke.
It reinforces our hope that this boat is really something special, especially when this flat water speed is added to the dynamic performance of the Taran in the steeper seas, that we've already had the pleasure of discovering.
Our final test is to load the boat up, work out the best weight distribution for trim & then see what she can do over an extended period at sea. Stay tuned.

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