Sunday, August 23, 2015

R40 - Trialling

   The road to innovative design is long and winding.
   So is the road to Lawrence's kayak laboratory on the far south coast of NSW ...

... where the R40 is being carefully crafted by hand.

The hull and deck of the R40 shown above - with its white gel coat and a black seam -
has been fabricated with carbon fibre for the main body and Kevlar strips along its chines
and keel line. 

The kayak is correspondingly light-weight and super strong - ideal for long-distance
expeditions where landing on rocky shores and carrying the kayak above high-tide levels
for camping will be a necessity.

The deck of the R40 is a well-considered piece of informed design and fabrication.

The deck is inclusive of:

- recessed deck line fixings
- integrated sail mounting platform
- recessed fixing points for sail stays, mainsheet and up-haul
- recessed compass well
- recessed fixings for the fore deck bag
- fore deck day hatch
- fore deck large oval hatch
- fore deck pump outlet
- recessed skeg slider
- rear deck mounted pump switch with protective cover
- rear deck day hatch
- recessed fixings for the rear deck bag
- rear deck large oval hatch
- recessed tie downs for spare paddle
- integrated fore and rear carrying handles
- recessed fully retractable deep bladed rudder

This is the first R40 looking rather gorgeous with its Wasabi-coloured gel coat while
pausing on the sun-toasted rocky coastline of Bournda National Park.

I took this R40 for a paddle along the Bournda National Park on a beautiful winter's
afternoon, loaded and unloaded.
Initial thoughts when unloaded ...
- Crikey! Incredibly low primary stability.
- Will freak out inexperienced paddlers. Feels like an untamed animal.
- High secondary stability - thank heavens.
- Engages beautifully for edging.
- Swift downwind.
- Jumps on to wind waves and surges forward, linking up consecutive waves in long runs.
- Does not bury its bow or bounce.
- It carves forward like a killer whale. Leaves other kayaks in its wake.
- Tracks beautifully straight and turns like a dream, when you intentionally drop an edge.
Initial thoughts when loaded (with dive gear and abalone)...
- The untamed animal is restrained!
- The R40 engages positively with the sea's surface generating deep primary stability.
- It travels beautifully upwind, maintaining a consistent bow profile as it slices through wind waves.
On this occasion the R40 was easily paddled through a series of rock gardens and over
surging rock platform waves. Great manoeuvrability in tight spaces, despite its long waterline.
The R40 rolls beautifully, unloaded and loaded.
I can't wait to paddle this kayak in large seas, high winds and with the integrated sail fully set.
Luke Johnson. August 2015.
[ Tony Freeman having a paddle of the first R40 ]