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Wahoo FSK

$130.00

Low Displacement Performance Sea Kayak

The Wahoo is for going fast with a light load.  Designed by the renowned naval architect John Winters, this kayak is made for racing, fitness paddling, and touring.

Unlike other 18’ racing sea kayaks, the Wahoo is not a “one size fits all” hull with (or without) a “low volume” deck.  She is designed from the keel up for smaller paddlers who are not hauling much gear.   This makes her predictable and friendly in rough water, despite her narrow beam.  Low rocker gives her a straight-tracking personality.

Intended for racing, exercise and touring on open sea, lakes or rivers.  It is offered either as plans or can be custom built by CSCWC.

All design questions are being directed to the design owners: James Budi and Lisa Huntington.  If interested in buying plans or have questions on the design, contact us and we will put you in touch with them.

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Description

Low Displacement Performance Sea Kayak

JDW decalThe Wahoo is for going fast with a light load.  Designed by the renowned naval architect John Winters, this kayak is made for racing, fitness paddling, and touring.

Unlike other 18’ racing sea kayaks, the Wahoo is not a “one size fits all” hull with (or without) a “low volume” deck.  She is designed from the keel up for smaller paddlers who are not hauling much gear.   This makes her predictable and friendly in rough water, despite her narrow beam.  Low rocker gives her a straight-tracking personality.

It is offered either as plans or can be custom built by CSCWC.

Hydrostatics

Design Wahoo (LComp)
Designer John Winters
Design Owner Jim Budi & Lisa Huntington
Length 17.97 ft 547.7 cm
Beam 20.10 in 51.1 cm
Depth Overall 13.11 in 33.3 cm
Waterline Length (LWL) 17.72 ft 540.1 cm
Waterline Beam (BWL) 18.11 in 46.00 cm
LWL / BWL 11.74 11.7
4″ Waterline Length (LWL) 17.89 ft 545.3 cm
4″ Waterline Beam (BWL) 19.08 in 48.5 cm
LWL / BWL (4″ Waterline) 11.25
Design Displacement 200 lb 90.91 kg
Draft 3.07 in 7.81 cm
Wetted Surface Area 20.41 sf 1.9 sq m
Surface Area, Total 52.98 sf 4.9 sq m
Approx Boat Weight 35.32 lb 16.1 kg
Volume 3.13 cf 88.5 Liters
LCB (Longitudinal Center of Buoyancy) 9.57 ft 291.7 cm
LCB (Longitudinal Center of Buoyancy) 0.53 % %
VCB (Vertical Center of Buoyancy) 0.15 ft 4.7 cm
Moment to Trim One Inch 85.36 ft-lb 115.73  N-m
Immersion 94.70 lb/in 16.95 kg/cm
Cb (Block) 0.456
Cm (midship Coeff) 0.774
Cp (Prismatic) 0.590

Design Statement

WahooThe Wahoo sea kayak was designed by John Winters at the request of Jim Budi, who has worked with John on several previous boats, and Lisa Huntington. They were looking for a fast, low-displacement 18′ sea kayak for racing, fitness paddling, and point-to-point touring. John Winters, who is now retired, designated the commissioned design as LComp.  The owners have christened it Wahoo, after the very fast far-roving fish.

At a design displacement of 200 lb. (which includes the weight of the boat itself), the Wahoo is ideally suited for paddler + gear weight of 120 to 180 lb. If you are a paddler in the lower end of that range, you may find this to be the first full length sea kayak that “sits on her lines” and doesn’t bob about like a cork in high seas.

A plumb bow and stern, low rocker, and a relatively high Prismatic Coefficient, give her speed and a streamlined look.  The narrow foredeck with a knuckle running parallel to the shear line allows close paddle entry for an efficient stroke.  Primary stability feels remarkably solid given the design’s narrow beam.  Because the design is “right sized”, secondary stability feels better for lighter loads than it does in some wider mainstream racing kayaks.

The Wahoo is a straight tracking boat.  On edge, she will turn well around a buoy.  A rudder is recommended for racing to preserve stroke efficiency.

For racing events using the Sound Rowers Classification, the length to width ratio of the 4″ waterline is about 11.25. The design fits the Sound Rowers Fast Sea Kayak (FSK) Classification as adapted by the Cape Ann Rowing Club and others who use an upper ratio of 11.5. Other races may use a more stringent ratio, so see your local rules. For USCA races with the latest rules, this boat’s 4” waterline width qualifies for “Sea Kayak” class. Some events (using older USCA rules) also specify that the overall width must be 10% of the overall length, so check your local venues. USCA rules also specify the weight of the build.

Plans are available for internal and external strong backs.  They are printed full-size on high quality bond paper.  We do not sell electronic versions of our plans. They include full-size sheets with full templates for all molds (not nested!), end stems, bulkheads and cockpit.  Full hydrostatics and resistance calculations available.

Purchasing these plans entitles you to build one boat only for your own personal use.  If you are interested in building more than one boat from the same plans a modest fee is required for each new boat.  Please inquire concerning any commercial interests.

Distribution of these plans in any form is expressly prohibited.

Strip Kit – Forms Only

Forms are available for internal and external strong backs (depending on the design).  They are precision cut on either particle board or MDF.   We do not sell electronic versions of our plans. They are full templates for all molds, end stems, bulkheads and cockpit.  You will need to supply the strong back and strips.

Purchasing these forms entitles you to build one boat only for your own personal use.  If you are interested in building more than one boat from the same plans a modest fee is required for each new boat.  Please inquire concerning any commercial interests.

Distribution of these plans/forms in any form is expressly prohibited.

Ordering A Custom Kayak

Custom kayaks can either be painted or clear coated. See the Clear Coated – Strip and Painted – Strip pages for more information and full pricing. The listed price is for a basic sea kayak.  Many options can be built into your kayak making a unique kayak.

Building only custom boats allows us to build YOUR boat for the way YOU paddle. Every boat is fully outfitted to the customer’s tastes and preferences. We take pride in the fact we offer a large variety of options. Our list of options, including custom wood and shell inlays, is unparalleled.  See our Options page for a small sampling.  If you can dream it we can probably make it real.

It generally takes 8-12 weeks to built a wood strip kayak.

You can place your deposit here if you wish.

Additional information

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2 reviews for Wahoo FSK

  1. From Mark Nye:
    Just a quick note to let you know that the boat is done. I’ve only had it on the water twice so no in-depth performance review, but so far I like what I see. Stability is better than I expected but I have not really been able to paddle the boat fast yet because I have been working on comfort/seat/footrest positioning. I think (hope) that I have that settled because I have a ten-mile race tomorrow. The boat ended up looking great but it is a bit on the heavy side. It is really no matter to me since I will be using it primarily for workouts in pretty rugged areas.

  2. Followup from Mark Nye:

    Hello Dan,
    ​I have really been enjoying the Wahoo. Now that I have about 125 miles and two races in it, I feel qualified to give the boat a good, honest review, so here goes:

    When I decided to build the Wahoo, my biggest concern was stability. All of my previous paddling was in much wider boats and I was not sure that I could keep the Wahoo upright. I initially went with a low foam seat but on the first outing my fears were allayed, so I ordered an adjustable height Nelo Rotofix K-1 seat. Now I paddle with the seat in the highest (3”) position in all but the roughest of conditions. The raised seat, combined with the boat’s narrow beam, large cockpit and footbrace allow me to pump my legs and get good rotation when paddling. With the foam seat, the stability is good enough that I would be comfortable letting a novice paddle the boat in calm water.

    ​Prior to building the Wahoo, my fastest kayak was a CLC Chesapeake 17LT (length-16’10”, beam-23”). In that boat, my all day race pace (125 pulse) was about 5.2 mph and my two-hour race pace (pulse 145) was 5.5 mph. In an all-out sprint, I could get maybe 5.8 mph but not for long. With the Wahoo, my all day pace is 5.5 mph, my two-hour race pace is 6.0mph and I can sprint it over 7 mph.

    Thus far, I have been in two races with the Wahoo, both of which grouped all kayaks and surfskis into a single class. The first was a 9.0 mile up and back course on a winding river (Silver River Florida) with a lot of current. This was only my third time in the boat, and I averaged 5.6 mph placing 4th out of 7. The other competitors were roughly my age and were all paddling 18-20’ surfskis. The second was a 9.6 mile course in the intercoastal/canals near Melbourne Beach. The conditions made this more of a fight for survival than a race, so I was very pleased with my 5.8 mph average speed. About 1/3 of the race was in open waters exposed to 30 kt winds with 2’ white caps. Many dropped out of the race and everybody that beat me was in 20’+ surfskis (and generally 20+ years younger). I was actually the only kayak to complete the long race, and would have been swimming several times if it were not for the good stability of the Wahoo.
    ​Generally speaking, I find the Wahoo to be competitive with 18’ surfskis but slower than longer ones. It may actually be a little faster than the 18’ers in a straight line but loses a little in turns. The surfskis also appear to do a little better in rough water but that may be more of a paddler issue than anything. I have not been in direct competition with other kayaks, but based upon results from the short races during these two events, I suspect that the Wahoo will be pretty hard to beat anytime there is a separate FSK class. (As a side note, my modified Wahoo has a waterline length to beam ratio of 11.4 so it still fits in the FSK class for races that use the Sound Rowers Association system.)

    ​Much of my writing above focuses on racing, but that is not how I most use the boat. The vast majority of my time in the Wahoo is solo exercise paddling in the wilds of central Florida, and I find the boat very well suited for that. Its speed means that I can cover a lot of distance in four hours and the added length allows me to carry the necessary water and safety gear. Overall I am very happy with the Wahoo and would make the same choice again. Thanks for all of your help with this great design!

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High performance kayaks, canoes and other small boats. Crafted individually in the USA.