Earlier this week, I was watching Carl Vopal finish up a few shots for a video on how to install the “Paddling Partner” ballast system for kayaks. He is planning to end this video by demonstrating how the ballast assists in performing braces because the boat has a tendency to want to right itself when the kayak is put on edge. It occurred to me after watching this demonstration, that ballast which is fixed against the hull in the center of the kayak should also have a positive effect on one’s attempts to roll.
These musings of mine are still in the theoretical state as I have not taken out a kayak with ballast and tried to roll it. However, it would make sense to me that when the kayak is upside down with a 9.5-lb weight pinned to the inside of the upturned hull, there would be a tendency for that weight to want to fall back down. This would start the kayak rolling. Once the boat reaches a position halfway between upside down and right side up, the ballast would definitely want to continue falling down taking the hull with it bringing the kayak to a full right side up position.
Now, all of this supposes that the paddler in the kayak is attempting to roll the kayak using reasonable form and body mechanics. On it’s own, 9.5 pounds cannot counterbalance the weight of the paddler’s torso sticking out of the cockpit under the kayak.
I know a couple of local kayakers who use Carl’s ballast system in their kayaks. I need to ask them how they feel it affects their ability to roll a kayak. If you are using the Paddling Partner or some other similar type of fixed ballast in your kayak, I’d like to hear what your experience has been in rolling the kayak with the ballast affixed. Then, if it gets a little warmer tomorrow afternoon, I need to take my Sirocco out with the ballast in place and see how it rolls for me. As I have never actually taken a physics class, I would appreciate it if those with a stronger background in this science would correct any fallacies I may have put forth in the previous paragraphs.