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How fast is an Oru Kayak?

People often ask "how fast is an Oru Kayak?" This is a very difficult question to quantify...

The limiting factors for speed in a kayak are its length and its width. A long and narrow kayak will be faster than a short and wide kayak. Other things that affect speed are hull shape, rigidity and weight. The Oru Kayak is shaped to cut through water and has a rigid hull so all of your paddling energy is transferred into forward momentum. Skin on frame kayaks may have more flex in their hull and this will increase the overall distance the kayak has to travel. The weight of a kayak plays more of a role in acceleration, but it doesn't hurt to have a lighter boat for the long haul.  With that in mind the Oru Kayak feels faster than other kayaks because it has a rigid hull and is very light weight.  Recently I took an Oru Kayak from Sausalito, around Alcatraz, then around Angel Island and back to Sausalito. Total trip distance 13.5 Nautical Miles. It took exactly 3 hours. I was pushing myself, but it was not a grueling pace.  My average rate of travel = 4.5 nauts or 5.2mph. 

As for sprinting. That is a bit more difficult, but some say that the top speed of a kayak it approximately two times cruising speed. Making the top sprinting speed of an Oru Kayak based on my cruising speed is about 10 mph.   

Here is a shot of Alcatraz.   

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