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Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
New Alpacka boat design! on 01/21/2011 12:54:49 MST Print View

http://www.alpackaraft.com/index.cfm/about/About-Alpacka-Raft/2845

alpacka

Edited by T.L. on 01/21/2011 12:59:04 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
new boat!! on 01/21/2011 13:45:18 MST Print View

Pretty awesome that they keep pushing the envelope. I'll be interested to hear reports on how the new desing increases hull speed. I already find the 2010 entended butt makes bandersnatching much less likely.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: new boat!! on 01/21/2011 13:49:45 MST Print View

I had just sent Alpacka an email asking about hull speed. We'll see what they say. I also sent Roman Dial an email asking if he had tried out this new design.

I was going to jump on the Alpacka Christmas sale, but decided to wait. Though it's more expensive, it'll be nice to be on the cutting edge when I finally do get my packraft.

This will be nice for my Isle Royale trip because the route I'm thinking will include several miles of open water travel (mostly along inland bays). I'm hoping the new design will improve flat water travel.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: new boat!! on 01/21/2011 13:52:02 MST Print View

David, what paddle do you use? They claim the Saywer paddle is best for open water since it can extend the longest, and its on the lighter side of the spectrum.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: new boat!! on 01/21/2011 16:41:29 MST Print View

I'll be interested to hear reports on how the new desing increases hull speed.

Here is one of the many hull speed calculators available on line.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: new boat!! on 01/21/2011 16:50:11 MST Print View

Email response from Alpacka:

Hello Travis,

They do ride better in more shallow water as the stern is larger for more flotation. The new site is sweet and about time. Alpacka has evolved so much this past year and I look forward to the year ahead.

When I tested the boat this past September, all I can tell you is my speed was amazing compared to the later style. I was able to paddle so much faster and when you are going against the wind; nice feature.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: new boat!! on 01/21/2011 17:06:46 MST Print View

Admittedly I know very little about packrafting as of right now, but this new design seems to be the biggest leap forward for packrafting in a long while. If the tracking and hull speed are greatly improved, then the uses of this watercraft will also grow, especially with flat water traverse.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
new boat on 01/21/2011 20:21:22 MST Print View

Travis: agreed.

I use a 4 piece all fiberglass Aquabound Shred. 200 cm shaft A-B made custom for me (through REI). Super-burly, which is good for the bony creeking around here. The Sawyers are goregous and light, I'd get one if I didn't beat on my paddle so much (packrafting is worse than either canoeing or kayaking in this respect).

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
more on the new boat design on 01/25/2011 21:19:01 MST Print View

This is a post I copied from the forums at packrafting.org. The poster is Sheri....I assume the same Sheri that founded Alpacka rafts:


"The boat does seem to have a little better hull speed. I haven't actually done the acurate measurements yet and it most likely won't be a big difference but I suspect there is some improvement. It sure paddles straighter, and that is a huge plus. I just got back from a week of paddling on the ocean with the new boat and it was a great improvement over the old design there as well. This is still a small boat that angles between rocks on small rivers really well. That big butt just allows it to handle bigger waters better.

As to wondering why it doesn't weigh more with all that extra length, you have to realize that most of the change is the amount of air it holds in the butt. The quantity of actual fabric used is not much different, it is just the shape of the material that is radically different. Hard to describe acurately, but it is what it is. The very odd shape of the stern pattern takes alot more fabric in the layout but the actual piece when it is cut out does not have that much more fabric in it than last years piece. Think of making an S shape that is 6inches tall and 5 inches deep. Now make an S shape that is 6inches tall and 9 inches deep. The actual line of the S is not that different but the amount of space it takes up on the page is quite a bit more.

Yes, the look of the butt is very different, and the old boats were more "cuddly" but I haven't seen anyone use the new boat that didn't think it was a huge improvement in boat handling ability. There appear to be no advantages of the old design over the new one."

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
The 2011 Alpacas Should Be 11% Faster on 01/25/2011 22:23:24 MST Print View

I have not tested the 2011 design but I own a 2010 style Yukon Yak model. It has a calm water hull speed of approximately 2.50 knots with a 190 pound paddler and a 35 pound pack on the bow. From this value I can calculate the water line length using the formula: Hull Speed = 1.34 * LWL^.5 to be 3.48'. The new design extends the water line length by 11 inches and so THEORECTICALLY the hull speed for the 2011 Yukon Yak would be 2.81 knots or 11% faster.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: The 2011 Alpacas Should Be 11% Faster on 01/26/2011 06:32:27 MST Print View

Richard,
Thanks for that information. Again, speaking theoretically, would the improved tracking help the hull speed even more, at least in comparison to the older model? Another way to put it: assume you have two identical boats with the same hull length, but one tracks straighter. Will its speed be greater, or simply be more efficient, ultimately resulting in getting from point A to point B quicker? Theoretically speaking :)

I also noticed on another thread that you use the Sawyer paddle. I'm thinking of getting that paddle, but it is pricey. Is the cost justified? Is it truly sturdy enough to use as a walking staff, or should one be a bit careful while using it in that application?

Edited by T.L. on 01/26/2011 06:41:47 MST.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: The 2011 Alpacas Should Be 11% Faster on 01/26/2011 14:13:46 MST Print View

Travis,

I have a paddling background that includes recreational racing of sea kayaks in the 19' range, surfing and rock gardening in 16' range, plus WW in an 8' hard shell, a 6' hard shell, and my inflatable Alpacka. My sea kayaks all have rounded hulls with widths of 22" or less. They can all be paddled with a high angle body rotation racing style without any concern for tracking. My 8' WW boat, my 6' WW boat and my shorter Alpacka Yukon Yak all have flat bottoms and hull widths greater than 25". These WW boats all zigzag, even when I paddle parallel to the boat's side. I don't anticipate that the improved tracking would noticeably increase a 2011 Alpacka's hull speed.

I have many different WW and sea kayaking paddles. There are models that handle WW better and models that handle touring better. That said, the Sawyer is the best option for a combination paddle to do WW, flat water, plus act as variable length backpacking staff, and variable length shelter pole. The paddle shaft and variable length flick-locking mechanism are extremely robust. The rubber bumper will wear through after one to two weeks of trail use. I buy the inexpensive packs of four 1 " white bumpers sold at Home Depot (#89121) and replace it when the wear pattern removes the two circular ridges.

Edited by richard295 on 01/26/2011 14:18:28 MST.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: The 2011 Alpacas Should Be 11% Faster on 01/26/2011 14:35:47 MST Print View

Richard,
As always, very informative. Thanks!

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
A word from Roman Dial on 01/26/2011 15:17:34 MST Print View

This was Roman Dial's response to my inquiry regarding the new design:

Hi Travis,

I tried a prototype of this and think it solves some of the problems of the previous design: fewer back flips, more centered, faster, and easier to paddle on flat water.

I plan to buy one!

Roman

-----------

Good news all around! I can't wait to get mine!

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
New Alpacka on 01/27/2011 04:40:39 MST Print View

Travis invited me to comment here about the new boat design.

First there are at least four descent makers of quality packrafts, three of which I have paddled: Alpacka, Feathercraft, and NRS.

My favorite for nimble responsiveness and lightweight and dryness has been the Alpacka with a spraydeck. The Feathercraft is bigger and more durable and now comes in a self-bailing design but paddled like a bathtub. The NRS is good for hunting and crossing rivers with bigger loads but not as good for traveling longer distances and running Class III. It's also not as compact when folded.

The old Alpacka design however had some flaws: one was that it would flip over backwards in "holes" when the bow was unloaded. It also was a real pain to paddle on flat water for two reasons (1) the bow swung side to side when unweighted and (2) the turbulence behind the stern caused by a rounded stern seemed to slow the boat more than its raw hull speed calculation would suggest. The new pointy stern should make it track better and more closely approach its theoretical max hull speed. Frankly, every time I paddled even a flat section of river, I marveled at how people like Hig and Erin and Skurka can actually tolerate the long flat paddles they did with their old Alpacka designs.

Almost ironically, when Sheri Tingey sent we Alaskan whitewater enthusiasts her prototype Witchcraft (her whitewater design with the new stern) last summer to try, what we all noticed was how fast it was on flat water and how well it tracked there: here was a boat designed for whitewater that really performed better in flat water than the previous Alpacka design.

Another problem with the old boats is that you just were not centered in the thing. I actually cut out my seat and moved it forward and added thigh straps to get the boat to "feel" right (but even the unmodified boats felt better than the other packrafts out there).

I have to sell a boat to buy one as my wife stipulates that if we bring anything new into the house we must sell something that the new item replaces. But I fully intend to buy that new shaped boat, and eagerly await what others have to say about it.

Alpacka continues to lead the way in packraft developments.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
information resources on 01/27/2011 14:44:57 MST Print View

Thanks Roman.

I've read Roman's wonderful book, and am looking for more resources to read up on rafting, rivers, techniques, guides, etc. What are some good reads for WW/paddling?

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: New Alpacka boat design! on 04/04/2011 18:21:47 MDT Print View

Received our Alpacka rafts today!!!!

But, they're still in the box because my fiancee is still at work and she refuses to let me open the box by myself.

Sorry, just had to express my excitement to someone....

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: new boats! on 04/04/2011 19:13:36 MDT Print View

Sweeeeeeeeeeeeet!

Post pics when you can!

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
sizing on 04/04/2011 20:02:38 MDT Print View

So, I inflated the boat on my living room floor and jumped in! Without the backrest inflated, my feet just push against the front. I can see my legs pushing hard against the front when paddling hard. Is this ok, or will this cause undue stress on the inside seams?

Also, do I want a bit of extra room to really be able to stretch my legs, or should it fit a little snug to provide a support?

My feet are a bit cramped as well, like they don;t really know where to go. Normal?

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: sizing on 04/04/2011 20:09:37 MDT Print View

What is the fit like with the backrest inflated? That's the key.

In my boat I always have my knees bent a bit and splayed outward. I don't have enough room for both feet to be level with my legs extended, and usually alternate one foot and then the other in front.

Sitting in the boat certainly felt odd at first, and after a few hours paddling I have to get out and do a dance to get full blood back into the legs. Comes with the territory, I think.