Technology / Design
The development of Stellar Kayaks and Skis started in the summer of 2008 with intense research over 12 months receiving input and advice from a number of paddlers as well as surveying market trends from around the world.
Ed Hofmeister and David Thomas have experience with a variety of water craft, but have specialized in Rowing Shell manufacture and design, working with several renowned Naval Architects. Their relationship with Flying Eagle and WinTech dates back to the spring of 2004 working closely with Klaus Filter, the World famous Naval Architect of WinTech Racing, absorbing much on boat design and theory at the elite and Olympic level. Klaus was trained in Naval Architecture at the prestigious University of Rostock and has over 50 years of knowledge and experience being involved in many arrays of human powered and wind powered boats – with a focus on rowing shells. It is not uncommon to see technologies and design developments in one sport cross over into another and we have taken this opportunity when developing the new range of Stellar Skis and Kayaks.
We believe that by understanding the unique characteristics of different styles of Kayaks and Surf Skis (understanding the drawbacks and advantages) we have been able to dissect the ski into various parts (such as the seat, foot well, stern deck, rudder, foot stretcher and hull design) to come up with a formula which we believe has delivered an innovative and successful design. We have relied extensively on feedback from paddlers from around the world to end up with a line of boats that has great primary and secondary stability, speed and comfort.
The design of any boat is a lengthy process which starts with much research, in depth surveys, professional feedback. Critical in any design is finding the happy medium between comfort, balance and speed. Knowing the general size of the paddler we are designing for we set about designing a kayak or ski on the computer with the beam, length, depth, freeboard etc. to a level we determine suitable. We use the construction water line for the set length and width and fair the shape to ensure the line is a smooth curve. Then we move to the maximum cross section creating all other construction cross sections of this one – a significant amount of time is involved getting the waterlines and the sections fair in all directions. Using hydrostatics software we are able to calculate the displacement and the stability and are able to make modifications as required… when it comes to speed we strive to get as close to a cylindrical hull cross–section as we can while being able to keep the boat upright. In the end our Surf Skis and Kayaks has a very low wetted surface area below the water line yet good secondary stability from the increased volume above the waterline.
As mentioned above the program we use to design the boat includes Hydrostatics, which gives you many different ways to analyze the shape of the hull including wetted surface area, stability, volume, center of flotation etc. Knowing that computer models are not 100% accurate, we then make a fiberglass shell off of our new hull plug and test this to confirm whether or not the flotation was indeed along the intended waterlines. This enabled us to theoretically place the person in the boat and double check the accuracy with a real person in the water.
For the cockpit we used a 3D drafted body and proportionally scaled it to the maximum and minimum size person that we were targeting for the particular model. We then were able to figure out the general ergonomics of the cockpit for the initial design. Once the plug for the cockpit mold was roughed out to these dimensions, we were able to physically test out the comfort and fit. We then were able to modify the seat pan and cockpit length etc. to what we thought was perfect – the feedback to date has indicated our work in this area has been very successful.