Secondary Stability

picture of a meter showing "Very Stable"One of the factors for selecting the Mill Creek 13 for the Eva Too build was stability. The CLC Boats site had this confidence inspiring meter showing the boat to be very stable. That really appealed to Eva.

We’ve had both boats out several times recently and have gotten used to their rolling nature. Yesterday, I had no water sensitive electronics aboard, so I tested “secondary stability.” That’s the kind of stability that a hull exhibits (or doesn’t) when rolled off of its normal keel. My tests were simple and didn’t go all the way to a complete capsize. I simply leaned over until it felt as though I was about to fall out of the boat. Each boat behaved very nicely. They rolled over onto one of their planks and remained stable. I was able to roll to the point of having a rub rail submerged.

In the end, we need another notch on that meter. It was harder to get the Fiddlehead over to rub rail submersion than it was the Mill Creek. I think one would literally fall out of the boat before either one rolls enough to capsize.

3 Responses to “Secondary Stability”

  1. Dave Says:

    Ahh, the joys of stability! I love canoing, and people often tell me they hate canoing because canoes are so tippy. Trying to explain is like trying to move a brick wall with a toothpick. But if I have my canoe handy, I’ll illustrate. Standing in the middle of the canoe, I’ll place my feet up on the gunnels, then move along the portage yoke until I’m standing completely on one side. Sure, water will come in, the gunnel is about an inch or two below the surface, but the canoe will not jump out from under me. Sure the canoe feels tippy when flat, but when it really matters, the canoe is surprisingly stable. Mind you, I’ll never try that with most of the rental canoes available. Sure they feel less tippy, but that’s because their secondary stability is lousy, and they jump out from under you when heeled. Literally, they can jump out from under you.

    Just my own experience. And my preference for “tippy” boats, because tippy boats are actually stable.

  2. Rick Hayhoe Says:

    Bob, beautifully designed website with lots of useful information. I’ll be visiting regularly to snoop around more and to follow your posts.

    Just now I’m particularly thankful to you for your seat-of-the-pants tests and other observations about Harry Bryan’s Fiddlehead 12 versus the CLC Mill Creek 13. Like you, I’m concerned about the risks, inconvenience and mess associated with working much with epoxy. It may have its place in building boats, but it’s expensive and becoming more so every day, and I don’t want it all over the place and governing everything that gets done, and I don’t want it all over me. I have no sensitivity so far, and I want it to stay that way. Additionally, there is the obvious attraction to working with timber, versus plywood.

    I bought Harry’s Fiddlehead 14 plans a few years ago, only to realize it was bigger than needed or wanted. As I’ve come to a point where I can undertake building a canoe, I’ve been looking around at designs again and today came back to Harry’s website for more on the 12’er. Then I thought I’d check the web for images and people’s impressions, thus stumbled upon your website. Your information combined with some other impressions has provided the green light on the Fiddlehead 12.

    Thank you.

    And, in the immortal words of the governator, “I’ll be back.”


  3. Bob Says:

    Good to hear from you Rick!

    You’re going to really enjoy the Fiddlehead, both building and paddling. My wife and I have been using our two boats and she prefers the Fiddlehead because of the larger cockpit. I’ve been using the Mill Creek all summer, but took the Fiddlehead out just a few days ago. Even though it is shorter, it handles better and seems to glide a bit better than the Mill Creek.

    I have made one recent modification to the Fiddlehead. The places where we put in are such that it is better to board the boat by sitting on the side decking, then easing oneself into the seat. The coaming gets in the way of that. So, I just cut it down flush to the deck. It looks a bit unusual after being used to it as designed, but the boat is even easier to use now.

    Yes, please come back … and leave a link to the pictures you take while building and launching your Fiddlehead. Enjoy!