Help me pick a boat

Discussion in 'Gear Talk' started by westcoastwannabe, Oct 2, 2016.

  1. westcoastwannabe

    westcoastwannabe New Member

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    A classic question from a forum Newbie ... help me pick my next boat!

    I'm 3 years into paddling and want to upgrade my boat (or more likely, get a second boat!)
    I tend to paddle semi protected coastal areas. I currently paddle a poly Zephyr 15.5 which is fun to surf but slow when I'm with my buddies in the 17+ foot boats, and really small for a weeks' camping trip.

    Things I want:
    under ~55lbs so I can carry it myself
    enough cargo space for a week of food and water
    prefer skeg to rudder
    envious of those cute little front hatches
    would love to find available used

    My specs:
    5'7, 160ish
    advanced beginner - intermediate paddler

    I have paddled:
    Romany (loved the way it paddled, seat was torture)
    Delphin 155 (felt too big?)
    Tempest 170 - paddled this for a week once. It's ok but kind of Blah. and the hatches leak.

    I realize I need to try the boats and am prepared to do some driving around to demos, but in the meantime, any suggestions for the must-try?

    Thanks!
     
  2. drahcir

    drahcir Paddler

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    I'm not brave enough to recommend a new boat for you. However, if you really like a kayak (e.g.the Romany) you can do many things to improve the comfort, even installing a new seat. It's not a big deal and this is a great forum for asking 'how do I do this or that'. Also, where are you located?
     
  3. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

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    Romany and Delphin are not fast boats, so won't be good for your goal of keeping up with the 17 footers. Good boats, just not fast.

    You likely would do better with something like a Valley Aquanaut, Nordkap, or Etain. P&H has a similar line- I think the Cetus line. At your size, you probably would do fine with the LV versions, where available.

    Some others that you might consider off the top of my head - Necky Chatham 18, Necky Looksha IV (better yet, if you can find the rare LV version). NDK likely has some good ones, but I don't know the line well.
     
  4. Paulb

    Paulb Paddler

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    The delphin 150 is narrower, I'm too big to testify but I've been told by smaller paddlers that it's actually faster than the 155. Might be worth a test drive anyways. Another good option is the boreal designs baffin. Playful boats, good storage, and three sizes available.
     
  5. Rodnak Kayak

    Rodnak Kayak Paddler

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    Well, if you want to store lots of gear EASILY, get a rudder versus a skeg. Skeg boxes take up a good deal of space IMHO, and limit what you can put in the rear hatch, although some may disagree. It just depends what you want from the boat, touring, go rudder!
    I just traded up to a Delta 16, from a 14.5, and love it. Fairly roomy cockpit (I am 5-5", 180lbs), it also takes a ton of gear. Super comfy seat, and I see you are not adverse to plastic, this boat is a thermoform, and is only 48lbs. I had my Delta 14.5 for 8 years, and looked as new when I traded it in for the 16. The new 16's also have a great hatch system, versus the rubber type that all seem to complain about.
    Deltas are also made in "North America", ie, Canada, Maple Ridge, BC to be exact. Not sure where you hail from...
    Speed on this craft is worthy of keeping up with any 17ft boat, IMHO. Easily does 3.5-4 knots without breaking a sweat, and I am an old fart, and short!
    All that being said, you have to paddle a few boats to get the "feel" for what YOU want. Drachir has that right!
    Good luck.
     
  6. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Where are you located (for driving to demos)?

    Don't trust the published data for boat weights - take your bathroom scale with you!
    Actual weights can be up to 20 lbs more than the published number...some (Brit) companies publish weights that don't include seat or hatch covers, etc.!

    Boat length is not the only thing (or sometimes the main thing) to consider regarding 'speed'. How fast do you generally paddle?
    I can usually keep up with my friends when paddling my Mariner Coaster - and it's only 13' long...but we don't paddle at 5.5 knots either!
     
  7. westcoastwannabe

    westcoastwannabe New Member

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    Thanks for all the input!
    To answer your questions... I live in New Hampshire (Seacoast). Please don't kick me off for being a East Coaster! If anyone happens to have suggestions for places to shop there, let me know!

    I definitely want to check out the Deltas... have to find a shop that carries more than the 14 foot one. I have never tried a thermoform boat but they sure look pretty ;)

    As for speed - I suppose I've never actually not been *able* to keep up, but I sure seem to have to work a bit harder / faster cadence than some others. I do realize much of that is probably user error. I tend to have trouble with tracking in a beam wind in the Zephyr, thus increasing my miles paddled relative to others! Interestingly the Romany, sans skeg, on a windy day, gave me far less trouble. So I think to some extent it *is* a bit about the boat...

    Cetuses (Ceti?) seem popular here but the folks I know with them are quite a bit bigger than me. Not quite clear on if I'd want to try a LV, MV, or both. Anyone of my weight have the low volume?

    Thanks!
     
  8. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    You make some good points:
    1) I wouldn't call it 'user error' but paddling technique can make a huge difference in you efficiency/speed, so if you can find a good stroke instructor that would be one avenue to explore. Your technique can also influence your boat choice and the optimum outfitting for your boat - if you are using a paddling technique with strong/active leg drive, you won't be happy in a boat where your legs are 'locked in place' - you'll prefer a boat where you can move your knees toward the centerline in calmer conditions. Similarly, an older (rudder) boat with sliding foot pedals is a drawback if you use leg drive and edging when paddling.

    2) A boat that's 'fast' in glassy calm conditions can be completely stalled in rougher seas and be a handful to steer in wind. For example, if you talk to Mariner kayak owners, most will tell you that when conditions get rough they are 'faster' than most of their companions in other boats.
    Unfortunately, we don't usually test boats on stormy days.
     
  9. semdoug

    semdoug Paddler

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    Must-try:
    To name a few in addition to the ones you mentioned:
    Nordkapp
    Nordkapp LV
    Etain 17.5
    Explorer
    Alaw Bach TCC
    Aquanaut
    Cetus MV
    Xplore
    Xcite

    New England has some good shops. Check Kayak Centre of RI, Kayak waveology in Ct, Maine Island kayak company or a bit of a drive Baycreek in Rochester.
     
  10. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    JohnAbercrombie wrote: A boat that's 'fast' in glassy calm conditions can be completely stalled in rougher seas and be a handful to steer in wind. For example, if you talk to Mariner kayak owners, most will tell you that when conditions get rough they are 'faster' than most of their companions in other boats. Unfortunately, we don't usually test boats on stormy days.

    And that is too bad. My ancient Eddyline Wind Dancer, a ginormous hull we usually typified as a cargo barge, was a slow boat in calm conditions, and noticeably faster, against other hulls anyway, when things got really rough. Enough different that guys who consistently beat me to the beach, most days, were way behind me in conditions.

    Your best bet is to test a hull that interests you at the dealership, and then post back here for opinions on how it performs on rough water. Then rent that hull for a day or two. Some dealers will count the rental fee towards purchase of the boat. A boat that handles well on rough water will really open up the envelope of choices for you.

    Repeating John's other piece of wisdom: get training from a good paddling coach. Body Boat Blade is one place to consider: https://www.bodyboatblade.com
     
  11. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

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    One a bit closer to you in New Hampshire is a Pacific Northwest transplant named Bob Burnett. He now lives in NH. I haven't taken any classes with him, but I know a lot of people who have and they all sing his praises (and they are skilled paddlers now). Info on him can be found at https://www.facebook.com/RogueWaveAdventures/about/.

    He used to be the west coast rep for Tiderace. I think he has repped some other boats also over the years.
     
  12. BCWave

    BCWave New Member

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    OP, you asked about the Cetus. I am 5'7" and 150 lbs, so similar to you, and have paddled both the LV and MV. I prefer the LV but was also happy in the MV. The LV is a very nice handling boat if you are comfortable with the snug fit.

    I also paddle a Zephyr 15.5 as a play boat and use an NDK Explorer for touring. Both are skeg boats and I can happily move back and forth between them.

    I can't overstate how important it is to test boats back-to-back to be able to compare handling and feel. Does anyone in your area do demo days?

    Good luck in your search.
     
  13. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    If you are looking for something light and fast, you might consider one of the Stellar boats, though I think they are mostly rudder boats- not that I would consider that a disqualifier (One of my touring boats, a Thomasson Panthera- is a rudder boat.)