Kayak suggestions for petite women

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by Raj, Jun 28, 2019.

  1. jamonte

    jamonte Paddler

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    That's a good video by Brian Shulz. I remember reading on his blog about the difficulties he encountered while trying to scale the F1, but I never saw that video.

    Another confounding variable is how kayak manufacturers decide to name their boats. For example, the Chatham 16 debuted to very favorable reviews and created quite a bit of positive buzz for Necky. So they apparently decided to keep naming boats "Chatham" even though the new boats (like the Chatham 17) were not designed to do the same thing as the original. (The Chatham 16 is more of play boat while the 17 is more of a touring boat.) I'm sure one could point to several design features that both boats share, but the form and function of the boats is dissimilar enough that those two boats really should have had separate names, IMO. That said, I'm neither a kayak designer nor a manufacturer nor a retailer, so take my opinion with less than the usual grain of salt.
     
  2. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    Sorry for the thread diversion, but I got caught up in your Chatham comments . . . I can certainly see the form relationships between them all, but slightly different dimensional and rocker characteristics can be seen as well:
    ChathamComparisons.jpg
     
  3. jamonte

    jamonte Paddler

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    Hey Mick, thanks for posting those photos and specs. To my untrained eye, the Chatham 17 and 18 are more similar in design than the 16, which was the original, of course. But I am actually more amazed by the specs: a 16 foot 5 inch boat with a 22 inch beam is not going to perform even remotely similar to a 17 foot 9 inch boat with a 20 inch beam, so this was clearly not a case where a boat was scaled up to fit larger paddlers. Instead, it seems an attempt was made to carry certain design features from a successful 16-foot play boat up to a pair of 17 foot touring boats. Did they succeed? I don't know. Should these boats share the same name as the original even though they are so dissimilar? I vote no, but my vote don't count.

    The tweaks Brian Shulz attempted to make to the F1 were miniscule by comparison to these changes, and yet he found that even a minor change in design had a major effect on the boat's performance. It really is miraculous that the Broze Bros. were able to conceive and build the Coaster back in the day. I would love to try one out sometime.
     
  4. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    [I just put the above image together based on images around the web and using a ruler to modify them to get the correct relative sizes]
    It's certainly an issue for digital boat designers - and hand drawing too of course but way harder. What do you do when you sit down on the keyboard and have a generic boat form and then just narrow it and take out a little rocker and make it longer [- they're almost instant changes]? You essentially have done nothing much, but you have something that has many of the identical aesthetic relationships and yet had differing hydrostatic and dynamic relationships. What do you do?
    Personally, I kind of like knowing the form relationships - in converse to many companies that essentially have differing sizes of the same boat and yet call them all different names and designs where really it's just not much more than form manipulation. [no names mentioned to protect my lack of innocence]

    So here's an example of simple form manipulation with major differences. . . I designed a joke 4' long kayak cargo pod in the shape of a seal:
    sealpup-sm.jpg
    and then as a further joke, I quite quickly [less than an hour for the basic idea] lengthened, widened and made shallower a generic copy of this drawing to make a 10' long stupid SOT. . .
    sealpup-SOTsm.jpg
    . . . the magic of digital modelling.

    **

    anyway back on topic: I've heard good things about the eliza and I also think that Sterling's Progression is a smaller revision of the Reflection - and that might be in the running too.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
  5. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    I think that quite a few cycles of prototype testing resulted in that Coaster 'miracle'. :)
    BTW, from what I've seen the F1 is very 'Coaster-like' but I think it's difficult to replicate the concave sections at the stern of the Coaster in a SOF boat.
    F1.JPG
    q-mini-IMG_0566.JPG
    q-mini-IMG_0570.JPG
    Before I owned a Coaster, I tried to make a 'copy' in wood strip, using the lines from SeaKayaker magazine. It was close, but even I could notice the performance differences once I had 'the real thing'. I learned later that SeaKayaker deliberately didn't publish very accurate lines!
    DSCN1321.JPG
     
  6. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    stagger likes this.
  7. stagger

    stagger Paddler

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    WHAT! That should be in a museum! Serial #2; it’s a piece of history.

    (But a lot more fun to paddle than to look at - the coaster is just a perfect boat)
     
  8. designer

    designer Paddler

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    The Craigslist ad gives a link to a YouTube video of a "cowboy" re-entry. But it isn't using a Mariner. Also the kayaker starts the mount from the side instead of from the back. I'm mentioning this because it's my experience that the high volume, gear carrying Mariners, like the XL, especially empty, ride higher in the water. I have much more success with the heel hook method. In the Video, the person doesn't even use a paddle float for the initial mounting on the side.

    In one class, the instructor had me try a cowboy starting from the back - for the entertainment of the other students. But then acknowledged that not all maneuvers work with all boats. In the video mentioned in the ad, the rear deck is about 3 inches off the water compared to what feels like 2 feet for the Mariner. When I did get on the back of the Mariner, before I was "bucked off" a few seconds later, the bow was pointing up at about a 60 degree angle. Apparently, from the response I could hear, great fun to watch. :)

    Make sure you try any method with your specific kayak before you really need it.
     
  9. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    A cowboy re-entry doesn't use a paddlefloat.
    I was taught the same technique shown in that video.



    For each boat and paddler weight, there's a 'sweet spot' location where it's easiest for a fit swimmer to get on to the back deck from the side (never over the stern). The usual 'missing link' is that the swimmer may fail to get her body horizontal before pushing down on the deck and 'swimming across'. Often the swimmer tries to haul herself on to the back deck from a vertical position, pulling the boat over.
    Getting a skilled instructor makes all this easier - I learned at BodyBoatBlade with Shauna and Leon.
    I've done a cowboy (a.k.a. 'scramble') re-entry many times into my Coaster and also my Express. The tricky part is keeping my balance if the boat is full of water - the sooner I can drop my butt into the seat, using my paddle to scull, the better.
    Roger Schumann shows how:

    Unlike Mr Schumann, I've never managed to dump the water from the boat very effectively - gotta work on that one-arm military press weight-lifting!
    Paddlefloat self-rescue ('traditional' or heel hook) is a different thing altogether.
     
  10. designer

    designer Paddler

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    I'm getting a little far afield from the original thread, but in those famous words my Anthony Hopkins in The Edge, "What one man can do, another can do." Knowing that John has done successful cowboy entries with his Express I have yet another goal. I now recall starting from the side instead of the stern, but I was so far back, when I sat up, it might have been behind the rear hatch (my Express has a rear bulkhead).

    Interesting one arm lift. I think when I tried that I just pushed myself under the water. But most boats, with front and rear bulkheads, don't hold as much water. Note the scull for stability/support while putting feet in.

    The take away is practice the reentry technique with your boat (preferably loaded and empty) in real water - not just a swimming pool - before you actually need to use it.
     
    JohnAbercrombie likes this.
  11. Jasper

    Jasper Paddler

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    I practice cowboy scrambles on my Express somewhat regularly. I like to start from the side, a little further back then I would on your typical brit-boat to make up for the increased stern volume. Just feel for the place where you can push the deck down far enough to swim on top of it.
    As for balance, I like to keep my paddle at 90 degree either under my forearms or under my body with one blade submerged flat in the water (yes, that means etching the boat over a bit) this slows the roll moment down so much that balance becomes a virtual non-issue.
     
  12. Mac50L

    Mac50L Paddler

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    Cowboy scrambles - having an athletic, gymnastic daughter who tried numerous times to do that in dead calm conditions and failed, I'd suggest there are better ways. Remember when you fall in it is likely to be blowing hard and probably rough as well.

    For a solo rescue I do the lunge. A hand on each side of the cockpit, kick really hard to be horizontal and lunge across the cockpit, rotating as I go so that I end up sitting on the seat with legs in the water. That means as low as possible and as stable as possible.

    At this point, either lift a leg in one at a time or rig a paddle float and then rotate legs into the cockpit. All the time the paddle can be through the decklines aft of the cockpit.

    And yes, I used to do it with a high sided kayak (since sold).

    NOTE - it needs to be practised as it is possible to lunge too hard, too far and go over the other side.
     
  13. designer

    designer Paddler

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    >NOTE - it needs to be practised as it is possible to lunge too hard, too far and go over the other side.

    Now THAT would be an interesting video. Maybe we should move this to the Safety forum so others interested in rescues can enjoy the discussion. I know; I started it. "Mea Culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa ...
     
  14. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    A new thread would be good. What Mac50L describes is a lot like the surf ski remount (but not so easy!). Something to practice/try for sure.
     
  15. Raj

    Raj Paddler

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    Ha. Agreed. For the sake of the thread title, let's keep it on course for petite women looking for sea kayaks - but it's nice to see all the experience and input, as long as it's on-topic ;)
     
  16. Mac50L

    Mac50L Paddler

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    New thread? "Not my fault." he says throwing his hands in the air. YES, to new thread to, hopefully be "find-able" (you like that word?). The lunge and twist-as-you-go makes it an "all-in-one" move.

    I'll be closer to 80 years old next year when we will be paddling in much warmer waters so I'll try it then and maybe report ... "Now what was it I was going to report on?"
     
  17. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    If you post more info about your searches and kayak tryouts, we might not get distracted so easily!!
    :)
     
  18. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Do you think the kayak makes a difference for the 'lunge' entry?
    The Mac kayak is 24.5" wide and looks to be fairly low in the water.
    And is that re-entry easier in a loaded boat (more inertia)?
     
  19. Raj

    Raj Paddler

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    For all those A.D.D. posters :rolleyes: and in the interest of getting this posting back on topic, here are our findings from looking for the best somewhat playful (when empty) but 4 day overnighter sea kayak for a slim build, 120 lbs, 5'6"
    1. Sterling Illusion -- 16' 10" (would be ideal if affordability wasn't an obstacle)
    2. Valley Sea Sirona 15-10 -- 15' 10" (best overall affordable solution but hard to find a used one)
    3. Valley Sea Avocet LV (Kev) -- 15' 11" (capacity and waterline arguably too low)
    4. Zegul Arrow Play LV -- 16' 8" -- 16' 8" (untested)
    5. Boreal Design Baffin C1 (Kev) -- 16' 6" (no used ones available so far)
    Illusion:
    [​IMG]

    Sirona:
    [​IMG]

    Avocet:
    [​IMG]

    Zegul Arrow:
    [​IMG]

    Baffin C1:
    [​IMG]



    Please feel free to offer your input and suggestions on these boats if you have or had one. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
  20. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Which boats have you paddled or looked at 'in person', from the boats available locally? (there have been quite a few..)?
    For example a carbon Avocet LV with a Werner paddle was sold recently in Victoria.

    Or is this still a preliminary 'internet search'?

    It seem that you are missing an excellent paddling summer, if you haven't gotten a boat yet.