Kayak VS Pedal Catamaran

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by Dale Prohaska, Aug 26, 2017.

  1. Dale Prohaska

    Dale Prohaska New Member

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    I am considering the purchase of a Seacycle (a pedal catamaran found at sea-cycle.com) . I have owned a Seaward kayak in the past and enjoyed it. Now I spend the summer months on the north coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia and tempted with a kayak purchase again. However, I've discovered the Seacycle and would like to get input on whether the advantages over a double kayak out weigh the disadvantages. I'm in a peculiar situation where the wife wants to be included so a double is needed but she often does NOT want to paddle putting me in a double alone. The Seacycle can easily be setup for one or two peddlers. A Seacycle is polyethylene and costs about the same as a fiberglass double. First the disadvantages to the Seacycle: the drive mechanism is mechanical (chain, gears, bearings, etc.) so more maintenance and possibility of mechanical breakdown, far deeper draft, greater wind resistance, heavy (pontoons weigh 41 lbs each and total weight is 175 lbs), must be transported in pieces (although assembly is without tools and takes about 15 minutes). Advantages: very stable, can move around (legs not locked inside a kayak), easily converted for one or two, cruise at 10 mph, plenty of room for camping gear (although any gear adds wind resistance), handles can be added to drive mechanism making it a whole body exercise, can easily pedal and video or photograph at the same time. I see the biggest disadvantage being the drive unit (mechanical mechanism) and perhaps the polyethylene construction. Any comments would be appreciated.
     
  2. AM

    AM Paddler

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    As I age, I value light weight more and more. Carrying and cartopping boats is a big part of the sport, so I find that I use a light boat more than a heavy one. I don't know if that rings true for you, but 175 strikes me as beyond the limit of easy portability. Not that a double kayak is an easy carry...

    Cheers,
    Andrew
     
  3. Dale Prohaska

    Dale Prohaska New Member

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    I agree Andrew, so weight is a negative once assembled. It will have to be "wheeled" around when assembled. On the other hand, I don't know of any double which weighs less than 41 lbs, the heaviest piece of the catamaran. I appreciate your comments. Your comment also points out the bulkiness of a catamaran compared to a double. Also, you carry the double to the water and it's ready to go, the catamaran must be assembled.

    Thanks again.
    Dale
     
  4. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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  5. Dale Prohaska

    Dale Prohaska New Member

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    Thank you for the reminder. I know of the mirage drive but originally discounted it because of the weight of the boat and the report that it would do basically the same speed as a kayak. However, I've came across an older report from a boater who has owned two Seacycles saying that the Seacycle company has over reported the cruise speed. His cruise speed was only 4 - 6 mph making it the same as a kayak. Do you have experience with the Hobie? My first questions would be: can a double Hobie be used efficiently by a single rider, does it have room for camping gear, it is basically a "sit-on-top" kayak which means getting wet in rough conditions, how does it handle in rough water? I see you promote the "wild west coast of British Columbia". We have spent this summer in Telegraph Cove and expect to spend next summer in TC also. Hence the need for a boat. Fifteen years ago when we owned Seaward kayaks we paddled a week into Desolation Sound. Our biggest memory of that trip was paddling with thousands of jellyfish beneath us. I would love to experience that again. Another memory was the inability to find a landing spot which would NOT scratch the bottom of our boats. Also, this was mid-September, still a very popular time for kayaks so difficult to find a camping location. Anything you have to say about the Hobie would be appreciated.
     
  6. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    I don't know that much about it except that the main application seems to be in the more simple [conceptually and maybe for landings/pull outs] single hull platform - and single hull 'could' be more easily utilized for trip loading. I also see that the mechanism can be readily pulled out of the slot to enable at shore landing and loading.
    I would imagine that any cycle approach could be used by either party singly with reasonable effect with the typically utilized rudder.
    bcmarinetrails - I could care less for the 'promotion' side [it's important part, though], but am one of the volunteer directors from a group of paddling clubs to somehow get government protection for kayak camping locations throughout all coastlines of BC. We have been getting some success, but the website at bcmarinetrails.org has specific location, landing information, photographs[mostly] of a lot of sites that may inform you about landing charactistics of sites in areas of your interest. If you join, you support the clause and get the benefit of gps filedownload all sites in areas of interest.
    The scratching worry is interesting: I know some who care the same and still go to most sites but take great care disembarking, often preattaching the cart before landing and roll up or at least have the hull separated from rocks. The other approach is mother ship or staying in one known place and paddling different directions each day - maybe one or two campouts if a new locati0n is found to your satisfaction.
    There's also a 'mapping' of the areas that often have more challenging conditions, but really the most important safety tool is between your ears: the water here is cold and if dumping is of imminent concern, you must have means to minimize the almost immediate threat to your and your partner's life. The 'means' include 1) planning - guides or partners, paddling close to shore in known protected areas, etc. 2) gear - pfd, immersion protection, etc 3) skill - paddling skill, bracing skill, rescue skills.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2017
  7. Dale Prohaska

    Dale Prohaska New Member

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    Thanks for all the information. Your mention of the Hobie has caused me to take a second look. Fifteen years ago I spent a lot of time in rough water and swimming pools learning to control my Seaward including self rescue. However, I never felt "ONE" with the boat which is essential (IMHO) to real control. Now I'm 70 years old, not as strong, less limber so not willing to try a sea kayak again.
     
  8. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

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    Didn't someone use an out of the box sailing Hobie in the first Race to Alaska? I don;t think he finished, but did make it quite far. That is pushing boats to the limit, so

    A Hobie is big and wide, and wouldn't handle waves as well as a touring kayak. But I would much rather be on a Hobie than one of those Seacycles, as you would be sitting much lower in the Hobie.
     
  9. Dale Prohaska

    Dale Prohaska New Member

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    I agree. So answer me this: I have found an Eddyline double which is only 18' long, my Seaward was 18.5' long so I'm thinking the Eddyline could be handled by one paddler with ballast and a cockpit cover in the front. What do you think?
     
  10. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    It sounds reasonable possible with ballast. I remember Dan Millsip mentioning that he often paddled his pygmy double with the passenger resting. I think ballast in the other cockpit is essential as I remember solo paddling a long empty front cockpit double in a crosswind [with the rudder down] with just about no effect in turning with rudder up or down [very embarrassing].

    However what about this humourous [and possibly intriguing] solution to the issue:


    Since each one only weights 22 lbs [10 kilos], you buy three and attach them with hinges all in row with pin hinges. The middle one is for gear and the two at each end are for you and yr wife [or any orientation]. If you wish to go out solo, just take one only! Or for easy unpacked paddling, just use two. You're low down in the water, so the stability will be reasonable comparable, and they are probably quite cheap, easy to repair and upgrade and also looks like sorta a hoot, too!! And all three together weigh less than half of the other approaches being contemplated . . .
     
  11. scott_f

    scott_f Paddler

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    I like to look at worst case scenarios. At least with the Hobie it can be legitimately paddled if the pedal thing breaks.
     
  12. Dale Prohaska

    Dale Prohaska New Member

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    Yes, I agree! It's the mechanical drive on both the Seacycle and Hobie Mirage which can be the biggest source of problems.
     
  13. Roy222

    Roy222 Paddler

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    Dale have you looked at an out rigger on a kayak - maybe add a leg/foot powered drive like discussed above, or a sail could also be used.
    Speed on flat water might not translate waves or rough water.
    It is hard to beat sitting low in a kayak in the rough stuf.

    Roy
     
  14. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    It's an interesting set of issues:
    -Pedal drives are individually expensive as heck: 1,000 bucks and up. But if well designed, the propellor type married to the large leg muscles could be the best match of power to propulsion.
    [The fin type also has the power of the leg muscles but must lose efficiency with startup and stopup at the beginning and end of each stroke.]
    -The rotating pedal axis or pedal location in all types seems to be very high from the water surface necessitating a high body position if the torso is to be centred above the feet to some degree - which I believe is the most comfortable and ergonomic attitude. This means instability for the boat unless much more significant steps are taken in comparison to a kayak or canoe: width or outriggers.
    -Next, as the pedal drives typically penetrate thru a doubled hull envelope [which is typically of thermoplastic], the hulls are very heavy.
    - and finally, I think there are only two candidates for tandem pedal drives that you can buy. [tandem does mean redundancy if one breaks down] the hobie and seacycle. I think seacycle drive and hull needs a little more R&D, so
    I'd probably go hobie.

    But it does mean that there's scope out there: for a low positioned pedaller who can utilize a compact and light single skin hull that still gives relatively good stability. I think ultimate pedalling efficiency could be of slightly lesser concern to get the overall package.

    The other approach is to ask if your wife or yourself could be persuaded into a good [for your requirements] canoe-type vessel. Say one that could be rowed [by 1 or 2] as well as paddled if desired - would that be of interest?
     
  15. Forrest Henry

    Forrest Henry New Member

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    Have you considered a WaveWalk 700R? Very stable, no back strain and can be paddled by 1 or 2 persons. I've had one for about a year.

    Forrest
     
  16. Forrest Henry

    Forrest Henry New Member

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