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Long Distance Sea Kayak

sbourgoin

Where the paddle takes me
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
100
Location
Port Alberni, BC
In the process of planning an Inside Passage trip from Victoria to Skagway and looking at getting a new kayak to take on this trip. I currently paddle a 17' Delta (orange, which I absolutely love paddling), but wondering if there are any recommendations or suggestions on an alternative kayak to consider that's 17'10" to 19'. I've looked at the Seaward Ascente and Quest as well as P&H Cetus MV. I'm a 6'1" 200lbs paddler. Looking for a kayak that packs a little more, and is convenient to carry (if I travel solo) and has a comfy seat. There is a possibility that I will be doing this trip solo...if I can't find any adventurous paddling friends!

Any recommendations or suggestions?

Cheers,
Shawn
 
A friend of mine has a Cetus MV and I don't recall it being especially voluminous.
I'm planning on doing the Inside Passage in an 18' Stellar, though it's not exactly a big boat either, cargo-wise.

There's a Seaward called the Vision, I think, which absolutely swallows gear. Haven't paddled it but have heard from some who prefer it to the Quest.
 
I would think you’d be plenty happy doing the Inside Passage in your Delta 17. For your needs, a Cetus MV might be a step in the wrong direction: a heavier boat with less carrying capacity than what you already have. The Cetus’s supposedly superior performance in rough conditions wouldn’t be much of a factor, because the whole point of the Inside Passage is that you stay inside. North American boat for a North American trip.

Alex
 
If you are looking for a different kayak rather than a NEW kayak, you might contact JohnAbercrombie - two posts up - and ask him about a Mariner. The unmodified Mariner II has no hatches so you can slide gear/supplies from the cockpit all the way to the stern and bow (be sure to attach a tether line to the first bag) without hassling with drybags fitting through hatches.

If you day paddle - go out without any load - you'll want to add something for water displacement. I use a bow float bag because my Mariner has a rear hatch. Or I use a sea sock. My Mariner paddling partner just puts some empty, closed, dry bags in his. They hold enough air to provide some displacement (but I'd want something better).

However, on your intended trip, I don't imagine you'll be taking the boat out "empty" very often.
 
Others know this but I'm a big fan of my Wilderness Systems Tsunami 165 (16.5 feet). It's a plastic boat but I can paddle 4-5 knots in it all day even when loaded. I'm 5'11 and 210lbs and this boat has enough volume to float me high in the water. Tons of gear storage, and I regularly paddle it in rough chop and 2-3' waves without a skirt and the cockpit stays dry (I'd use a skirt on a trip like yours, but my point is that its deck height is such that it stays well above the water). And of course you can drag it over rocks all day and it'll be perfectly fine. :)
 
Telkwa, CD Solstice GTS or Nomad/Extreme, Seward Tyee or Vision - basically any big, ruddered gear hauler would fit the bill. My buddy who paddles an NDK Explorer HV is now looking for a higher volume North American boat because they pack more gear and more easily, which means less time spent on the beach every morning trying to fit gear in nooks and crannies. Having a rudder means less strain on your shoulders and more room in the back hatch (no skeg box getting in the way). Plus in my experience skegs need more attention in the field than rudders because they jam.

If I were looking, I’d go for a Telkwa because the chances of picking up a used boat is good and they are well made.

Or as @alexsidles said above, stick with your Delta. Unless there is a reason you see not to take it — in which case, please share your thoughts.

Cheers,
Andrew
 
Longer kayaks have better glide between strokes , the best gliding kayak I've seen was not surprisingly the Seda Glider at 19 feet long with little rocker and a rounded hull it was very smooth moving through the water and would cover long distances better than almost any other kayak in flattish water . The trade-off is stability in rougher water , the only way is to try one loaded to see how you like it .

I like the looks of the Telkwa, has a good reputation and looks like a good choice for a long trip in varied conditions
 
I managed to pick up a dirt cheap kevlar telkwa hv as a pack horse, but often wonder[ed] about the delta 18 as it seems to have good ckpt ergonomics, is widish thruout, and therefore seems to have quite a volume.
 
but often wonder[ed] about the delta 18
I had a Delta 18.5 Expedition for a while. Comfortable cockpit, well rigged, and had a massive storage capacity.

The thermoform hull did not have enough fore and aft strength and rigidity to support its length, IMO. The stiffener that Delta puts in that runs down the center line was just not up to the task. On a trip to Nuchatlitz I could actually feel the boat flexing under me in the swells - a very unsettling feeling! I sold the boat very shortly after that trip. If you carried the boat by the bow and stern when it was loaded, you'd see a pronounced sag in the hull. It was actually a bit scary - you wondered if the boat would was going to break in half.

Other than that little 'feature', it was a nice boat.
 
The thermoform hull did not have enough fore and aft strength and rigidity to support its length, IMO. .......... It was actually a bit scary - you wondered if the boat .. was going to break in half.
I've heard of a few cases of thermofoam (Delta) kayaks cracking after slight impacts or even a person sitting on the back deck. I also heard that SKILS (instruction trips) now won't allow thermofoam boats on their trips. Whether this is a symptom of plastic aging, or just a property of the material isn't clear, from what I have read and heard.
Sometimes a heavy glass boat is better. Friends who use glass Wilderness boats (Tempest 165/175?) for tripping met a paddler in a lighter boat on the Central BC coast this summer. They were dragging their boats up on to the 'beach'; he was unpacking his boat while it was still floating.
 
I'm AM's buddy thinking of buying a bigger boat. I love my NDK Explorer but it really is too small for weeks-long trips. I'd like to take a few more comfort items (like a small chair, and one day, perhaps in my 70s [now 63], a cot) and I'm getting old enough to think that the increased efficiency of a rudder, and the loss of the skeg box, ought to be enough for me to lose my snobbish approach to North American craft!

We actually have a Telkwa in the family boat stable but its owner, the family treasurer, has put the kibosh on me taking it over and outfitting it as necessary.

I have narrowed down my search to the following ruddered boats:

Nimbus Telkwa
CD Expedition/Nomad (the same boat, Nomad newer, I believe)
CD Extreme
Seaward Quest/Quest X3
Looksha Elite

I did consider the Tahe Wind 585. It has a rudder but also a skeg (so wasted space with the skeg box) and an owner told me that there are considerable quality control issues to consider with the Tahe.

I'd be interested to learn others' thoughts.

In addition, a couple of questions:

1. Although I put down a reasonable number of miles on paddling days - 15-20 NM is not uncommon, longer distances less so nowadays - I do also like weaving between rocks and along rock faces. I'm perfectly happy edging, using a bow rudder, etc, but is a good steep edge enough to overcome the issue of the great length of boats like the Quest? The Telkwa, for example, has lots of rocker. Real life experience reports welcome!

2. How easy is it to retrofit gas pedal rudder controls to boats like the Telkwa? Nimbus's sliding rudder controls are an absolute no-no for me.

As a final aside for the OP, sbourgoin, I'll be swapping out the seat if I go for the Telkwa or any other boat with a hopelessly (for me) uncomfortable seat. I'd carve the seat out of a minicell block and use the same material to build in side supports that I can edge against.
 
2. How easy is it to retrofit gas pedal rudder controls to boats like the Telkwa? Nimbus's sliding rudder controls are an absolute no-no for me.
Easy, usually.
If your legs are long enough that you don't have a huge amount of 'storage space' between the pedal location and the bulkhead, you could consider installing a BigFoot pedal setup. IMO it's much superior to the 'gas pedal' style, since you can move your feet to the centerline and still retain a solid support and rudder control.
 
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Hey @Comoxpaddler nice to see you here! You know my thoughts (I think), but I'll put them here in case anyone else has a comment. I have been interested in the Looksha Elite for a looooong time -- ever since it came out. It seemed to me to be a true do-it-all boat: good rocker for turning, rudder for distance, a decent speed, and great volume for packing. If I were not moving toward canoeing as my main paddling activity, I would buy a second-hand Looksha Elite in a heartbeat.

Failing that, the Telkwa ticks pretty much the same boxes. It's just a matter of which size to choose.

As I age I don't care about surfing anymore, but having a boat that responds elegantly to a bow draw is always an attraction.

Cheers,
Andrew
 
Thanks, John. I found this webpage about BigFoot and it certainly is very interesting. Thanks for the tip.


If I end up with the SmartTrack system (quite likely judging by the boats I am looking at) then BigFoot would definitely be where I would go if SmartTrack does not suit me. I have had problems in the past with the Yakima foot pegs being so small that the force transmitted to my metatarsal heads was so great that they became bruised and painful. Had to get Gabriela at Wavedancer Premium Small Boat Repairs in Courtenay to retrofit bigger surfaces for my feet. The BigFoot video (well worth a watch) specifically mentions the fact that they have a much larger area to push against.

Thanks, too, Andrew. I'm hoping to paddle a Looksha Elite next weekend. It's significantly narrower than the Telkwa which is definitely in its favour - 22 inches (the same as my Explorer) instead of 24 3/8 inches.
 
Thanks, John. I found this webpage about BigFoot and it certainly is very interesting. Thanks for the tip.
You're welcome. I have the BigFoot in my EK Aurora and also in my Mariner Max which I sacreligiously 'converted' to a rudder boat when I did a bit of kayak sailing a few years ago. I installed a BigFoot in a friend's Telkwa, and also in a Nimbus Solander.
 
So, I ended up buying a new-to-me Looksha Elite from a friend. In great nick. Took it our for a four day paddle the weekend before last; a circumnavigation of Read and Cortes Islands. Great paddle, made even more exciting by coming across a paddler, Clara, whom I knew I recognised but could not place. Do you work in the Comox Valley? No. Paddled at Surge Narrows? No. I pondered this a while as I put up my tent. Something clicked. "I'm going to ask you a question and I'll either be spot on or you'll think I'm mad." A little smile resulted. "Are you an Olympian?" "Yes." Clara Hughes, Olympic cyclist and speed skater. What a lovely person.

To the Elite. The luxury of having big oval hatches! The space! Compared to my NDK Explorer, of course.

It may take a little while to get used to paddling a boat with a rudder, however. With the rudder down I seemed to completely forget that edging a boat is a thing and it may be this that led to a very nasty bout of Intersection Syndrome which I have not suffered since I owned my Telkwa over 15 years ago (also a ruddered boat, of course). My impression is that perhaps rudders should be seen more as very rearward positioned skews with the ability to lightly tweak direction and that large directional changes should be brought about by proper boat handling not a combination of aggressive ruddering and even more aggressive hauling on the blade! I have learned my lesson.


The Elite is fast, too. Probably 10-15% faster than my Explorer for the effort put in.
 
With the rudder down I seemed to completely forget that edging a boat is a thing and it may be this that led to a very nasty bout of Intersection Syndrome which I have not suffered since I owned my Telkwa over 15 years ago (also a ruddered boat, of course).
Oh no! That sound's nasty (even the sound of the word crepitus makes my skin crawl). I hope the prognosis looks good!

Cheers,
Andrew
 
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