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Looking for first ‘expedition’ kayak

In rereading the posts above, I believe some of the boats mentioned have been used by kayak "celebrities" - you know, people who circumnavigate large land masses. Understand that 1) there might be factory modifications to their boats not available on "off-the-shelf" models and more importantly, 2) if something breaks, because of the publicity, the manufacturer is Johnny-on-the-Spot with replacement or repair. They don't have to worry about the reliability - if it breaks they'll be given a new one. And often their nights are spent at a prearranged campsite and catered by a support crew.

I'm not putting that down; we all paddle what we like to paddle - I'm only saying that just because a particular boat is used in a highly publicized event, that doesn't necessarily mean it's the boat you want, or that it will last for decades and hold up when you might be weeks away from any storefront.

Seat comfort can change over time too. When I first started. I'd get numbness in my legs - something to do with the pressure on the back of my legs and the seat edge. Over the years that has ceased to be a problem for me. I've probably found the seat/peddle setting where the angle of my legs from the seat to the peddles is just right - or just righter. In fact, on my last outing, I had set the seat distance on a boat I don't paddle as often to sort of an original "spec" setting. But I was having trouble getting in/out of the boat - more than usual. Once I moved the seat back a bit towards the rear bulkhead, giving my legs more room, I could easily exit the boat. But note that the boat (Mariner with a foam seat) had a seat I could shift forward or back.

The best cat's meow I saw was a custom foam seat. It seems, at one time, the Washington Kayak Club had a class where participants provided a block of foam and as a group, were instructed on how to carve out a seat custom shaped to their own ... physiology. I don't know if it involved sitting in something that created a mold they could use for sizing. I'm pretty sure the seat was created in pieces that were glued together. The result was something that fit the individual exactly (as long as they didn't gain/lose too much weight) and the front edge could be tapered as desired so there was no pressure on the hamstrings.
Huh, interesting. I imagined I would be babying whatever kayak I end up purchasing here on the west coast, but didn't think $4k+ kayaks would be so delicate.

I had some other more immediate purchasing needs come up this year so am yet to buy any hardshell kayak, but I'm now considering a P&H Valkyrie as those *seem* pretty bulletproof.

I'd add the Tiderace Pace Tour to your list if you're looking for bullet proof and a modern design. Their hardcore (carbon fiber) layup is very stiff and fairly light but I'm sure will handle our oyster and barnacle covered rocks for years.

Regarding babying a boat; the guys at tiderace have said that they consider getcoat to be a sacrificial layer; thats a mentality that's hard to consider when you paid a small fortune for a boat but really, what's a few scratches? It also shows me that they're not making a lightweight boat, they're building one to take the abuse a touring boat needs to have. Top that off with the fact they've settled on Nelo in Portugal to build their boats. Their state of the art factory and techs are known for building winning racing boats for olympic athletes; they're impeccably built! I bought mine through the US but I now see there's a Nelo Canada who appear to be a surf ski/racing centric distributor but I'd think should be able to order a tiderace boat.
None that I know of. I bought mine sight unseen based on the hope it'd fit well, which it does. I'd read pretty much everything on the net, I think the best stuff was mostly on Expedition Kayak's blog. If you get serious about it maybe you could have a look at mine, it's in Powell River though.
I bought mine sight unseen based on the hope it'd fit well, which it does.
:thumbsup: That's what I did too -with my Expedition Kayaks Aurora. 'Pushing the envelope' in a big way, but it worked out well for me, too.

The Rockpool Taran is a boat that's probably on @Biere a Terre's list, with a Canadian dealer on the East Coast. Similar type, but with small hatch openings.
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Hi, late to jump in, but we had something of the same quandary at first. My wife and I both bought Delta 17 models, reasoning that they were light, tough and easy to load and paddle. Never looked back, even after about 15 ocean expeditions. I finally decided I also wanted something more efficient (faster) and lighter, and bought the Epic 18x Sport. Now that's my go-to boat. Easy loading, big dry hatches, the world's best day hatch, accessible underway easily. Changed to a Redfish Kayak foam seat (they computer cut to fit exactly) and dropped the weight to about 40 pounds for an 18 foot boat. Love the carbon foot plate, which allows for plenty of hip drive, but still can get my knees under the coaming when wanted. I now have everything I ever desired! Just 2 boats!
Huh, interesting. I'll read up on the Tiderace Pace Tour 17 and see if there is anyone around here that might have one to demo.

The owners of www.kayakingskills.com on Saturna Island (Fred and Ruth) are becoming a Tiderace dealer. They’re getting their first shipment of new boats in January, if I’m not mistaken. I just checked with Fred and he confirmed a Pace Tour 17 is in this first shipment. Fred and Ruth are awesome people; their contact information is on their website. I retook my PC Level 1 Skills with them, and plan to do some rolling sessions and eventually my Level 2 with them as well.

From Victoria you can make a same day trip to Saturna (I’d suggest getting on the ferry as a walk on) and the kayak shop/dock is right at the terminal. If you end up buying one from them, just carry it onto the ferry deck. BC Ferries will likely let you leave it in the foot passenger terminal while you get your car from the parking lot. You can also do a same day trip from the mainland via early 6am throughfare from Tsawwassen to Victoria (maybe 7am at your own risk of missing the connection) then catch the 9:10am to Saturna. To get back to the mainland, there’s a late afternoon boat back to Tsawwassen. If you’re looking for a way to kill time until the ferry leaves, there’s a pub at the terminal, or Fred and Ruth run a cafe right there as well. Or better yet, hit me up for a paddle and I’ll meet you at the dock!
Yes, I’m already planning boat #2. But in my defence, it will be for my wife (yeah, that’s it…). ;)
My partner built her own one. It was to a new design, "Stand by the tape measure, stand on the scales, cut along the dotted line".
Its first time wet was a 9 day trip.

Yes, I did eventually build one to that design for myself, the narrow version.
My partner built her own one. It was to a new design, "Stand by the tape measure, stand on the scales, cut along the dotted line".
Its first time wet was a 9 day trip.

Yes, I did eventually build one to that design for myself, the narrow version.

I’d love to build my own cedar strip kayak designed to my specifications. One day, perhaps!
I’d love to build my own cedar strip kayak designed to my specifications. One day, perhaps!
We always use plywood. Faster to build and probably less worry about "dings". It is tough, second only to thick heavy plastic. Fairly easy to get the weight down to 20 kg or less.
Don't cover with fibreglass as that ups the weight and makes repairs (if ever needed) harder. Fibreglass cloth cut on the diagonal, 2-3 cm wide, for long strips along the chine and keel.
Do we hit rocks when out paddling? Usually or often, if poking / exploring, inshore.
What about the Seaward Tyee? It has lots of volume. Not the fastest boat but it also depends on fitness level.
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