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New and Confused

Been touring the country and camping by motorcycle for years. Just sold the bike and will be moving aboard a sail boat (as in living aboard) very soon.

I got the kayak bug as an extension of the sail boat bug.

About me:
215 lbs
ALWAYS have my companion with me. a 6lb Yorkie. (Yes, she rode on the bike with me too)

Where I'll kayak:
Until I move aboard, most of my kayaking will be on a lake, lazy rivers or inlets/bays. I may even camp off of it too in the North East.

Once I am aboard, I'll be using the kayak to visit shore, explore inlets, enjoy the water, but also in the North East for the next 5 years before I head south to warmer waters.

As mentioned earlier, I will always have my dog with me.

So while I'd be experiencing calm water for now, I can anticipate having to break through some small surf to get ashore. If its really rough surf, I can always take the dink, but when possible, I'd like to use the kayak over a dink.

Last bit of info:
I'd like to have the option to take someone out with me, but I won't always have someone so I would like to avoid having to carry two kayaks aboard.

OK, so this is what I have learned and wondering if I am right.

Sit-On-Top kayaks are best for surfing, warm waters, stable and slow.

Sit-In-Kayaks are fast, have a lot of storage, but can swamp easy in surf without being sealed in (which my dog would not appreciate)

So if I am correct there, is the Sit on Top my best bet and can I assume that while I may not win a race, I can paddle a tandem rather easily and dry bags (I have them now, used them on the bike) will make it able to be used for camping or carrying provisions aboard once on the boat.

Some that have sparked my interest are:

Ocean Kayak Malibu 2 (or 2 XL)
Ocean Kayak Cabo Tandem (no longer sold in the US)
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 130T
Hobie Odyssey Tandem
Hobie Mirage Outfitter
Hobie Mirage Oasis


  • Are you aware that ocean temperatures
    in Maine are never much above 55? How will your dog handle being wet with splash of that temperature?

    We see way more SINKs here for a reason than SOT's. Not sure if you are getting up this way..

    The main issue is the dog.. Some ride fine sealed up, sounds like yours does not.

    Don't forget the CFD.

    I am not saying you cannot use a SOT, but you will need a wetsuit at the very least and your dog a wetsuit too. You are paddling. Your little guy is going to have trouble staying warm. A 6 lb dog doesn't have much reserve. I have seen a dog wetsuit once.
  • I would think the ocean impractical
    Inland lakes, sure, when it's warm enough. Something else to consider is how a SINK actually can keep you warmer.
  • tour
    Just be very careful of the three hour tour.
  • water temp and clothing
    You can assume you will be wet from head to toe on a SOT landing in surf and dress appropriately. I doubt your dog would be very happy landing or paddling out through any sort of surf. Even a small wave breaking on you feels like you got punched in the chest. Your 6 lb dog will be swept off the boat fairly quickly with any size wave.
    Why not get a dinghy that rows well? Seems way more practical and your dog won't hate it so much.
  • he's already got the dink
    I am not sure how the sailboat exactly fits into getting near lakes to use a kayak..where a SOT would be fine..(actually probably nicer!)

    Most liveaboards that I have seen require a trailer and when there is a keel a tractor and specialized trailer.

    Yesterday in our kayaks we watched a crane step a mast then the boat was slid off its trailer with jacks..about forty five foot boat.

    I wondered how many kayaks that launch service would have bought.
  • My thoughts:
    In Florida your best bet would be a SOT.
    As one who paddles there all winter long, from what I can see ninty percent of the sailboaters and power boaters just have SOT's

    Wouldn't you be dropping anchor in a protected harbor, or the ICW where you don't have to worry about making a surf landing?

    If it was me I would chose a SOT, just because getting on and off one from a boat is so easy, while it is a bear trying to get on and off a SINK from a boat.

    Up north use your dinghy in the winter, and a SOT in the summer.

    Jack L
  • dog
    The elephant in the room seems to be the 6# dog.
  • If you used to bike on a beemer
    you should get a kayak with sponsons.
  • yes every little dog I know
    thinks it is a BIG dog.. and sometimes it is!
  • I have no idea what a little rowing dory
    would cost, but it would be nice to row around with in Maine with your dog. You can camp on many islands using it and a mooring system.

    Not sure what your dink is..but seen enough of them for transferring from moored boat to dock to be sure they would be tiring over the long haul.

    If I were you I would get the SOT for warm and a nice rowing boat for cold water.
  • Point 65 modular kayaks
    compact in pieces. single, tandem, both SINK and SOT now available. I have never paddled one, but it seems like it might be worth looking at for your situation.
  • even more confused :D
    OK, so that helped clear things up, LOL

    As for the boat...yes I have heard that launching from a boat is difficult and many use SOT.

    Typically when you anchor, you may be in a protected bay, but not always. The dink would be my grocery getter and if the surf was real rough, but the kayak would be like the convertible you take out on nice days.

    I would not imagine running through rough surf with it...not with my girl, but swells exist regardless.

    So yes, the tough part is the dog. SINKs will require her to be inside at least in rough water and I just can't imagine that will be fun for her. Would make me think of the people in a barrel going over he falls. I'd have her tethered to me just in case of rough water or a slip.

    Whats a CFD though? While she does not have a wetsuit, she does have a life jacket.

    Let's focus on something else though for a second.

    Tandem operated solo.

    What are the drawbacks of a tandem operated solo. Do all tandems have the ability to use a center seat to accommodate a solo? Seems this option exists more on the SOT and not on the SINK

    Is it just me or does the acronym SINK make others laugh too?
  • funny but dories are the go to row boats
    for rough surf in Maine and the Maritimes. A CFD is a doggy lifejacket.

    Dinks are for getting from your moored sailboat to the docks. Its funny seeing how many people they can hold in calm water. I watched four people get from moored boat two hundred feet to dock.. albeit not speedily in a dinghy in New Harbor ME yesterday. They had about four inches freeboard..
  • The Ferrari solution
    OK, just to be a pain in the a$$, I suggest you spend all your free cash on a Placid Boatworks canoe, which are really more like deckless kayaks. The Rapidfire or a Spitfire13 would really do the job, with plenty of room for a little dog to run around while you paddle. Sure, it's a couple of mortgage payments, but they're just so dang cool, and vary efficient, just don't scratch them on a rocky beach....
  • Placid Boatworks
    Did you know Placid Boatworks is a local company to me?
  • Options
    Skua ARX

    Look at the Kaskazi Skua ARX or maybe the CD Zone. Both performance SOT models that offer several options that might work for you. Granted, they are proud of those boats.

    The ARX is one of the coolest SOTs in the world and has the option to add a coaming and thigh braces which would be warmer and allow you to roll. The Zone has a tankwell where the dog might be just behind you. In cold weather, additional gear would be needed for safety and comfort -- probably a full drysuit for you.

  • um.. the cold dog roll?
    -- Last Updated: May-30-13 2:57 PM EST --

    I realize you can just fish the doggie out.. but when you mention rolling the yak..how do you teach a dog to stay put?

    RapidFire works well enough assuming conditions are not breaking surf.. so far I have had mine on Lake Superior for eight days.. and paddled around the Gulf of Maine a bit..for example.. Stonington to Isle Au Haut. You do have to pick your days more carefully.

    Real ST you might check with Joe if he has any trade ins. I do know the folks at PBW are mighty busy this spring post winter fire.

  • Ah ha
    I didn't know - have you tried these boats?

    I'm afraid if I drive all the way up to Lake Placid there's a 95% chance I'll come back with a PBW of some sort, and then have to make some hard choices about what to let go from the fleet to make room....
  • sailed for 40 years
    -- Last Updated: May-31-13 3:23 PM EST --

    averaged 90 days a year on the water for several decades. Can't recall ever seeing anyone landing a dink in surf. I had a RIB for the last 6 years, and that's about as seaworthy a boat as you'd find, and even that didn't go in breaking surf. Inflatables are way more stable, but will get chewed up by the shore, and they're expensive. A rigid dinghy lacks the handling ability to land in surf, though as a kid I had a plastic double hulled dinghy that did alright. Can't remember the brand, long defunct I believe.
    Not sure how big your sailboat is, but personally, I'd go with a dory as a good "recreation/transportational" combo. Way easier backing into the beach with a pair of oars and a double ended hull or wineglass transom.
    I packed a 15' canoe on my cabin top and surfed that several times, but not out of neccesity or any desire to stay dry. It also made a good "anchorage recreational vehicle", carried groceries easily.

  • Historical Note
    On the Pacific Coast during the age of sail, several ports had hired Hawaiians, who would row the tender boats in through the surf, especially for the Brits who did not know how to swim. San Diego had a famous crew of Hawaiians who were excellent at surf landings. Look at Two Years Before the Mast for a description of life on a sailing vessel off the California coast.

    Personally I would go with a Sit on Top like an old Ocean Kayak Malibu II, heavy and slow, but very seaworthy. Most boats on sailboats on the West Coast all the way up into Canada are sit on tops.
  • the're better heated
    with a side of wasabi.
  • no longer confused
    Well to everyone that suggested I try them out (a few here and a few of my close friends that are also kayakers) THANK YOU!

    So here is what I did.

    There isn't too many places around here other than some REI or EMS type places and some other Outfiters that are nowhere near water, but my friend in Rochester mentioned there are a bunch up there. So up to Rochester, NY I went.

    Day 1: Bay Creek Paddling Center.
    I Rented 2 Sit In kayaks Bay Creek Paddling Center with my friend and we went out into the bay and tried it. I loved it! We were out for 4 hours. In that short time, I learned what you mean by tracking, I felt the effects of Weather Helm in this kayak big time. It was bear to paddle. These guys were so nice, but they didn't have any of the Sit On Tops I wanted to try.

    I found another place Oak Orchard Canoe and Kayak (http://oakorchardcanoe.com/) across the street. They had a much bigger selection and also carried sit on tops as well as sinks.

    Well I have to tell you, the Manager there - Michael. Two seconds with this guy and I never wanted to go back in there, but luckily I got to meet Patrick (another manager there) and Patrick is the reason I returned the next day.

    Day 2: Oak Orchard Canoe and Kayak - Rochester
    To my horror, Patrick was off, Rude Michael was still there and I was ready to leave when I met Lou...Lou would spend the next two days and over 12 hours with me.

    Lou was as patient and knowledgeable as Patrick. I told him what I wanted to do and one by one, we went through each kayak. Anything that seemed like it would work, he carried down to the bay and let me launch it. That day I sat in over a half dozen kayaks and took out 4 for extensive test paddling. All the time, he was educating me as I was providing him feedback as to what I liked and what I didn't about each kayak. (Note, I later heard Michale laced into Lou for providing me with exceptional service)

    Day 3: I returned to Oak Orchard with plans to try extensively, two kayaks I was most interested in. One being a Sit in and the other a Sit on Top. But when I got there I started to discuss some questions I thought of overnight which some of you mentioned here...Roll Over.
    While I can learn and understand what is happening, my dog could not. I began to think that I may be better off sacrificing speed and dryness for stability and ease of re boarding a knock off in the ocean. Lou confirmed my fear as before this I had no idea the process of either bailing out a sit in or how dangerous it could be for her.

    That led Lou to have me reconsider length. We had previously confirmed that 14' was the right length for me, but now he asked if I could manage with bigger. In agreeing to explore this, Lou had three suggestions. The Wilderness Tarpon 140 (the only boat he did not have on site, but I tried a 120) , An Ocean Kayak Trident 13 and in an attempt to replicate the weight and length of the Tarpon 140 to save me a 1 hour drive to the other shop, a Trident Ultra 4.7 w/Rudder

    The bay I was kayaking in was perfect. This day was even better. Water was ROUGH, big boats causing nice rollers and if I got close enough to them, breakers! Wind was strong and gusting. Perhaps a crappy day to be enjoying the bay, but for me - Test Paddling in these conditions...PERFECT!

    10 minutes in this kayak and I was loving it. The rudder assisted in compensating any weather helm I encountered due to strong gusts, but even with the rudder up, I found she tracked real nice. She was fast (fast enough for me, my GPS had us at 3-5 mph and 7-8 when not going against the wind and tide) She handled the swells very nicely due to the up-swept bow and when I got her into breakers, only with the biggest and timed right, could I get a boat full of water which quickly drained.

    While paddling it, I saw many options for a place to mount a seat for my dog, but also places to securely store food, camping gear and still have plenty of room.

    I returned after an hour out on her and said to Lou, I think we found the right boat, but to be sure, I wanted to test her out in the creek. He sent me back on my way and Up the Creek - with a paddle, I went ;) It handled the bends very nicely with or without the rudder and I was paddling against the current and wind. Only when I was entering the creek, did I ever become stalled, but once the gust stopped, she got right up to speed.

    When I came back I was able to steer the kayak with the rudder alone as I rode the current back to the bay. When I did Paddle, we were doing 6-8 mph with little effort.

    Now for the funny part.

    I put the kayak up on the dock and went inside. It was actually closing time (I was embarrassed for getting back so late) and Lou began educating me on PDF's and Paddles. He told me I should try the PDF's on when int he kayak. We both went to go get it off the dock and it was gone! His first though was that the other employees put it away when I spotted something yellow out in the bay..MY KAYAK!

    Lou quickly grabbed a Tandem Kayak (I began my search thinking I wanted a Tandem ) and he and I raced out there together to recover it and tow it back.

    He was right, you do need to try those PDF's on in the kayak.

    At the end of Day three...I was the new and proud owner of the Trident Ultra 4.7 Here she is on the dock before blowing away (yes, the wind gusts blew a 77lb boat off the dock! - Told ya it was strong)


    Here is my dog seeing it for the first time on my way home. She made herself right at home. Tomorrow will be her first paddle with me on it.

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