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18, plumb, new trend?

I was wondering if the presence of the following boats indicate a new trend; 18 ft, plumb bow, rudder, relatively stable, and designed for efficient travel in open water::

Epic 18 & 18Sport
QCC Q700
Tiderace Pace 18
KayakPro Marlin & Nemo
Point 65N XP18 & Freya
Zegul Velocity

I am quite happy with my Q700 but am also interested in the others on the list. Am I missing any?

I am a big fan of rudders for open water, but the Pace and Zegul appear to have both rudder and skeg, which seems a bit wacky to me. Also, the plumb bow on my Q700 appears to provide a very nice ride through chop and moderate waves, and I have begun to question the utility of an extended bow.


  • Valley Rapier 18 & 20, ...
    Valley Rapier 18 and 20
    Nick Schade Mystery
    Inuk (by a couple of manufacturers)
    Stellar 18

    These (and the ones you listed) all paddle similarly due to their shape, except they have different stability and some are better than others in rougher water.
  • rapier 20
    Ha. I've got a lot of memories about trying to keep that boat upright. Iwouldnt include it in that list. Waaaayyyy too narrow.

    Ryan L.
  • i love these boats
    And I think their owners do to. These boats have picked up to as the amount of long distance races (40+) has increased. Also there has been a move to the stable ski.

    Stellar has an 18x and an 18r. The r shaves of a half inch and has cut outs for paddle clearance.

    Ryan L.
  • What about?
    Have you looked at the SeaBird Sport 600?
  • Per suggestions
    my list is now:

    Epic 18 & 18Sport
    QCC Q700
    Tiderace Pace 18
    KayakPro Marlin & Nemo
    Point 65N XP18 & Freya
    Zegul Velocity
    Valley Rapier 18
    Nelo or Seabird Inuk

    I did not intend these to be racing kayaks, but reasonably stable fast travellng kayaks for open water. I don't think the Schade Mystery or the Rapier 20 have enough stability. I go by the following quoted claim from the Point 65 web site about the Freya:

    "This lightning fast expedition kayak is designed for maximum speed when conditions get real. The FREYA 18 is designed to outrun most anything while keeping its rider safe in the cockpit through the most fearful chop, surf, wake or you name it. After hours of paddling, being safe is essential. It’s the combination of speed and stability that makes the FREYA 18 truly unique."

    A bit of hype perhaps, but I like the goal of a combo of secure handling and speed in real conditions.

  • Not new
    The older QCC designs and the original Swift boats are the same, plumb bow long and not finicky. There are also a couple of older designs in the Seawardn line that meet this description.
  • "utility of extended bow"
    I'm sure others can chime in on this as well, but it has been my understanding that the raked bow design is intended for better manuverability in rough water.
  • Not to mention...
    Aleut designs and other native craft that had plumb bows centuries ago.

    It's all about tuning the kayak to the local conditions, the purpose, and style of paddling that you wish to do.

    Greg Stamer
  • Add Rockpool Taran and Stellar 18
    to your list
  • john winters
    Does like his boats a certain way.

    Ryan L.
  • Options
    a trend it is
    -- Last Updated: Mar-30-13 5:55 PM EST --

    Plumb bow and length itself (after a certain value) have little impact on kayak speed. Well, obviously they do, under academical considerations. But a) there are very few people who can sustain 0.8-0.9 hull speed of a 18-19 feet long boat for any meaningful, plub or raked bow b) hull/shape profile is everything. Take VKV boats - Seagull Elite/Off-Shore, Anita. They are pretty regular boats on their overall looks - they are also very fast on the water, compared to "conventional" sea kayaks, hard or soft chined. Reason? They are expedition kayaks with round bottom and not chines whatsoever.

    So it is a trend. Most paddlers, me includes, would not mind being seen in an aggressively-styled "cool" boat.

    As to utility of extended bow, imo, plub bow would be counterproductive when you want to carve a turn in rough water quickly and your bow is stuck in wave.

  • list update
    Epic 18 & 18Sport
    QCC Q700
    Tiderace Pace 18
    KayakPro Marlin & Nemo
    Point 65N XP18 & Freya
    Zegul Velocity
    Valley Rapier 18
    Nelo or Seabird Inuk
    Stellar 18 & 18R
    Rockpool Taran

    For a boat to get on my list it has to have a minimum of stability and a design intent, similar to the one below, quoted from the Rockpool web site:
    "The Taran is fast but with easy and predictable handling in even the most demanding conditions. The high volume bow gives a dry ride and maintains high speed through chop and rough conditions."

    Boats such as the Seabird Sport 600, or the Westside EFT, seem to me in another category.

    I did not realize there were as many choices in this category as it appears.

  • Are you looking for a racing boat?
    -- Last Updated: Mar-30-13 7:21 PM EST --

    The boats you seem to like could be of little interest to someone who favored a high degree of maneuverability for playing rather than going forward at a certain rate of speed, for example playing in surf and tidal races. As others have mentioned, there were native paddlers using both plumb and raked bow boats as the purpose dictated - a long time before well funded yuppies (including me) decided to start paddling kayaks for fun.

    Whether a bow type seems to be a trend is really just a matter of what you have been paying attention to - various types have been out there for a long time.

    But you seem to be asking for input about boats towards a new one with more racing use - or are you?

  • The Inuk was made by Kirton
    -- Last Updated: Mar-30-13 9:20 PM EST --

    Not sure if there was a seabird version. Was a Nelo...

    Also, are you only counting 18 footers? There is a 17 foot Tiderace Pace version too, if I'm not mixing my brands...

    As for the upswept bow being more maneuverable, that only matters if it is underwater and if you actually want to turn from the bow (kayaks turn more from the stern, when at speed). I suppose, if a kayak has fat sides and pinched ends, regardless of whether the bow is upswept or not, it will turn better when edged compared to a plumb bow design of similar waterline length (more of the bow and stern would release on the former due to the volume distribution). Assuming equal waterline lengths and a boat at speed, I don't see how the bow being upswept affects maneuverability much, if at all. For the same waterline length, a boat with upswept bow will also be more affected by side winds too... Someone explain, in case I'm missing some aspect of it?

  • Options
    Epic Plumb Bow reasons
    -- Last Updated: Mar-30-13 8:37 PM EST --

    Epic explains its reasoning



    I have an older model Epic 18 with a smart track rudder
    and have no complaints about maneuverability.
    Then again I'm not doing slalom events or paddling
    among rock gardens avoiding obstacles .

    There seem to be some that hold hard and fast to "tradition"
    claiming a design must have done for a reason ,
    and yet I think many designers merely followed what was before
    without thinking out of the box.

    Science does make evolutionary advances forward
    -- via experiments and disproving hypothesis.

    Some people simply love old cars, no matter what,
    and a new fangled vehicle is just crap in their eyes.
    Emotion often trumps what actually works very well.

  • not looking to race
    Celia wrote
    "The boats you seem to like could be of little interest to someone who favored a high degree of maneuverability for playing rather than going forward at a certain rate of speed, for example playing in surf and tidal races."

    Agreed. These boats do not have a high degree of maneuverability. I would choose my maneuverable, non ruddered, boat, for playing in surf, which I do not generally do.

    " As others have mentioned, there were native paddlers using both plumb and raked bow boats as the purpose dictated - a long time before well funded yuppies (including me) decided to start paddling kayaks for fun."

    Agreed. But native paddlers did not use boats with rudders. I am happy to be a well funded yuppie. Life is easier with a rudder.

    "Whether a bow type seems to be a trend is really just a matter of what you have been paying attention to - various types have been out there for a long time."

    Well, it seems a trend to me. I think the oldest boat on the list is the Epic, and not all that old.

    "But you seem to be asking for input about boats towards a new one with more racing use - or are you?"

    Not really asking for input. Just expressing my interest in this newish trend. Not at all interested in racing. My Q700 seems to allow very efficient ocean travel and comfortable traversing of areas of turbulence and chop. Being a well funded yuppie, I would not mind another similar design if I though it would be a bit more stable and comfortable, when paddling unloaded on day trips, as well as a bit lighter in weight.
  • Options
    -- Last Updated: Mar-30-13 9:57 PM EST --

    hey, would look pretty cool if someone built a kayak with a tumblehome bow - make u feel like you are paddling the new Zumwalt-class :) :) :)

    damn stupid autocorrect! tumble-HOME!!! argh!!!

  • Swift Boats, Pre-X QCC models
    -- Last Updated: Mar-31-13 12:10 PM EST --

    Swift - http://www.swiftcanoe.com/index.htm

    Compare to pre-X QCC boats. Note the similarity...

    And these are not racing, but mostly touring boats. As noted in other posts here, the plumb bow is with reason for a racing boat, which is where Epic has always focused. So that would never have been a trend for them.

    Touring boats are where there is a choice, and plumb bow is not new there. If anything the newest trend is emulation of greenland style boats.

  • Agreed
    The Swift boats are John Winter's designs, like the QCC.
  • both companies
    Build john winters boats.

    Ryan L.
  • fast, comfortable and stable
    You might as well add the NC Expedition (nckayaks.com) to your list if you want stability, comfort and speed and oh--ravishing looks. The bow is not bluff, but very sharp and the boat is actually 19'-2".
  • NC-17
    As it happens, I bought a new NC-17 some years ago. It is not remotely in the same plumb bow, ruddered category. Not only that, I thought it the worst boat I ever owned. Poor handling, terrible seat, not to mention the extensive leaks at the poorly designed seam. I sold it cheap after a year or so.
  • I think you need to add the.......
    Seda Glider to your list? Maybe the Current Designs Stratus?
  • not plumb
    The Glider is 19 ft and does not have a plumb bow, so seems to not quite fit in the category. I used to own one, but it felt too long for me and generally felt like a very big boat, which the Q700 does not. Some good local racers claim the Glider is faster than the Epic 18, but I was not strong enough to take advantage, if true.

    The CD web site for the Stratus says, "The bow shape of the Stratus increases water-line length, yet doesn't catch weeds as an overly-plumb bow is prone to. " So here again the bow is not plumb like the others in this category. I never caught any weeds going through kelp in the Q700. Is this a problem with plumb bows? Never thought of it.
  • yep
    AKA "open water" not on a pond.
  • Options
    Epic and South Africa
    -- Last Updated: Apr-03-13 8:34 PM EST --

    Epic was born in South Africa via Oscar Chalupsky
    and Greg Barton making plumb bow kayaks.

    South Africa has surf - lots and lots of it.

    Those 2 guys put their name, reputation and soul, into
    a design that worked awesome in that environment.

    A 12 time World Surfski Champion and a 4 Time Olympic Medal Winner
    developed a kayak design in the world of SURF aka South Africa.

    Some might want to tell them their designs suck
    and need more old school rocker and extended bow.

    Does plumb bow belong in the surf
    - others in South Africa certainly think so

    We have a Knysna Isthmus, a 17' x 21" gas-pedal ruddered, twin-hatch, zero rocker, plumb-bowed South African glass SOT in our fleet. It's twitchy boat for me and other, taller, long-waisted folks, but Sally rides it well, and even JackL and Nanci fared well on it.

    It's also a pretty speedy boat, right up there with the QCCs and Epics, tho' still behind the skis. I'd say it's the plumb bow (AND plumb stern) and a fairly sleek, non-rockered hull, that make it a fast boat, but assuredly NOT a traditional "playful" boat to


    -Frank in Miami
  • man
    Archive digging, passive aggressive posting, you should stretch your legs in b&b.

    More than one way to skin a cat. I'm a plumb bow kinda guy, but there is room for other designs. I've noticed some plumb bow designs have more flare at the top of the hull in the bow. I presume this helps with nose diving in surf. But then again, surfing and playing in rough water are two different things.

    Ryan L.
  • no one criticized plumb bows
    look, let's drop this. I've deleted the previous prolonged sidebar because if either of us has a problem with the others' personality or how we express ourselves, it doesn't belong here.

    No one has disparaged plumb bows, what people are saying is that other designs have a purpose also. All one has to do is look at other types of watercraft and the variety of hull designs.

    I'm shopping for a ski this season if I can afford one, so I obviously don't think plumb bows suck.
  • Knysna Isthmus
    Them is sum hard words ta say!

  • 18 ft kayak hype
    I bought last summer an xp18 which was another example of chinese made crap being passed off as European (Seabird is another). I then traded it in for a Seaward Chilco 18'. I was impressed by their speed and storage capacity. BUT stability and rough water characteristics were bad on both and did not inspire confidence. I went back to what I did like before my bout of insanity and went back to a Valley Kayaks and got a Etain RM (do anything, go anywhere and rugged).
  • that's a nice boat
    I've paddled one, very fast and felt light.
  • reading all this
    Reading all this plumb bow stuff makes me want to go out and at least try one.Still have high doubts if its any better at all. Looks kinda strange to me. Then Valley kayaks are know for good rough water capabilities like the last poster with the Etain plus Nordkapp is supposed to be really good and neither have this plumb bow. If I ever get a chance to try one out in rough water I sure will to see what all the whoopla is about.
  • mostly
    Used for straight ahead speed in calm to moderate conditions. In my experience they can certainly handle rough conditions safely, but seeking that out, would seem odd.

    Ryan L.
  • Good marketing speak but
    -- Last Updated: Apr-04-13 4:46 PM EST --

    Your facts are a little loose. Barton grew up canoeing but made his name in Olympic K1 (flatwater).

    A surf ski can punch through waves due to its length and narrow beam, but like other long-boats they are not really at home in the surf zone. They are designed for surfing open ocean swell. Carnage is pretty common at events that require a beach start. Maybe you are confusing surf skis with wave skis (wave skis don't have a plumb bow, BTW). In the pictures you posted the skis are doing a diagonal run like a regular sea kayak. This can be fast and fun, but is very limited and you can't come close to doing what a surf kayak or a waveski can do.

    There's much more to boat design than the shape of a kayak's bow.

    I have three plumb-bow "go fast" kayaks (Legacy K1, 18x and V12 surf ski) and enjoy them for the conditions and uses they are designed. That said, it would be a mistake to take my 18X or surf ski into a rock garden and expect it to handle like my Anas Acuta. Either hull would probably be a broken mess of glass shards in no time. Likewise, if I entered my Anas Acuta in a race among surf skis, I would be dead-last, unless someone happened to die laughing from witnessing my hull hit the wall at a feeble 5mph, complete with a deep stern squat and a small rooster-tail.

    Kayaking has its various camps; the "go fast crowd", "rock-hopping/tide race crowd", "traditional crowd" and more. I think this kind of thread can easily become contentious when one camp, either deliberately or not, imposes its own specific solutions on everyone else, even when they don't apply universally. Since kayaking is so diverse, it's impossible to give absolutes.

    Greg Stamer

  • Oh
    So there more for calmer water and speed. Ok. Rougher water and following waves is were my NDK Greenlander Pro goes fast.Calm water its only ok speed wise.
  • I am sure there is a paddler above
    (no names or boats mentioned) who is chuckling as he reads this.
    He just won the 300 mile Everglades Challenge. Most here couldn't keep a sea kayak upright in some of the conditions he was in.

    jack L
  • i think
    Greg explained it quite thoroughly above. He certainly paddled the best tool for the job in the challenge, in my opinion.

    Ryan L.
  • Options
    I can go along with those thoughts
    -- Last Updated: Apr-05-13 2:53 PM EST --

    I'll conceded that no one boat can do it all well.
    There definitely are various kayak "camps" and "niches".

    As kayak evolution moves forward, it's always formed upon
    the backs of the ideas that came before it; i.e. prior experiences.
    Progress will always have it's pros and cons to debate.

  • OK what did he paddle
    I can't find anything on the web
  • Options
    The "Compass Rose"
    white over white Epic 18X named in honor of his mother who passed away in January.

    Onno wing paddle with another as a spare.

    Pix have been up on his facebook page.
  • They are not for "play", but rough is OK
    -- Last Updated: Apr-05-13 9:15 PM EST --

    I owned the Valley Rapier 18 for a couple of years, now have the Epic V10 Sport surf ski. They can handle the rough stuff just fine, the difference is how they do it and what do you need to do to keep upright.

    I've measured my speed upwind in both against me paddling boats like the WS Zephir 150 for example or CD Carribou. In just about any conditions on open water I clocked myself faster in the plumb skinny boats over short distances that take say less than 4 hours of continuous paddling to cover. I've also paddled these against other paddlers in all sorts of kayaks in a few races and unless the other paddler is much better conditioned than I am (and I am not tht good) I consistently go faster than the "sea kayaks". The only long sea kayaks that can keep-up seem to be the likes of Seda Glider or CD Extreme.

    The catch is that these thin boats require active paddling and very good balance. No matter what, you tire faster in them compared to other more stable kayaks in which you can relax more. So there is a break even point, where folks in more stable kayaks will be faster than when put in a less stable but "faster" hull. That point is different for different people. Up until recently I was faster than myself in the "slower" V10 Sport than in the "faster" V12 surf ski, because a lot of my energy went into balance. But I am good enough to be faster in the V10 Sport than in the Epic 18x for instance. When I first started with the V10 Sport I did not have the balance and was not much faster than I was in the CD Extreme for instance, but after a few months I did get faster as I mastered the hull in the moderate conditions that I paddle it.

    These long ruddered boats are much faster in big downwind conditions than any other sea kayak design too. They are created for these conditions in mind in most cases. In steep messy side chop they do not have much advantage and in fact for most people will be at a disadvantage as they will struggle for balance...

    The short story is that, these boats are a lot more demanding to the paddler and thus may not be right for everyone. I was scared to take the Rapier in rough conditions where I would not hesitate to take the Zephyr for instance. I knew I could paddle it but I also knew (tried it in controlled conditions to find out) that I tire too fast and self rescues are much harder and less reliable. My skills have since improved and I know I can handle it but I would still think twice if I were to go out in open water with it - check out Sean Morley's blog about his circumnavigation of a certain island - he too "chickened out" and did not take the Rpier and opted for a Nordkapp instead. On the other hand, Freya and Greg have proved that the Epic 18x Sport and the 18x can handle the rough stuff just fine for them ...

  • good post
    -- Last Updated: Apr-06-13 10:21 AM EST --

    I'm not even sure stability plays that heavily into surf play and rock gardening. Last summer I demoed an anas Acuta in surf; while it felt tender, it also felt sublime in those conditions. Boats like that are slow dogs in flatwater but in heavy unpredictable conditions just seem to settle into their own. My explorer is plenty stable but it can't hold a candle to an AA in those conditions.

    In my opinion, stability is something people tend to give on once they gain some experience, in exchange for other attributes. It's a relative term.

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