Any info available on the Airalite yaks by Dagger or Perception?
What do you want to know?
local store has two, Carolina and Sonoma.
Hurricane Aqua Sports
I have heard very good things about them. They call their plastic Trylon. From what I heard they were the first to use this type of plastic.
They’d like you to think so…
…but it’s polycarbonate, just like what Eddyline has been using for 5 or six years. It’s definitely good stuff, combining many of the advantages of polyethylene and composites, but it’s nothing new.
I’d give the carolina one a good demo first,and maybe get some feedback from other folks that would give them a hard going over. I’m just going on previous Perception rationalizations for some things. I like the Sonoma 13 a lot but I wonder about the bigger carolina and a bigger person how things (seams) hold up. It’s not much lighter than rm in the bigger carolina.
Longer polycoarbonate boats can be done
Eddyline has been making 16' and longer boats with it for years. Then again, that doesn't mean that Perception will be able to, but the material is not the limiting factor.
You're right about the weight difference; it's not much. The big advantage vs. polyethylene is in rigidity; polycarbonate is more similar to composites in that regard. Essentially, you get nearly composite performance for a lower price. For the manufacturer, the advantages are lower costs (less labor involved) and shorter production times (no waiting for layups to cure).
My Nighthawk 16 weighs 48-49 lbs.
How does that compare in weight to the average rotomolded poly boat 16’ X 22" ? I think in the longer lengths you’ll see more of a difference in weight with Polycarbonate at the longer lengths.
Most of the 16’ rotomolded boats I’ve read specs on weigh about 10 lbs. more. Weight was a big factor for me, because I’m not getting any younger, have arthritis, and my husband doesn’t paddle, so I have to load my boat solo.
I was talking with some fellows at the local shop who were going to pick up an aerolite carolina but it was damaged in shipping, he said it didn’t seem noticably lighter than a plastic one. That certainly wasnt an objective test. I don’t think of Perception as sending out structurally suspect boats but they have sent out boats with fundamental shortcomings that reflect a disconnected oversight in development from design to user. The thick,hard seat backs in the older Shadow or the skin scalloping rudder line guides mounted 1" off the deck rigging hardware on present models. The rusting hardware in last years ratchet seatbacks, the bungie deployed skeg in the Avatar that stops working in 6mo. Those are fundamental booboos tried out on customers to finish the protoyping on the customers dollar.
The new plastic Carolinas are MUCH better hull shapes than previous models,I’m looking at what happens to materials when one goes from a small diameter hull shape to a large one,with a larger paddler. Take an aerolite Sonoma13, using the same material make it wider/larger,eventually you have to do something different in design or material thickness as what works in a smaller hull shape isn’t sufficient for a larger one. With a rotomolded hull you can see it squish/distort when it’s got marginal materials,like the mid-hull flexibility in a rm Wilderness Systems Epic,or the gel-coat cracking in the earlier kevlar Cape Horns.
I’d want to be absolutely sure Perception has the technology figured out.
I saw one on the docks today,disco duct tape silver color,very slick. The hull shape is different than the rm Eclipse,slight chines appear to give a fuller waterline to the ends,I didn’t take it out but it looks like it will be more stable, the rm plastic tapers to a more rounded/v section 4’ from the ends, the thermoplastic/Aerolite one has the shallow arch shape continue further to the ends provided a wider waterline to the ends from the slight chines. The seat should have foam blocks between hip plates and hull side as there’s a fair amount of flexibility in the hip braces. The coaming has a 3/8" overhang for the skirt above the thigh area. It’s probably sufficient given the material but there isn’t much room for error if it gets cut further.
One minor and one major criticism without paddling it.
Minor: the plastic cable clamp used to guide the rudder deployment lines. There was one and not two but it’s still going to scallop skin if you ever have to move around the kayak. Electrical cable clamps are good for clamping wire to walls and solid surfaces, using them on the interior for rudder cable housing is fine but they don’t belong on deck. The edge is as sharp as a cheese grater. This is minor but it’s one of those glaring things that reflect a bean counter or designer who never uses the boat. If you walk around a kayak running your hand along the sheer and one section removes skin that must be by design. It’s got to be intentional,how else to explain that feature staying on all these years when there are alternatives? It’s something you notice moving kayaks from the stern end off of a rack where lifting/pushing/pulling occures wherever you grab the kayak. If it slips you grab it wherever you can,just like a rescue situation.
Major (I’m assuming): the flush hatch covers are slick, it’s the same hull material covering a recessed oval neoprene hatch cover. “Held down” with two webbing straps. Here’s the interesting feature, push down on one edge of the hard cover and it pops out a couple inches on the other side. If you push down in the middle it buckles down a couple inches then pops right back. It can’t go anywhere because the straps go through loops on top but if those loops weren’t there you could pop it and slide it right out. In a rescue it’s obvious the hard cover will dislodge a few inches presenting a protruding edge to catch hands on a not smooth edge or catch something. Not sure of a solution but it doesn’t look right. This reminds me of the time Perception went from strapped down hard shell hatch covers on the Sea Lions to the bungied pull-and-lift hatch cover that would fly off in transport at freeway speeds. Then they got straps again for the aft hatch. There’s someone there who likes slick more than function.
Another minor thing,the molded end caps are 3/16" thick and should be rounded over where the exterior edge of the cap ends. If your hand slides up the keel line to the ends it’s another sharp edge. It would take 30seconds for someone to go over the piece before the hull/deck are assembled.
According to Perception’s web site, http://www.kayaker.com/new/products/pdfs/airalite_tech.pdf, their Airlite is two layer - co-extruded acrilic over ABS.
“it will change the way you paddle…”
"…especially the part where you beg strangers to help you put your boat back on your car"
that blurb is on the Sonoma series kayaks which ARE lighter.
The Eclipse and Carolina thermoplastic kayaks are not as light as initially advertised. Big boats weigh more than small boats. If you want light get a small boat THEN get fancy materials. You can see the same difference between Eddylines Phoenix and 16’ NightHawk.
The thing I’d be wary about with the new Perception thermoplastic SEA KAYAK hull is that for nearly $2000 for a kayak DESIGNED for coastal conditions I would want to find out if they got the seam technology down right. Maybe they did, maybe they did on 99%. But it’s not insignificant if there’s a possibility they didn’t for coastal use or what happens with mishandling on kayak racks/docks levering boats over hard edges. The weight savings really aren’t that significant compared to rotomolded of similar dimensions/displacement.
I’m just making conjectures, by the end of the summer there will be enough feedback to know.