Anas Acuta v. Romany 16

Can anyone give me some pros and cons on these boats? I have the feeling that they are “apples and oranges” to compare, but I’d appreciate any feedback.

I’m looking for a longer boat than my rudderless Tern 14 for some longer paddling I have in mind. 15 miles open ocean is great in the Tern (I love this boat!), but my next ocean paddling destinations are 20+ miles including a paddle that involves one night of camping.

I’m a small female with intermediate skills and my only closed deck boat experience is my Tern.

I am not looking for different boat suggestions; I have the gimmes for either these 2, or possibly the Chatham 17.

Many thanks.


– Last Updated: Oct-19-08 7:45 PM EST –

Is an excellent all round boat. It is very forgiving and confidence inspiring. Unless you are very tiny it should work for you.

The Anas is a very special boat. Some people love it, but it is a boat you have to really spend time in to know if it is right for you.

One friend of mine acquired an Anas and has fallen in love with the boat. However, he noted recently that if he could only have one boat it would probably be a Romany.

The Anas is more specialised and won’t track as well. There is a real loyal fan base for each boat. I demo’d an Anas a couple weeks ago and liked it but felt that it would require more corrective strokes or skeg deployment more frequently. I paddle an LV Explorer so I am a bit biased.


The AA has an OC.

Thank you for your reply. Did your friend mention why he would rather have the Romany?

Thank you for replying. And bias is fine! So the Anas is not as good at tracking as the Romany–that’s good to know and the type of info I’m looking for.

I’m hoping to demo both the Anas and the Romany in the next month.


– Last Updated: Oct-19-08 9:37 PM EST –

The Romany also comes in a low volumn (LV) version, which fits if you are a little too small for the regular size.

Better all round boat
He feels the Romany is a better all round boat. It performs well in a range of conditions and is very forgiving.

AA is tippy
but wonderful to roll.

both are great boats but if you want to sit up and take a picture or have dinner the romany is better.

ndk workmanship is a little off. i gave my finger a nasty cut reaching into the back of a friends explorer.

both boats are fine and the aa is famous for rolls.

you said you don’t mind a sea cockpit… you might want to try a solo re-entry before we truly believe that. re entry roll is OK.

i am 5’5" - 5’6" fairly athletic and paddle a kevlar capella. you may want to give that line up a look as well.


are excelent designs…I own both.

Your weight and the way You like them to fit (both can be foamed out to fit)will will cause any coments I would make to be either right on or not at all accurate for You.

I find at my weight I like both, however owning several other boats…were I to sell either the AA or the Romany, I’m afraid that the Romany would be the one to go…I have other kayaks that get chosen ahead of the Romany in most cases.

I have the seats cut out of both and neither are tippy at all (factory seat heights do change this some)

I feel that the AA actually tracks a little better than the Romany…but I weight about 195 to 200 and settle the kayaks into the water differant than a lighter paddler would

The Romany spins quicker than the AA…not as much as a Pintail however.

The AA now comes with either an Ocean or a keyhole cockpit…the Romany comes with only a Keyhole cockpit

Both can be had with a skeg…so tracking can be altered on the fly with either boat.

I like Valleys build, but have a very nice and quality built Romany so not any gripes there.

I prefer the Valley hatches

The Romany has a very nice angle to the bulkhead behind the seat for empting the most water when full.

I like both boats enough to not sell either one at this time, but if one were to go…it would be the Romany, but mostly because of the other kayaks I own and the uses I put each kayak to.

Best Wishes…hope some of this helps a little


If t’were me…

– Last Updated: Oct-20-08 8:31 AM EST –

I'd be drawn to the Anas but would pick the Romany as an all-around sea kayak, which is what it seems you most need right now. Presuming that the Romany you are looking at has been duly vetted, which I suspect is so. Just don't look too closely at the cut-out for the coaming in any NDK boat. :-)

I am 5'4" and 135 lbs, so should be in your size range. I haven't been in an Anas in conditions but the time I have paddled one left me quite impressed with its stability at its hang point. I suspect you'd find that fairly comfortable after your time in the Tern. I've heard a variety of opinions about how well the Anas tracks and hull speed compared to the Romany, so I am not sure you are going to find a tie-breaker there via an online poll of sorts.

That said, the Romany is a do-it-all no-fuss kind of boat and the Anas is more of a personality. If the Anas has an ocean cockpit, it requires some tricky balancing to re-enter on the water as I found out when we played with an all-in. If I can't sit in the seat them bring my legs in I doubt you can - I'm pretty limber. This adds complications if you are alone or in conditions.

While both boats are probably over-volume for you officially, I found that the volume of the Anas felt like it took more precision to handle than the volume of the Romany on the water. This isn't a small consideration over a long trip - you'll be tired and you'll want the boat to forgive your errors and maybe go where you want without having to do everything right. The Anas took more of an initial kick to get up on a roll than the Romany, which will forgive all kinds of sloppiness in a roll. This may partly be because the Anas lacks the nicely placed thigh braces for those of us with shorter thighs that the Romany has, but some of it felt like the volume thing as well.

If you are getting the one boat that, for now, will be your big trip and really learn how to sea kayak boat, the Romany may be the best. It was what the boat was originally designed for, I know coaches who still use it as such, and its talent at supporting learning skills is why for a time these boats dominated a lot of paddling groups int he northeast.

As with fadered, the Anas has some really good paddlers for whom it is their general use boat. But most of those folks I know of have a fleet of boats, so they probably go to another boat first more than you can at the moment.

If you are looking at P&H, its nearest kin would be the Capella 161. It'd do everything you are talking about, though probably not quite as friendly to Greenland stuff as the Romany.

I'd be concerned that the Chatham 17 was too big for you if you are really an average to small female, and adds a foot and a half of boat that you don't really need.

the AA is a thoroughbred sports car, the Romany is a sporty suv. And designed to be a school boat. You can’t go wrong with the Romany for your uses. Might even look at an lv Explorer for the distance and camping, but Romant’s length may suit your size better in the long run.

Similar boats

– Last Updated: Oct-20-08 9:25 AM EST –

Sorry, I missed "no similar boats" part. Definite no to C17 - too much of a boat.

AA is a niche boat as was mentioned above.

Other kayaks you could consider:
PH Vela, definitely more than good enough for a couple nights of camping, Necky Eliza, VCP Avocet/Avocet LV, Impex Montauk

NKD/SKUK Explorer is a fine boat but getting it won't necessarily make you go faster that Romany or other boats. It will definitely carry more stuff.

My $.02 on AA

– Last Updated: Oct-20-08 9:28 AM EST –

First, consider the possibility you will gain little if anything by getting either over your AT 14. Second, I believe we all paddle different boats since we have different skill sets and are different physically and psychologically so what I think about a given boat might well be of very little value to you in selecting a boat.

Now, for the AA. Logically, it makes no sense. It is a hacked up FG copy of a hacked up plywood copy of a Greenland SOF built for a non-Greenlander. The Romany, on the other hand, was designed as a school boat to enable average paddlers to paddle in advanced conditions and to be a solid teaching platform. Everyone says it is that and more. People love them and what I say about the AA, they might say about the Romany.

I have never heard anyone initially say the AA is comfortable, reassuring, or confidence inspiring. For the first few hours in mine I found it wandered all over the place, weathercocked strongly, was twitchy in conditions, and thought I was constantly a millisecond from disaster. I do not think I am alone in those initial impressions to some degree.

Notice I said "initially". Now I find it goes where I want it to go and I don't even have to think about it. Except for longer cross wind crossing, I never use the skeg and then only maybe a 1/4" down. I think of it now as very stable and would never describe it as tippy or twitchy. It does not inspire confidence, but you can become confident in it. Very confident. After spending time it it, I now find it very comfortable and responsive and appealing in a visceral way which creates a strong bond. When paddling it, there is the sea and me...the AA is just an extension of me. Now I get in almost any other boat and it seems huge and feels like a barge.

I have extremely high regard for my Force 4 as a long distance touring boat, I trust it implicitly, and I enjoy it. It is the person your parents hoped you would marry and with whom you can have a contented and happy life. The AA is the wild thing your parents don't want you to know about and the object of your blind, unreasoning passion.

Bottom line, I rather suspect there is not a big difference ultimately between the Romany and AA except things happen faster, for good or ill, in the AA.

Thank you all
I appreciate the input and advice from everyone. It’s interesting to read how folks describe the AA’s “personality”! It’s looking like the Romany would be my best bet, but boy, I do like the looks of the Anas. I can see how people wind up with fleets of kayaks.

It sounds as if there are some quality control issues with NDK’s manufacturing? Is it anything in particular?

Thank you again. I’m looking forward to demoing both of these boats.


– Last Updated: Oct-20-08 10:45 AM EST –

To be fair though, my husband is the owner of a recent Valley boat that was replaced due to fatally bad manufacturing errors and the Tempests have had some not-great moments. NDK has a longer and higher profile legacy of QC issues than most, but there probably isn't a brand out there that hasn't had moments of QC issues.

First, are the boats you are considering new or used? Are you buying from a reputable dealer or a private party? Odds are a used boat has had its issues addressed. Are you looking at the traditional or Elite layup in the Romany?

In general, look for any indication that the skeg box or hatches leak. Put it into the water and roll it around some, look inside the bulkheads after. Some of this is easily corrected if there is a problem, but the guidance you'll get on that will vary depending on where you are getting it from. Stand in the water and do this if you aren't presently equipped to roll. Check the hull and deck to see if there are any signs of spider cracking. Sit in it and make sure the coaming and seat seem to be laid in comfortably.

Don't be dismayed by the cut where the coaming comes up out of the boat looking like a drunk did it. NDK doesn't cover that up like many others do, and a close look at some of the Valley boats before they started covering it up wouldn't show much better. As long as it is seated properly it'll be OK.

Romany/Anas acuta

– Last Updated: Oct-20-08 11:31 AM EST –

The Romany has more volume and will pack more gear , so would be preferable to the Anas acuta as an overnight boat , unless you are a camping minimalist , with compact, ultralight gear.

The Anas has even more rocker than The Romany; along with the Pintail it's probably the most rockered boat around, with the expected attributes : maneuverable, but not super tracky. The Romany is a better tracker.
The Anas acuta ocean cockpit may or may not be your cup of tea. Unmatched for thigh, leg contact with the boat , adds strength to the boat, less sprayskirt to deal with, and great for having a chart on the front deck. I found OC entry and rescues no problem at all, the only drawback is in quick exits , but it encourages flexibility, nimbleness, and practise in entry and exit, all a good thing.

The Romany cockpit is at the other exreme, long keyhole designed for easy and fast exit and entry. I know paddlers and coaches who have switched to Explorer/Romany from their Valley counterparts for this reason alone.

The Anas is a joy to paddle in choppy seas. When you get used to the boat, while paddling it you will think, why would anyone paddle any other?

Valley hatches are the best in the business.

Both boats are unmatched among composite boats in their rolling qualities.

“I do like the looks of the Anas”

– Last Updated: Oct-20-08 4:54 PM EST –

Well, it is the Ur boat of Valley and NDK boats. The Anas is the first sea kayak Valley manufactured and all Valley and NDK (SKUK) boats descend in some way from it.

In designing the Romany, Nigel Dennis and Aled Williams had a Pintail mold as the starting point.

The Pintail was designed directly from an Anas but with rounded chines.

I think you should consider
an Explorer or an Explorer LV for your stated purpose.

It does not inspire confidence…
“It does not inspire confidence, but you can become confident in it.”

What a great turn of phrase! It is also how I could best characterize my Nordkapp LV…