Looking to purchase a new poly boat and after demoing a dozen or so boats, I’ve narrowed it down to these two. I have paddled both in light chop and like the feel of both. I lean a little more towards the avocet because of its playfulness and the fact that 90% of my paddling involves short day trips. I do however take 1-2 longer open ocean multi-day trips per year. Any sense from those who have paddled both, how the avocet compares for tracking, speed, handling in open water/big seas over distances…thx
I haven’t paddle the plastic 'naut, but I think your on the right track with your remarks about the Avocet. Get the boat for 90% of your paddling (it’s probably more like 95% anyway). The Avocet is fairly fast, but you’re not a racer or you would have a different boat. It has good speed and if you work on the motor and skills a bit it will be more than sufficient to keep up with other paddlers in longer boats. You can always pack lighter, like a backpacker, for longer trips. You can also adjust the load to trim the boat to minimize weathercocking and improve tracking or you can just lower the skeg a bit. If the boat fits, wear it!
If you are efficient enough to pack the gear you need into the Avocet when you are on multi day trips (and many are) then it is likely to be a boat you will enjoy more.
The Avocet has fine speed for a 16’ boat. Better than many of its LOA.
The Aquanaut will track better, weathercock less, and have better glide but will not be as responsive, i.e. will take more effort/confidence to turn, edge and roll.
Both boats are very capable of handling any seas.
Which ever of the two puts a bigger smile on your face is the better boat for you.
How much do you weigh?
How much do you weigh?
If you are on the lighter side and pack carefully, you should have no problems using the Avocet for multiday camping trips.
If you are really pushing miles, you might prefer the longer boat.
My vote would be for the Aquanaut. I think that the Avocet is a great boat but given that you can only have one, and that you take some trips I think the clear choice is the Aquanaut. It is perfectly suited for day trips and i ssuperior for longer trips. The Avocet is tight on storage space.
I have the Aquanaut now. I previously had a 16 foot Dagger Meridian (very much like the Avocet). It was great, but the Aquanaut is a better boat if you can only have one in my opinion. I think the Aquanaut tracks in rough seas better, still maintains enough maneuverability, has more speed, and more a lot more gear storage space. While the playfulness of the 16 foot boat is fun, you don’t really need the maneuverability unless you are rockgardening.
The Aquanaut will do well as both a trip boat and a day boat. I think the Avocet would be a great day boat, but not such a great boat for trips.
After reading Matt’s post, in the interest of honesty, I want to note that I bought my Aquanaut as my everything boat. I used it for all my paddling for two years until I bought a Romany.
Were I to be forced to have only one boat, it would be the Aquanaut. In my experience it is the best mannered boat I’ve paddled in any and all conditions.
Some would have an Avocet as their everything boat.