Avocet and Pintail Comparison?

It seems that many paddlers like and extol the VCP Avocet as a playful boat for day use. At the same time many talk about the VCP Pintail as a very playful and fun boat, but it does not seem to be as popular. My question is what are the differences between the boats that causes this? If the Pintail is such a fun boat and so great in rough conditions, why isn’t it as popular or more popular than the Avocet as a day/play boat?

Avocet tracks better
There may be other reasons, but to me this was the big difference.

less rocker on avocet
The avocet has less rocker, and has more initial stability.

for me it was cost - an avocet RM is half the price of a pintail.

I have a Pintail and love it. Haven’t tried the Avocet and I’m sure handles great BUT I don’t believe it’s available with an Ocean Cockpit, like the Pintail, and for some of us that’s good reason to prefer the Pintail!

'Better manners"
Valley intends to discontinue the Pintail as a regular production boat. Their most recent material asserts that the Pintail is surplanted by the Avocet. The Pintail will only be available as special order as of 2006.

As I recall the Avocet is termed better mannered.

Tracking seems to be the main reason some prefer the Avocet over the Pintail. I’ve heard advanced paddlers say that no one can paddle a Pintail straight.

There are nearly always a goodly number of Pintails for sale used.

All correct…

The prior posts are all correct (as far as I know).

One should concider the Avocet and the Pintail as rather different boats. Valley says that the Avocet hull is based on the Pintail, but that doesn’t mean there are not significant differences between the boats.

The Avocet tracks better and needs less attention to paddle. The Avocet is also faster. Thus, it appeals to a much larger market. The keyhole cockpit is also preferred by more people.

It might make more sense comparing the Pintail and the Anas Acuta. Basically, the Pintail is the Anas Acuta with a rounded hull. I suspect that, generally, people who buy the Anas Acuta are much more clear on the properties of the boat than people who buy the Pintail. Thus, more Pintail owners find out that the Pintail isn’t the boat for them (and that’s why you see “so many” for sale).

None of this is saying that the Pintail is a bad boat.

Valley is dropping the Pintail because there’s not much market for it.

I assumed there are differences
The reason I asked about how people compared them is because I assumed there had to be some big differences between them even though they are superfically described as having the same generic qualities as “playful” and “fun”. I was looking for opinions on the differences. So far it sounds as if the Pintail is a more demanding boat in terms of paddling skills and does not track as well as the Avocet. I take it this in turn means most paddlers would find the Avocet more “comfy” and thus it is more marketable. I suppose somewhat akin to the differences between the original Nordkapp and the more recent versions.

Avocet vs. Anas Acuta
"It might make more sense comparing the Pintail and the Anas Acuta. Basically, the Pintail is the Anas Acuta with a rounded hull. I suspect that, generally, people who buy the Anas Acuta are much more clear on the properties of the boat than people who buy the Pintail."

This may explain why I liked the Avocet over the Aquanaut. I’m an experienced Greenland paddler and find that the Avocet fits me great (has way more room in the cockpit that my BBK Recluse) and I felt like I was swimming in the Aquanaut. If you read Valley’s recommendations, I’m too big for the Avocet (6’1" X 205 lbs.) but feel very comfortable in it.

Avocet vs. Aquanaut.

– Last Updated: Oct-19-05 5:17 PM EST –

I'm guessing you are talking about an Aquanaut HV (what was called the Argonaut).

The normal Aquanaut is a longer Avocet. The width, cockpit size, foredeck height, and afterdeck height should be the same.

If the Avocet fits you, you should not be "swimming" in an normal Aquanaut (since all the relevant dimensions for fit are the same).

If you are comfortable in an Avocet and, especially, the BBK, then the Aquanaut HV would be too big for you.

The weight recommendations are just guidlines and, I believe, are taking into account loading the boat with stuff (eg, for camping).

Your weight and size are fine for the Avocet!

Yes, that’s about right…

– Last Updated: Oct-19-05 5:13 PM EST –

It's hard to have a boat be "perfect" for all the purposes people might use it for.

If you are tired, an overly "playful" boat might be a liablity since you might not be able to pay sufficient attention to it.

The Avocet is quite a "playful" boat (especially, given its short length) but it is still well-suited for long trips. You can even camp from it (it's big enough, if you are careful).

The Pintail (and the Anas Acuta) are more playful than the Avocet but might require more patience on long trips.

Keep in mind that none of this is absolute and you'll find exceptions. But GENERALLY, these characterizations are true. (You'll certainly find people camping out of their Anas Acutas.)

The original Nordkapp was designed to be paddled full of stuff. More weight (in the hull!) tends to make a kayak more stable. Since most people use boats for day trips, I suspect Valley tuned the newer Nordkapps to be somewhat better suited to being paddled empty.

Concidering the historic nature of the Nordkapp, it's a prestige thing for Valley to keep making some form of it. But the new Nordkapps are not your father's Nordkapp!

Aquanaut is narrower beam
The cockpit size of the Avocet and Aquanaut as far as area and dimensions of the coaming is the same. The Aquanaut is a half inch narrower than an Avocet with a half inch higher front deck and same height rear deck.

As noted above, it was probably an Argonaut (Aquanaut HV) in which you were swimming.

is not a particularly “playful” boat. Felt kinda middle of the road, with respect to manuverability and tracking. Never paddled the pintail (no interest, don’t know why). Paddle chuck’s old Nordkap HM (NoKrap) on a day paddle. I was surprised that it was lower volume than I expected and am not surprised that it was point A to B boat. I was surprised that it was fairly easily to correct direction by simple edging. Loved the secondary stability and still felt very stable in the primary. But, the latter is very much affected by the fact that I’ve been paddling waveskis most of the summer. No boat has felt as unstable as those.


Examples of “playful” boats?

What boats do you concider “playful”?

Compared to the related Aquanaut and other long boats, the Avocet is much more manueverable. The Anas Acuta and the Pintail are more manueverable than the Avocet. My Romany (similar to the Avocet) is much more playful than my friends CLC Northbay XL. The Avocet has less primary stability than the Romany (as far as I can tell).

The Nordkapp Jubilee responds quite well to edging.

You Got Me There!
actually, I tend not to use the term “playful” these days with long boats. Playful to me these days is being highly manueverable and associated with white water and surf. Long boats to me can be enjoyable in textured water, are more or less manuverable, but are not really playful. (My parallel would be that downhill ski is more “play” whereas x-country skiing is more enjoyable exercise.) The Avocet feels like my Montuak in terms of tracking vs maneuverability. My SOF feels a bit tracky but not like my S&G or the Nordkapp. My plastic mystic comes close to being playful in tidal rips and surf probably because it’s short and rockered. Not good as a distance boat though.


pintail/anas acuta
In my opinion (disclaimer) the only boat on the market that can really replace a Pintail is the Anas Acuta. but even these two boats differ quite a bit. the Anas Acuta tracks beter, is slower and gets the side slap from waves because of the hard chines. it also carves a little more on edge. The Pintail is less affected by waves from the side and sheds them better. the Pintail is as spinning a boat as their in on the market (spins way more than either the Anas Acuta or the Advocete). AKA Spintail. I weight 205 and am 5’ 11" so I am close to the same “sink the boat down” as the original poster. For me, I would never trade my Pintail for an Advocete, but Depending on the day, the Anas Acuta is a close match. I however have fallen into the group of people that likes to have more than one boat, with different purposes. The Pintail can be paddled in a straight line if required, without using the retractiable skeg, however I use it mainly for shorter days (under 10 miles) or for improving my rolls (number & kinds) generally when I paddle the pintail or the Anas Acuta I am out looking for trouble so going straight has very little to do with the days paddle. Any of the 3 boats mentioned are very good in caves and on wave faces. Even thought I find the Advocete the more “all around” kayak of the three, I prefer the 17’ 2" boats to the 16 foot boats. just a personal preferance (another disclaimer) They all handle slightly different. (for a 2 nd boat I also prefer an Ocean Cockpit) Not sure if any of this helps, but all three are definatly fun play /lively boats

Best Wishes


MUCH more clear!

– Last Updated: Oct-20-05 12:15 PM EST –

Thanks. I think the context of the discussion was "true" sea kayaks.

Your Mystic at 14 feet might be comparable in playfulness to the Anas Acuta and Pintail (even though these boats are much longer).

The Montauk (16ft) was "inspired" by the Romany (16ft) as was the Avocet. So these boats should feel similar (though not exactly the same).

The Nordkapp HM has an extended keel (the integral skeg) which increases the tracking. The Nordkapp Julbilee does not have the extended keel and is quite maneuverable. You would have a different impression of Nordkapps paddling a Jubilee.

Romany - Avocet
While the Avocet was inspired by the Romany, the personality of the two boats is very different.

The Romany does have higher primary stability but is lower volume, more rockered, and has a very light bow. The same somewhat flat hull that gives it higher primary also alllows it to slide on the water. When combined with its rocker and light bow, this makes for a very playful/lively boat.

The Avocet carves rather than slides and has a tigher bow than the Romany. It also has a bit less rocker and a bit longer wateline, thus it tracks better and has better glide. The Avocet is arguably as much fun in surf and confused seas as the Romany, but handles such conditions in a different manner.

Basically agree…

– Last Updated: Oct-20-05 2:29 PM EST –

By inspection, the bow and stern of the Romany is sharper than the Avocet (water covered parts). The midsection of the Romany hull is less circular than the Avocet (it's like a square with rounded corners). The Avocet has more volume (ie, "fatter") in the bow and the stern than the Romany (water covered parts). All-in-all, the Romany has quite an unusual hull shape.

I suspect that it's the Romany's mid section that make it track less and glide less than the Avocet.

Fortunatly, they have different characteristics! Otherwise, things would be boring.

I still say the Romany, Avocet, Meridian, Montauk, etc are a related class of boats, whose purpose is the same: somewhat playful dayboats suitable for longer trips. They are more similar to each other than they are to boats like the Anas Acuta and Pintail, which are playful boats suitable for shorter trips, or to longer boats (~18 feet), which are suitable for longer trips carrying more stuff.

In my opinion, the 16 foot boats are "just right" for a lot of uses: they are a good compromise.

Note that a lot of the "differences" are differences in degrees.

Having paddled both the Avocet and the Pintail my impression is that the boats feel very different. I know Valley says the Avocet was developed from the Pintail but in my mind they are very different. One of the things I have always liked about Valley is the verity of boats they have. The Anas paddles different than the Pintail which is different than the Avocet and the Nordkapp handles different still. So many of the manufacturers today seem to be making the same boat over and over. Fortunately Valley seems to have sidestepped this so far. It is my understanding that Valley will not be making as many Pintails as their other models but they will still be available. I think the Pintail is a great little boat but I do think Valley is making the right decision in cutting back production in that it is not as user friendly as many of the kayaks on the market. The majority of the market is looking for better tracking and less playful boats than the Pintail but the Pintail remains one of my favorite boats.