I’m thinking about getting a second boat for friends, etc, but I also want a boat that’s fun for me to paddle. I like the vcp avocet (and there’s a good deal on a used one nearby), but would it be friendly enough for new paddlers?
I have one
I think the trick is how “new” is “new paddlers”? And what body-types do you expect?
I think the keyhole cockpit could be a bit intimidating for new people, and a bit tight for “big” people. It is a bit tippy - compared to my wife’s Pungo 140. Reaching down and adjusting the footpegs could be tricky, and the backband isn’t all that great - for a new person.
New folks inevitibly choose my wife’s P140 over the Avocet; it’s just a lot less intimidating.
New to kayaking paddlers are likely to find lots to be unnerving in this boat. New to longer boats, with seat time in shorter stuff, myabe not so much.
The boat that probably reasssures best in this group is the Romany, but that’s and expensive second boat.
The Avocet is…
… a full-fledged sea boat capable of handling difficult conditions and touring with for many days. So comparing it to a P140 is not apples-apples.
That said, it’s a really fun boat, turns and rolls well, has high secondary (and yes, low primary) and tracks reasonably for a 16’ boat, better than a Romany. It’s not truly a big conditions boat, but I have had mine in major seas and strong winds. And, it’s not as roomy as a 17+’ boat built for longer touring. But all in all, it’s a terrific second/guest boat.
I have paddled the Avocet RM
a bit in a variety of conditions. I think it would be fine for your purposes with this caveat: you provide your "newbies" with just a little basic instruction.
Over the last 6 weeks I have had the pleasure of watching Marshall and Dorothy Seddon of the River-Connection in Hyde Park, NY place dozens of new paddlers (new to sea kayaks) in a number of Impex boats that I would consider to have a bit less primary stability than the Avocet. It is rare to see one of these new paddlers capsize after they get underway. The trick is the highly focused "quick-start" instruction that the folks at The River-Connection provide. They can do the basic instruction in under ten minutes and get a tour underway. The Seddon's presentation, patience and technique is impressive to watch. They concentrate on the basics:
- Kayak entry and exit
- Paddle position
- edging/leaning/heeling the boat
- turning the boat
- forward stroke
Note that they do not equip beginners with spray decks for obvious safety reasons.
Thanks for the feedback! I’m being kind of selfish–I want my second boat to be one I’ll have fun with, especially for practicing greenland rolls (the coaming on my BBK valkyrie is kind of painful after a while for rolling). But I know my husband won’t get in the avocet. The only boat he’ll get into is a loon or some other barge, but that’s not a boat that would get a lot of use. I should just get the second boat I want for playing, and figure out some other way to justify it.
I always start new paddlers off with wet exit practice–maybe skipping the sprayskirt and the wet exit is a better idea, at least for casual guests who don’t really want to learn kayaking, but just want to see the sea caves on a calm evening.
Don’t be concerned about folks
new to kayaking in a poly avocet. Poly avocets have been used in our teaching fleet for years. including beginner classes A new kayaker with some minimal instruction in flat water will be fine in this boat. Of course the size do the person can be a factor.
Go for it!!!
Avocets are great boats, PERIOD. My wife and I both bought FG avocets as our first boats four years ago. For us, they have been oustanding. Fun to play in and quite capable expedition boats. IMHO, one of the best “all around” boats on the market. Very user friendly. I’ve never found it anything but very stable, but learned to roll it in ~30-45 minute. If anyone thinks this is a “detuned” or “compromise” boat, look at what Sean Morley and others do with it in the TITS videos.
It was my first boat
No regrets about buying an Avocet RM as my first boat. I did take some classes, rented, and demoed a bunch before buying, but it was the first kayak I owned. It’s been a great boat to learn with – our personalities match.
If someone’s reasonably coordinated and comfortable on the water, and wants to learn, it’s a fine first boat. If someone wants a boat they can paddle on autopilot they should look elsewhere.
“If someone’s reasonably coordinated and comfortable on the water, and wants to learn, it’s a fine first boat. If someone wants a boat they can paddle on autopilot they should look elsewhere.”
My point exactly. IF the people are interested in learning to kayak, it’s a great boat. If they’re just some random friends or relatives that you want to toss in a boat to give them a taste, IMHO, they are likely to be scared off.
But, if you want to add the boat to your fleet, having it around for “friends” is a good excuse.
Go for it!
> I’m being kind of selfish–I want my second boat to be one I’ll have fun with<
Yes, the Avocet is a fun boat, for YOU.
And it’s actually not a bad boat for a reasonably fit and coordinated “new” paddler either!
The fact it’s kind of small is just, well, a minor point!
OK, you guys convinced me–I really need this boat. (That took a lot of arm-twisting, right?).