Avocet vs. Pintail

I’m very happy with my Pintail, but I need something with a bit more weight capacity and volume now that I’m guiding. In a perfect world, I’d keep the Pintail for play, and get something like a Force 4 or similar for fast-touring, and guiding work.

Sadly I’m a few thousand dollars short of a perfect world.

So, another idea would be to sell my Pintail, and get a still playful, but slightly less-extreme playboat. It seems an Avocet or Romany might fit that bill. Specifically, I’m wondering if the Avocet will be enough of a step up in size to accomodate my guide load. The Pintail rides pretty low when I’m in it with 20-30 pounds of gear, and packing it for the occasional overnight is challenging.

So, can anyone with experience in both boats compare the two? (I’d be looking at the glass Avocet). Or for those familiar with only the Avocet, how does it do carrying about 220 pounds of paddler and gear? How does it pack for overnights (I travel light, but need to carry a bit more than my fair share when guiding clients).



Another possibility…

– Last Updated: Jun-01-10 1:06 PM EST –

I love my Romany and paddle it more than any of my other boats. I recommend it to every paddler I know who doesn't already have one. However, at my weight (185) with basic 4* kit and usual day food and water the boat is nearly at the seam. I'm not sure how it would feel at your weight plus requisite gear for guiding. I've felt like I am pushing water when paddling an Avocet similarly loaded.

For speed and liveliness it is hard to beat a Nordkapp LV. Even though Sea Kayaker gives the volume of a Nordlow as being slightly less than an Avocet, I feel it can carry more weight without loosing its spritely quality. The Nordlow is not a reassuring boat, but if you are used to using a Pintail for guiding, it should be fine for you.

I’m 185 as well. The weights I listed were approximate me-plus-gear weights.

Thanks for the input.

Romany is certainly a possibility, although in my very limited experience it seems slow. Possibly even slower than my pintail? I’d love to pick up a little more speed. Not a big priority for me, but always nice.



– Last Updated: Jun-01-10 1:45 PM EST –

If you're guiding shouldn't they be giving you a nice new glass kayak to use? Ok now that you're done laughing......
I was going to suggest an Aquanaut, but I'm not sure of your size.
My usual suggestion is to figure out 2 or 3 kayaks that would work for you then be patient and wait for a used one to hit the market.

North Shore Polar or Polar HV?
Nate, I currently paddle both a Valley Avocet RM and Aquanaut LV (composite). For someone my size the Avocet (RM) makes a great instructor’s boat or a guide boat for day trips. However, you have me by roughly 30 pounds, so I don’t think it would be ideal for you.

I recently had an opportunity to demo a North Shore Polar. I found this kayak to be much to my liking. It too would make a great kayak to teach from, but it has a bit more storage space for longer trips. The Polar is deceiving. I has the looks of a low-volume boat, but according to specs can carry 30 more liters of gear than the new P&H Cetus LV (350 vs. 320). The Polar is highly maneuverable, yet can maintain a decent pace. The boat’s secondary stability is very reassuring. You could probably paddle the Polar, but I suspect that with your gear you would be better served by the Polar HV.

load suitability

– Last Updated: Jun-01-10 2:25 PM EST –

Looks like the load suitability maxes out about 220


I think there is always a bit of a buffer. You won't be setting any speed records but you didn't set any with the Pintail either (my guess). Both boats are playboats.

There is a nicely priced Avocet at your local kayaking club's discussion board.

Take a look at the Seda Ikkuma 17. More volume to carry, fits wide range of paddlers, lightweight... good boat.

No way
Forget about it

In your nightmares

Your weight “unloaded” is very marginal for Avocet, with all that gear you are going to submarine.

You would be hard-pressed to find any other ocean-quality boat as slow as your Pintail, even the Romany.

You seem to be considering other small boats, but for this 225 lbs use you are not in the small, playfull boat range. Why not an Explorer or Legend or Grand Illusion or Aquanaut or Nordkapp? One of the bigger P&H models? A big guy and/or expedition type of ocean boat. Any small capacity boat will be super slow with that much weight in it.

Yeah, that’s my idea - wait for the right used boat to pop up.

There’s an Avocet at a good price around here, so that’s what brings the issue up right now. Tempting, but probably I’d be smarter to wait for a more middle-of-the-road boat.

The thing is, when I’m guiding I don’t really care about speed, and when I’m not guiding, I’m playing in rock gardens, tide races, etc. I don’t really see myself as an Explorer type of guy - not that there’s anything wrong with that. :wink:

For reference I’m 6’0, and 185 pounds, but slim. I can fit it a lot. Tempest 165 is fine. Suka is tight, but doable. So basically I’ll fit in anything, even boats that are too small for my weight.

For that price I’m tempted to pick up that Avocet, I could combine it with that tandem up in your area.

Other matters are preventing me from purchasing anything theses days, oh well.

second that
It doesn’t seem that there is a huge difference in capacity or volume between the two boats.

Pintail has more volume
According to charts I have seen and my rough SWAG from looking in the hatches in the past, the Pintail has more volume than the Avocet. I know one person who has a Pintail and an Avocet. They use the Pinatil for extending camping trips since they concluded it has more carrying capacity than the Avocet and I’d trust their real world judgment on it.

I’ll tempt you
I can get you a good price on a Pintail instead! Very attractive British Racing Green color scheme! :slight_smile:


– Last Updated: Jun-01-10 4:34 PM EST –

I'm not too worried about speed. The pintail has been fine for me (maybe it's just keeping me in better shape!). Not that I wouldn't appreciate a faster boat, but frankly, fun and maneuverable is way more important to me than fast. But I think I would like an Aquanaut or maybe a Nordkapp. I don't see them for sale up here though. I know the dealers have some used, but $2500 is a bit rich for me.

Explorer might be a good bet on the used market. They seem to come up in the low $1000 range now and again.


Second the Legend…

serious nitpicking

– Last Updated: Jun-01-10 4:35 PM EST –

You would be hard-pressed to determine a significant speed difference between those two boats in anything but completely flat water...which is where all of the comments about Pintail and Romany speed apply.

From the Valley catalog
Avocet ideal loading 100-180 lbs 285 litres, Pintail 120-205 lbs. 310 litres.

an Aquanaut or maybe a Nordkapp

– Last Updated: Jun-02-10 7:16 AM EST –

Okay, I'm 6', 185 and have an Aquanaut, a Nordkapp LV and a Romany. I love all three. The Romany does feel like the slowest of the lot. It hits the wall the soonest and is the least directionally stable of them - though it tracks better than a Pintail. I have a friend who uses his Pintail as his all round boat. He is also a guide. Though the Pintail is a famously slow boat, he is such a good paddler that keeping pace with him takes my best technique even though I'm usually in a 'faster' boat.

Among the advantages of the Romany is that it is a supremely confidence inspiring boat. It is as responsive as a playboat and as reassuring as a rec boat. Nigel designed it as his schooling boat and it is excellent for that purpose.

When I bought my Aquanaut the final 2 were it and an Explorer. I prefer the Aquanaut as the hull feels livelier, it seems faster, and is slightly lower volume. For years the most common boat among friends has been an Explorer. Like you - "I don't really see myself as an Explorer type of guy - not that there's anything wrong with that. ;)"

The Aquanaut does take more of a lean/edge to turn well than a Romany or Nordlow or even an Explorer.

The Nordkapp LV is a very lively quick boat. It is amazingly fast in lumpy water and seems even more responsive than my Romany. It responds to a bow rudder or draw more adroitly than any boat I've paddled. The Nordlow works well for me as a day boat and would be fine for overnight use. I've yet to need all the volume of the Aquanaut as I don't do extended camping. You probably don't need the volume of a standard Nordkapp.

There have been waves of used Nordlows for sale. They are not for everyone though they are sexy enough to seduce a lot of paddlers.

older pintail
My pintail is a 95 - before the redesigned it. I wonder if the new one (which is listed on the website) is larger than mine.

Based on the shape…
…I’d say yes, it’s slightly bigger. The bilges are more square than on the older hull. The aft deck is also higher, which increases volume, but not carrying capacity.