Best sub 16ft plastic touring kayak?

-- Last Updated: Nov-03-09 11:51 AM EST --

I currently paddle a Necky Manitou 13. It's a wonderful boat that has taken me everywhere I wanted to go. I have also pushed it beyond its intended limits and I'm now looking to upgrade to a touring class yak. Something that is faster, open/rough water capable, and will reward me as my paddling skills advance. Due to living space, I have to keep the boat length to 16ft or less. My body size is 5'8" 160 lbs. Any recommendations? I have an opportunity to try out a CD Squamish. Does anyone have experience in that boat?

Valley Avocet
I would imagine you will get a lot of recommendations for the roto Avocet @ 15’11" a great rough water boat.

That said, I have friends with the Squamish and they really like it.

Paddle both if you can.

second the Avocet RM

– Last Updated: Nov-03-09 2:00 PM EST –

A great choice if it'll sneak in under your length limit. I've got one. It's a happy boat when it has waves to play on.

I'd also look at the Dagger Alchemy 14S, and the WS Zephyr 155. Briefly demoed and enjoyed both.

Haven't paddled the Venture Easky 15LV, but it looks like a possibility.

see delphin/airies post
meant to post here- but PH has a new delphin in plastic - 15 and 15.5 - coasteering, rock gardens, surf - fun. out this spring…

My transitional kayak was a Manitou 13 and I’ve since moved on to a Shadow 16.5 and then a Chatham 17. Looking back, the manitou was actually pretty fast and straight tracking for it’s size and the seat is still 3x more comfortable than any touring kayak I’ve ever sat in, even if you can’t do lay back rolls.

In addition to the Avocet and maybe the shorter WS Tempest, you’d probably fit nicely in a Chatham 16, which is very maneuverable, deceptively stable, and just excellent in rough water. I’m actually in the process of upgrading to a lighter boat by building one of the wood kits. You might consider the Shearwater 16 or shorter Arctic tern kits if you don’t mind putting in the time. They are fairly cheap high performance boats with excellent reviews and they are much lighter and stronger than fiberglass…

Prijon touryak

16 ft kayaks
Look at the P& H kayaks they have 2 in the 16ft range

isn’t the new Romany less than 16 feet

I know it is plastic and Shaped like a Romany

third the Avocet RM

Length, skills

– Last Updated: Nov-04-09 8:28 AM EST –

Is your length limit exactly 16 ft? Just to ask - some "16 ft" kayaks are actually a few inches longer.

If you want to try for a less usual approach that'll buy you some inches, you might see if you could hang the boat diagonally. Per high school math (a squared plus b squared = c squared), if you can find a way to put the boat on the diagonal you can go for a longer one. We have a 15'9" plastic boat slung diagonally (bottom right to top left) along a 12 ft wall in the basement. The same thing could work with a glass boat if you have a ceiling from which you could put slings on a diagonal.

Your post indicates that you want to have something that is faster than the Manitou and will reward you as your skills increase. The possible conflict here is that many boats in the 16 ft range that are great at rewarding you as your skills increase are also pretty maneuverable. So they would be a bit faster than your 13 ft Manitou, but many good candidates are not fast compared to some of the fast 17 plus ft boats. I think you'll still be OK with the speed however you go, but be aware that fast is relative.

If skills development means messing around in rough conditions, second the suggestions above for the RM Valley Avocet or the Dagger Alchemy suggested above.

Valley Avocet
The majority here seems to lean towards the Valley Avocet. I read all the reviews on this site and found some on other sites. All were positively beaming about this boat. The Avocet does cost more than another plastic boat of the same size. However, that saying that you get what you pay for must apply here. The nearest place for me to demo this boat out is 8 hours away at Sea Kayak Georgia. I’m thinking road trip. Thank you all for your inputs.

Mine makes me grin, but it’s not for everybody. The Avocet is more maneuverable/looser tracking than most sea kayaks. Some people don’t like that. A Tempest 165 – which I also like – tracks better and is probably faster.

The price of a new Avocet RM might get you into a used composite boat.

A demo-paddling road trip sounds like great fun, but don’t make up your mind before you try a few. Only you know what’s best for you.

Like you, I started with a Necky Manitou 13. I moved up to a P&H Capella RM, which is 16’8" and probably too big for you. However, it is a great boat and it is relatively easy to find used Capellas for great prices.

Under 16, I would recommend the Avocet or NDK Romany. I have paddled both of them, and they are both great kayaks. The Avocet was too small for me, but should fit someone your size just about right. The Romany I paddled was their RM version that is patterned after their Surf model, so it would fit larger than an Avocet.

The Avocets I have paddled felt quick and handled nicely. If I weren’t so big, I would have bought one by now.

WS Zephyr
Try it. You’ll like it.

RM too big
The plastic Romany is the “S” or surf model and too big for this person. The regular Romany would fit well, but comes only in glass. That said, you can find a used Romany in the $1600-1800 range here in the Northeast. That’s about what a new plastic high-end boat costs, eh?

Also, I hear that NDK has given up on making the plastic Romany - anyone have info on that?


msgckayaker Avocet on Pnet ads
It’s in MI, but seller willing to drive it 200 miles. A 2006 model, ,ike mine–it’s great! Very fair price. Chedck Pnet ads, search Valley.

For big folks…
I’m going to throw in a vote for the WS Tsunami125. Does a lot of things well and provides a boat that beginners won’t outgrow in one season. Open water, salt or fresh, hairy class II, ponds, lakes, I’ve done everything in this boat over the past three seasons, and have never been “left in the dust” by other paddlers. My daughter is a svelte 5-9, 130 and after paddling a 120 and a 140, still preferred the 125. Price is right if you can get them on sale too, or used from somebody moving up.