best (swiftest) lv sea kayak for trips

-- Last Updated: Nov-29-04 12:01 PM EST --

Wondering what the best options are for a smaller person interested in a lower volume boat, who wants to be able to keep up with the rest of the group on day to long weekend trips....

Efficiency must rule
If you are a small person and want to sustain a decent speed, you need to find a boat that you can paddle at cruising speeds for hours on end, NOT a boat that is fast. So many women and small men get put into 18’ + boats by innexperienced sales folk. The longer boats do go faster WHEN enough power is applied, but only when that power is applied. At speeds of about 4 knots or less, they often require MORE energy. Add to this increased windage, leverage in big seas etc., and you have a small person in a barge. This is a real phenomenon that is lost on many kayakers. Try a shorter boat that will carry enough stuff, and I think you will find it more enjoyable and less tiring. For those who want to focus on speed only, then go for the skinny, long boats, and get in shape. Just know what you are after. Impex Mystic, Mariner Coaster, Kajak Sport Viking, Romany 16, etc., are efficient boats for smaller paddlers. There are others too, but this is a start…

well said,
that was my question, only you placed it much more accuratelyt than I. Was considering the mystic, also the anas acuta, slipstream, aral and viking. I was told the romany is not quite as efficient as other low volume boats. Ditto for the chatham 16 and tempest 16. Have only had a chance to paddle a few of these.

If you want to go fast, their isn’t any magic boat, you have to work at it. So get in (better) shape and you will go faster. An in shape person in a slow boat is still faster then an out of shape person in fast boat. However if you routinely work out 4 or 5 times a week and the folks you paddle with still dust you, then maybe you do need a faster boat, but just don’t expect to magically gain 2 knots with a “Fast” boat… What do you currently paddle? If you are moving form a Pamlico 160 to A T-Bolt you might see a 1.5 Knot increase in speed!! L

right now I have an Explorer, but I hardly ever fill the volume as I’ve only done a few extended trips, mostly day or weekenders. I don’t have a problem keeping up in that, but I’d like to reduce the size of the boat. But I also don’t want to be left behind on weekenders. About 5’9" and 170# (before thanksgiving feasting:) ).

HOw about jay babina’s outer island
Truly a classic boat, tracks a touch stiff but nice LV boat.

the p&H vela. should make your short list.

Good Answer…
There is no “magic” equipment bullet. In a club setting, you’re not racing where nth second counts for winning, placing, etc. Yeah, there may be some faster paddlers, but it’s getting into shape that will allow you to keep up. If you still can’t, paddle with a different group.

Stay away from “racers” if that ain’t what you’re into. They’ll race you even if they’re not consciously aware of it. :wink:


You won’t see that great of an increase, in what ever you choose, as the explorer is a good boat, unless you are talking about the Inflatable explorer?

How small?
If you fit, the Sparrow Hawk would be faster and more efficient than most boats its length. There is one for sale in CT for a very reasonable price (see thread).

The Kajak-Sport Viking has a very efficient hull. It produces less drag at higher knots than many boats with much longer OAL.

Epic makes a 16ft boat that is probably very fast. It may be low enough volume.

The Romany and Avocet are fun very capable boats. If you are indeed small, the Romany LV (or Explorer LV) might be an option. Like the Chatham, these boats are not speed demons, but are capable of keeping a reasonable pace with an average group.

thanks guys

– Last Updated: Nov-29-04 2:48 PM EST –

PeterK, I forgot the Vela. Wilsoj2, thanks for pointing out the thread.

I hope I didn't misrepresent my interests. I'm not concerned so much with being a speed demon, just keeping up in a lower volume and presumably shorter boat. Sounds like it shouldn't be much of an issue.

Go narrower…
…instead of shorter (as narrow as you’re comfortable with over the distances/times/conditions you want to paddle - not race narrow).

To do that (relative to your Explorer) you’ll most likely have to build! Then you can lower the decks to reduce volume and windage too.

Shorter is not going to get you what you want, not coming from an Explorer. Shorter is usually also wider in commercial boats. That two strikes against for speed, not one (very few short & narrower than 21" exceptions out there).

On the other hand your Explorer should be more than adequate for group paddles, with just about any group in any conditions. If not - work on the motor.

5’-9" and 170 pounds is not small.
and does not require a low volume yak.

I am thinking that as you paddle more you will eventually be able to keep up with the gang.

Did you ever paddle a QCC-700?



P&H Sirius S or M?
Have you ever paddled this boat? I have an HF…the S or M is a rather low volume fast paddle…love my HF.


I wonder if that’s what you’re looking for as well. Consider the QCC600 or Epic16 if speed in a lighter package is the priority. You don’t need a long boat for 4mph paddling efforts or effortless 3mph paddling,get efficient.

Ditto the Vela
…And check out Prijon’s Catalina. 48lb in plastic, easy cruising.

Preferences change
As a young guy all I cared about was speed and 50 knot days. A valid approach that turned me into a strong efficient paddler. But as the years passed and played in HP surf yaks, and paddled more coastal waters my preferences really flipped. Now I don’t want to be in anything over 16 feet, and find most of the boats too tracky. I have to have a playful sea kayak, or I’m bored. Actually, I rarely paddle near home unless it’s blowing, as flat water just doesn’t have the pull that it used to. I tend to go out and just play with skills Vs going for a day paddle. When i do trips they are outer coast for the most part and my emphasis is on paddling to a fun area and day tripping, rock gardening etc. So for me, I’d much rather paddle along at 4 knots in a fun boat that i can play in the nasty stuff in, Vs 5-6 knots in a long tracky boat that isn’t playful. Having said all that, if I had to paddle flat water a lot, a long skinny boat would allow me to go faster, as i could drive it to it’s potential. But taking that a step further, if it’s flat water I’d go straight to a full on race boat, or surf ski. I wouldn’t want the in-between stuff that most touring paddlers would think is fast. The higher end QCC,s or Epics would be fun I’m sure, but for most of the touring boats out there, i don’t really see a huge difference in speed, and i wouldn’t sacrifice playfullness for a knot of A to B speed.

Just my thinking.

You’re Not Helping
the industry sell boats with that kind of perspective. :wink:


I think you probably are in the market

– Last Updated: Nov-30-04 11:03 PM EST –

for a Surge yak. Google BillingtonKayaks. And the Outer Island, definitely.