Castine vs Calabria observations:

Today I paddled 17 miles with Bruce & cooldoctor1. Mostly on the Illinois and Michigan canal, but about 5 miles was down stream on the Illinois River, which parallels part of the canal. Bruce & cooldoctor1 were paddling their Prion Calabrias and I was paddling my Old Town Castine.


  1. In the canal, which had very little wind and very little current, I had great difficulty keeping up with Bruce and cooldoctor in their Calabrias going both directions.

  2. On the wide Illinois River, with wind whipped waves, chop and speed boat wakes, our speeds appeared to be more evenly matched, with me and the Castine appearing to have a bit of an advantage. The Castine appeared to deal with the wind better and have much less weather cocking.

  3. The hull designs of the boats are quite different and the Calabrias are 2’ longer than the Castine. The Calabrias appeared to have much less bow wake than the Castine on the glass smooth canal.

  4. This appeared to be a good example of how different hull designs excell in different water conditions.

Yanoer- do you think it was a
hull design issue or that mammoth cheese sandwich you had just before we portaged to the Illinois River:)?

objectively, the calabria has a longer waterline and narrower beam than the castine. It should be faster.

Once you get into waves and wind, the shorter boat may actually be easier to handle and, if it has less volume, will present less windage issues.

The biggest variables, however, will be the paddlers themselves in terms of weight (and thus trim) and technique in different conditions.

If you want a better comparison, you should paddle both boats in different conditions, preferable with a GPS, to note speed and handling. You become the constant and able to guage the variables of the boat designs.


Oh God bruce that is funny…mammoth


– Last Updated: Oct-30-05 7:33 AM EST –

I have my GPS but sometimes it is sort of fickle to fool with electronics, but sing's point is well taken and I will try the minicell mounting (I will look for it at Lowe's now) that is on another posting here. I do love my GPS Magellan Mariner though. It is so accurate in the car it is scary. Anyhow, if I can mount it we can try it out sometime as sing mentions. yanoer can see my comments on the I and M posting, but in essence, I think the Calabria is a very ideal plastic yak for general purposes but I do still think--as evidenced by our open water portion of the trip--that it is a weathercocking fiend just the same. My rudder lines were crossed and I could not put the damned thing down when I needed it, so it sort of sucked that way. With rudder, I think I would have been alright. Again one of those "need rudder about 5% of time, but when need it, really need it" sort of deals. Were we on true open water like Lake MI, and had to go hours in the weathercocking situation, a rudder would have been mandatory indeed.

A side note for yanoer: please let us all know when you'll be able to poop again after that block of havarti, okay? I say Wednesday.

Swapping boats would have been helpful
in determining whether it was paddler or boat, but that’s not likely to happen because we all travelled two hours to meet at Morris, IL. It’s not likely that I would take the Castine on another trip where Bruce and cooldoctor1 would have their Calabrias, that was just too much work. Maybe cooldoctor1 and me could meet more locally and try swapping boats on a shorter trip to help determine whether it’s boat or paddler.

One factor to consider when swapping boats is that it will usually take paddlers in unfamiliar boats quite a while to get used to the new boats to a degree that would actually be useful to help determine whether the difference in speed is due to hull design or paddler.

I guess we could try me paddling my Castine vs cooldoctor1 in his Calabria and then me in a barrowed Calabria vs cooldoctor1 in his Calabria. That may help determine whether using a Calabria would enable me to keep up with them better than I did in my Castine.

I could also meet cooldoctor1 and I could try both my Castine and my Isere vs his Calabria to see which is more compatible with his Calabria. We only live 15 miles apart.

That’s Why There’s So Much
made (or not) of PNet reviews. Most folks don’t have the time or opportunity to make personal testing of different hulls in different conditions. Often, what we get is very limited in scope and the question of reliability and validity come very much into play as a result.


Control experiment
Since this is a control experiment Yanoer, we need to try the following:

Yanoer- Castine and no cheese sandwich.

Cooldoctor- Calabria and no cheese sandwich.

Yanoer- Castine and cheese sandwich.

Cooldoctor- Calabria and no cheese sandwich.

Yanoer- Castine and no cheese sandwich.

Cooldoctor- Calabria and cheese sandwich.

Yanoer- Castine and cheese sandwich.

Cooldoctor- Calabria and cheese sandwich.

Cooldoctor- Castine and no cheese sandwich.

Yanoer- Calabria and no cheese sandwich.

Cooldoctor- Castine and cheese sandwich.

Yanoer- Calabria and no cheese sandwich.

Cooldoctor- Castine and no cheese sandwich.

Yanoer- Calabria and cheese sandwich.

Cooldoctor- Castine and cheese sandwich.

Yanoer- Calabria and cheese sandwich.

Did I miss anything? I have to start being productive now.

Make It Longitudinal Too…
so you know who gets “stuck” the longest too…


Very funny & very thorough, Bruce.
Sounds like a lot of work / fun.

What about Gatorade?
You and cooldoctor1 were drinking Gatorade and I was drinking water. Do we need to add that to the testing?

Yanoer- once you add a third
measurement criterion I’ll need a calculator to figure it out:).

Paddles may be a factor too.

– Last Updated: Oct-31-05 5:46 PM EST –

Bruce & cooldoctor1 both were using 230cm paddles with carbon fiber blades, I was using a 220 cm Bending Branches Infusion crankshaft with plastic blades.

After reading this thread on using a paddle backwards, I have to think that this difference in paddles may also have played a role in the relative ease of paddling and speed advantages that Bruce & cooldoctor1 enjoyed.

Bruce, you have a lot of calculating to do :)

Another variable: Colon blockage

– Last Updated: Nov-01-05 4:05 AM EST –

Okay, first and foremost, I agree wih yanoers in paragraph two of his monologue about trying differing boats and the "getting used to" factor and how that can impact testing; the learning curve is there and any difference noted may just be because the newbie in loaned boat doesn't have a clue as to how to paddle the yak. All that said, I m pleased to trade yaks on Clinton Lake sometime and see what is what. But I personally believe a colon full of cheese -- with or without Gatorade-- made some difference. I credit the keen eye of bruce for first mentioning this in the above post, with mammoth as the key terminology. I mean, he watched you eat that mammoth beast face-to-face at Lock #7; I, on the other hand, was peeing behind the outhouse. Bruce in this post goes on to eloquently document the hypothesis testing model with his table of variables and procedure for testing. And indeed, the cheese is... not only binding... but may literally be the "passion fruit" of kayaking (but I frankly would not recommend it as an aphrodesiac for our wives, though, so don't carry this analogy too far please).

The first leg of the trip was more difficult in the Castine, sans cheese. The second leg, after 8.5 miles of fatigue, was faster and the lilly pad charge, near end paddle, was, frankly, scary. You took off like a bloodhound after a dead rabbit, let me tell you, yanoer. It was nearly supernatural, and Bruce and I, left in your green African lotus wake, thought for a moment that you took a hit of speed or something. We planned to search your car for Sudafed boxes and a makeshift distiller when we got back to the parking lot. Anyhow, it was an impressive passage in the lotus for sure, and the point being, you had that jumbo block of havarti, and we did not. Throw reason out the window, as a colon full of cheese just does not seem like it would make a paddler faster, but in this case it did. Why bother shaving a few ounces off a paddle weight when the block of cheese in gut is at least half a pound or more? I mean, maybe it has something to do with improved sitting balance with a low center of gravity or something. Maybe it is the slow seepage of cheesy protein and fat that trickles into the blood stream about 60-90 minutes after a cheese gorge. Trust me, yanoer bruce and sing, our swigs of Gatorade ain't no match for the havarti. Analyzing this any further will lead to a faulty conclusion: bottom line is, yanoer, you made that slovenly rec yak cut through the lotus patch like a 19 foot composite Seda Glider after that cheese sandwich. You literally left us in your wake. And for that, you are, by definition... Da Man!

PS Do not, and I mean really DO NOT, mix that quantity of cheese with Gatorade unless you have a deathwish or something. For the love of God, you'd paddle like a dope fiend and then your guts would blow out all over the lake like bass chum. Don't even think about it.

PPS See, I know you're thinking about it. Don't. Brent Reitz might be able to pull it off. We cannot.

Ha, ha, ha! Too funny! I’m crying from
laughing so hard. That’s got to be the funniest thing I’ve ever read on!

I mention all you chums, bruce, yanoer and sing, in my current Lottery thread, too. Enjoy. :slight_smile:

I Dunno…
don’t think I can hang with you guys… A block of havarti and gatorade (please don’t tell it’s blue…) are bit much for my system… My engine and exhaust don’t run well with that stuff.


What would have been the results if cooldoctor and Bruce had been in Prijon Capri Tours? Wouldn’t it have been more even?

In a word, “yes”…
…it would have been more even. But only if we had a jumbo hunk 'o cheese between two thin slices of wheat bread, too. Then, yes, it would have been even. Without it, Bruce and I were toast.

Too much emphasis on the cheese.

– Last Updated: Nov-03-05 1:54 PM EST –

As soon as we moved back to the canal from the river, you and Bruce easily outpaced me again. BTW, I've been free flowing without disruption - no "cheese effect" on the internal plumbing. Thnaks for your concern.

Here's Bruce's pictures again:

Another factor not mentioned yet is that on the river, I took more direct routes and Bruce & cooldoctor1 stayed closer to the shore. I probably travelled a shorter distance and it may have just appeared that I was faster on the river.