CD Gulfstream fit

Found a nice deal on a CD Gulfstream. Haven’t seen it yet because it’s a bit of a drive. Most reviews mention that it’s a nice boat for larger paddlers. I’m 6’1", 165#. Would I be a good fit? Thanks in advance for the advice.

I’m 5’10 175 and I’m very comfortable in mine

Gulfstream was partly designed around fitting Derek Hutchinson. A person of not necessarily tall stature but some roundness. You would be opposite from him so strictly speaking may feel you have generous space in the cockpit. But it would work.

The Gulfstream is very maneuverable, turns without having to set a way deep edge. That makes a lot of diff in how flexibly a boat can be a comfortable paddle for someone. The Romany I paddle is really over volume for me. But it turns so easily this is not a problem.

I had the RM version known as Sirocco. As Celia said, both were designed by and “for” Derek. I’m 6’1" @ 200lbs…the cockpit will have so much extra space that the local joke was that I could play a game of handball in the cockpit. Great kayak design for the more portly paddler.

I also had a Sirocco. Nice hull and lively to paddle, but I was swimming in it and believe you would be as well.

The one for 650? Grab it.

I don’t know the Sirocco, but the Gulfstream I have was last owned by Mr Hutchinson and the only adjustment I made was to tighten the back band a little. Other then that is comfortable and I don’t feel it’s too big.

I think it will handle well under your weight. I’m 6’ 195#. It has some width to it, but the seat isn’t particularly wide in it. At least it isn’t in mine. I have a 20.5" wide P&H Bahiya that has more hip room in the seat than my Gulfstream. There’s some space between the sides of the seat and the sides of the kayak, so that’s where those few inches end up. I think leg length makes as much, if not more of a difference in contact points as the thickness of your legs. Contact points should not be a problem for you.
Celia mentions that it turns without having to set a way deep edge. I would say that it is also a boat that’s very fun and secure to play around with maneuvering on a deep edge. I think that’s one of the things that people who like this kayak really like about it. It maintains really solid secondary stability a long way over, and can be maneuvered gracefully due to the added confidence this provides. It’s very enjoyable to paddle in meandering creeks where you can put this into practice, or just messing about on open water.
My wife loves the Sirocco, and has paddled the Gulfstream a fair amount too. She tries the different kayaks I have, but this is the hull design that sings to her. She has long since tired of the dogmatic comments regarding the width and volume, and it often displays evident that she outperforms many who make them. She’s much smaller than either of us, and edges and rolls it quite impressively.
I find that there’s such a thing as a practical good fit, one where you have proper contact points, and there’s nothing physically inhibiting your performance. And then there’s personal preference. I’ve paddled with people in sea kayaks who outfit them as though they’re in a whitewater playboat that’s just a bit too small, and need regular stretch breaks to cure the numbness. Then there are people like my wife that can take a roomy cockpit and make the kayak perform like it was made for them. I know how too tight of a fit inhibits my own performance, and I personally can tolerate a lot of variation without notice or complaint. I also know that a person who gets accustomed to a quite snug fit can get pretty spooked without it. And if someone perceives it as a loss of control, then it probably is a loss of control for them.
The downside of extra height/freeboard is that the wind acts upon it. A general downside of excess volume is that broken waves can act upon the hull more forcefully. But the whole of hull design comes into play with these things. In this case, extra width allows more roundness while still allowing folks to feel comfortable due to secondary stability. You could rarely take the volume of two sea kayaks, in and of itself, and say, for example, that one will handle waves better because of the overall volume, or that one will be effected by wind more because of the overall volume. So at some point, you have to just say I like the way this kayak handles, or I don’t.
This is not a Dagger Statos or a P&H Delphin. The bottom is more rounded, it’s longer, and it instantly feels decidedly more efficient. The primary stability isn’t as high, but it has secondary stability that will take care of a beginner. The former are flat-bottomed hulls that probably are nearly as maneuverable without edging. The Gulfstream benefits nicely from edging. The Gulfstream has a nicely upswept bow, and will handle waves fairly well. The Delphin’s bow is purpose designed to handle waves. But if I may, let me put this into perspective. I have watched a person struggle with plunging down the face of waves and burying the bow of a Delphin, where less surf-specific hulls were performing just fine. The faster you come up to speed, the sooner you can catch a wave. The sooner you catch a wave, the better you’re able to position yourself when a wave gets critically steep. I define critically steep as that point where if you take off down the face, you’re going to plunge down into the water instead of gliding out in front of it. Now part of this is your ability to sprint the kayak forward. The better you are at that, the less steep you need the wave to be to take off. But a kayak that takes off more quickly for you makes a difference.
I just wanted to touch on all this because I worry sometimes that people’s impressions of kayaks are that the kayak designed to handle steeper waves without burying the bow necessarily is the better performer in rougher water. But once you’re out there, you realize there are a lot of things at play, the paddler’s input being no small part of that. Generally speaking, if I say a kayak’s design allows it to handle steeper waves without burying the bow, that’s geometry. The one that allows you personally to handle a particular set of steeper waves is significantly more complicated.
Too much rambling on already I’m sure. You’re likely to get comments about the cockpit volume from some folks. My wife has suffered them for years. My opinion is that you should be able to perform quite nicely in that kayak. The length of your legs should allow you to lock in very naturally. Overall it’s a good design. I certainly enjoy it when I paddle it.

1 Like

Follow-up on what l said about turning generously, yes the Gulfstream also loves a deep edge.

The issue for a paddler who is underweight or set loose in a cockpit can be that it takes some noticeable effort to get the boat over that far. So it is a good thing if you can get it to maneuver without killing yourself when you are coming in beat from a long or challenging day on the water.

The classic contrast here is between the Romany and the older CD Solstice series. The Romany has aggressive thigh braces and a lower deck, l can get it well over on edge without having to kill myself. The cockpit fit makes up for whatever volume issue there is. But the older Solstice series boats were too big and quite high decked, the Squall was the only one that behaved at all for me.

One of the more ludicrous moments when l was trying out a friend’s GT was me hanging out sideways with my torso over the water and the thing was still not going to go anywhere unless l also exerted upward force on the thigh brace.

The Gulfstream is more generous like the Romany on me.

1 Like

I’m getting a good laugh out of imagining you leaning sideways out of the kayak trying to get it to edge.
Height is most often a curse in terms of stability, but for the reasons you mention, I think it works well with something like the Gulfstream. The rounder bottom and high secondary will edge right over even for a lighter paddler, but will still offer some reassuring stability on edge for taller folks.

It really was that silly. Granted l was younger and carrying 10 lessvpounds, but l wasn’t any taller. I burst out laughing.

The Gulfstream is wonderful boat (I’ve paddled the original design). I am 6’ and the last time I paddled one I was around 200 lb and thoroughly enjoyed paddling the kayak, I’d love to have one. I found the cockpit to be snug but very comfortable.

I can’t agree with the height issue comments, never had a problem with wind or waves overly affecting/moving the kayak around.

1 Like