This might be a noticable downgrade but my freshwater kayaking destinations have dramatically changed from larger lakes and the Hudson R. to smaller Adirondack lakes and flows. My current Valley Aquanaut LV in glass at 17-1 is just overkill for the smaller water bodies and the car topping weight is becoming bothersome. For shoreline explorations in more protected waters, I am desiring a kayak size downgrade . .this Current Designs boat along with perhaps a Swift boat model or two seem to fit the goal more than my Valley. Suggestions requested.
CD’s VISION 150 strangely has no family resemblance to the V120 but lines up with Swift’s Saranac series. V150’s stems are pinched, Veed, and rockered; contributing to tippiness but the footprint is so submerged with a 170 lb.r the hull doesn’t turn.
Sounds bad . . . .suggestions for a downsized kayak for lakes like Blue Mountain, Forked, Utowana, and no longer Lake George, Stillwater, etc.
I just spent some time in the Adirondacks with my Swift Saranac Classic, a 14-footer, exploring smaller lakes and ponds. I think you’ll find that the Vision 150 isn’t much lighter than your present boat, while the Swifts may be lighter, depending on the lay-up you chose, even with a skeg. Of course, they’re priced higher unless you can get a used one.
I love my boat, but there were times when I REALLY wished I had a 12-foot pack canoe instead.
What about the Vision 130?
Any comments on the design?
Size matters, but so does design, when
considering maneuvering of kayaks. My over 17’ Eclipse 17 / Sea Lion turns way easier than the 13.5’ Eddyline Merlin LT did.
Doesn’t your Aquanaut LV turn pretty well when edged?
About the Vision 150 but I did test paddle a Vision 140 when they first came out. I thought the hull did not turn to well without the rudder plus it had a lack of glide. For all my Adirondack trips I use either my Swift Saranac 14 Sport or my PBW Spitfire depending the body of water.
For a 15' kayak, I recommend the QCC Q400 (which was also sold as the Swift Caspian Sea, they come up used sometimes). I like my 400 quite a bit, it has very nice glide for a short boat. It's good in the type of water you mention, it doesn't need a rudder, but I recommend getting it for tight maneuvering. It's pretty roomy inside, so if you like a snug cockpit it may feel too big.
As it is the Ads, have you considered a pack canoe, maybe one of those sleek PBW hulls?
QCC 400X for tight maneuvering?
Not in my experience. I’m selling mine because I can’t edge it hard enough to turn it without the rudder.
I like to do most of my turning without the rudder and save the rudder for waves or wind.
Maybe it turns faster with the rudder than without, but I still haven’t grown to like the Smart Track rudder - the bow bobs back & forth every time I drive off the pedal.
I don’t get enough body contact in mine to effectively edge the boat.
Maybe the rudder is the trick for getting the 400X to turn quickly. My Perception Eclipse 17 / Sea Lion and Shadow 16.5 are much, much easier to edge turn than my 400X. I even think my Expic Touring Cruiser 16 is easier to edge turn than my 400X.
I’m 5’6" and abou6 165 lbs.
From the designer’s statement, the Q400 was designed to be ‘helm-neutral’ past 10 degrees of lean, i.e. it was specifically designed to NOT be an edge-turning kayak; the point was to keep it directionally stable in confused seas. So it’s not surprising that it doesn’t respond to edging. I’m not crazy about the toe-pilot thingies on the smart track rudder system, and may swap them out for pivoting footbraces or gas pedals - but I do use the rudder to turn the boat to follow twisty shorelines, and it works quite well for that.
You can read a portion of the design statement here:
My wife uses the 400X with rudder
exclusively (when she paddles the 400X, she always used the rudder). She’s quite pleased with the 400X and the rudder controls. She has different paddling experience and different objectives than I do.
The 400X does seem to perform very well in wind and chop with the rudder deployed. I had less trouble crossing a lake with some pretty good chop and beam winds than my more competent paddling partner in his Valley Aquanaut. I seemed to be using much less effort to stay on course than he did.
The 400X is a very stable, efficient and roomy kayak, it’s just not “playful” as I perceive “playful”. It’s definitely more maneuverable than some boats and less maneuverable than some boats.
While it does not meet my weight criteria, the Zephyr 155 might meet my need as a day boat replacing my Naut lv. Test paddle planned.
I do not like a suggestion received privately to consider the Alchemy. Too me too much of a specific playboat that more effort needed to go straight.
How much does your Aquanaut LV weigh?
That will help us suggest lighter boats.
It seems that even when dropping to the 15-16 foot range, significant weight savings are limited to mainly Swift and CD brands.
Of course I could get the Rapidfire and not own any kayak at all which aging paddlers seem to be doing in my region. I think the Rapidfire has a different use than my Hornbeck. But in whitecapped froth I indeed like a kayak more than canoe even if my rolling skills have gone from good to non- existent.
I was thinking the same
FWIW, I like the Vision series, particularly the 150, and would recommend it to someone wanting a transitional touring boat that would track well and be sporty without being too demanding.
But 'nimble' isn't its strong suit. The Zephyr series, on the other hand, are pretty easy to work with in turny situations. If you want short, and can comfortably fit in a 22" wide boat, the 155 might be a good fit for what you want.
Maybe a used Phoenix Isere at about
29 lbs. They start to spin just about as soon as you stop paddling, but tracking is fine while you’re paddling as long as you have a good forward stroke. They’re quite maneuverable and the construction is pretty tough. They’re pretty efficient, too.
The seat is very uncomfortable for most people and needs to be either modified or replaced.
There aren’t any bulkheads, so you’ll need flotation bags if there’s much chance of taking on water.
A pack boat like the Rapidfire might be a great option for you. With the snakeskin gunwales, they weigh about 26 lbs. I’d like to try one some day.
PBW offers a nice spray deck for choppy conditions, as I recall. I've been pining to try the Spitfire 13 at only 23 pounds, but I'm worried I'll like it so much I'll have to buy it, but it's pricey and my racks are currently full.
Have you considered something like a Cape Falcon F-1 or some other short SOF, e.g. a Yost design?
PS I like Yanoer's idea of the Isere, are there any left out there? While we're talking about old-timey boats, we might as well mention the Mariner Coaster, too.
If you’re ok with going shorter, options just under 14ft could be the Eddyline Samba (43lbs) and Walrus Griffin (33-38lbs depending on layup).
The CARBON Zephir
There is one for sale listed here on the boards. That is a very rare layup and at 39lb probably one of the lighter 15 foot kayaks you can get that is still strong and playful. Price is a bit steep though, even used… But if you are in FL, where I think this listing is, might be worth a try. Weight plays a significant role for maneuverability, especially swing weight on an already maneuverable kayak (not so much on a straight tracking design)…
I would not get obsessed with maneuverability - how tight do you realistically expect to turn on a lake or a slow water creek??? Just about any boat will do for that. Extreme maneuverability is nice on tight moving water and sometimes on marshes but other than that, just to follow the beach line or navigate a creek - it would not be my top priority…