Cetus MV Initial Thoughts......

So I finally got a hold of a boat that I have been eager to try for quite some time—the Cetus MV, and figured I would post some feedback here since I have not seen a lot of info online about this boat’s performance.

First off, I am 5’8 and just under 200 pounds. The boat fits me perfectly, but I think I am perhaps towards the upper weight range of the boat for use when loaded. The P&H site shows the max weight for this boat to be about 240. I am probably around 210 with my paddling gear on, which does not leave a lot of reserve weight for tripping gear when using the boat for overnight trips. I am not sure what the “sweet spot” is for paddler weight for this boat, but I would say it’s probably a bit lower than my weight; however, the fit is really good for me and I think that the HV would feel too big.

Part of the reason that I wanted to provide comments here is because I find this to be a “different” feeling boat. I am curious if others have the same thoughts. I have owned about every Brit boat out there, but this one has a different feel to it to me, which I did not like at first, but am starting to get used to. This is how I felt about my Aires as well, which I now love.

What felt different to me was the stability profile and edging performance of the boat. I am used to boats that can be edged quite deeply before reaching their tipping point, and most boats I have owned have a gradual and noticeable decrease in secondary stability as you start to edge the boat past its balance point. This is particularly true with the touring boat I have been paddling lately—a Foster Legend (really awesome boat). As a result, I tend to edge boats pretty aggressively.

I feel that the Cetus MV reaches its tipping point at a shallower angle than I am used to. When first paddling it I found that I was edging the boat a good bit farther than its balance point. I feel that the Cetus has pretty high primary stability and good secondary and that it requires less edging than other boats to turn—a more subtle and less aggressive weight shift to the outer but cheek. I think a lot of paddlers will like this, but for me it is taking some getting used to.

I also find that when the boat does go past the tipping point that the decrease in secondary stability is fairly abrupt. That being said, there is a performance gain in edging it this far though in my opinion. I find that the boat will turn much more sharply when edged past its tipping point. That is not the case with all boats in my opinion. Most don’t turn that much faster when edged this far, or sometimes turn slower as the result of water piling up on the back deck.

With the Cetus I find that you get a really nice turn with a bow rudder providing the support for an edged turn past the balance point, or when doing an outside edged turn / sweep stroke with a light brace on the outside or inside of the turn. The boat will whip around really quickly.

Along with the perfect fit for me—which is a big factor for me—another strong attribute of this boat is its speed / efficiency. The swede form allows for a nice vertical stroke, the fit of the boat allows (me) good rotation, and the leg position the boat provides is rather straight-legged; all of these attributes allow good energy transfer. I have not assessed the boat’s speed with GPS, but the boat feels fast and efficient. Personally, as long as it feels fast I am happy. Actual speed is not as important to me frankly; although I do think that the boat probably is pretty fast compared to other Brit touring boats.

I have had the opportunity to get out and surf some wind waves with the boat on a couple of occasions (not as many windy days as I would like). I found that the boat surfs pretty well. I don’t think it surfs as well as my Legend (which surfs better than anything I have ever paddled) but it’s not far behind the Legend. I was able to catch most waves and stay on them pretty well without broaching and veering off, and was able to link some rides for some super long surfs. I think that as I get more used to the boat I may find that it may equal the Legend. Again though, the stability profile is different and I need to get used to not edging as deeply when surfing. The hull is somewhat flat on the bottom which causes the boat to like to surf. Edging on the face of a wave is accomplished by subtle weight shifts from one cheek to another.

Rolling—the boat rolls so easily that I have to brace on the other side upon coming up so that I don’t go all the way around. It’s a very easy roller, probably due largely to its low deck height.

Performance in the wind—I have had it out in some moderate winds…and briefly in some very high winds. In 15-20 knot winds the boat weathercocks a little, but is overcome with some edging and corrective strokes. It is reasonably neutral in the wind, but probably not as neutral as a boat like the NDK Exlporer. I had the boat out on a day with about 15 knot winds a few weeks ago. The forecast had called for higher winds…and they came. While on the water I saw a storm coming in the distance. It hit quickly and violently. As it turned out there was a tornado warning in effect as I found out later. When the storm hit the winds were a sustained 30 knots, gusting to about 35 knots. The storm lasted about 20-30 minutes. The Cetus was confidence inspiring in the squall and quite controllable.

The only drawback I might see for this boat versus other expedition boats is that the low deck makes for what appears to be a bit less storage space than other comparable boats, but it still should be plenty of room for most trips. I plan on taking the boat on an overnight trip here soon. I will be curious to see how the boat performs loaded. As I stated above I am probably a bit towards the upper end of the weight range for this boat so I hope it does not get too bogged down with a load.

I also have not had the boat out in the surf, although I think it would do well there. I don’t plan to use it in the surf much though since I have the Aires (which is an awesome play boat for the surf).

Overall the Cetus MV is a fun boat to paddle and I plan to keep this one (at least for a while). I look forward to testing it in more interesting conditions.


Is this going to replace your Legend? What layup is this Cetus, meaning fiberglass? Or a kevlar/carbon?

If I remember correctly did you also own or paddle a NDK Greenlander pro? as thats what I have now for my trip kayak. Plus what other expedition type kayaks have you owned or paddled for a while? I do want to try out a Cetus MV come this summer. Iam 5’8" but about 170lbs.

I always like to try out other kayaks. Looks like you like that too. I just got a Valley Avocet RM for my playboat.

The layup is fiberglass. It’s a good layup. Seems pretty strong, yet reasonable in weight. I think I weighed it at about 60 pounds.

Rear hatch leaked though and I have spend a lot of time with 3m5200 trying to fix that and think I have got it just about licked.

It is going to replace the Legend. I have to say that I love the Legend and it is perhaps the best touring boat I have owned (between the Cetus and the Legend). My issue with the Legend is the seat. Since it hangs straight from the coaming it is too narrow for me and really hinders my rotation. I was going to cut the seat out and try installing a Kajaksport seat, but changed my mind at the last minute. I was not sure that I would be able to jury rig it to fit, and figured that once I cut out the original seat and hangers that it may become that much more difficult to sell so I opted to buy the Cetus which I knew was a good fit for me “out of the box”

Legend is an awesome boat though. I liked the Greenlander Pro a lot, but the Legend is MUCH better boat in just about every way and I say that with confidence.


Matt and expedition boats
quote: Plus what other expedition type kayaks have you owned or paddled for a while?

He has owned all of them!

Matt - hope we can get out for a trip soon. I’ve been doing some whitewater, but haven’t had the long boat out in a while. Going to be on Hatteras for a long weekend 2/22-23, might take it down if you want to do a daytrip and get out for a few hours at Cape Point.


Can I get my seat back then?


I would be happy to send the seat back to you. It felt great in the boat at first, but then hard edge from the gap between the hanger and the seat started to bother me, and since the hanger was still the same width it was still too narrow at the top of the hips so I switched back to the factory seat.


I will shoot you an email!


rear hatch leak?
I take it this is a used kayak? As I would think if new with hatch leak you would return it for another?

Iam thinking about this kayak and am curious as to were and why its rear hatch is leaking, maybe its somthing I should look at if I happen to find a used one.

copared to Bahiya?
I don’t recall if you have paddled the P&H Bahiya much, but seems you have paddled them all at one time or another. I’m curious how you would compare the Cetus MV to the Bahiya. I wish Legends were more available on the east coast because I would really like to try one. A coach I really respect uses one when he goes out to paddle for himself.

On the rear hatch leak–yes it is a used boat. I am still not 100% sure of the source of the leak, but it is somewhere in the skeg box area. I first thought it was probably leaking in from the fitting where the skeg cable runs through the skeg box. I put some 303 on it, but the leak persisted. I have put several applications of 3M5200 in this area and at places on the skeg box that feel like there is some sort of imperfection. The leak is all but gone, but a little moisture still comes in. I am a perfectionist so I still want to find the minor leak.

My new Aires had a bit of a leak too. It was at the skeg cable fitting and one application of 5200 and it is now absolutely air and water tight. I am a bit surprised by the leaks because I think that P&H boats are pretty high quality. Their customer service is certainly outstanding.

How does it compare to the Bahiya…well they are totally and completely different boats. It’s been a while since I paddled the Bahiya, but I will try to make a comparison based on my recolection.

I really liked the Bahiya. It was fast, fun, efficient and maneuverable. It was a bit of a niche boat as a traditional hard chined boat. It had reasonably tender primary stability and great secondary. It did tend the weather cock a bit though and was fairly skeg dependent.

The Cetus may be about the same speed, but I am not sure. Maneuverability may be comparable. The Cetus has much higher primary stability, and less of a defined hard edge like the Bahiya. The Cetus is a lot more neutral in the wind, and I would say a more versatile boat.

The Legend and Bahiya are more similar than the Bahiya and the Cetus, but the Bahiya can’t really compare to the Legend–not that the Bahiya is not a good boat, but the Legend is truly an awesome boat in my opinion.

Johnny…if you want the seat back then please shoot me an email with your address and I will get it out to you.


Just a quick follow up from my original message. Having some more time on the water with the Cetus I have to say that I am really starting to like the boat now that I have a better fell for it. It took me a while to get used to the different stability profile since I am used to edging much more deeply with some other boats, but now that I have the feel for the boat the stability profile now feels quite natural to me, requiring smaller and more subtle weight shifts to get it to its balance point on edge.

Although quite stable in its primary stability, the boat still has a lively feel to it and I find it really enjoyable to paddle. I think I am going to really like this boat.

As to the rear hatch leak, I have been working on that. I found that some water was coming in from the skeg line. I have that solved. The water that is currently getting in I have identified as coming from a loose fitting hatch cover (at least that is what it appears). I have been using one of the new style KS covers (hybrid of the snap on ones and the original rubber ones). I will go back to the original rubber one that came with the boat and have a feeling that should solve the problem.

I am happy I ended up buying it.


Do you think the MV would work for a 140 lb paddler?

I have also have been looking at the Xplore s from Tiderace.

Since the Xplore S has the same volume as the MV; would

either boat work equally well for 140 lbs.

I think that the Cetus LV might be too small for my tripping needs.


At 140lbs you’d be comfortably in the range of an LV. While the MV would work it’d likely feel that there’s more boat about you than needed.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY



Xplore S -MV
if the MV would be too much boat; would the same apply to the Xplore S?

Not sure.

– Last Updated: Feb-20-14 1:39 PM EST –

I carry and paddle P&H kayaks not Tide Race. Perhaps there's someone here that can comment with a more recent first hand contrasting experience between the two.

My experience with an XPlore size Unknown, probably not an S. This was at ECCKF a number of years ago, on a lake setting. It tracked well, good cruise speed but I didn't find any liveliness in it's maneuvering. YMMV

See you on the water,
The RIver Connection, Inc.
Hyde Park, NY

P&H Cetus MV vs. Tiderace Xplore-S

– Last Updated: Feb-20-14 8:19 PM EST –

I am not quite sure why the Cetus MV is being compared to the Tiderace Xplore-S? Marshall's suggestion that the Cetus LV be considered is spot on.

The Cetus MV has a bit more volume than the Xplore-S regardless of what someone's spec. chart may say. If one is looking at the Cetus MV then closest boat in the Tiderace line will be the Xplore-M, not the 'S'.

I have paddled a P&H Cetus LV for about four years and I have spent a bit of time in the Tiderace Xplore-S. They are very comparable in volume. The handling is a bit different between the two, but they are both very nice sea kayaks.

For what it is worth I go 5' 9" and 155 pounds. I could paddle the Cetus MV, but I much prefer the fit and feel of LV.

Steevey, if you are 140 pounds then I strongly suspect you will be swimming in the respective cockpits of either Medium sized boat. If you own stock in a mini-cell foam factory then a 'Medium' would be the way to go.

The best advice I can offer is to test paddle each of them for YMMV.

Good Input
I’ve demo’d a Cetus LV and liked it but thought it may be too small for my tripping. I have also demo’d an Xplore S, the cockpit fit for me was very nice. I’m not prepared to buy new at this time. A used Cetus MV is available and based on P&H and Tideraces respective info both boats spec out similar in volume.This was the reason for my inquiry. To demo the Cetus MV will require an extensive thaw. I am open to other boat suggestions.

Thanks for all the input

Tripping capacity
I come from a backpacking background, so my gear is not overly voluminous. Still I don’t think you will have any trouble touring for a week or more in a Cetus LV, unless of course you bring both your Barcalounger and the kitchen sink. The boat has far more gear capacity than the largest backpack I have ever carried.