Comparable CD Kayak by design?

It turns out that I have a nephew looking to be employed by the folks in Winona, MN at Current Designs. I must say my first thought was “Great…it’s about time you get a job!” THEN my next thought was “Oh my God…do they offer a family discount!!!”

I’ve been narrowing boat selection down to the VCP Aquanaut, P&H Capella 169 and the Impex Currituk.

Is there a CD boat that I should consider in comparison to the above three?

depending on your size

– Last Updated: May-11-05 11:31 AM EST –

either the Slipstream or the Gulfstream would be fairly comparable.

maybe the Caribou as well.

not really

– Last Updated: May-11-05 11:33 AM EST –

but as far as unique skegged boats go the Caribou is appreciated by many. If you can get a discount you could get a kevlar Caribou and have a fast,light kayak.
oh, right,,Gulfstream/slipstream. The Gulfstream is it's own beast,,very user friendly, stable,efficient, feels like a 15' kayak

Solstice GTS
I am also interested in the Aquanaut, and P&H Quest.

I happen to have paddled the Caribou, Solstice GTS, and Extreme last week. I have not paddled the Aquanaut yet.

I found the Caribou to be a very well tempered boat. It was quick and felt very predictable and stable. The Solstice GTS also a very nice ride. But I think I’ve fallen ‘paddle-over-pfd’ in love with the EXTREME!!! This boat is VERY fast and tracks like a bloodhound. It’s a dog to turn, even on edge, but they did have the good sense to put a rudder on it. The Solstice and Extreme look kind of like a Rhino with that big elf-shoe front, but they have low rear decks and the hatches don’t leak.

I’m going to paddle the Impex Outer Island this week, and the Quest and NDK Explorer, but I can’t get that Extreme out of my head. It’s a good thing CD is 4 mos. behind on boat orders, or I might do something rash like order it tomorrow.

WOOOHOOOO! I feel the need for speed!

I believe the Aquanaut is faster than the Extreme. The Caribou felt faster than the Extreme as well.

Both are also more responsive and handle rough water better.

The fastest skegged boats thus far tested by Sea Kayaker are: Artic Hawk, Legend, Sultan, Aquanaut and Ellesmere.

The Outer Island is reputed to be very fast. My sense is that the Artic Hawk and the OI are trackers. They are far from ‘responsive’ in the way that Brit boats tend to be.

Also try
the Andromeda. More akin to the Sirius than the Capella, but worth a try.

Again depends on your size… if you like the more active feel of the boats like the Aquanaut, I think it’ll be hard to match that with other than the Slipstream. That boat, because of its length and being targeted for smaller paddlers, is the one where CD tempered Hutchinson’s design the least according to a company rep I spoke with a couple of years ago at a paddlefest. (I know Hutchinson says the Gulf Stream is exactly as he designed.) Though there is the possibility that the rep was just trying to spook me out of trying the boat because he’d gotten some swimmers out of it - the water was rough that day. I also do know a kayak shop owner who uses the Slipstream to get someone’s attention when they come in to prove they can conquer the world.

That said, the Slipstream is very compromised on storage. Not an issue for a day boat, but it requires very careful packing of many small size objects for camping.

The Caribou is another situation - it’s a great boat for people who fit it right and respond to it. The one caution may be the hatches - unless CD has corrected this, it was a single hard shell with a rubber edge that persistently leaked. Not enough to swamp the boat, but enough to be annoying. It’s also very much a more hard-chined kind of handle, to which the response is pretty personal.

On the CD line I personally have a huge problem, regardless of my respect for how their boats feel. Unless you order a custom upgrade, they have plastic bulkheads rather than glass. I don’t particularly trust that for heavy use, and especially for bracing on foam against the bulkhead. Having gone there, I am not willing to go back to footpegs. So - any CD boat may involve at least that upgrade depending on your tastes.

But they are making some intersting hulls. If you can get a good enough deal on the price and the upgrades you want, it certainly seems worth a look.

Quest - Aquanaut
The Quest is a very high volume boat. If you find the Aquanaut an appropriate volume you will find the Quest too big. If the Quest is the volume you desire, then the Valley boat of equivalent size would be the Argonaut (to be renamed Aquanaut HV).

Good thoughts here…thanks
Lots of variables to consider here. Does the CD Gulfstream truly compare? It IS a fashionable hull, but a bit wider in the beam. Does the Gulfstream have comparable tracking/speed as the VCP, P&H etc. OR is it really “it’s own beast.”

your size?
all these details are irrelevent without knowing your size. I like the Gulfstream a lot because it’s very easy to move. The beam measurment means nothing,NOTHING. It’s a number on a ruler.

Beam means nothing?
Ok…wasn’t aware of that…no…really. I thought beam had a direct impact on speed. I’m short and squatty…5’ 7" and 185 lbs.

I fit the Impex Curretuk nicely…actually felt good. The Aquanaut’s deck seemed low, making things a bit snug on my thighs. P&H Capella 169 seemed a bit looser with the underdeck area pushing a little funny on the lateral aspect of my knees. I have tried on a Gulfstream and felt there was plenty of room…worried if it was a bit too much at the time.

Caribou hatches
Leaks? Mine is 7 years old, heavily used and abused, and I’ve yet to take a drop of water in either hatch, or have a bulkhead leak.

What I found with the hatches is that if you don’t sponge out the recess before you close it on a trip, then you push water out of the recess into the hatch. But if I sponge them every time, no worries.

Maybe I just got a good one?


Try them all - make your own decision
It’s fun to talk boats and compare stats but many times I’ve looked at boats on paper and thought I would love them only to feel a little dissappointed after paddling them. I have yet to find the perfect hull. On that note, all of the boats mentioned are very nice hulls. I’ve paddled all but the Carabou. Pick the boat that you think comes closest to matching your “ideal”, be it fast or responsive, and get another when you change your mind. However, if it’s a CD boat and speed that you want, the Extreme is the fastest boat mentioned so far.

where it matters
for all the reasons one would pick kayak A over kayak B it would be because of how it performs for YOUR desires.

Kayak A could be 21.5" wide at the sheer (deck/hull joint at widest point on the hull,which never touches the water) and kayak B could be 23" wide at the widest point on the hull which is usually the sheer which never touches the water when it comes to “speed”( 3mph efficiency or top speed efficiency?). The 23" wide kayak could have a more rounded bottom, less wetted area. The 21.5" kayak could have the same waterline length, more involved hull shape, more wetted area, much finer ends,and slower.

You can generalize all over the map using two linear dimensions and be 180degrees wrong. You just don’t know until you’ve got it in the water whether it’s what you like or whether there’s a correspondance between those numbers and reality.

Sure you’ll see racing kayaks that are longer/narrower than touring kayaks. But WITHIN the category of touring kayaks or within the category of racing kayaks the linear dimensions may not be measuring a relevant difference. A difference that will manifest itself on the water.

Within a particular category of kayak the motor and transmission will make the difference.

You’ve narrowed the field down to good boats.

More on Caribou hatches.
They are among the best, never had any leaks in mine and the Caribou can be a wet boat in conditions or when loaded.

I removed my foot pegs a year ago and brace against the bulkhead with no problems to date.

Carobou Hatches
As I said, CD may have modifed the Caribou hatches since the model year that I encountered. The hatch leak wasn’t a complaint of mine - it was volunteered by the boat’s owner who loved it anyway. We met up with a couple to exchange boats and paddle on Lake Champlain for a day a couple of summers ago, and one of them had a Caribou (the other an Ellesmere).

The owner was also a bit of a rollaholic and was willing to play in surf nearer shore, so it may have been a combination of exposure and less than perfect individual hatches.

As to the bulkheads, it is good to hear that they are holding up. I’ve gotten awfully used to the real solid sense of the glass bulkheads on my LV, and I think this is the first time I’ve caught a post from someone who was bracing against the non-glass CD bulkheads.

Beg to differ

– Last Updated: May-12-05 8:16 PM EST –

I was able to paddle the Extreme much faster than the Caribou. The Caribou and Solstice GTS, while very quick, felt sluggish compared to the Extreme. By the way, the Extreme is 14" longer than the 'bou and 1/2" more narrow, softer chines, less rocker-which is why it has a rudder instead of skeg (I think the hull dimensions/shape alone suggest more speed). I spent about 4 hrs. in these 3 boats (as well as a Chatham 18). I was using a very large bladed paddle and was also surfing 1-2' waves.

I could also tell that the Caribou and GTS were more stable in the rough stuff, but It's a (common) tradeoff I'm willing to accept.

Nice boat, but probably not for you. I just paddled one today. I am your size—5’8, 175 pounds. It was much too big for me. It seems to be designed for a larger paddler. I don’t think you would like it. The thigh braces were about 8 inches too far forward for me.


Could be…
My test paddling was in pretty steep seas and chop. The Extreme is likely faster in smoother conditions.

I would wonder the Extreme compares to a Sultan or Legend - two very fast boats.

Too big for me too
I found the Gulfstream too big for my comfort and I’m 6’, 175-180lbs.

Very solid boat, I just felt like I was sitting in a barrel.