Comparison of Kayaks for purchase

I am lookig for a nice sea used kayak. I am looking for a sea kayak for day trips and longer camping expeditions. I've done a long trip or two but consider myself a upper level beginner. I plan on learning to roll with my new (used) kayak under instruction this Summer.

I have received information on two nice used boats - a Romany Explorer and a Current Designs Gulfstream. They seem somewhat similar with the Explorer being heavier and somewhat more sturdy for longer trips. On the other hand, the Gulfstream seems like a great boat too - though some conerns on chat rooms concerning bulkhead design - plastic within a fiberglass hull.

Any thoughts? Their price is comparable.

Regards and many thanks for any comments.


Don’t know about the Gulfstream
I don’t know anything about the Gulfstream, but have several friends with Romany’s and they just love them. They’re a great boat.

Both good but different
Both the Explorer and the Gulfstream are good boats. Either would serve an average size paddler well.

Each has a somewhat different personality.

Try to paddle each (or an example of each) to feel which better suits your personality and desires.

What is you size? What is your skill level and goal? How and where do you intend to use the boat?

Current Designs generally has better quality control than NDK. One should examine the boats carefully.

I paddled a GS for many years and

– Last Updated: May-26-07 3:52 PM EST –

almost bought an Explorer when I bought my last boat. Both boats are great boats to own and handle rough water extremely well.

The Explorer is a faster boat than the GS, but the GS is more playful. What are you looking for?

I also found the GS to be more comfortable, but the Explorer I was playing in did not have a seat that was glued in. When you're in rough water with a seat that slides all over the cockpit, it tends to take some of the pleasure out of the boat.

I don't think you can go wrong with either boat, just depends on what you want to do.

On the Explorer
Make sure there is clearance between the cockpit coaming and the deck to fit a skirt, see if the skeg works and if it was rebuilt ( a good thing). Also check the ends to make sure there fiberglass underneath the bulkheads and be ready to replace the seat. NDK boats are great designs but QC was an issue in the past, mainly with cockpits and skegs.

I have a Gulfstream and i have never had any problems with the boat. First i’ve ever heard of any concerns about the bulkhead. Vaughn Fulton

Size and Use

– Last Updated: May-26-07 9:34 AM EST –

As above, tho' neither boat is what would be considered fast, the Explorer is a notch better for going straight over a distance. The plastic bulkhead in the Gulfstream causes concern with some because it doesn't seem as solid as fiberglass. But many who have had this type of bulkhead swear by it, including being able to lay in foam and brace against that block rather than using the footpegs. In fairness to both, a failure in either would probably be catastrophic and make you happy you had brought along float bags, so there is probably no reason to use that as a criteria. Especially since you are buying used to increase your skills and are likely to replace this boat down the road.

The only thing I can think of would be to shine a flashlight over the bulkheads in both boats, make sure that nothing looks like a crack. If there is a problem, it'll probably be easier to fix in the glass bulkhead than in the plastic one.

I don't recall if all Gulfstreams have a day hatch. You may want to think about a day hatch or installing a knee tube if planning to do training with an outfit like the BCU or the ACA. On-water access gets more useful in those cases, and a big arse case on the deck isn't the best plan for learning to roll.

The QC concerns with the NDK boats, depending on the era, are worth a look. We have two NDK boats and my Explorer LV is fine, but the Romany coaming had to be filed back to be able to get a skirt under in in big water rescues and my Explorer LV was a special order and layup so got more attention.

The only other thing is your size - it's been a while but as I recall the Gulfstream had higher front and maybe rear decks than the full size Explorer, and I think a larger cockpit and less in the way of built-in thigh braces (the thigh braces can usually be improved with use of minicell foam). The guy who designed the Gulfstream favors a cockpit that'll accomodate a someewhat rounder paddler... so if you sit in them and feel you are swimming in one a bit and a lot in the other, you may find that it's time to take out the flashlight and give another hard look at the nless copiousz one.

Both boats will do what you want, just fine, as long as they are sized within a decent range of what you need.

The GS has always had a day hatch