I’m 5’10" 155-160 lbs and have one year paddling experience. An older Dagger Magellan, probably 10-15 years old is available nearby as well as a Current Designs Squamish. I’ve become tired of my slow 10’ rec boat and was looking for a longer kayak so I could get better speed. I mostly paddle on the Susquehanna River. In summer the water is slow, but in spring and fall the current is swifter and it’s fairly time consuming to go upstream in my rec kayak so I wanted something faster. The Dagger Magellan has a rudder. The CD Squamish has a skeg. Any experience with either of the two used kayaks available near me? Anything I should pay particular attention to on either? Both are within $25 of each other.
Squamish is better behaved
I can’t say that the hull is faster, maybe even a bit slower. But the Magellan, at least when I and my husband tried it out with some real hope had an unresponsive and laggard feeling up front. I might have been too light for it, but we both had the same complaint. We were thinking from online and paper research it would be a finalist in the boats we were trying, instead it hit the reject pile for both of us. If it helps, the boats we finally settled on out of that round was a CD Squall for me and a Necky Elaho for him.
You are kind of choosing between a sports car and a station wagon, so consider what you expect from your next boat.
I had an older Magellan for several years and actually liked it quite a lot for lake and river paddling. I’m close to your weight but shorter. It’s not a fast boat but it’s stable, tracks very well, moves along nicely with modest effort and fits a range of people – I got it to use as a loaner for friends though often paddled it myself (in fact I used it on the Susquehanna West Branch). Magellans have good storage capacity, too. The main drawbacks are that it’s heavy – at least 10 pounds more than the Squamish – and being longer and having no rocker, it’s hard to turn it. The seat back in my old one was uncomfortable for some people but did not bother me – those can be replaced anyway. I sold it a few years ago, mainly because I had too many boats and because it was so heavy that it was difficult for me to load solo. I was a little sorry to let it go but the new owner loves it. So I would describe the Magellan as a station wagon.
I have no experience with the Squamish, but it has similar dimensions to the 15’ low volume “fish form” British design kayak that I now use the most (though my boat is slightly different, having hard chines rather than soft ones like the Squamish). So, I’m guessing that, compared to the Magellan, it should be more responsive to turning and, as they say, more “playful”. It has somewhat less cargo capacity and is designed for small to medium paddlers.
It’s up to you to decide which characteristics are more important to you, though if you have only ever paddled a 10’ rec boat, you probably are not going to grasp the differences at this point. I doubt you would be disappointed with either boat, and both have relatively good resale value if you eventually decide you wanted to fine tune the capabilities of your kayak.
Willow is right, worth my mentioning…
Both I and my husband tended to favor boats that were more quickly responsive, though anyone who has paddled the Squall will tell you that could require a good edge. She is on the stiff side.
As she says, if you are coming from a 10 ft boat anything will feel faster and more solid. My thought was that if you are dealing with water that may be on the pushy side some of the time, a little more responsiveness could be a useful thing.
But I may be all wet. In fact I have frequently been so when I read the water wrong.
paddling in your area
To add a little more specific clarity to what we’ve suggested: I take it you are in or near central or northern PA? (tip: it’s a lot easier for us on the forums to give advice if you post a profile – you control completely how little or how much you include in it if you are concerned about privacy, but knowing the general area you are in as well as some insight on your experience and paddling ambitions really helps us focus on what could be relevant to you.)
Anyway, I’m in PA and have paddled a lot in the various parts of the state including the Susquehanna drainage. If you think you will be interested in paddling some of the more winding small rivers and streams, including those with some rock gardens and class 1 and mild 2 rapids. like the Red Moshannon, you might prefer the shorter and more nimble Squamish.
If your ambitions lean more towards trips to coastal areas or maybe to do multi-day camping trips along the West Branch Water Trail, you might be happier in the Magellan.
I’ll probably never do any camping from the kayak. I mostly paddle near the confluence of the two branches of the Susquehanna and some on the west branch. I was a little concerned because the Squamish seemed to be for smaller paddlers and I didn’t know if it would not work because of my size and weight. I’m average sized but not a heavy weight for my age at 155-160 lbs. I’m thinking the Magellan is gone; the seller never responded to some questions on its age, storage, etc.
could be an OK fit
My ex-boyfriend (who lives right on the West Branch) was about your height but 20 lbs heavier and he really liked paddling my Venture Easky 15LV, which is the boat I described as being very similar in volume and dimensions to the Squamish (though the Squamish is a sleeker design). In fact he eventually got a regular sized Easky 15 but found he actually preferred the feel of my LV. You won’t really know how the boat feels until you get to sit in it, but at your size I think you would be OK in it unless you have unusually big feet. My legs are as long as my exe’s were and there are still several notches to go on the footpeg distance.
Since you are not planning on carrying heavy loads and I believe the rating on the Squamish is 250 lbs, even with moderate gear you are well within the weight capacity of it.
Don’t give up too early on Craigslist call backs – send them a follow up email or text (if the number is posted.) I buy and sell often on CL and sometimes it’s several days or even a week before you here back from some posters.
Thanks to all
Both ads have email address and no phone numbers to call. Neither responded to an email inquiry. Such is life.
I find a lot of kayaks start showing up for sale in PA as winter approaches and people want to clear out the garage before the snow falls.
Squamish owner replied
The owner of the Squamish was late in replying. I got to try it out and bought it. I need to remove the built in thigh braces - they dig into my thighs. It’s a lot faster than my Venture Flex 11 rec kayak.
That thould work
You can glue in carved minicell foam to build thigh braces that fit you.