Distance Paddlers, Can You Help?

-- Last Updated: May-24-08 7:05 AM EST --

I am on the precipice of buying another boat - something for more distance and up to a 1-2 week trip. Pretty much have it narrowed down to the Valley Aquanaut HV and the P&H Quest LV (although I am looking at a Cetus also). Why these two? I had an Explorer years ago, good boat, but I sold it when I moved out of state. This time I'm looking for another trekking boat that's a little more lively than the NDK.
Can anyone tell me about the performance characteristics of the P&H boat as opposed to the NDK, the Cetus, or the Aquanaut? I've read the Quest LV is pretty nervous in seas, more twitchy than the Cetus or the Aqua, but haven't demoed it yet. None of these could be more twitchy than the Legend, but it is hard to tell the boat's personality on a 20-minute demo in flat water.

Also, Aquanaut owners, do you have any insight? Thanks All.

P.S. I live on the east coast, most paddling is in flat water and chop up to 2-1/2 feet, but with some ocean paddling too.

Aquanaut etc…

– Last Updated: May-24-08 8:59 AM EST –

First I am wondering why you feel you need an HV? The standard Aquanaut is a pretty good size boat.

I own and have paddled a standard 'naut since 2004 in all sorts of conditions and find it my favorite boat for covering distance and in snotty seas. While livelier than an Explorer, it has impeccable manners in lumpy waters. Of my four sea kayaks, I'm taking the Aquanaut for two days of training off Rhode Island next weekend.

I've paddled a Quest LV and a Cetus each for a day on Muscongus Bay (Mid-Coast Maine). I was very impressed by the Cetus though it seemed an awfully big boat. I was not impressed with the Quest LV which felt awkward to me. It is not as reassuring as an Aquanaut or Cetus nor as fluid in its response to conditions. It felt kind of jagged (jerky) in chop and reflecting seas compared to the other boats. Both the Aquanaut and Cetus have good glide. I find the 'naut better in following and quartering seas, though the Cetus is fine. The Cetus requires less lean to turn than the 'naut.

BTW, the Aquanaut HV is the boat originally introduced as the Argonaut. Valley had intended it for 'average' size paddlers as its boat for the Explorer niche. However most found it too big and many (including me) found its lower volume sibling, the Aquanaut, a more suitable size. It only took a couple of years for Valley to stop marketing the Aquanaut as being for smaller paddlers. It is now described as for average paddlers. The Sea Kayaker review of the Aquanaut is consistent with my experience of the boat.

Thanks for the reply…I really don’t
think I need an Aquanaut HV, but there is a used one for sale in my area at a good price, so I thought I’d ask. Thanks for talking about the size of that boat. Probably too big for what I want. I am looking for something responsive and quick, with some mild storage.

Sounds like the Cetus or Aqua is the boat of choice.

I’ll keep looking. BTW, I’ll be up your way in July - doing Casco bay for a few days.

Aquanaut etc…
The Argonaut/Aquanaut HV is said to have notably more windage than the standard 'naut. There are usually a couple of Aquanauts for sale in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

We’re in Maine for the month of July. We usually paddle just about every day.

I’m going out of South Freeport -

– Last Updated: May-24-08 10:23 AM EST –

Winslow Park to Jewell Island first day, then probably north to where the cheap lobsters are.....I'll be up there 7 days, on the water 5-6.

Being from NC, I'm hoping Global Warming will kick in and bring the H2O temps up a bit by July....

Anyway, that's why I am looking for an expedition platform - the Dagger won't do for that trip.

the NDK or a Tempest 170
both are good expedition type of boats, stable seaworthy and can haul lots of stuff–T-170 comes in both FG and RM too. Have fun—what’s your final destination after Jewells?

Oh, I don’t know -
I hear there’s an inland waterway up there somewhere. Probably from Jewell over to the Basin, Maybe stop for lunch at Bailey’s Lobster house. Then hit the waterway to the north for a few days, finishing up eventually at Freeport again (the folks I’m paddling with have to make a pilgrimmage to LL Bean, but I’ll be looking for a decent Maine microbrew).

Thanks for the advice on the Tempest, I’ve paddled one and it feels almost exactly like an Explorer - maybe a tad more playful, not sure about that.

Where in Maine
We’re in Muscongous Bay, Friendship, in July. Great paddling if you don’t mind coming a little further north.