hi would like to here from any S18 falcon owners out there. I hear the boat is fast, but what about rough water handling,manoeuvrability, stability, would appreciate your comments positive and negative regs louie.
The older composite with no skeg or the newer plastic with a skeg?
If you’re looking for a race quality tourer made by a great American company I’d take a hard look at the Falcon. Eddyline is the leader in manufacturing Thermoform boats. I tested the the Falcon several times, but ended up with their Fathom because I wanted a chined boat and the 18ft was a bit daunting if anyone but me paddled the boat.
Narrow 21 inch beam took a few minutes to get used to, but is fine. Not much rocker so the ride is wetter. f you want to get somewhere fast, the falcon is a good choice. Some complain that the deck is higher, but was not an issue for me.
hi emanoh I currently paddle a romany great boat but a bit slow, have been looking at eddieline, how do you rate the fathom as regards to rough water handling and speed i hear it is just as fast as the falcon18 regs louie.
I have a Fathom
It is pretty fast. I have never been in the Falcon, but I kind of wish that I would have purchased that instead, just for the added potential speed.
The Fathom handles great. I am a fresh water only boater, but I would dare take this thing in the worst conditions. I love it when it gets rough. It pierces the waves when heading straight into them. Really smooths out the ride if waves are two feet or less. I like the day hatch behind the paddler in the Fathom. That feature probably swayed my decision and I am not unhappy one bit. If I buy another sea kayak, it will probably be the Falcon. I have kind of developed a need for speed and have been racing. Still, you don’t see these at many races I have been too. I understand there are a lot more entries out West. Around here they race Epics mostly.
As for Eddyline, great product, great service.
There are some reviews here on the Falcon and if you check Eddyline website there are some stellar reviews there. If they would have put the day hatch in the Falcon, that would be hanging in my garage.
Good luck with your decision.
Good travelling flatwater boat
Falcon S18: Fast, tracks well, sacrifices mobility (turning).
No point comparing it to the Fathom - they are totally different boats. In my experience the Fathom is more versatile.
Also speaking from experience, thermoplastic is great for recreational kayaking but not for sea kayaking in any kind of conditions. It’s not stiff or strong enough, fails catastrophically when impact resistance is exceeded (i.e. a honking big hole with long radiating cracks). Composite boats, by contrast, fail incrementally - the fabric absorbs the impact & contains the damage.
Wow, that is very interesting.
Eddyline abandoned composites. Surprised such and experienced seakayak designer with years of experience building kayaks would not have thought of that before designing, specifically a kayak made for the sea. You would have thought decades of paddling various designs and materials would have enlightened these engineering gurus. I wonder how many Eddyline kayaks are laying out there in pieces on the beach?
Not convinced on the "stiffness" part. If anything, these materials appear to be stiffer than regular "plastic" of the same weight. I am not convinced one really needs exceptionally stiff boats for "ocean paddling" either.
I have not had a chance to experience "catastrophic failure" but I do fear it might happen and the effect might be what you describe - a long crack. That said, I have taken my thermoformed Perception Sonoma where I do not believe its designers intended it to go and it has been great handling steep waves and surf on the ocean or some decent WW. The only think I'd be afraid of is strong impacts with hard objects - would be curious to see if you have some example of what happens (vs. my fear-based theory that it might be bad).
Only a few
There are only a few Carbonlite boats "in pieces on the beach", but they do exist.
I have personally witnessed- not heard of, but witnessed- four of them breaking, all in the surf. Nothing unusual in the conditions, either.
It (the material) seems to not take heavy compression (nearly all the broken boats happened while side surfing), as all the breaks were the same, longitudinal splits, either at a chine, or just under the seam line.
This may have been one reason why Eddyline had the Modulus construction, which I believe has been discontinued. While I thought the Modulus was a great idea, it may not have been popular enough, or the bugs worked out. I also have a friend who broke a Modulus boat in the surf (that is the fifth, the other four were Carbonlite).
Why does Eddyline use Carbonlite? Despite the broken boats, it seems that the material is truly great for most users. Much lighter and way, way stiffer than poly boats, more scratch resistant than composite or poly. And field repairs are stunningly easy (even split boats can be repaired with fiberglass reinforcing).
I was surfing in a Merlin LT and got T-boned from behind by another kayak. Its bow punched a hole through the side of my kayak and then into my thigh. The hole was bigger than my outstretched hand, with radiating cracks 3’ long. Several of my sea kayaking friends saw it happen and the concensus was that if I’d been in a composite boat, the fabric would’ve contained the damage and prevented the injury to my leg. You can still see the hole in my thigh more than a year later.
As I said, thermoplastic is great for recreational paddling and flatwater racing.
As for the Falcon itself
I owned an original composite Falcon 18 many years ago, and still kinda miss it. And although it has been awhile, I did take out the re-designed hull on the Carbonlite version a few times.
The issue of being a “fast” boat could be illusory. Paddling at 3-4kn, I don’t think there would be anything appreciable compared to, say, a Romany. Possibly, the Romany would be less work (less wetted surface) at 3-3.5kn.
If you think that anything under 4kn is boring, then the Falcon is darn nice. It is quite fun to paddle over 5kn for distance, super nice at 4-4.5kn.
Also, very pleasing for a boat of it’s width in rough conditions, although it is a boat for travelling, not playing. Exception to the “playing” behavior would be following seas. It surfs winds waves extremely well…frontwards. Don’t even think about backsurfing, you be spanked.
For paddling fast, surfing following seas, and doing multi-day trips, a good contender.
I would agree mostly with Karl
My first real sea kayak was a composite Eddyline Falcon 18. Like many comparable boats it had initial stability that was scary to a beginner. But its secondary stability was great, once you learned to trust it. It was phenomenal in a side wind. It pretty much adjusted itself. Upwind, even in 3 to 4 foot seas it was great. Downwind with following seas you had to edge the boat more than many people are comfortable with. It worked. But not for an inexperienced paddler. I sold my Falcon and bought a QCC 700X. I am very happy with the 700. But like Karl I would like to have my Falcon back just as another boat to use. It had qualities that I have not found in any other boat. I have thought of making an offer to the person I sold it to but have not decided. I cannot advise you about alleged problems with the plastic in the current model. But I have had the composite version out in serious conditions and would say it worked well for an experienced intermediate paddler. It is, after all, an 18 ft. boat and you would not expect it to be playful unless you can edge it comfortably more than most can.
No matter what they call it, it’s ABS plastic. The reason for it’s use is it’s cheap and fairly durable. Not comparable to any composite, also doesn’t cost as much. It’s not by a long shot more scratch resistant than a composite, that’s silly.
Scratches easy enough
On my "airalite" material on the Perception I have a lot of scratches from going over submerged rocks or bumping into them sideways while in the rapids on the Potomac. Compared to my WW boat in similar conditions, the ABS shows just as many scratches but they are less deep - on the Poly plastic on the WW boat some are like deeper gouges, where on the ABS most are shallow surface scratches. Composite is definitely more scratch resistant but (especially some older layups) will get gel coat cracks easily. Plus, a temporary bend in the ABS or other plastic when going over a rock is just that - temporary. It springs right back once off the rock. "Some" composites will weaken over time if subjected to the same treatment...
While I’ve not experienced the catastrophic failure that some have mentioned, I back country camp out of my Fathom on the Great Lakes & Canada with no worries. I would argue that many boats wouldn’t survive t-boning or some of the surf zone events that could cause catastrophic failure.
My fathom is an exceptional and versatile boat for my needs. Long and fast enough to be at the front of the pack, light enough for easy mobility and it’s a good gear hauler. Is it my only boat, no, but it’s my multi-day trip hauler.
I can certainly see the “contain” part
With the fabric the damage you describe might have been smaller, especially if there was some Kevlar or similar material involved. Though if it would have been “small enough” to have prevented your injury will remain unknown until someone does some controlled tests…
With regards to rough water paddling, I haven't had any issues with the Fathom. Boat preference is personal, but I appreciate the control I have with the Fathom, it fits me without extra padding and I can edge with ease. I like a hard chine boat and the little tweeks a paddler can make with a hip flick or slight lean. Last summer we tackled a 22 mile day, into a headwind with several 5 mile open water crossings. I had to dial it back for my companions to keep up. We had some big waves and cross winds that make slow going, but the seaworthiness of the Fathom was never questioned. Again some is the boat and some is the engine (paddler).
I race my Fathom and even hold a circumnavigation record in my neck of the woods. The boat is light but tough, which was a selling point for me. Eddyline makes a great product and in my opinion the fit and finish is much better than other thermoform manufactures i.e. Hurricaine.
Is it as fast as the Falcon, not sure. When I've been in a Falcon, it has felt slippery in the water. Having a longer waterline may add to overall speed? The Fathom is no slouch and I can maintain a very quick cadence in the Fathom.
You are right in that the material contains ABS, but to say it is just ABS is to say that fiberglass resin is all the same. ABS is included for its unique properties (durability, impact resistance etc..). Also include in the sheet material is Acrylic with its unique properties (stiffness, resistance to temperature deformation etc..)
The percentage blend of these, and other materials is where the science lies.
I have just started building/shipping Rockpool boats made by Eddyline that we call TCC (thermoformed composite construction is not just ABS. With the new boat we have spent time testing both here in the pacific northwest and in the UK and have be very satisfied with the results. We chose Eddyline to build it for us based on their experience and quality control. I hope that provides a little more info for you.
Yes there are a whole bunch of variations of the ABS plastic as well as a bunch of different suppliers that all formulate the products somewhat differently. The basic chemistry remains though.
Hope Eddyline treats you better than it does it’s dealers.
That’s the first negative I’ve heard
Tom, Lisa, and the team have a great rep and have had for many years. Guess there’s always something.