Eddyline Fathom -- twitchy continuum

-- Last Updated: Nov-21-13 11:34 AM EST --

So, I've been reading here about the tradeoffs regarding [primary] stability and performance. I live in the interior and have not had experience with many sea kayaks. I do HAVE an Eddyline Fathom (and an older Necky Mainitou 14). I don't know where the Fathom fits on the [primary]stability - performance continuum. For example, I see the Romany referred to as a more stable "babysitter." What would be cool to see is a SHORT list of the more popular sea kayaks in order of "babysitter" to high performance -- with the Fathom in the list -- just so I have some context (don't need surf skis on the list!). Short of that, just knowing if the Fathom is more of a babysitter than the Romany would be interesting to me.

Edit: The Eddyline comparisopn chart says stability is "medium" -- but that just helps a bit in selecting among THEIR kayaks -- and the high stability ones are the real wide ones (24" and greater; rec/"touring" kayaks really).

Frontenac Outfitters
Seem to do a good job of rating kayaks on multiple dimensions from any line that they carry. Try their website.

Frontenac has the best website in the kayak business. You can practically use it as a reference guide. It has more information than the manufacturers’ websites. Very nice folks to talk to also.

not the same for everyone
The stability of a given kayak, seems to be dependent somewhat on the individual. I’ve paddled a lot of sea kayaks and can’t remember any that felt tippy after the first few paddle strokes. However, it sometimes does take a little time to check out all of the balance points. One particular boat I remember is the Tiderace Xplore, which to me felt very stable until I leaned back a little. It seemed to just let go. None of the other boats of the same brand gave that sensation.

If you’re looking for an Eddyline that in my experience is incredibly stable, try the Raven.

sadly no eddyline at frontenac

– Last Updated: Nov-21-13 11:48 AM EST –

(unless I missed it, will double check).
Another valuable site with some depth like frontenac is Atlantic Kayak (also don't carry/rent Eddylines). http://www.atlantickayaktours.com/index.html

My impresion is that the Eddyline Fathom must be on the relatively high primary stability side of sea kayaks just based on the fact that it was very easy for me to feel comfortable moving to it from the Necky Manitou 14. The "twitchyness" was disconcerting just first part of first time out (before moving). My guess is Eddyline's new Raven is at least a bit more "twitchy" because I think it is designed to be a bit more playful/responsive.

So many variables
I weight 145 and had a Fathom LV. I felt extremely unstable in that boat. I switched to an Eddy built RockPool and it is the exact reverse… the boat works great in rough water for me at my modest weight. And when I do get dumped, it easily rolls back up. I did have to add hip pads but with them this longish boat is perfect for me in conditions. Night and day between it and the Fathom LV.

OTOH, I know/have met a couple of larger guys (say 180 to 200 lb) that use the larger Fathom and seem to have no issues with stability in rougher conditions.

You just never know.

Oh yeah, you’re right, sorry
Frontenac carries Delta, not Eddyline. And if you like thermoform and are concerned about stability, you should definitely look at Deltas. They are very stable and buoyant (ride over waves).

Performance & Stability
A high-performance sea kayak isn’t necessarily unstable. There are a lot of variables: hull design, paddler build, load, paddler experience among them.

V-hulls, which Eddyline tends to favor, can feel twitchy If you try to hold the kayak vertical, because the boat wants to sit on one side or the other.

It’s like riding a spirited horse; the more you try to control it, the twitchier it gets. But if you relax a little and let the boat find its natural balance, it can actually feel more stable because the V forms two (more or less) flat sides. This also increases secondary stability when the boat is edged.

I personally feel that Swede-form hulls (greatest width behind the cockpit) are more stable than fish-form (widest in front of the cockpit). There are many who would disagree, that’s just my opinion born of personal experience.

A kayak paddled by someone with a higher center of balance will feel twitchier. Good example is the Eddyline Merlin XT, which had an extreme V-hull. When we were teaching, we learned not to put people in it who tended to be top-heavy.

A loaded boat will often feel more stable than an unloaded one.

And kayaks that feel twitchy to novice paddlers miraculously improve in stability as the paddler’s skills and seat-time increase :slight_smile:

However, some kayaks just have a reputation for twitchiness, the Valley Nordkapp LV, for example, while stability is a marketing feature of other high-performance boats (P&H Cetus, NDK Explorer).

The NDK Pilgrim Expedition is one of the narrowest kayaks on the market (19.67"), and hoo boy is it high-performance, but is one of the stablest kayaks I’ve ever paddled.

Interestingly, when I switched to the shorter Pilgrm, I found it much less stable at first because I was used to more width out front, but once i got used to that, it was fine.

Regarding the Fathom, it’s a good design and worth working with. As your skills improve you will appreciate it more and more. Happy paddling!

thanks, all

– Last Updated: Nov-22-13 1:59 PM EST –

for taking the time to reply.
I am delighted with my Fathom and not bothered by any remaining experience of "twitchiness" (which I gather may be inherent to the shallow V hull).

Speaking more theoretically, I see from the discussion that many folks say that twitchiness depends the paddler, load weight,and such. But I also see (in this and other threads) that some generalizations are made about kayaks.

Let me put up a "straw man" list based on recent posts of where a few boats might fit on a continuum from less to more twitchy:
Romany (recently described as a babysitter)
Cetus (recently contrasted to the Romany and the Nordkapp)
Nordkapp (mentioneded above)

Now, my wondering as someone who has not been in any of those boats, remains: where the heck does my fathom fit? My guess is at least as "not twitchy" as the Romany -- just based on my novice comfort in the fathom -- but I do hear that the V hull (but shallow) may place it twitchier on the list.

Anyway, my wondering may be for naught, given all the complexity (and there might even be a distinction I'm not considering between twitchiness and primary stability???).

See what happens to me when the temps are in the single digits, but the snow isn't very good yet!!

don’t put too much into the v hull
if the v is very shallow such as on some recreational kayaks, it’s not going to significantly compromise stability. Look at the acuity of the v in the hull section of the silhouette, for example, which also has a narrow beam.

I weight in at about 180 lbs. I currently own 4 kayaks: Eddyline Fathom LV, Samba, NC escape, Epic 16X. I am comfortable paddling them in rough conditions here in the Gulf north of Tampa. Although if things get really bad, I prefer the NC Escape for stability.

I couldn’t agree more.
When I know I’m going to be in the really rough stuff, I want to be in my NC (Expedition). Come to think about it, I want to be in it most of the time.

NC Stability
gmuller and magooch, I assume you both are referring to strong secondary stability (and do you attribute this to some specific design element?). gmuller, i can see ‘compared to what;’ magooch: compared to what?

Thanks, always trying to learn.

Phatom secondary stability vs. NC
According to NC - their K’s are designed with additional volume above the waterline in the bow and stern. In rough water this provides additional buoyancy keeping the bow up. Combined with the upsweep bow and aided by what they call the performance flange it makes for an outstanding rough water kayak.

I gota ask
What’s with the tiny front hatch on NC kayaks. It looks like a day hatch. I have trouble getting things into my 10 inch NDK hatches. I couldn’t imagine trying to fit anything into that front hatch of any of those NC kayaks.

NC maneuverability vs Epic 16X and
Fathom LV? I have an Epic Touring Cruiser 16 and a Fathom LV and appreciate the greater edge turning ability of the Fathom LV over the Epic, but the thigh braces just hit me in the wrong spot and at 50 lbs, it’s a bit heavier than I’d like.

So, how’s the NC maneuverability on edge compared to the Fathom & Epic?

I find both the Fathom LV and Touring Cruiser 16 to require a bit of care entering and exiting, but reasonably stable after down in the seat and while paddling.

The Fathom LV is my only boat where I feel the hull flex under my heels with choppy water. I attribute this to flat surfaces, rather than the rounded surfaces of my other kayaks. Hard chines vs soft chines.

Regarding hard chines vs soft chines, I am still not completely acclimated to the abrupt transition when edging a hard chined boat such as the Fathom LV.

I’m 5’6" and 160 lbs and only do day paddles.

Sorry if I took this discussion on a tangent, but gmuller has an interesting quiver of boats.