Eddyline Fathom vs Delta 17 Expedition

Our Delta 12.10s are fantastic day touring boats.It has me hooked on kayaking and theroform boats. Time to add a touring Kayak.I am considring the Delta 17 Expedition and the Eddyline Fathom.Any opinions on these boats would be appreciated. I cannot demo either one.

Spent a little time in the fathom. It’s very manuverable and plenty fast. I felt loose in the cockpit but mainly because I paddle lower volume kayaks. The fore deck is kind of high but may suit your needs just fine. I’d say it’s worth a look.


17 may be overkill
Chan, assess your space needs before you go with something as large as the Delta 17. It’s 52-54 lbs, which is unnecessarily heavy in a thermoformed kayak. 17 feet can be unwieldy to store, load on your car, and paddle.

The Delta 16 should suit most people’s touring needs. It weighs 50 lbs. I haven’t paddled it but I’ve heard very good feedback on it.

The Eddyline Fathom and the Delta 16 are the top 2 thermoformed touring kayaks in my opinion. Both excellent with very good reviews. The Delta might be easier for a less experienced paddler to handle—Delta’s are very stable. Also, Deltas have massive storage capacity, especially compared to the Eddylines, which are much flatter at the bow and stern, meaning less capacity. That doesn’t mean the Eddylines don’t have enough storage for touring—they do.

Depending on your body size, the Eddyline Journey is another possibility. Very stable, can be paddled by anyone.

You can theoretically tour with the Delta 14 or the Eddyline Equinox 14. Unfortunately both of those are slow—slower than they should be for 14’—and I don’t recommend either.

Eddyline and Delta are two different kayaks. You will need to try them both. It can be hard to find a Delta.

Love Fathom
I love my Fathom and my wife loves her Fathom LV (so this is also to remind you that there is an LV version that might work for you). I can’t compare to Delta. Neither of us find them to be tippy – I guess a bit more so than our 24" wide 14 footers, but not enough to be a concern for us – especially once you get moving – these boats feel so fine moving!

On 2nd thought
Chan, if I were you I would take the Delta 12.10 on a short camping trip and see how you like it. It is one of the very, very few kayaks of that length that has enough room to hold your gear, and can handle fairly rough conditions.

Check this video at Frontenac: http://www.frontenac-outfitters.com/kayaks/one_boat.cfm?ID=645 They say the Delta 12.10 is the only short kayak they allow in their sea kayaking courses.

seen this?

– Last Updated: Mar-29-12 5:58 PM EST –

perhaps you have seen this already -- reviews the 2 youa re asking about.

Ooops -- it compares the Fathom to the Delta "16"

What are your measurements…
…that would really help. I’m 5’6" @ 145 and had a Fathom LV. I had a little trouble with the front deck being a little too high for me and I tended to whack my mitts on it. I think that the deck might be a little lower on newer Fathoms.

OTOH, the construction of the Fathom was first rate and I also like TF kayaks. Because of this I traded in my Fathom for a RockPool Alaw Bach, a thermoformed kayak also built by Eddyline for RockPool, which is just over 17 feet.

I had to pad out the hips a little but this kayak absolutely fits me to perfection. I also find it easier to roll and a blast in rougher water and big winds. It should be fine for camping/touring.

A couple of weeks ago I had just unstrapped it from the roof of my car and a wind gust caught it and sent it flying off the roof. The wind then proceeded to barrel roll it a few times… no damage done.

Anyhow, if you might fit one of these, see if you can find one to try out.

sze considerations
Thanks for the input.I am 5’10" and weigh about 185 lbs.I have found the Delta 12.10 cockpit to be a perfect fit. As was pointed out the delta 12.10 has more than ample storage and the hatches have proven to be totally dry. The reason I did not consider the 16ft delta is that it is for small to medium paddlers.I an on the medium to large size and need to move around to keep my 55 year old legs from getting too stiff.I am wanting a boat that is more efficient than the 12.10 and one that tracks straighter.The 12.10 is fine for 8-10 mile day trips but I believe it would be more challenginhg to paddle 10-12 miles a day for a 3-4 day expedition than a longer and narower boat

With your measurments…
…you might be a good fit in either the standard size Fathom or the thermoformed RockPool. I’ve found that the RP is very stable and also very easy to roll. It also seems to come alive in more challenging conditions. While the Fathom has an oval rear hatch, the RP (for me) is a superior platform for paddling.

When I first tried out the RP, I was skeptical about the cockpit and hard-looking seat. My hips are shot from years of mountain bike accidents and other such activities. I have to be able to move around a bit. Much to my surprise, the RP seat and cockpit have been pretty comfortable.

Comparisons of cockpits, depth, & width

– Last Updated: Mar-30-12 6:05 PM EST –

Chan, my main concern about the Delta 17 is that it's such a big jump up from the 12.10. I haven't paddled the 17, but I've paddled the 15, and it was very slow---bargelike. Slowest kayak I've ever paddled. As far as I know, the 12 and the 16 are the only Deltas that can be described as nimble.

Here are some dimensions for comparison:

Width: 24.5
Cockpit: 18 x 32.5
Depth: 13.5

Width: 22
Cockpit: 16 x 32.5
Depth: 12

Width: 22.5
Cockpit: 16 x 32.5
Depth: 12.5

Width: 22
Cockpit: 16.5 x 31.5
Depth: 13.5

Width: 24
Cockpit: 18.5 x 35
Depth: 13

In the Delta 12 you have a medium cockpit combined with higher than average depth. You're right, the Delta 16 has a smaller cockpit and it's lower. That will make it harder to get in and out and give you less wiggle room. But the Delta 17 Expedition has the same cockpit dimensions as the 16 and is only 1/2" deeper. It would be good if you could try both to check whether they fit you.

Moving on to Eddyline, the cockpit of the Fathom is quite a bit smaller than your Delta 12. The depth is the same. My impression of the Fathom is that it might well be too small for you. You could fit in it, but entry and exit might be a bit hard and you wouldn't have much relaxing room.

That brings us to the 15.5' Eddyline Journey, which may be your solution. It's a shorter, wider version of the Fathom. The cockpit width is about the same as your Delta, but 2.5' longer. It's one half inch lower than your Delta.

I'm able to tour for 4 to 5 days with the Journey using medium (as opposed to ultralight/ultracompact) equipment (referring to the tent, mattress, and sleeping bag). For sure, Deltas have far more storage space than Eddylines, but I find the Journey sufficient. It would meet your goal of a longer, faster kayak without being excessively long, heavy, or bulky. The width is the same as your Delta, but it's 2' 6" longer, which will make a significant difference.

I suggest you contact Eddyline and Delta directly, tell them your measurements and age-related concerns and ask what they recommend.

Are you interested in selling your Delta 12.10? I'm looking for one.

sport vs. expedition
Not sure what point you have comparing his current boat to a delta 17 sport, since he clearly states in the title of the post he’s considering the Delta 17 expedition. The difference is the deck height is higher on the expedition.

I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about the Delta 17 but paddlers I know who own one, but i haven’t paddled one myself (except in a pool) so can’t give too much more insight. I know they’re fairly fast, comfortable, good quality, and have lots of stowage space.

I’m not sure why people are pushing you to get a shorter boat. If you want to paddle more than 10 miles or do overnight trips a 17’ kayak will work great.

My size and Fathom
Regarding your potential fit in the Fathom cockpit, I am 6’2" and 180lbs. (and 59 years old) and have no trouble with it. While it appears to be a bit smaller in opening than your current boat, I think the depth helps in getting legs inside quickly. (IIRC, my butt is partially on the coming (sp?) when I’m sliding my legs in (paddle shaft held behind me on coming, one paddle blade on a supportive surface, leaning that way) – if that strikes you as a reasonable entry, I can’t see why you would have trouble – you know best – you might try to picture your current cockpit opening an inch shorter as you get in/out and see what you think. Being a bit shorter than me, you might even be able to get your legs in while seated in the seat?

You mentioned that…
…you won’t be able to demo the boats that interest you (didn’t notice that at first).

Are you sure that you can’t? I made a pretty long drive to test my kayak and it was totally worth it. I think that better than 99.5% of us here would strongly advise you not to buy a kayak that you have not taken for a test drive. The differences between similar appearing boats are sometimes not trivial.

Strongly agree
A manufacturer can have a line of kayaks all derived from the same basic hull shape, and yet they will feel very different. That’s true of Eddyline and Delta.

It would be worth even a long drive to demo these kayaks. Lot of money at stake, no?

I see a lot of 17’ kayaks on Craigslist: “17’ kayak, 10 years old, barely used, like-new condition.” They seem to be unsold for a long time. I wonder if people buy them believing that longer always means faster and bigger is better. Maybe they don’t foresee the energy it takes to keep a long kayak moving all day, the hassle of loading it and storing it, challenge of handling it, etc.

My philosophy is that you should get the shortest kayak that suits all the conditions you plan to be in and can hold a few days of gear if you camp. It could be anywhere from 12’ to 21’, but why saddle yourself with a longer kayak if something shorter would do in your case? That case was once made to me by a top kayak designer, who said that way too many people are in kayaks that are unnecessarily long.

minority opinion

– Last Updated: Apr-01-12 4:10 PM EST –

I think I'll express the minority opinion (but it may not be as low as 0.5%). The folks who give advice on this forum are a small subset of the folks who enjoy kayaking; the subset who post here take their kayaking very seriously -- they are a great resource!
I don't doubt that the majority here would advise you to try before you buy. However, keep in mind that this is recreation. Picking a kayak is not like picking a wife, a car, a college, a neighborhood, or a ski or climb line in avalanche terrain (of course, if you were planning to buy a kayak that would be unsafe for your intended use, that would be different, and folks here are quick to point that situation out).
Obviously, you have done some homework, including asking on this forum. You are not considering kayaks that are totally out of the question, and you have received some additional advice here.
Nobody's gonna die if you buy before you try! You have to gauge from your perspective the difficulty of trying out these (and perhaps related) kayaks against the "risk" that you could make a "wrong" decision. And what would be a wrong decision? If you liked the boat you bought and never found out that you would have liked another one better, that doesn't seem so bad; I also think there are multiple boats that we could love -- you adapt to the boat you have. Okay, a "wrong" decision could be if you ended up with a boat you just didn't like and couldn't adjust or adjust to. Even so, that would be one way of "trying it out!" Nobody dies, you sell it (yes, for a loss) and buy or try another boat -- fun!
I've gone on long enough -- it would be good if you could try before you buy -- but there is no shame in making your own risk decisions.
Confession: this is mostly a post-hoc rationale for why I purchased a Fathom based on homework -- fortunately I love it! I live two hours from even an interstate highway -- if trying were easier I would have!

optimal length
I guess it stands to reason that just bcause a 17 foot boat has a faster hull speed does not not mean I have the beans to propell it. Using the calculation for hull speed = square root of waterline x 1.34 the hull speed of my Delta 12.10 is 4.7 knots ,or 5.45 mph. A Boat with a 16 ft waterline has a hull speed of 5.36 knots or 6.16 mph.I also checked out the information on Fontinac Outfitters and they test boats and post an efficiency rating on a 10 point scale.I would like to go to their shop but it is a 3 plus day drive. Would not a boat with a faster hull speed also be more efficient at lower speeds especially if it has 2" narrower beam? I am keeping the 12.10.It is an awesome boat. I average 3 mph paddling it…no where near the 5.45 mph theoretical max speed.

if you have not seen…

More homework! Pretty extensive.

Question about your Delta 12.10
When you first got it you said you needed a skeg. Do you still find it needs a skeg?

Skeg on delta 12.10
Yes it does need a skeg to track with the wind from the stern. I fashioned one and taped it on the boat with gorilla tape and it really helps. I just did order a rudder kit from sealect designs and was able to rig it to the boat without drilling any new holes in the boat. Will try it out tomorrow evening on group full moon paddle at Lake Pleasant AZ. Plan to use a sail with the rudder based on Pacific Action sail design.