I am a newbie looking for some advice on a boat.
I had the chance to paddle a friend’s Skylark and it felt nice, but I was a little disappointed by the lack of a few features, primarily thigh braces and perimeter lines. I also noticed the boat was really difficult to re-enter during self rescue, the back of the boat and cockpit came very close to the waterline. The boat is “good enough”, but I can’t decide if the additional features and/or different design of the Delta is worth it.
I can acquire a Skylark fairly easily from a local dealer, but getting the Delta is a little more challenging, but doable. The downside is, I don’t have the chance to actually sit in or paddle the Delta.
Anyone have experience with both boats and can comment on their differences? Are the differences between the boats significant enough to make it worth going through the difficulty of getting a Delta over the Skylark? How do they perform differently?
I am a newbie looking for some advice on a boat.
Does your dealer have
the Eddyline Rio in stock? Just curious as it’s a step up from the Skylark.
No experience with the Delta, which looks like it has some nice features. But I’d never buy any boat without having a chance to sit in it and paddle it.
I do have a Skylark. Paddled it my first summer of paddling. Had perimeter lines installed. Still use it as a guest boat. Stable and responsive. Paddled it on large inland lakes and Lake Michigan. It was a good introductory boat. I could do re-entries with a paddle float.
Where will you use your kayak? Lakes, rivers?
It sounds like you have the answer
If safety being able to paddle well out from shore is your first consideration, you already discovered the issues with the Skylark. Add in the fact that you are usually going to capsize in difficult conditions, which would increase the issues you found.
Skylark is pictured with perimeter lines on Eddyline's site, so the question is whether the fittings are in the boat to add them or it would be a major alteration. The screws are simple enough, but they need to be secured underneath with some kind of goop to reinforce them in terms of strength and waterproofness. Hence maybe something more easily added by the outfitter than a do it yourself for a new paddler. Has the seller made any such offer?
But it is still a big cockpit... if staying nearer shore or otherwise limiting where and in what conditions you paddle is ok to get more of some other feature, then the Skylark may be OK.
Also, while I don't know the official range for paddler size for the Skylark, you are a decent bit larger than any paddler I have seen that as their major boat.
One note, if you want to roll a boat the lack of thigh braces is a major problem. Whether the Delta boat would be particularly easier I can't say, it might have a really high deck or some other such. But with thigh braces will always be better than without for things like rolling.
At least according to Eddyline's website, thigh braces are an option on a Skylark cockpit...
Large: Equinox, Journey, Skylark, Sky 10, Whisper The large cockpit is available with or without padded thigh braces. The Equinox and Journey come standard with thigh braces. The Sky 10, Skylark, and Whisper come standard without. Each of these models can be ordered with or without them. We recommend using thigh braces unless they impede your leg room or paddling style."
Also, one of the reviewers on the website is 6'1" and 180lbs and he thought the boat had plenty of room for a bigger paddler.
Thigh braces and perimeter rigging can be added… by which time the OPer may be up to the price of the other boat anyway.
As to size, as I said I don’t know the boat. The only people I have seen who paddled a Skylark were both women a bit larger than me, but a long way away from 6 ft tall. Neither of the boats had thigh braces, though I have a niggling memory of deck rigging on one of them.
Purchased used in 2014. Had deck rigging, but no perimeter lines at all (newer models have them along the deck rigging). Cost me $15 to have full perimeter lines added by a local outfitter.
I don’t think a six-footer would have problems fitting into the boat. The guy I bought it from was six feet tall - he was the original owner.
I think the Rio is a better option for an EDY rec kayak so long as they’re small to medium paddlers.
Thanks for the advice, everyone.
After closely evaluating both boats, I think I decided on neither. The Delta looks really nice, but I think that, evaluating what I want to do, neither boat is going to meet my needs or be something I can grow into the way that I would like.
For the Eddyline, I simply couldn’t get over the fact that I couldn’t self-rescue. I think it may be ok for some of the areas I am going to paddle, but I’d rather have too much boat than not enough and the limitation on self rescue is really not something I feel comfortable with.
I went into an entirely different direction and bought a Current Designs Sirocco instead.
Good for you!
You’ll learn more with a touring boat than a rec kayak. And go faster, too.
Enjoy your journey.
You will appreciate not being limited by your boat.
If you are buying a new Sirocco, I’m not sure this will do you any good, because CD might have made some improvements. Anyway, if the back-band still has those tiny bungee cords to hold it up, replace it with 3/16" bungees. You will have to drill out the holes in the coaming just a little bit. While you’re at it, replace the deck bungees with the next size up–unless CD has already done that.
If the boat is new, expect the seam tape to come off. You can cement it back in place with silicon and it will stay on.
If it is at all possible, store your boat indoors and remove the hatch covers while stored. Treat the covers with a good UV protector. Never store the boat outdoors in the sunlight. How ever it is stored, it should rest on something very supportive and soft–like inflatable boat fenders.
Never drag the boat; the polyurethane will scratch very easily. It isn’t that hard to keep it like new if you learn how to treat it right. Learn to get in and out of the boat with the boat floating. The Sirocco weighs about 60 lbs. empty, so either do some muscle building, or get a cart.
The Sirocco is a very capable sea kayak. Expect a bit of a learning curve. Depending on your build, the Sirocco can rescue itself from a capsize if you remain seated, but lean back. You might have to help a little with a brace.
Although the Sirocco turns very nicely with almost any steering stroke, do yourself a favor and learn a forward bow rudder.
Finally, use the skeg. It’s put there for a reason and there is no reason on earth not to use it. Most of the time, about half way down is enough. Surfing, you’re probably going to want it all the way down. Even going to windward, you might find a little skeg helpful.