Explorer/ Aquanaut rocker?

Is there much of a difference between Explorer and

Aquanaut turning abilities. I know Explorer has abit

more rocker but how much. I was recently out in a fully loaded glass Aquanaut in wind and waves and turning

was pretty slow. When Aquanaut unloaded better as expected, but was wondering how much of a difference

between the two.

I was considering going to Romany and passing up the

extra speed for maneverability. I can pack light and

don’t have to have a expedition boat, but just enjoy

the extra glide from longer boat. Any input appreciated. Thx

Capacity and maneuverability
The glass P&H Cetus or its’ poly version the Scorpio offer a lot of maneuverability and cargo space if you were looking for something larger then the Romany, but more maneuverable than an Aquanaut and even the Explorer. What you gain in their maneuverability you do loose in tracking.

Notably different
I’ve had an Aquanaut for over 4 years and many friends have Explorers.

While both are excellent all round boats I chose the Aquanaut over the Explorer for its better manners in chop/clapitos, livelier feel and greater glide.

Most I know have chosen an Explorer for the ease of turning without significant edging, higher primary stability and/or higher volume.

If you don’t need the volume or glide of an expedition length boat, I would strongly recommend a Romany. The Romany is a ball of fun! I paddle my Romany more than either my Aquanaut or Nordkapp LV - which is also a fun boat.


– Last Updated: Sep-28-08 5:50 PM EST –

What characteristics do you feel the Aquanaut has that makes it a better behaved boat in chop/clapoits? When I first started paddling on the Ocean I had an Aquanaut, but minimal skills at best. I switched to an Explorer, not because I was disappointed with the Aquanaut, but simply got a much more comfortable fit and leg room in the Explorer. Although my time in the Aquanaut was limited and not as skill driven at that time, I don't have a judgement to pass on it, but didn't recognize it handling confused waters at a higher level over the Explorer. Agree that the Aquanaut is faster and has a stronger glide.

Lots of boats to demo but
living in southern Ontario its hard to find some

models. A boat that looks interesting is the Island

kayaks expedition lv to bad they went out of business.

If I went with explorer it’d be LV model, regular

model felt pretty big last time I sat in one. Romany

would probably be the best bet for most situations.

The Valley Skerry both rmx and fiberglass models were

fun paddling, just the back deck height was kinda high.


– Last Updated: Sep-28-08 7:50 PM EST –

IMHO, the Aquanaut feels more 'fluid' in chop and clapitos than an Explorer. The phrase I've heard most from experienced paddlers who paddle an Aquanaut in such conditions is "well mannered."

I'm not a marine engineer, so I cannot say with any authority what contributes to the Aquanaut's greater smoothness in sharply lumpy seas than an Explorer. I'm guessing that part if it is the more rounded hull. The 'naut's hull cross section is between a Nordkapp and an Explorer. Nordkapps are very smooth (fluid) in sharp chop and clapitos. Their hulls are so rounded that chop doesn't knock them around - they also lack the hang point or defined stability points of newer hull sections such as the Aquanaut or Explorer.

Explorers are great boats. If I were a BCU coach who taught and lead often, I would probably have an Explorer. They are great rescue platforms and are confidence inspiring enough to be fine for shaken or novice paddlers. For my personal use, I find an Explorer loglike...


– Last Updated: Sep-28-08 8:01 PM EST –

Agreed that the Aquanaut has it in its' cross section profile from top of chine to top of chine, but doesn't the Explorer have more fluidity in it's bow to stern profile which also factors in it's chop/calopitos fluidity behavior? Both boats are definitely well mannered.

Could be…

– Last Updated: Oct-03-08 4:24 PM EST –

I just went downstairs and looked and the Explorer and Aquanaut hanging one over the other along with my Nordkapp LV. The Explorer has the boxiest chines and the Nordkapp the roundest of these three boats. The Aquanaut's hull section falls between. The distribution of volume is more similar between the Aquanmaut and the Explorer than either is to the Nordkapp.

I've seen these boats sitting on pavement side by side a good bit and the Aquanaut seems to have notably less rocker as well as rounder chines than the Explorer. The Nordkapp LV has much more rocker and much less volume stem and stern than either.

The stems and sterns of the Explorer and Aquanaut are somewhat different - though both carry a lot more volume fore and aft than the Nordkapp. As I understand it, this contributes to their re-assuring nature.

I also took a look at the Avocet LV and my Romany... The Avocet is so much rounder. As a matter of fact, I think the Avocet is rounder than the Aquanaut.

Sidebar: Celia borrowed an Avocet LV from AKT for the weekend. It is a fun boat. I (at 6' 180+ lbs) actually fit in the boat and it is a wonderful rolling/bracing boat for me. Though I sank it way too far to be practical paddling much of anywhere ;-)

The Explorer has…
… a bit of a bulge up toward the bow, where the Aquanaut is concave. I think that’s part of the Aquanaut’s better glide and speed, and also a wetter ride.

But it may also contribute to the Aquanauts better manners in chop, as the bow is more stable, digging in where the Explorer bow floats up. I know, for example, by the report of a very prominent Explorer afficianado and dealer, that if you take a sharp wave or even breaker abeam, say in the rocks, the Aquanaut will be noticeably more stable sideways than the Explorer. As he put it, paraphrasing, “I saw it coming and set myself for a big sideways shove… that never came.”


Impex Force
Impex are made up your way. I haven’t paddled them, but for speed the Force 4-5 are suppose to be pretty quick and the Force Three if you fit it the most maneuverable of the bunch. Those who own one that I have paddled with seem quite pleased with them, minus some skeg wire issues.

Explorer LV
The Explorer LV has the same hull as the regular Explorer. The decks are lower, especially around the cockpit, and the cockpit is smaller.

I have owned and paddled both extensively. Both are great boats and you can’t go wrong with either.

It has been a long time since I sold my Aquanaut and my skill level was lower when I owned it but here is what I can tell you from my memory…

The Aquanaut has a bit harder chine and more solid and noticeable secondary stability in my opinion. That is what makes it more secure in chop, clapotis etc.

At the same time it retains a livey feel in such conditions and is a more lively boat than the Explorer.

The Explorer is a better fit for me though which is so important. Also found that the Explorer is a better surfer. It has more volume in the bow and it will not pearl in big waves, and the Explorer has an uncanny ability to track straight on a wave. Very good surfing boat.

Maneuverability…can’t really recall. Both are pretty good.

Much of it will come down to fit in my opinion. Hatches are different and may be an issue to you as well.

I also agree about the IMpex boats. I have not paddled one, but they are on my short list of good boats I would like to try.


Matt - your memory is indeed a bit fuzzy…

“The Aquanaut has a bit harder chine”

I think if you look, you’ll find the 'naut is rounded; explorer squared (perhaps “boxy” is a better term) at the chine…

I like the harder chine of the Explorer, which lets me make course corrections by edging. The Aquanaut amazed me when dipping a hip to make a correction had absolutely no effect - it just kept going straight!

Cheers, Alan

Aquanaut bow, secondary, primary
> I like the harder chine of the Explorer, which lets me

make course corrections by edging.

Dunno if it’s the harder chine, or the looser bow.

The Aquanaut amazed me when dipping a hip to make a

correction had absolutely no effect - it just kept

going straight!

Yep, you need more edge to turn an Aquanaut – I think it’s the sharp, tight bow. For me, that was an incentive to improve my edging.

But that’s in flat water. In chop, the boat is already edged – by the changing sea surface – and the Aquanaut excels. I find it zooms ahead of other boats in chop, and is incredible fun. Try timing your stroke on the upwind (or outside) side to grab the meaty part of the wave. That not only gives you a better blade grip on the water, it coincides with having the (relatively tight) Aquanaut bow out of the water, and it really moves – and turns, if you want!

Also, in addition to the Aquanaut’s terrific secondary, its low primary means it takes chop, swell and even broken waves abeam very stably. With low primary, the sea-induced edge does not rock the boat as much as, say, an Explorer with its higher primary.

Good Points
Good points, David. I especially like your phrase “grab the meaty part of the wave”. I find that I can usually shoot ahead of other paddlers doing that, no matter what boat I’m using. I think it’s a feel that you develop with experience.


zooms ahead of other boats in chop
I find my Nordkapp LV does so to an even greater degree than my Aquanaut :wink:

dipping a hip to make a correction
You have to truly edge an Aquanaut to turn it. (Those with more confidence than me feel it is very maneuverable, i.e. George Ruta). I don’t find the 'naut stiff, but I did have to get the boat very far over on edge to turn it running down the face of a wave last year off MDI.

A also think the easier surf qualities of the Explorer have a bit to do with the flat bottom.

You guys must have a different Naut

– Last Updated: Sep-29-08 9:06 PM EST –

than me. I find the initial stability to be very solid, highly maneuverable and turns great with a slight lean.

Could it be my weight and build vs. yours or can there be that significant a difference between a plastic LV and your Nauts?

At least we agree that it performs well in waves.

Yes and no
I find my standard Aquanaut easy to turn except when running down a wave face or moving in a tide race when it genuinely takes notably more edge than something like an Explorer, let alone a Romany - my preferred boat for surfing and tide races.

The RM Aquanaut LV is wider and shorter than a standard Aquanaut so it probably feels to have more stolid primary and likely turns with a bit less edge.

I find the primary very solid in my Aquanaut, but the hull is livelier than an Explorer hull and I’ve had it unsettle novices who felt more comfortable in an Explorer.

Try this in your Aquanaut
Try an inside edge turn (aka low brace turn) to the left by sweeping on the right (outside) while edging right to initiate the turn. Then switch to a left (inside) edge to complete it.

This works well in many boats. But in my Aquanaut, I find that switching edges stops the turn. In the middle of the edge switch, that sharp, tight bow just digs in and stops it. To do an inside edge turn in flat water, I have to start with an inside edge and not do the edge switch.

I haven’t tried this in a while – it’s kind of artificial. Maybe I will try it again with a good backwards lean to keep the bow a bit looser.