flatwater vs. sea - differences?

Random thoughts
Some of the BC lakes you mention are big - long and narrow. I bet they can kick up quite a wind so “seaworthy” could be a consideration.

Length can add stability as well as a higher top speed so that might be a consideration.

The theory for cold water is to dress for immersion and if you do that being a little wetter in a SOT might not matter as much. Except in the early summer stinkin’ hot days when the water is still icy. I don’t mind dressing a bit warm. I’m more or less due south of you and typically wear my dry suit into June (and you thought a boat was expensive? - wait until you decide you want a dry suit).

I agree that SOTs have a safety advantage over rec kayaks (especially rec kayaks without floatation) but get something you are going to enjoy paddling.

I wondered bout that
The only Thompson I’m familiar with is the stretch up near Lyton. Thats some big ww! You gotta wait till late in the season so the river can get “down” to 24,000cfs!

Significant differences
I think the distinctions are somewhat clouded with the onslaught of new designs, as above posters have mentioned. I do think one significant benchmark is the open water crossing. A true sea kayak should be more conducive to the committment involved in an open water crossing versus, say a shoreline paddle.

In the middle of an 18 mile open water crossing, say from Pelee Island to Kingston, Ont. on Lake Erie, if something goes awry, you’re still 2hrs paddle from anywhere and anyone. The kayak should have a certain amount of efficiency per paddle stroke to combat wind and wave conditions ( hull and deck design). Certain safety features should be built into the boat so it can be rescued quickly, weather we’re talking eskimo rolls or assisted rescues ( cockpit fit relative to body/boat dynamics, and strong watertight bulkheads, hatchcovers and decks with secure and adequate decklines). A rescue situation can be a nightmare in conditions with a well designed boat, so you certainly don’t need a boat that has bulkhead, deckline, and hatchcover issues.

Those are some of the things that make a kayak seaworthy.

Tracking can be had in a shorter boat, and you’d probably have more fun in a shorter high performance boat that would carry more than enough stuff. Who are you listening to? Are you open to facts? Open to non-BCU BS? Just curious.

Open to non-BCU BS?

– Last Updated: Aug-16-06 9:00 AM EST –


Without figures, charts etc...

A Romany throws a large bow wake and gets pushed around a good bit in sharp chop and confused seas. It takes a lot of energy to keep the boat on course and moving forward with decent speed.

A boat which throws a smaller bow wake and requires less paddler intervention in conditions will move on course with decent speed requiring less energy expenditure from the paddler.

In such situations the second boat is more efficient.

I own and have paddled an Elaho DS, Romany and Aquanaut each in an array of conditions and I am less fatiqued at the end of most paddles in the Aquanaut. (Though for 'play' both the Elaho and Romany are more fun and less effort)

I've been in each boat a bit recently. The Elaho and Romany are faster up to speed but feel as if they require more ongoing effort to keep a quick touring pace than the Aquanaut.

Last night two friends who usually paddle Avocets brought their alternate boats to an evening paddle (Artic Hawk and Bering Sea) each noted afterward how effortless it seemed keeping a good pace last night compared to when they were in their Avocets.

I test paddled an Explorer and Aquanaut side by side 4 years ago knowing nothing of their drag figures. The Aquanaut felt faster to me. It still feels faster to me on both flat water and bumpy.

You may assert that an efficient hull doesn't make a noticable difference, but somehow one can feel the difference.

P.S. I paddle the Romany more than either of the other boats. It weighs the least and is a ball of fun.

Aquanaut vs. Avocet
Peter Unold has some interesting data comparing efficiency of the Avocet to the Aquanaut. The Avocet may be more efficient at a normal paddling rate, but if you really had to hump to get out of some conditions, etc. the Aquanaut is more efficient. I believe I mostly paddle at a rate where the Avocet is about equal to the Aquanaut in efficiency, probably just under 4 knots.



Been there
I’ve tried long periods in my Expl LV as well as in my Vela. Both are solid trackers, in fact in a number of conditions the Vela is better with the skeg dropped some. But I come in feeling that I did less work in the LV. I go by that - as I said, the purist arguments about hull speed don’t do much for me compared to experience.

The question asked was about a general perspective on sea versus touring, what that means to people. And there are some good answers on this thread. But making cracks about BCU and suggesting someone has bought a line is really not on point, or useful. That belongs on the B&B.

So the next question is…
The above post has it - what level boat you’ll need for larger lakes is ruled by how far from shore you plan to be, especially if paddling alone. Lake waves tend to be steep and close together, often breaking tops. IMO they can often require more of a narrow and very seaworthy hull than big ocean swells.

What do you expect to be doing?


If I gave you a 30 lb. 15 ft. boat that was twice as strong as your NDK,(you test anyway you want) tracked better, and turned circles around it on edge, fit you better, etc., you’d still want a backward, heavy boat!! Because the old fat guys have told you it’s better. If ever in Wa. I’ll make that happen for you. You’d go farther and faster, and it was designed by a Brit who paddled for England. Not a production boat, and likely never will be. That’s my frustration. I test really cool stuff that blows a lot of the boats discussed here away. But it’s too out there for the conservative sea tourers. Heavy is strong…long is fast…

I test really cool stuff…
“I test really cool stuff that blows a lot of the boats discussed here away. But it’s too out there for the conservative sea tourers.” -salty

I’ve been looking at and paddling some whitewater boats lately. Design in that realm moves swiftly. A design as old as my Romany would be VERY ‘old school.’

I’d love to try strong light boats that perform well for the uses I have. Is it the influence and inertia of older well established paddlers that prevents more innovative designs for sea kayaks from getting to market?

Exactly! NM

"Is it the influence and inertia of older well established paddlers that prevents more innovative designs for sea kayaks from getting to market?"

Too simplistic I think. Reads like an excuse. Yes the old guard wields influence. That’s not all bad. Some old lessons can still apply. Don’t believe it? Build a skinny Greenland SOF.

Coming to market with something “new” faces countless tough challenges. Foremost with kayaks - it’s a small and highly fragmented market (with the aforementioned inertia being part of the fragmentation). Everyone has different opinions and preferences. Different ideas about what they want and why.

Let’s not even getting into tech/material/labor/logistics…

I would point to EPIC and QCC. Both seem to be having reasonable success though decent product that doesn’t conform to old school rules. I don’t personally see them as radical at all, but those still into heavy layup long overhang Brit boats do. These companies have also affected the way the old guard builds and markets. Look at the new layups, the new designs…

Both of these companies also had an edge getting into paddle sports.

QCC was building composite structures for a long time and was good at it. The built kayaks for others before doing their own. They also commissioned new designs fro a well respected designer.

EPIC had two famous paddlers, with ideas of their own, plus access to top designers, and connections to South African manufacturers to start up. First paddles, then kayaks.

Neither jumped in from a cold start with new kayak designs, and when they did start producing their own product under their own brands they were targeted at wide segments of the market - not the bleeding edge.

Lots of things can be done with kayak design. Some OK, some great. The business end is the killer. A lot to it - and not everyone can run a one man operation like Pat/ONNO/Tideline either (and how many Tideline 19’s have you ever seen?).

Just rambling. A a designer I certainly appreciate design innovation - but I have to also recognize that the best designs are rarely the best products.

The strange thing in all this is that Design is science, Marketing is art, and the real work happens in production/distribution/sales.

I want a boat that won’t overwhelm me…
…but one that I can grow into, as my abilities strengthen. I hope to do overnight tours on the big lakes I mentioned previously, and they do get choppy. there are a lot of things that will have to happen before I buy a boat, the two biggest being losing weight and saving up enough money to buy something worthwhile.

I appreciated your candid thoughts on longer boats = faster boats, but Celia had points, being that it’s also about comfort, ride…how much you enjoy the boat. heck, a lot of you brought out some good points, stuff I never thought about, stuff I never knew about! I have lots to learn. in the meantime, I will probably continue to rent the Pungo and getting a bit of know how. :slight_smile:

thanks for your comments people! :smiley:

Market demographics
On my way to a paddle afterwork yesterday, I heard a report on a study about people’s interest in something new. It started with looking at music and then went on to other things. (just put it together with this discussion)

Not surprisingly, the interest in something new declines with age with 35 being the usual end of continued interest in the new.

It is usually said that whitewater kayakers are younger as a cohort than sea kayakers. This may be reflected in the production and accepetance of innovation and change in ww boats.

My personal caveats to this are that many I know, myself included, did not start sea kayaking until well past 35 and the best ww paddlers I know are all past 35.

You guys need counseling

– Last Updated: Aug-16-06 2:04 PM EST –

Its kinda funny watching Celia and Salty, or kinda just Salty, go back and forth. Not to pick on you two, but you obviously don't see that you actually have sort of the same perspective.

Salty says " forget what you hear" and look at "the facts" and think for yourself. Celia says "I feel most comfortable in", which says it all right there. She could care less what she's been told, her first hand experience has shown her that her butt feels most comfident in a 17' bla bla bla...and isn't that what kayaking is all about? You are "the Captain and the Crew".

Salty, you obviuosly have a certain amount of experience and expertise, but I think you are missing a crucial fact;

kayaking is a very subjective activity,

therefore two people can paddle the same kayak in the same conditions on the very same day and have two completely different experiences and reviews.

I understand what the facts say regarding drag and speed and effort, and thats all fun on paper, but I don't paddle on paper. My real world paddling is all that really matters to me. How I feel in the boat.

You asked if she's open to facts. It looks to me as if she has already worked through and experienced the facts enough for her to make up her own mind. Have confidence that she's doing whats right for her and take some (pride, joy, comfort...whatever) in the fact that at your level, different things work for you that don't necessarily work for others.

Now c'mon, everbody..."I'd like to give the world a coke..."

When did the Romany
debut, wasn’t it '88? Would that equate to the Corsica being ww boat of choice at that time?

Another example of two paddlers paddling the same boat in the same conditions with two completely different experiences. I have the opposite opinion of the Romany in chop and confused seas. I own the boat becasue of how comfortable and confident I am in it in any chop, clapotis, wind, or any conditions in general. To me, thats were the boat has earned its reputation, and rightly so.

Paddling the parts of the Oregon coast last week, it again confirmed its efficiency in rough water. My wife is a schooled, skilled, and strong paddler but has a hard time keeping up with me in flater water. In the 4-8 ft swells with vast 1-2 ft clapotis fields and rogue waves to 11’, the rocky shoreline, she was quite comfortable and kept pace with me in my Explorer HV without a thought. Whenever I tried to subtly compliment her on handling the cliffside conditons and rock hopping she always deferred to “its the boat, not me”.

I’m suprised that you think it gets “pushed around” at all, really.

Or a Guiness?
You got me chuckling. Thanks for the post. I’m still working the confidence stuff out in more major conditions, but it’s nice to hear that it at least sounds like I’ve got some.

I just didn’t want to get nuts over something so silly. Heck, my shorter boat is faster up to a certain point and I use that for after-work group paddles where I may have to scoot around between pods.

But I think instead of a Coke, a Guiness. Or two…

I’ll drink to that!