I looks like the Impex website has finally been updated with information on the new Force series.
I looks like the Impex website has finally been updated with information on the new Force series.
(OK - on later reflection I am whining. And not being entirely fair to the boats since I haven't even sat in one yet. So it's a rant and should be given that value...)
Thanks for the link.
This gets so frustrating if you are an average sized woman! At 5'4" and 135 pounds (which is exactly average), the Cat 3 would be the one for me. They did lower the deck to 11", which is good, and the boat has a reasonably narrow beam, which is also good. But it has the same (rather large) cockpit as in the two Force boats for larger paddlers.
And yup, I haven't tried it. So maybe my read of the effect of the cockpit size is wrong. But with the Cat 3 having the same cockpit length as the other two, I suspect that my thighs and the thigh braces are likely to miss each other on the length by about 3 to 4 inches.
Compare the 32" by 16" to the cockpit size of the high decked plastic boat I started with, the CD Squall, and the Cat 3 Force boat cockpit is 2 and a half inches longer (though lower). Compare it to the cockpit of the Rumour, truly designed for a smaller paddler, and it is 7 inches longer (and nice inch lower).
Granted I am very spoiled by the extra small cockpit in my Explorer LV (which is perfect) and Vela (which could still be an inch lower). And granted that I haven't gotten into one... it seems that the only way anyone in the lower part of the weight range for the Cat 3 boat - 100-150 pounds - could get really good thigh contact would be if they were a walking skeleton.
It seems that the guys making decisions about kayaks in these companies just plain don't want to sell boats to serious women paddlers - or quite small guys. This was a perfect chance, with a new boat, and they still didn't alter the cockpit dimensions. This is even with the examples of the Explorer LV, the Foster boats and some other manufacturers like Betsy Bay out there.
It's baffling - to maybe risk losing a customer base that might happily buy your boat if it fit right. In fairness, Impex isn't the only one. Valley does too - one cockpit for all boats, whether or not it is one like the Avocet that actually performs fine for smaller paddlers.
I’ve Given Up The “Rant”
about boats for small paddlers. Had done it here for years. I can't even stand to read my own rants any more. So, I don't care anymore... Build a SOF or S&G and move on.
Hey, take up surfing. More production boats for smaller folks. Better yet, waveski custom. Workout, excitement, technical, rough water galore. :)
Celia, the new toys (3 & 4) are coming in late next week or over next weekend. Want to go for a paddle or has the cockpit size driven you off of the water and from going out to have fun?
See you on the water,
Charter Member ACA Pro-School
Have to agree too.
Nice looking boats though. Who knows, with the advent of the ocean cockpit option for the '06 Outer Island, maybe Impex will consider it for the Force series in '07. It wouldn’t be much of a jump if they already have the forms.
a betsie bay valkyrie
in wood epoxy would fix you up in a hurry!!!!
It is possibly the best small persons kayak ever, or they also have an idun now, which is only 16 feet long.
give the friendly people in frankfort michigan an email!!
check out this page:
I do plan to try it
Hey Marshall. Don’t take the rant personally - we do want to get down and see your place, will try the Force boats, looking to do that before the end of this month. And it isn’t unique. Jim had asked the folks at Valley about the cockpit size on their proposed low volume boats, which has gone curoously unanswered.
We are taking this (likely) last weekend of great weather to camp out on an island on Lake George, and I have a performance wknd the one after that. But we are looking at one of the two following Saturdays, Nov 19 and 26, as candidates to go somewhere. From what you say, that should dovetail with your having the boats OK. We’ll give a call to confirm directions and likely arrival time first.
Maybe the biggest problem with boat manufacturers’ decisions that seem not-brilliant is that it can make life more difficult for the truly generous and committed coaches and representatives like yourself.
The Rant & cockpit size
I am sure it has been very frustrating to voice the need for years to little avail.
However, there are more boats attempting to be suited for smaller paddlers. Your, and others, rant may be having an impact.
I look at Valley planning to produce LV versions of the Nordkapp and Aquanaut. Agreed they are not genuinely low volume boats, but it is some movement.
As far as cockpit size, it amazes me that NDK realized a few years ago that lower volume boats should have smaller cockpits, yet Valley and Impex don’t seem to bother. The coaming aperture on the Force 3 is as wide and 2.5 inches longer than on my standard Aquanaut. I’m six feet tall, I only get good contact in my Naut because of the seat being moved forward. What kind of contact is a smaller person going to get in boats with the same or larger apertures?
Pretty middle of the road
Nice boats, but they seem to be another rather timid middle of the road entry in regards to dimensions. All three are not too radical a departure from many other currently available competitor options. (if it works - why mess with it?).
They don’t really seem target to smaller paddlers/LV boat buyers at all beyond the 3 being for relatively smaller paddlers than the 4, and the 5 relatively larger. Same design intent modified for various paddler sizes, but none too far from average. Certainly nothing LV or “Greenland” or smaller boat about them.
Smaller or LV is not the design intent though. The Impex site is pretty clear on the purpose of the Force Series: Longer distance efficiency for touring/expeditions.
Main differences over their other boats is less rocker (and less maneuverability), a little less beam - and LONGER cockpits to aid rough landings and rescues. Opposite of what many discussing them seem to be after.
If I didn’t already have a decent efficient distance boat these would certainly be on my demo list - but nothing there to make me jump ship. The 4 has almost identical overall dimensions to my Q700 except for a quarter inch less overall - and a longer cockpit! Same front deck height (I assume lower rear deck). A good bit less LWL - and LESS rocker!
I do think these will be great boats (both design and construction) and should excel at what they are designed for. I just don’t see much discussion about people wanting to use them that way!
Useful comparisons would be to boats like the NDK Explorer, VCP Nordkapp/Aquanaut, NF Legend/Sillhouette, KajakSport Viv/Viking, Eddyline Falcon 18, etc., etc., etc, - and QCC 600/700, CD Stratus, and Epic 18.
Celia, Just not the 20th
Your dates sound good here. The 20th is out as we have an River Connection Boaters Pool Practice that day at the Culinary Pool.
See you on the water,
Agree that once you are in a given group of very capable boats, there seem to be more than one of them that would fill the bill for that paddling purpose. And any touring boat is somewhat of a compromise in terms of manuverability, tracking, speed etc. - it has to be.
To me anyway, the value of having multiple boats that would serve for the same purpose is that it provides a variety in the balance between those characteristics. So a paddler is more likely to find one that is tuned to their specific preferences. A paddler who would sacrifice speed for manuverability could find such a boat, and a paddler with the opposite inclination could find one to fit them as well. But at the end of the day both boats would serve equally well for the intended purpose.
how many sea kayaks are there that are 17’ 20inches wide with an 11 inch foredeck?
I can only think of one or two. pintail and anas are about that. and they are very rockered, so this is a nice alternative. I know it is not small in the sense of sof, but these are clearly aimed at the trip paddlers, of which I am one, I wouldn’t mind giving the cat3 a spin.
long cockpits/ entry & exit
It seems to me that to satisfy both the small paddler’s contact requirements and entry/exit ease, you may want a more radical keyhole. You ccould move the thigh braces well back toward the seat and still have plenty of room to get a leg out.
The touring world needs to look at the whitewater folks. Whitewater cockpits have gotten longer for ease of exit in pinning situations, but they still manage to maintain excellent leg/body contact and ease of control.
Yes more agressive keyhole!
Sea kayak designers often don’t seem to understand the function of a whitewater cockpit.
Nigel Denis does seem to understand. I think he was the first to use keyhole cockpits in touring boats and the keyholes in NDK boats are long but give very good thigh contact. The cockpit of an Explorer is longer than the cockpit in my Aquanaut, yet the contact is much better - more agressive keyhole.
Part of what I really loved about my Elaho (original model) was that it came with positive thigh braces, whitewater backband and very low decks. It was the first production touring boat I knew of that could fit as well as a whitewater boat. Four years later, there are few touring boats that have followed suit.
I’ll have to look
An aggressive keyhole makes a diff. Though, if it reaches back far enough that it fits someone my size, it does often mean that a lot of average sized guys have to get in pretty much one leg at a time. (There’s a joke I am missing somewhere in there I think.) So - it gets easy to see the thought process behind trying adjustable thigh braces.
I just looked at the photos again. It does look like the Force series cockpits narrow a good bit towards the front, and I see a flange sticking out that is at least large enough to show in the photo. We’ll be paddling with someone in a Montauk tomorrow - I’ll have to take another look at how aggressive that flange is in person.
FYI - Pintail is 22" wide with 12" deck
Not narrow like Anas.
Force 3 is 20.5", a whole 1/2" less than dozens of other options, an only 1/4" less than it’s bigger siblings. With a max beam ahead of the paddler and fairly long overhangs it’s not going to buy you that much speed - well, maybe over a Currituk - and certainly over a Pintail or Anas - but not many other 17’ and longer sea kayaks. The fit difference could be made up with 1/4" foam each side.
Be nice to see some hull cross-sections. Overall beam is a poor indicator of anything really.
Don’t get me wrong - I’m sure these are all nice - higher on the list of things I like than most - and certainly better volume-wise than average - and would probably be a great all arounder for me - but I really can’t get all that excited over 20.5" beam or 11" foredeck by numbers alone.
Now if the 18 footers had 10-11" foredeck and a 20" beam they’d get more interesting real quick…
On-water feel may be da bomb - and I’d be happy to try a 3 or 4 should the opportunity arise. looks like a very good compromise.
I’m just here because there are no other more interesting threads. Like to follow the new developments. Got no dog in this fight.
My wife, who is 5’1/4" had the same problem about the thigh braces in just about everything being too far forward.
As someone mentioned, the Elaho fit her well.
Her new Montauk also fits her like a dream.
I haven’t compared the cockpit dimensions of the Force series to the Montauk, but if they are the same, fit shouldn’t be an issue for anyone at least 5’ tall, unless you have a REALLY long torso!
for once maybe it is truce !!!
Yeah I know what you mean, there are lots of production models in the 20"+ 17’ range, I am however less interested in an 18 foot boat, I would like to try a 17’ foot one.