Kayak advice

-- Last Updated: Aug-11-16 3:50 PM EST --

My wife and I have two young girls and are starting to get them into paddling. We own a 15.5" Nova Craft canoe and both my wife and I are fairly decent canoeists. Our issue is that we can't all fit in the canoe and so I purchased an old Necky Spike kayak for one of the adults to use while the 3 others remain in the canoe when we go for a cruise on the river / lake. The issue we are running into is that the kayak requires far more effort to keep pace with the canoe so I'm now thinking that I need to either upgrade the kayak to a proper touring model or buy another canoe. The Spike is a sit on top (hate that aspect) 12.5' long and 28" beam. It was well reviewed here on p.net and comments had indicated for a 28" beam boat it was reasonably quick. It is faster than my friends Pelican plug but simply not fast enough.

My thoughts are that in order to get something that will keep pace with similar effort will require going to at least a 14' tour kayak (14' Elie Strait or 15.5' Riot Evasion) or even longer. I don't have room for a 17' in the garage so a 15 is about as long as I can go. I also don't want to spend too much right now as we simply don't know if the girls will enjoy it enough to warrant having two boats.

We mostly paddle calm lakes and idle rivers and would like to get back into wilderness camping which is one reason I'm considering two canoes.

Another consideration is that I can fit a canoe and kayak on top of my SUV using a J rack....dual canoes would require customization to add extensions to the rack to fit the width of two 36" beam boats.

sure seems like a canoe
would allow for more flexibility. I know if I were camping and having to portage at all, I’d choose a canoe.

Lots of options
With a canoe you can have dad & daughter in one and mom and daughter in the other. The middle seat is often not a lot of fun. Depending on how old the girls are this does require that the adults have enough skill to do 80+% of the paddling for awhile.

Thought as much
Both my wife and I are capable of providing the propulsion and steering. I just need them for ballast but they do try and as they get older and stronger it’ll make more difference. They are 11 & 13 now.

Sit on tops will often be slower when compared to a sit in kayak of the same length. I don’t think you need a 15 ft kayak, but probably not a bad idea to go to at least 12 ft. Paddling a Perception Carolina 12, I can easily outpace a Canoe, and I’m heavy for this kayak. Good luck.

Old enough to be on their own
… depending on attitude.At those ages they are more than old enough paddle a kayak or even a tandem canoe. they should be more than ballast in the bow. It’s all about if they are interested. If they aren’t then you might be in for a biathlon … paddle & whine, walk & whine, etc. Hopefully your family dynamics works towards having fun on the water.

The Spike…
… is an older design probably going on 20 years. It was OK for light to med. paddlers back then. Even so a 12’ SOT is not going to be a speedster.