Kayak for BCU 4-Star (Sea Kayak Leader)

For those that have been through or instruct BCU 4/5-Star, do you think a P&H Delphin is a suitable boat for training/assessment? I do own a Cetus if that would be a better bet.


Forgive me if this sounds condescending, but at this level do you not think you should know the answer to that question?

Part of me wants to go towards Sparky’s direction. It might be clearer if you indicated whether you have completed 3 star… I wonder if you are looking further down the road than you are right now. You should already know that 4 star leader ramps up the problem solving part. Which boat do you want to be in to handle problems on the water?

No Sparky I don’t think I will. It’s kind of a dick reply. I thought I would reach out to the forum for some clarification on an issue, so forgive me.

Yes, I have completed 3-Star. Looking at working on my 4-star training/ assessment this year. My question is more referring to the more surf oriented nature of the Delphin and which boat would better suited for taking a 4-Star training course and the follow on assessment.

I’m tracking the skills apply to both boats and that I may encounter problems on the water on either. I’m looking specifically as the boat as a training and testing aid, if you will.

Same answer on my part. You have to lead a group and handle unexpected emergencies. What boat do YOU feel would be best for you to be in. Truthfully, l don’t think you are advancing your cause by looking for this answer on a Board.

While l do not personally give a whit about the BCU/PNA program at this point in my life, l think the leader part of the 4 star is pretty clear on the judgement level required from the candidate. I make this kind of judgement whenever l go put with even one person when l am in Maine, when l have 2 boats to choose between.

Go for the Delphin. More maneuverable in the scenarios and less likely to get damaged in all the fun.

@carlsanford said:
No Sparky I don’t think I will. It’s kind of a dick reply.

No, I had already edited out the part where I was going to be a dick. I suppose I’m not to be forgiven for putting into words what many were already thinking.

If the instructor for your course is any good, they’ll give you the same answer. Why not ask them?

Leadership is, among plenty of other things, the ability to be diplomatic when that’s the last thing your brain is screaming at you. Your knee-jerk reaction to being called out on this brings into question more than just boat selection.

Seeing the topic for this thread raised my eyebrows. I know from experience, that the appearance of confidence in decisions is essential whenever in a leadership role.

Add in the Delphin 155 in Corelite X to your quiver for a number of reasons.
Real reasons to follow after this - you can pick up your new Delphin at The River Connection on your way to RI, ok now to functional reasons;

  • You’ll play harder around rocky features without fretting about mangling your Cetus
  • It’ll force you to adapt your strokes (and make for a better forward stroke - more on that some other time) to a drastically different hull design.
  • The kayak is also rather fun to take on large flow Class II whitewater in as well as surf.
  • It will make a superb guest kayak (so they don’t find rocks with your Cetus).
  • Come winter (sorry I had to bring that word up) it’s much more nimble at a pool session.
  • It’s a fun kayak to paddle!

See you on the water,
The Connection, Inc.
Hyde Park, NY
845-229-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile
Main: www.the-river-connection.com
Store: www.the-river-connection.us
Facebook: fb.me/theriverconnection

Celia, Acadia - Thanks for the feedback. Big take away is use the boat I feel more comfortable in to handle a variety of situations.

Harry - Couldn’t agree more.

Sparky - you need to work on your people skills. I was just asking a question to better educate myself before I sign up for a 4-star training course. I didn’t realize asking for others opinions and maybe some advice meant I wasn’t qualified to take a course. Nor do I think being curt with someone being rude is a knee jerk reaction or a ding on my leadership skills. I’m an Infantry officer by trade and will take the Pepsi challenge on leadership under fire any day of the week. As it pertains to the conversation: I do intend to discuss boat selection with the instructor as soon as I have selected one (and I’m pretty sure most instructors wouldn’t answer as you did).

Marshall - Thanks for the feedback. Love your store. I already own the Dephin, but will swing by the store sometime. I’m always in need of something.

If it doesn’t have a day hatch, like the older models don’t, then it might affect the amount of “gear” you can have close at hand for whatever scenario plays out. A newer model with the day hatch would make a nice stable but maneuverable platform for most things, so long as you don’t need to paddle too far.
I used an older Delphin with no day hatch for an ACA instructor training with no problems, great little boat.

Carls - For a small paddler this gets decided by the scale of the boat. My smallest, better fitting boat would be a silly idea for advanced assessment. Capsizing trying to rescue a much bigger guy that takes it beyond a manageable stability would not help.

For an average sized person it comes down to considerations that folks have mentioned above. But you will have to improve something for either boat, either edging and tight maneuverability in one or your ability to sprint quickly to a situation in the other. That is a choice you have to make.

Pamlico 140 all the way!!!

Extra credit for the grey thing?

This may sound naive, but if it’s a British test, might it be best to use a British design?

Ben - Both of the boats mentioned are made by a Brit firm.

@carls said:
Sparky - you need to work on your people skills.

No, thanks. I gave up people pleasing a long time ago in favor of speaking the truth. I hope you find an instructor who can show you the way.

So, not a BCU guy, so don’t know their cert process. But if it is anything like the ACA instructor certification, then using different boats on different days may make sense.

The level 3 and above ACA instructor certification is a 3 day event. You do it twice - once as a workshop where you aren’t being tested but the trainers go through and tell you how you would have done and what you need to work on, and a second time as the testing exam where you actually get the cert or not. Back when I got my level 4 certification, they were still allowing people to take the level 3 and 4 at the same time (so be considered for either level 4 or 3, depending on how your skills and conditions are), and there could be both people doing the workshop at the same time as others were doing the certification exam. The format we used was day 1 was mostly basic skills (strokes, rescues, etc.) on flat water. Day 2 was a 10ish mile bay journey in SF Bay, specifically at a time when we can see currents up to 3 knots and winds up to 15 knots (these are level 4 requirements, so they specifically aim for it so that any level 4 folks can meet requirements). 3rd day is surf zone, on a decent beach with surf to 3’ tall but a good soup zone.

For day 2 and 3 boat choice can make a big difference (day 1 is really just a boat that fits well so you are comfortable doing all your skills, so probably not as important). For my level 4 cert, I used a long boat for the bay tour (Valley Aquanaut, I think). And used a short, decent surfing Dagger Alchemy for the surf day. There was a woman who was doing the workshop at the same time and she chose the wrong boats, and it likely affected her results. She chose the exact opposite as I - used a short Jackson Journey for the bay tour (which likely slowed her down a lot, making her have to use a lot of energy to stay with the pack) and used a less maneuverable longer boat for the surf day, which is harder to keep lined up with surf, so she likely took more beatings than she needed to.

When I did the BCU 4* Leader training here in the U.K it was important to be able to roll 100% in a variety of conditions. This included having to deliberately capsize while towing in choppy condition in the open sea, releasing the tow line while upside down, rolling up, and then recovering the tow. It also included dealing with a lost day hatch, so emergency equipment had to be to hand to fix a temporary cover. Speed was never relevant, but leadership was, particularly in group rescue situations and while rock-hopping.
One thing I particularly learned was the technique in a group where one person has capsized and wet-exited, one person goes in to effect the recovery, and the third clips a tow line on the swimmer’s kayak and holds the raft in a position of safety. For example, when a rocky lee shore is close.
So, for kayak selection I suggest you need the kayak that you are most confident to throw around and make perform in rough water. Confidence is key.