Kayak versus situpon

Just completed an excellent Long Island Sound crossing with Michelle Sorenson. Appx. ten miles each way , with a stop for lunch took about 6.5 hours.

I was the only one of six boats that was a kayak (Current Design Gulf Stream )and all the others recommended situpons, especially for winter kayaking. Your remarks would be appreciated. Thanks

you mean SOT? Sit on TOP??

They’re all jealous…
Don’t buy into the winter thing…

Scratching my head
Hummmmm, sounds like things are bassackwards

or do I not know a situpon aka maybe Sit-on-top ? in the winter ?


the idea is:

  1. assuming you have no roll

  2. assuming you have a dry suit and a lot of warm clothes

  3. figuring that maybe you’d be safer if you got knocked out of your boat into cold water (assuming #2 is operational) being able to climb back quickly onto a SOT, rather than attempting a paddle float or similar with a SINK

    that logic sort of works, i guess. BTW, there are people who paddle SOT’s, even very tippy skis, in the winter and with cold water. you just have to have a high tolerance for cold water.


Winter & Sink
For most mere mortals, the protection a Sink will give him/her is only apparent and unrealistic.

Someone should be prepared for inmersion in a SOT as well as in a Sink due to the fact that the risk of capsizing is alway present.

As Afolpe said a dry suit should be used on a SOT, but also in a Sink. Therefore, if someone uses a dry suit and is ready for inmersion there is no advantage/disadvantage between either one.



“apparent and unrealistic”
“For most mere mortals, the protection a Sink will give him/her is only apparent and unrealistic.

Someone should be prepared for inmersion in a SOT as well as in a Sink due to the fact that the risk of capsizing is alway present.”

You hit the nail on the head! I think for most SINKers, the logic go a little differently. The assumption usually are: even in a capsize situation, the immersion time is “assumed” to be 5-10 minuits, with proficient rescue skill. Granted, some may argue that assumption be too optimistic.

In any case, with that assumption, the “protection” a SINK provides is against a continueous freezing water immersion (in the winter) vs. a 10 min dunk. What difference does it make in how to dress? I don’t really know, I don’t paddle in the northeast winter.

5-10 minute rescue “proficient”???
5-10 minutes is not anywhere near proficient for a self rescue!

Second time I ever tried paddle float rescues, it took me under 5 minutes including pump out. That was in 2-4 ft, 15 kt winds, and I took a couple minutes to cool off before even starting!

Last time (actually next time) I did it without the float in under a minute. Granted it was dead calm, but still, how long should it take?

If it’s taking anyone over 5 minutes, they need to revise/practice more/something!

I agree with Iceman on the dress for it either way thing, but your point on being at least half protected from cold air/water while not capsized (should be most of the time, right) also is a factor in boat choice.

There are condition a SINK is more suited to. Differences in available hull designs limit the options/suitability as well. Iceman paddles a SOT with very fast SINK dimensions. Puts his equal comparison into better perspective. Not the easiest boat to handle for many. Last time I saw him paddle, he looked colder/wetter than the SINK racers - but that’s not a fair comparison as he also had the Flu! Tough guy!

While a “proficient” t-rescue in dead calm can be done in 1 minute, a self rescue in rough winter sea will likely take longer, especially with winter gloves if not numbing fingers. So, to assume sub-5 minute rescue in winter sea is a bit on the “wishful thinking” side. If a SINKer is dressed with THAT assumption in mind, it’s boarding dangereous. That’s why I didn’t use such optimistic number for comparison of dressing for SINK vs. dressing for SOT.

Would you rather be…
in a cockpit with a skirt, where your body puts out heat to keep your body, legs & feet warm?


Sitting on a slab where the water is constantly soaking you & the winds play a factor with wind chill & no “dead air” to warm you?

Here is a list of choices by experience:





It is up to you, but I “WOULD BE CAUGHT DEAD USING A SOT IN THE WINTER MONTHS”!! Not on your life would I use an SOT in the winter!!! Not to mention after using them in the summer… lol!

Paddle easy,


I Don’t Know…

– Last Updated: Jul-28-04 8:07 PM EST –

I am a die hard SOT fan myself, but can not think of any advantages to using one in cold water/air temps.

It would seem the SINK would have the comfort advantage, if nothing else...

And an SOT is more likely to get away from you in a capsize, and you would not last long in the cold water. A SINK will fill with water in a capsize and not move far.

I can almost see a SINK kayaker only dressing for a 10-15 minute emersion, but SOT kayakers should always be dressed for extended emersion.

I just enjoy the feeling of freedom in an SOT, and some folks don't want to give that up, but everyone needs to consider all the safety faotrs invloved...

But I operate under the 50/40 rule. I don't paddle if the ocean water is under 50 degrees, and I have never lived above 40 degrees of latitude....

Boats getting away

– Last Updated: Jul-29-04 1:37 AM EST –

I've heard that before, that an "SOT is more likely to get away from you in a capsize, and ... A SINK will fill with water in a capsize and not move far", but from my experience (limited though it may be) I find that's myth.

My Q700 often takes on very little water after wet exits and would blow away faster than I could swim in even light winds.

The reason it doesn't is I have learned to stay in contact when exiting. This is no different than what I did with my SOT(s), which all had perimeter lines (one added, one came with) for that very reason (and had opportunity to use with both!).

In the event I did become separated, I can guarantee you the Q700 will take off a lot faster than my lower/slower Tarpon 160 would have.

Worst? Surf Ski (so at the extreme end maybe it's not a "myth", but an over generalization). They fly away if you lose contact (sometimes on land!). I stick to protected areas (so far), and always grab the boat when I swim, but probably should start using the leash.

Where's that Brit boat 'cuda? They probably don't blow away in a gale! No wait, there was the one that circled the Atlantic a couple times after getting away...

PS - I was a die hard SOT fan, moved to a SINK, now have both. No longer really judge on closed vs. ope deck - but what I what to do and what will do it best.

L I like the 80/30 rule…

Only Dressing - Not Sot Vs. Sink
Someone should be dressed for inmersion no matter what he/she paddles.

However, it is not unusual to see a paddler improperly dress for inmersion in a Sink because he/she thinks to be protected by the deck of the boat.



For cryin’ out loud!
You’ve convinced me!


I’m going to go now and thank my parents for moving out of Michigan when I was just wee babe and bringing me to Florida.

Below 70 around these parts is considered downright COLD.


FYI - Iceman, hartmanbri, and I are Ft Lauderdale area paddlers. Grayhawk overlaps us at times, paddling mostly Keys and Miami. Barracuda was a long time South Floridian before his current California local. Afolpe’s just up the coast a ways, and Swedge is way up there in frigid SOUTH Carolina.

Only the original poster, Coffee, and maybe the mysterious abc, are from anywhere reasonably “North”.

Odd? Not when you consider the thread had SOT in the title. Where else would you find a lot of SOT paddlers or people with both? That in itself might answer the original question.

for me the only real difference between the SOT and sink is the Slight Comfort edge of the SOT Vs the Speed edge of the sink. and also since my tarpon is plastic the “beatupability” of the boat is a factor too. As I don’t cringe when I hit stuff in the Tarpon. Also if you are going to be making Multiple exits ectect. Then the SOT is a better choice.

Add Mario
Mario a local also (Red Norcap)

Must add 5 minutes for a self rescue way to long in my small opinioned mind,based on reading only unless cold weather gear is worn but still believe pushing the limits.


Cold is relative
"Only the original poster, Coffee, and maybe the mysterious abc, are from anywhere reasonably “North”."

You forgot the thread initiator is from CT.

I’m in North CA. Cold water, but no ice. I did fill out my “profile”, but I couldn’t figure out why it doesn’t show up when I post.

I’ve lived in northern Fl for 2 years and couldn’t help but chuckle when people talk about cold vs warm “winter” in FL! ;o) Of course they couldn’t help but chuckle when I complained about how unbearably hot the FL summer is when it’s “only” 99 degrees for 3 months straight! L

I paddle a SOT year round
on the Long Island Sound (Long Island side) and wear a drysuit in the winter and stay warm and dry. A paddle leash keeps the boat from getting away during a capsize (so far, anyway). I dumped once last winter in 45 deg water and was able to hop right back on quickly. I think a SOTer with a practiced re-entry is as safe relatively speaking as a SINKer with a practiced roll. SOTs are fine for our relatively mild winters here on Long Island, but there’s no way I’d paddle one in Coffee’s Michigan winters. That’s real Nanook stuff, there!

Where did you make your LI Sound crossing? I’ve been thinking about doing one between Eaton’s Neck (Northport) and Sheffield Island in the Norwalk Islands.