Kayak VS pedal catamaran

I am considering the purchase of a Seacycle (a pedal catamaran found at sea-cycle.com) . I have owned a Seaward kayak in the past and enjoyed it. Now I spend the summer months on the north coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia and tempted with a kayak purchase again. However, I’ve discovered the Seacycle and would like to get input on whether the advantages over a double kayak out weigh the disadvantages. I’m in a peculiar situation where the wife wants to be included so a double is needed but she often does NOT want to paddle putting me in a double alone. The Seacycle can easily be setup for one or two peddlers. A Seacycle is polyethylene and costs about the same as a fiberglass double. First the disadvantages to the Seacycle: the drive mechanism is mechanical (chain, gears, bearings, etc.) so more maintenance and possibility of mechanical breakdown, far deeper draft, greater wind resistance, heavy (pontoons weigh 41 lbs each and total weight is 175 lbs), must be transported in pieces (although assembly is without tools and takes about 15 minutes). Advantages: very stable, can move around (legs not locked inside a kayak), easily converted for one or two, cruise at 10 mph, plenty of room for camping gear (although any gear adds wind resistance), handles can be added to drive mechanism making it a whole body exercise, can easily pedal and video or photograph at the same time. I see the biggest disadvantage being the drive unit (mechanical mechanism) and perhaps the polyethylene construction. Any comments would be appreciated.

While I have never seen first hand nor propelled a Sea-Cycle, by the website looks very cumbersome, complex and expensive. Just basic 2 person rig lists for $3700. For that money, you can buy used single for yourself and tandem for you and lovely wife. Poly is proven material for kayaks too, so I would not dismiss it. Can you try one out anywhere before you buy? And be able to assemble/disassemble too to get sense of that exercise unless you trailer it.

All good points Andy. So far, I’ve not found a location to rent nearby and I’ve never seen one in action other than video. I have seen them advertised used at less than half the new price and hope to try before buying. Of course that brings up new problems concerning the maintenance history of the mechanical parts, o-rings, etc. I am attracted by the speed of the catamaran compared to the kayak.

The Seacycle reminds me of Aqua Cycles used on inland lakes in my area. http://www.aquacycleusa.com/aqua-cycle-ii

They are affected by wind and waves and like kayaks, speed is determined by the engine powering the vessel. But definitely lots of space to store gear and a stable platform in the right conditions.

You can rent a sea cycle like water bike at the marina at Trout Creek, St Augustine Florida. They have maybe four on the rental float. Additionally there are two in my neighborhood. I see kayaks out all the time. But in two years I’ve seen only one cycle out, once.

Have you considered trading the wife in for a younger model?

I think you need to consider the completely different nature of the two kinds of boats, and decide which fits your needs better. Also, remember that just because you buy a tandem kayak doesn’t mean you are stuck with solo-paddling that sled when your wife isn’t along. Getting a used solo boat that fits the bill should be easy, and considering what you are ready to pay for the Sea Cycle, getting exactly the solo kayak you want new is probably reasonable too.

Any of these catamaran-style boats are very stable, but will you be out in rough water? In rough water, it seems to me that a standard kayak would be better. I see that there are a bunch of videos of these things in action on YouTube, but it would be interesting to see a video of one of these boats in actual waves instead of water that’s millpond-smooth.

Does the lack of shallow draft matter? How about aquatic weeds and other obstructions causing trouble with that big-diameter propeller?

I have to wonder about that 10-mph cruising speed. Anyway you look at it it’s still a 14-foot (approximate) hull, and as such, any speed over about 5.5 mph is going to require an enormous amount of power, with the need for power input increasing exponentially with a linear increase in speed beyond that. Also, keep in mind that the power production of two people will be a lot higher than with just yourself. Maybe it’s actually possible to go that fast with a crank-driven propeller, but does that mean it’s a good use of your energy? I don’t know the answer to that, but I have seen that electric trolling motors (which seem like a good comparison since they also use a propeller) which have the ability to move a small boat faster than I can row or paddle have a horsepower rating that’s greater than what any normal human can match, so my hunch is that keeping the speed below 5 mph is what will make the most sense over any but rather short distances. “Try before you buy” seems like a particularly good idea if the advertised speed capability is a selling point here.

How about a used Hobie sail/pedal trimaran. I have a small sailboat with a cabin and two sea kayaks, but this looks like a lot of fun. I am lusting for one.

Is it out of the question that your wife learns to paddle solo? That it seems to me would be the best option. Then you can both have a boat that fits and you can go alone when she doesn’t want to. I think you would use kayaks much more often than a contraption that you have to assemble.

You might even consider bicycles also–in addition to the kayaks. But there again, go for singles.

Cycle thing or Hobie sailing tri…pick the Hobie. You might actually use it. However there is a lot of assembly and rigging.

Qruiser would say to buy single kayaks. Get wife a really good fast sea kayak so she will be faster than you and more into kayaking .

Yes rigging time is a downside with many sailboats, but once rigged they are fun, and a tandem pedal craft is generally faster than a solo paddled boat. I have no experience with this Hobie so don’t know how fast it pedals.

You can pedal, sail or paddle the Hobie. You can pedal the sea cycle. Being a former cyclist thinking about pedal ergonomics, bicycle frame geometry and my experience in the Mike Fink Gullywomper Raft race I’d say you could maintain a better cruise in the Hobie than the SeaCycle.

Ever pedal a recumbent exercise bike with a bad seat?

@castoff said:
How about a used Hobie sail/pedal trimaran. I have a small sailboat with a cabin and two sea kayaks, but this looks like a lot of fun. I am lusting for one.

You lust after every boat you see. The young women are not included.

My neighbors rented a Hobie tandem once . Neither are even close to athletic. I typically maintain about 3 -3.5 mph.
They left me in their wake without trying all that hard.
Like Flotsam said, look at Hobies.

I have a Hobie Tri. It is a VERY capable boat. Just the hull without the outriggers using the pedals you can go much faster than a paddle kayak. I have the mesh trampolines which would work well with smaller passengers. What I do with my wife is bungee my Heritage Featherlite kayak next to the main hull. With the outriggers on and the sail unfurled off we go. A much less expensive way of tandem kayaking. Great fun!
I highly recommend this as an all around fun boat/boats!