Low-volume alternative to my Gulfstream?

I’ve had my Gulfstream for two years now, and I do like it a lot. I replaced the backband, and have done some rolling training in it that made me think that the boat rolls just fine.

I’m now looking at getting into a lower-volume boat. I never pack much stuff into my Gulfstream - my paddling consists of taking day trips out onto Lake Superior and on inland lakes. It seems like I’m paddling a voluminous boat around when I don’t really need all that room.

I’ve got the itch to paddle a boat that is perhaps a bit shorter (15-16’ range?), one that has a lower profile and volume, and that is maybe a bit quicker in handling. Speed isn’t a big issue. Rough water handling is important, as well as being able to roll easily.

I’m 5’10", 210 lbs, gym-strong, pretty fit. I fit into my Gulfstream very nicely but there ain’t a whole lotta extra room on the seat. I could handle a lower front deck - I’ve got plenty of room for my thighs.

Any suggestions as to boats I can start looking at and demoing?



16’ boats
There are a number of good Brit style 16’ boats out there. At your weight, you may be on the edge of their intended carrying capacity – this is most probably true for the Slipstream, the Gulfstream’s lower volume sister.

Among the boats worth checking out (IMHO) are: Valley Avocet, NDK Romany, Impex Montauk, and Dagger Meridian.

What about Betsy Bay? (nt)

CD Caribou…

I thought the Caribou was smallish… nt

P&H Capella
Very good rough water boat and very playful. At your size and weight it should be a good fit. It’s a bit bigger than 16’ but worth a test drive.—Rich

Brit Boat Suggestions
Valley Anas Acuta, Pintail and Nigel Dennis Romany are the first ones that come to mind.

Capella - Gulfstream
Isn’t the Capella P&H’s recent version of the Orion, the boat of which the Gulfstream is CD’s version?

I had a…
Gulfstream too for 2 years and am basically the same size as you. I recently traded it in for a NDK Explorer and am extremely pleased with it.

My opinion of the Gulfstream for somebody 5’10" 210 is that the Gulstream is waaaay to big of volume around the cockpit area. I think someone needs to be 230+ pds for a Gulfstream.

My Explorer seems to be lower volume to me than the Gulfstream because it’s narrower,snugger and has a lower deck around the cockpit. But yet it has alot lot more volume and room for packing gear into. And even though it is longer I find the Explorer to be far more manouverable, more responsive in many ways and far easier to roll than the Gulfstream and is also faster and easier to paddle.

So even though on paper it’s bigger volume than a Gulfstream I think it’s an excellent option for an upgrade…

Other boats you may also consider would be a WS Tempest 170 or an Impex Currituck

Not that small
Unless you have unusually long legs or carry much of that weight around your middle you should fit. I’m 5-10 and 180 now but was 190 when I first got the boat (and am not much of a physical specimen) and have no issues with fit. I suppose another half-inch of deck height down where my size-10 feet are would be nice.


The Capella is not a new design.
It’s been around since 1996. Whether it replaced the Orion or not, I don’t know, but it sounds like it might fit the bill for you. I doubt very much that you will fit the VCP Avocet or the Anas Acuta.—Rich

It’s low volume due to the pointy ends and flatish decks. I’m 5’11’,180 and had to add an inch of foam from the chine to the thigh braces to get a tight fit. Somehow a lot of folks like the fit from small to med. large.

It loves rough water but doesn’t like to carry large loads. Originaly designed as an open ocean racer…

I meant recent as compared to the Orion. I’m also not certain how different the Capella is from an Orion/Gulfstream.

I know that beyond appearing the same, that Derek Hutchinson has stated that the Gulfstream and the Orion are the same boat.

The one Capella I’ve paddled did not seem as beamy as a Gulfstream, but otherwise seemed to have much the same sense. Though there was probably a year or more between the last time I paddled a Gulfstream and the time I paddled a Capella.

Also a Day Tripper
You MIGHT squeeze into a Tempest 165 if you take the hip pads out. I don’t know if a Tempest 170 is lower volume than you already have.

I traded my high volume for a low for the same reason as you. I never load the boat down.

the GS and Orion are Derek’s. The Capella isn’t. and the recent RM Capella is a new model. new deck and hull. similar but different from the ol’ one.


170/GS close
teh GS and T-170 are close to the same size. the 165 would only work if you like a real tight fit.


Good News!
Another new boat to try!

Are the decks lower?

Are the new length Capellas also new hull profiles?

Viking Expedition
Another possibility for a lower volume shorter boat than your Gulfstream might be the Kajak-Sport Viking Expedition.

It is 6" shorter and a couple of inches narrower than the Gulfstream. Kajak-Sport boats are very well made and highly regarded.

Though Kajak-Sport says the ideal paddler weight is from 115-185, one of the Sea Kayaker reviewers paddled the boat with a total of 230 pound load with the boat behaving alright.

capella fun, no excess of primary for a
paddler over 200 pounds. Fun to turn needs skeg IMHOP.

the shortest betsie bay
on production is 17’ 21" wide. But they do make an Idun on special request that is 16’ long and 20" wide.

Betsie bay makes very beautiful boats. they paddle really well, but are not as indestructible as other kayaks, I would recommend them, but make sure you know what you’re getting into.