Necky Manitou - Coastal Paddling?

I’m planning a trip to Florida soon and plan to do some coastal/inland waterway paddling. I’d like to use my Necky Manitou, but am wondering how that boat will do where I’ll encounter some chop and wind. I don’t plan to do any surf entry or exit, nor do I plan to go any real distance off-shore. Tampa Bay and the Gulf Coast are on my itenerary.

Any opinions on how I’ll fare with the Manitou?

Don’t really know
But I’d be interested in hearing a report when you get back. That boat is on the “seriously consider” list for my oldest son and wife to share.

I’d guess the boat would be fine - as far as shorter boats go it looks to be relatively narrow which means you ought to have enough speed to negotiate waves as you wish. Looking at pictures & specs it doesn’t seem to have unusually high volume, which means wind shouldn’t be too tough. Necky advertises the boat as an excellent craft for beginners to paddle like (or alongside) more advanced paddlers, so I think it might be fairly adept and not too tricky in moderate to low seas.

Great for protected waters
Tomel - I just e-mailed you but thought I’d post as well. I got the Manitou in early May and have taken it out every weekend since. Mostly it’s been lakes and rivers, but once I went out on the mouth of the CT river in Old Lyme, CT, and once on Ninigret Pond, a HUGE salt water pond in Charlestown, RI.

The mouth of the CT river was mostly a protected estuary. It was a windy day and I was impressed with how well the Manitou performed. It was difficult to paddle against the wind but it still tracked very straight. Handles chop very well - my boyfriend thinks it cuts through chop better than his Cape Lookout 145. We ventured to some sandbars that were closer to open water but still very protected. My boyfriend wanted to try going out more into the sound but there were a lot of white caps and I don’t have the skills to handle those conditions yet. Also, while the Manitou was great in protected waters, I don’t think it’s the right boat for open ocean, even if you’re close to shore. Not enough floatation (I shove some beach balls in the bow and will probably get some float bags soon), and just not made for the ocean. This is a great rec boat, in my opinion much better than a lot of others I demoed, but I would not feel comfortable taking it out in the ocean.

We also went to Ninigret Pond - a 1400 acre protected salt water pond with a breachway to Block Island Sound (we stayed on the pond). It’s mostly shallow but very deep in some parts, and influenced by tidal currents. Again, windy for part of the day, plus we encountered some pretty big swells at one point, which totally freaked me out. I started paddling closer to shore as fast as I could! I’m sure this was primarily a result of my inexperience, as I’ve never encountered swells before, but again, I just don’t think the Manitou is made for those conditions. For the most part, though, the Manitou handled the pond very well.

I really like this boat for what I use it for - ponds, lakes, rivers, estuaries. I can really get it on edge, the rear hatch has never leaked - my stuff stays very dry! I practiced paddle float rescues and it was very stable, although as one reviewer noted, the high seatback does get in the way.

Long story short: the Manitou is a great rec yak for protected areas. It tracks great and handles wind and chop well. Still, I would never take it out on the open ocean, no matter how close to shore it was. After rereading your post it sounds like you aren’t interested in open water, though, so I would say it should fit your needs well. Good luck and please let me know how it goes!

My thoughts
Conditions and location should dictate what you do with this boat. The Weedon Island Preserve near Tampa is a great place with protected waters. You won’t have any problems there except for bugs if the wind isn’t blowing. The park out near the fort has protected waters but don’t attempt to go to Egmont Key (like I did) because this can be a dangerous place.

Be aware of the weather in that area in the summer. You will almost always have afternoon storms and the wind can get strong fast. Stay out of narrow channels and check out the tide charts if you are going near narrow channels.

Lastly, there is a great shop just north of St Pete. I don’t know the name but they are very helpfull. They are the ones that told me that I was lucky to be alive after I went to Egmont Key.

If you get hot just go north about 50 miles and visit the spring fed rivers. They are always 72 degrees and feel great in the summer.

Have fun. It is a great area.

Egmont Ley
Interesting comments gibsonra. What is dangerous about Egmont?

You cross the channel that is about 2 miles wide. It has very heavy tidal currents. If the wind is blowing the waves can really stand up tall. It is also a shipping channel and the large ships move much faster than you realize.

The crossing done correctly should be done between the navigation boyes at the entrance. The crossing is the safest here because the shipping channel is clearly defined and the shortest distance. It basically becomes a sprint between the channel markers.

The storms are also an issue. The weather can change fast during the summer in Florida.

We did it in Loon 138s with no safety equipment, spray skirts, whistles, radios or training. I guess the lord watches out for stupid people sometimes. This trip was what changed my outlook about kayaking and now have committed myself to making planning and education part of the sport.

One more thing. If it wasn’t enough risking my life and the lives of possible rescuers, I also made the crossing with my 11 year old son. We had the time of our lives but man was that stupid.

That’s exactly the reason I have asked so many questions about different boats in this forum. I am looking at an Airalite Dagger Specter vs. a poly Necky Eskia vs. an Airalite Carolina14.5. I know better than to take my open “tub” Pungo in such conditions but I want to make the best choice possible of those 3 well fitting boats. I have had some good responses but only from a few people. One post was completely ignored until I deleted it and asked like a whiney girl “what boat should I buy? blink blink”. I don’t get it but that’s another rant.

I still haven’t bought a new boat yet…still waiting for the best one to show it’s colors.


PS: to answer your orginal question, the manitou is a nice REC boat as well as the Zoar Sport (according to the rep) but of the Necky’s I’ve seen, the Eskia is VERY nice and a true touring yak for larger paddlers. I’d also look at the Kayook.