New and Confused


Been touring the country and camping by motorcycle for years. Just sold the bike and will be moving aboard a sail boat (as in living aboard) very soon.

I got the kayak bug as an extension of the sail boat bug.

About me:


215 lbs

ALWAYS have my companion with me. a 6lb Yorkie. (Yes, she rode on the bike with me too)

Where I’ll kayak:

Until I move aboard, most of my kayaking will be on a lake, lazy rivers or inlets/bays. I may even camp off of it too in the North East.

Once I am aboard, I’ll be using the kayak to visit shore, explore inlets, enjoy the water, but also in the North East for the next 5 years before I head south to warmer waters.

As mentioned earlier, I will always have my dog with me.

So while I’d be experiencing calm water for now, I can anticipate having to break through some small surf to get ashore. If its really rough surf, I can always take the dink, but when possible, I’d like to use the kayak over a dink.

Last bit of info:

I’d like to have the option to take someone out with me, but I won’t always have someone so I would like to avoid having to carry two kayaks aboard.

OK, so this is what I have learned and wondering if I am right.

Sit-On-Top kayaks are best for surfing, warm waters, stable and slow.

Sit-In-Kayaks are fast, have a lot of storage, but can swamp easy in surf without being sealed in (which my dog would not appreciate)

So if I am correct there, is the Sit on Top my best bet and can I assume that while I may not win a race, I can paddle a tandem rather easily and dry bags (I have them now, used them on the bike) will make it able to be used for camping or carrying provisions aboard once on the boat.

Some that have sparked my interest are:

Ocean Kayak Malibu 2 (or 2 XL)

Ocean Kayak Cabo Tandem (no longer sold in the US)

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 130T

Hobie Odyssey Tandem

Hobie Mirage Outfitter

Hobie Mirage Oasis

Are you aware that ocean temperatures
in Maine are never much above 55? How will your dog handle being wet with splash of that temperature?

We see way more SINKs here for a reason than SOT’s. Not sure if you are getting up this way…

The main issue is the dog… Some ride fine sealed up, sounds like yours does not.

Don’t forget the CFD.

I am not saying you cannot use a SOT, but you will need a wetsuit at the very least and your dog a wetsuit too. You are paddling. Your little guy is going to have trouble staying warm. A 6 lb dog doesn’t have much reserve. I have seen a dog wetsuit once.

I would think the ocean impractical
Inland lakes, sure, when it’s warm enough. Something else to consider is how a SINK actually can keep you warmer.

Just be very careful of the three hour tour.

water temp and clothing
You can assume you will be wet from head to toe on a SOT landing in surf and dress appropriately. I doubt your dog would be very happy landing or paddling out through any sort of surf. Even a small wave breaking on you feels like you got punched in the chest. Your 6 lb dog will be swept off the boat fairly quickly with any size wave.

Why not get a dinghy that rows well? Seems way more practical and your dog won’t hate it so much.

he’s already got the dink
I am not sure how the sailboat exactly fits into getting near lakes to use a kayak…where a SOT would be fine…(actually probably nicer!)

Most liveaboards that I have seen require a trailer and when there is a keel a tractor and specialized trailer.

Yesterday in our kayaks we watched a crane step a mast then the boat was slid off its trailer with jacks…about forty five foot boat.

I wondered how many kayaks that launch service would have bought.

My thoughts:
In Florida your best bet would be a SOT.

As one who paddles there all winter long, from what I can see ninty percent of the sailboaters and power boaters just have SOT’s

Wouldn’t you be dropping anchor in a protected harbor, or the ICW where you don’t have to worry about making a surf landing?

If it was me I would chose a SOT, just because getting on and off one from a boat is so easy, while it is a bear trying to get on and off a SINK from a boat.

Up north use your dinghy in the winter, and a SOT in the summer.

Jack L

The elephant in the room seems to be the 6# dog.

If you used to bike on a beemer
you should get a kayak with sponsons.

yes every little dog I know
thinks it is a BIG dog… and sometimes it is!

So true.

I have no idea what a little rowing dory
would cost, but it would be nice to row around with in Maine with your dog. You can camp on many islands using it and a mooring system.

Not sure what your dink is…but seen enough of them for transferring from moored boat to dock to be sure they would be tiring over the long haul.

If I were you I would get the SOT for warm and a nice rowing boat for cold water.

Point 65 modular kayaks
compact in pieces. single, tandem, both SINK and SOT now available. I have never paddled one, but it seems like it might be worth looking at for your situation.

even more confused :smiley:
OK, so that helped clear things up, LOL

As for the boat…yes I have heard that launching from a boat is difficult and many use SOT.

Typically when you anchor, you may be in a protected bay, but not always. The dink would be my grocery getter and if the surf was real rough, but the kayak would be like the convertible you take out on nice days.

I would not imagine running through rough surf with it…not with my girl, but swells exist regardless.

So yes, the tough part is the dog. SINKs will require her to be inside at least in rough water and I just can’t imagine that will be fun for her. Would make me think of the people in a barrel going over he falls. I’d have her tethered to me just in case of rough water or a slip.

Whats a CFD though? While she does not have a wetsuit, she does have a life jacket.

Let’s focus on something else though for a second.

Tandem operated solo.

What are the drawbacks of a tandem operated solo. Do all tandems have the ability to use a center seat to accommodate a solo? Seems this option exists more on the SOT and not on the SINK

Is it just me or does the acronym SINK make others laugh too?

funny but dories are the go to row boats
for rough surf in Maine and the Maritimes. A CFD is a doggy lifejacket.

Dinks are for getting from your moored sailboat to the docks. Its funny seeing how many people they can hold in calm water. I watched four people get from moored boat two hundred feet to dock… albeit not speedily in a dinghy in New Harbor ME yesterday. They had about four inches freeboard…

The Ferrari solution
OK, just to be a pain in the a$$, I suggest you spend all your free cash on a Placid Boatworks canoe, which are really more like deckless kayaks. The Rapidfire or a Spitfire13 would really do the job, with plenty of room for a little dog to run around while you paddle. Sure, it’s a couple of mortgage payments, but they’re just so dang cool, and vary efficient, just don’t scratch them on a rocky beach…

Placid Boatworks
Did you know Placid Boatworks is a local company to me?

Skua ARX

Look at the Kaskazi Skua ARX or maybe the CD Zone. Both performance SOT models that offer several options that might work for you. Granted, they are proud of those boats.

The ARX is one of the coolest SOTs in the world and has the option to add a coaming and thigh braces which would be warmer and allow you to roll. The Zone has a tankwell where the dog might be just behind you. In cold weather, additional gear would be needed for safety and comfort – probably a full drysuit for you.


um… the cold dog roll?

– Last Updated: May-30-13 2:57 PM EST –

I realize you can just fish the doggie out.. but when you mention rolling the do you teach a dog to stay put?

RapidFire works well enough assuming conditions are not breaking surf.. so far I have had mine on Lake Superior for eight days.. and paddled around the Gulf of Maine a bit..for example.. Stonington to Isle Au Haut. You do have to pick your days more carefully.

Real ST you might check with Joe if he has any trade ins. I do know the folks at PBW are mighty busy this spring post winter fire.

Ah ha
I didn’t know - have you tried these boats?

I’m afraid if I drive all the way up to Lake Placid there’s a 95% chance I’ll come back with a PBW of some sort, and then have to make some hard choices about what to let go from the fleet to make room…