New Boat Time!

It’s that time of year when I buy a new boat, or boats.

I am happy with my 18’ Shearwater, and happy with my 16’ Nomad. What needs to be replaced is the little OK Mars. Its just not as sporty, or as dry, as it was when I weighed 170#

I have three candidates for this spring:

A Feathercraft Java inflating/folder/SOT at 36# and 15’4" by 28" wide. Fairly expensive at about $2,500 with extra seat and shipping

A Cobra Revision SOT at 48# and 13’4" by 27" wide. Pretty cheap. Only about $800

A Current Designs Krestral SOT at 36# and 14’ by 26" wide. Also fairly pricey at about $1,600

The Java is a chunk of change, probably about$2,500 with shipping etc, but it has advantages. It is very light at 36#. Probably faster than the other two. I don’t need to get rid of a boat to make room for it. I can take it in the van, and I can take it on an airplane. I am hoping to get to Hawaii sometime in the coming year. On the other hand, I would not want to use it for surf launches.

The Cobra Revision would be a neat beach toy, but I am not getting to the beach as often as I used to. The rest of the family prefers the Sierras.

The CD Krestral seems like a nice lake boat, but I wonder of the Thermo whatchamacallit material is durable/repairable. I also wonder it it has the capacity for 200# +

Right now I am thinking about getting the Java and the Cobra, and passing on the Krestral.

Check the water line on the Java…
…compared to the Kestrel.The Kestral has a pretty long WL and would be faster than the Cobra.

Have you paddled the Kestrel?

Have Not Paddled Any Of Them

– Last Updated: Feb-03-06 8:57 PM EST –

I haven't paddled the Java, and both the Cobra and the Krestral are pretty new. I usually buy used except when something new catches my fancy. But I like new for inflatables

I bet the Java would be the fastest of the three, no doubt, but then if I want faster, I have faster boats. I am going for easy to handle, on and off the water...

Also, the little rec boat gets lots of use, and abuse. I am hard on boats, so for this niche, I like plastic.

My 15 w/ modified SOT deck offer still

– Last Updated: Feb-03-06 11:33 PM EST –

stands as well.

Lightest and fastest of the bunch.

Forgot, the Cobra really is a pretty cool boat ... my first/second choice from your list.

you get what you pay for. We just added a Feathercraft Wisper to the fold…i promise you that everything they do is perfection…just make sure the boat you pick is pertinent to the application intended.

I wouldn’t really doubt sea worthiness of the Kestrel SOT, but i wouldn’t buy it because of Current Designs quality issues that plagued various models over a long time now and to this day.

How about a WS Tarpon 160?

Let’s Talk. Check Your Email
Maybe it is time I finally just broke down and have one built the way I want…


– Last Updated: Feb-06-06 10:03 PM EST –

I'm with rider604. I have two WS Tarpon 160's and buying them was one of the few good decisions in my life. Try one out before you buy if you can, you'll dig it!Comfort level is A+, stable and easy to paddle. I love mine so much I'd marry it!
You can get one for under a grand.Check out the reviews here at

I demoed one last March/April, comparing &contrasting it with the Hurricane Phoenix 140. Forget exactly the composition of the Kestral, but the Phoenix is made of Trylon, the same stuff Sally’s Tracer (16’-5" X 22-3/4" SINK) is made of.

We’ve had the Tracer for a year now, outdoors here in South Florida, and it’s exactly as advertised: it doesn’t fade in the sun that it gets in our back yard (;photo_height=-1;photo_width=-1 and;photo_width=-1;photo_height=-1), and quite frankly, looks every bit as new & shiny as the day it arrived 13-1/2 months ago. You’ll do fine with the plastic, AND, perhaps more importantly, your back will thank you even more as it’s that much lighter.

Now in comparing the Kestral SOT and the Phoenix 140, I thought

-Both paddled fairly well, but an edge goes to the Phoenix on calm flat water witrh a light breeze;

-Kestral shape looked better to my eye -sharper prow being the most noticeable facet;

-Phoenix color schemes and colors nicer than Kestral;

-Phoenix may have a tad better storage arrangement;

-I don’t recall the arrangements to tote each boat (handles, toggle, or such) -I know that’s one important attribute for you;

-Me and my padded seat (the one I carry around with me everywhere I go, LOL, fit better in felt better paddling the Phoenix than the Kestral -after several swaps, I’d say it was significant, consistent difference for me.

When all was said & done, I came away liking the Phoenix more.

A newbie (been kayaking 3, maybe 4 times, latest 2 with us) who went with us to this year’s B&B & Florida Keys Paddlefest in key largo at Florida Bay Outfitters tried both.

She, on the other hand, like the Kestral better.

Bottom Line: You could go with either, knowing the type of boats you’re looking at, and come away with good boats that will carry you just fine.

You first need to settle on the type of paddling you want this boat for, and then if it’s the type that corresponds to the Phoenix 14/Kestral SOT types, get one and, I do belive, you’ll quite happily -in that that aquatic milleu -

Paddle On!

-Frank in Miami

Paddled The Kestrel SOT…

…prototype at the B&B last week and I have also paddled the Phoenix previously in about the same conditions. I found the Kestrel a delight with more of a SINK feel to it, faster and much less slap and spray than the Phoenix. Maybe a little less stable than your avg. SOT but you can edge it and weather cocking was at a minimum.

The Kestrel has a very quick hull for a 14 footer and a Kestrel 14 SINK ran away from my Tern 14 in the Bacall. The only negative was that the prototype didn’t have any side grab handles but was very light to pick up.

It is now my favorite SOT… GH

Yep! Decide On Kind of Paddling First
I am coming to grips with being domesicated. Lots more time on the Sierra lakes, and less time on the ocean.

The Phoenix had a tankwell. I like a tankwell better than a rear hatch, but I am looking for something really light.