Newb kayaker here, 5’9”, 200lb., old enough to get injured sleeping wrong.
Anyone have any experience with an Old Town Millennium 160? I picked it up a several years ago to replace my Perception Rhythm 11. After a few short pond paddles, I put it away to have kids. Recently, I’ve started some longer paddles (2-4 hours) on the protected waters accessing Long Island Sound, accompanied by a more experienced kayaker of course.
I haven’t used the rudder yet, since I have generic adjustable foot pegs installed, instead of the sliding pedals. I’ve upgraded to 1/4 bungees, and about to replace the perimeter line. Other than that, the boat is unmodified.
I’ve been having trouble with my feet falling asleep. I started using NRS booties and they help a little, better than water sandals or barefoot, but I feel kind of locked into the boat. It’s a little work to get my legs under the thigh braces, but they don’t feel uncomfortable once I’m in. I don’t notice the seat at all, which tells me its comfortable. My back appreciates the tall backrest, but it prevents me from leaning back, so I imagine it will make rescues and rolling more difficult.
I’ve never managed to get the spray skirt down. Practicing in my back yard, it takes two hands and a little perseverance. The lip around the cockpit doesn’t seem to catch it very well. It has a soft curve to it, and no real edge to catch the skirt.
This is my first sea kayak, and I have very limited experience with other kayaks. Is it worth modding to address my ergonomic issues? Should I replace the backrest with a back strap, or replace the whole seat? Is this just the nature of sea kayaks, and of me learning how to use the boat? Any recommendations on a spray skirt that might work better? Or would I be better off finding a different boat that fits me better?
Love your description of yourself.
Do you know the size of the sprayskirt? The Seals sizing chart shows it needs a 1.7. What type of skirt is it? Neoprene?
Here’s a thread from the past about the issue of legs falling asleep. https://forums.paddling.com/discussion/1345511/sciatia-legs-falling-asleep
The solution might be as simple as doing stretching exercises. Or adjusting the foot pegs.
If the seat is comfortable, why replace it?
The reviews of that boat here on pCom mention the backrest is a PITA. So a better solution would be to remove the backrest and replace it with a backband.
None of the backbands in my boats were comfortable until I got one with an IR Reggie backband. https://immersionresearch.com/products/reggie-backband
You mention you feel “locked into” the boat once you’re in the cockpit. You do want good contact with the boat, but you also need enough room in the seat to swivel your hips. Sort of like sitting on a turntable.
Since you have the boat, seems logical to make some minor mods and see if the stretching exercises (hamstrings) helps. If those fail, you could sell it and try other boats. Getting near the end of season so there will be some good offerings.
Are you young enough to get injured sleeping with the right person?
A likely cause for your feet would be constant pressure on both feet while you are paddling. When your right blade is planted in a forward stroke or sweep, there should be zero pressure on your left foot. When your left blade is planted for the same, zero pressure on your right foot. This is proper stroke mechanics anyway, so it’s worth giving some thought and attention while you’re paddling. Good luck!
String, I’ve got little kids — there’s none of that sort of nonsense going on at my house!!
Rookie— So the spray skirt is nylon with a soft rubber rim. (have a Seals neoprene saved in my shopping cart waiting for a credit card to cool off). The skirt fits. The problem I have is that there’s no real ridge on the coaming for it to catch on. It’s just sort of a rounded lip. I imagine other kayaks have a sharper ridge to hook the skirt under? I managed to get in on in my backyard, but floating in the water wearing a pfd with a swim trunks wedgie, I couldn’t get the skirt installed. I can’t imagine getting it done after a real rescue.
When I say “locked in” the boat, my legs are sort of stuck under the thigh braces. I don’t have to lift my legs to grab them. I do however have to intentionally twist my legs out from under them. This is what I’m wondering is normal for a sea kayak, or something I need to adjust. I imagine if the thigh braces were a little (1/2”-1”?) higher or the seat was a little lower, I would have more room to move, yet still be able to lock into the boat. That’s the only reason I’d consider replacing the seat. Although now that I am paying attention to it, I wouldn’t mind adding a thin layer of gel or mousepad rubber.
CapeFear— I’ll have to pay attention next time. Thanks for the pointers!
Mark, I have been where you are, kid wise. Good times! We have 2 in their 40s and one almost there.
Mark, the lip you describe sounds pretty standard for Roto-Molded kayaks. As you are new to yhr sport, you don’t want a bomb-proof skirt until you are comfortable and familiar with removing it when underwater (and being bounced around a bit. Most skirts should work. A 1.7 is pretty big - my Pygmy uses that size and I’ve come to feel that it is too big. I have to be very intentional to stay in the kayak when it is upside down.
On the foot thing. Cape Fear may have it covered on the pressure. I would suggest working on stretching you hamstrings and hip flexors. That can make a big difference in comfort - especially if the deck is a bit low & you have large thighs. Swapping out the seat back for a backband is a great idea. I like the IR Reggie.