P&H Sirius vs. Boreal Ellesmere

I am interested in hearing a comparison from anyone who has experience using BOTH the P&H Sirius and the Boreal Ellesmere. I have already read the reviews of each of them individually. Based on the reviews and product information, both of them look perfect for me. I have not yet been able to find either one near me to try, so while I am still looking, I thought I would post this question to see if anyone who has used both kayaks can give me a comparison. Thanks!

Flat water only from me

– Last Updated: Mar-22-05 8:54 AM EST –

The sirius has much less initial stability, and is faster, the ellesmere has much better primary and secondary stability, turns better, and is slower and more affected by rough water (though I would still bet is a great rough water boat).

How much do you weigh? boreal much more stable for heavier paddlers but if you are over 230 even thats a problem for her in terms of thigh room. On the other hand if you weigh 150 a sirius m might be stable enough for you if you have a lot of padling experience in boats of 24 inches an under of beam, or rock climbing or dance or martial arts trainig or...What are your ambitions? Are you up for swimming (you will do that with the sirius more than you will with the ellesmere).

I would not recommend the sirius to a beginner unless they said they were fully committed to becoming a sea kayaker loved the idea of rough waters and high speed. and did not mind the knocks of a steep learning curve. I consider myself a low intermediate sea kayaker (have one reliable roll, can handle some current and smallish waves, have done a rescue or two in 3 foot standing waves and heavy currents) and to me the sirius is great when I am moving but takes constant attention. My balance is still not so good though and I weigh 215 with a lot of shoulder weight.

Boreal gives better strength to weight raitio I'll bet.

I cant’ tell you much on the
Ellsmere except I watched my instructor switch his P&H Quest for a Boreal Ellesmere. I too looked at the ellesmere.

As said by the previous poster, I weigh 148 pounds and stand at five foot seven. I rock climb also (but thats beside the point!). The sirius for me is great. I can’t tell you how much I love that boat lol. It is a boat with a steep learning curve (also as said above), but its not too bad. There was a post a while ago, about a guy who didn’t want the sirius because he found it difficult to take photos. I agree with him. I don’t take many photos. I’d like to, but I am more interested in enjoying my sirius that enjoying the pics.

If you get the chance to demo the Ellesmere, let me know how it turned out for you. Same with the sirius.

Sirius and Ellesmere
Thanks for your reply. I don’t weigh myself so I don’t know how much I weigh - A guess would be about 160 lb. I am an intermediate level paddler and currently own a Perception Avatar. I also use my husband’s CD Caribou (greenland style with hard chines) on occasion and have had no problem at all with stability. My only problem with the Caribou is that I think I am too light for it (I ride too high in it). Stability is not a concern for me. I am more concerned with speed, tracking, and turning (how easy it is to put on an edge). For example, for me the Caribou is super fast, tracks extremely well, and turns on a dime. But, because the Caribou sits so high in the water, I think I could do better with a boat that fits my weight. I am also interested in the durability/quality of the boat (how well was it put together and how well it holds up over time).

Sat a bit in all three
Caribou as well as the two boats about which you ask, though I can’t claim rough water time in any of them. I have more of an issue with getting a waterline than you - I weigh in at about 135 and an 5’4". Caribou cockpit doesn’t hit my thighs right at all, the other two boats came a lot closer.

The Ellesmere has clear secondary stability - like the Caribou you absolutely know when you have arrived. Tracks well when running but frankly crabs in wind. So while it is stabile enough to take photos and have a conversation you still have to keep paddling to stay in position.

The Sirius is one of the sweetest feeling boats that I’ve ever sat in, from the moment my posterior hit the seat. Tracks well. And of the two boats mentioned, was a much better fit.

But - unlike the Ellesmere or the Caribou, the secondary stability point is a vague thing for a lot of paddlers. It’s somewhere down there, but exactly where is not easy to figure out. This is not just me - at GOMSKS last year there were five paddlers sitting out in demo boats, all of whom were much much better paddlers than myself, talking about various boats including the Sirius. Of the six of us, everyone had found the Sirius secondary stability point to be to be at best kinda fuzzy.

That said, there are people on this board who have found the Sirius to be quite manageable. So maybe I’m a lousy paddler. But of the two boats you mention, the Sirius seems more likely to involve some “start-up” time than the Ellesmere.

New boats
You are absolutely right about the difficulties in locating the secondary stability! However, in the sirius, its extrememly easy to be practicing a roll and purposely drop the roll and take a couple of sculling strokes and there you are at surface again. Its great, I love it, and I dont think I’ll switch to a different boat (maybe another sirius). With regards to quality of the boat and its manufacturing. I have bought a capella rm and the FG Sirius, I have friends who have bought boats from them in the past, Orion, Badairka. All of the boats, so I am told arrived in great condition…looking sharp as a blade. I haven’t had asingle problem with mine. Except for a small hole on the left side on her topdeck stern…it got a bit bumpy in a cave!!!. But fixing it and getting it to look like brand new again…no problem.

When I first decided to buy a new boat, when paddling the capella. I decided quickly on the sirius. There were none here on the island , and no one had paddled them. I had never even seen one besides pics that owners of them had put on the internet. So, I called one of the senior paddlers around here, who has a capella rm and an NDK explorer. When I asked him about the quality of the boats from P&H as that was who I would buy my next boat from. He said “Any boat you order from P&H you will be very happy with, you won’t have any problems.” He was right. So I ordered. :slight_smile: What a happy day.

Besides owning two P&H boats, I dont have any affiliation with them, I am not a sales rep and receive no benefit from pushing their boats.

Good luck to you


Ellesmere - Sirius
I’ve spent far more time in Ellesmeres than a Sirius. I’ve demoed Ellesmere’s at Lake Geroge Kayak, GOMSKS, and on Champlain. I demoed a Sirius once on the South Shore of L.I.

The Ellesmere is a fast, fun and responsive boat. The reverse hard chine seems to work very well as the boat responds effortlessly to lean turn and has rock solid secondary stability. Boreal’s quality control is excellent and the Ellesmere is available with ocean or keyhole cockpit and rope skeg. It was the only North American designed boat still on my short list when I decided to buy my Aquanaut. Its drawback(s) are crabbing (the round hull with no keel line enhances its speed but does little to keep the boat from being blown sideways in any beam wind) and the ‘fun pod’ seat - some like it some hate it. I didn’t mind it but it takes some getting used to.

I agree with most of what has been posted about the Sirius. I was one of the paddelers Celia mentioned at GOMSKS last year. All had time in an array of impressive boats. All thought the Sirius’ stability was vague.

My one point of disagreement is regarding speed. According to Sea Kayaker test figures, the Sirius and Ellesmere have nearly equal drag (within in a hundredth of a foot pound)up to 4.5 knots. Above that the Ellesmere has notably less drag, which would make it faster then the Sirius.

had both
The Sirius and the Ellesmere both nice kayaks. The Sirius is faster tracks better and handles rough conditions better. Not to say the Ellesmere is not good in these conditions as well. I did not find the Sirius do be less stable maybe a little but not that much. The Ellesmere does turn a little easyer than the Sirius but again niether one is hard to turn. I traded my Ellesmere for a Legend and kept my Sirius as when i’m not to fat to paddle it I love it.

Sirius & Elllesmere
Thanks to all who responded. Your input has been helpful!