I borrowed a demo Virgo LV from Sweetwater Kayaks here in St Pete today. Thought I would share my impressions since the kayak has been mentioned in a few threads recently but is new enough that not many people have been able to paddle it yet. The Virgo is 14’ x 22", 51 lb in Corelite X.
I own a Valley Gemini SP RM and a Dagger Stratos 12.5 S, and used to have a Dagger Alchemy 14S - have also paddled the Stratos 14.5S. So very familiar with this type of kayak. I have thousands of miles on the Gemini and really love the kayak, it’s like an old, dependable friend now that never lets me down.
I found the Virgo to be very comfortable (I’m 5’7", 150 lb) - roomier than the Stratos but tighter than the Gemini. Once I adjusted the foot pegs I didn’t have to fiddle with anything else for the 8.5 mile paddle. The cockpit coaming is bulky and a little high - I hit it a few times which I don’t normally do in the other boats. The coaming is also narrow on edge which makes carrying the kayak solo on your shoulder uncomfortable unless you put your PFD on first.
It was quite happy in some reflected powerboat slop and 2-3’ waves (biggest conditions I could find today). Minor weathercocking but I was able to control it by edging and did not need the skeg (I have never used the skeg in the Gemini in 7+ years). The skeg box is a huge cutout on the bottom of the boat and I did hear the skeg thunking around a little. The skeg slider is too far forward IMO - I have long arms and it was an awkward reach for me. Could be tough for a shorter person. Overall the kayak was well behaved, predictable, stable and very comfortable in the conditions that I encountered.
Compared to the Gemini and Stratos - all three are excellent day paddling boats for someone who wants a kayak that can handle challenging conditions and something that they will not grow out of quickly. Honestly I would recommend all three - would suggest that someone looking for a kayak like this just choose the one that is the most comfortable for them, all will be suitable. Of course these days it might just be which one you can find! The Gemini has a day hatch instead of the whisky hatch in front of the cockpit, the Stratos has neither. There are other small differences but I would be happy to paddle any of these kayaks in almost any conditions.
I’ll edit and copy this into the reviews but thought I would post here. Feel free to ask me any specific questions about the Virgo and I’ll try to answer.