Paddled a P&H Virgo LV - my thoughts

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.


Does the “whisky hatch” restrict leg movement/ comfort? My Valley Sirona RM 15.10, has an oversized whisky hatch. It would probably hold a barrel of whisky. It limits my leg position, to one spot. No room to stretch. Plus I would prefer to store my pump, under the front deck.

My Sirona is also sluggish accelerating in small conditions. My Alchemy S, accelerates a lot quicker. How does the Virgo compare?

I didn’t find that it limited movement but if the paddle had been much longer I would have been trying to move around a bit and it might. I am not a fan of whiskey hatches in general, fortunately the one in my Tiderace is not a problem.

I didn’t have any great waves to try and surf but I did try to catch a few and thought the Virgo seemed relatively responsive. But sloppy reflected boat wakes really aren’t the best for testing that. In general paddling the boat seemed to respond to increased power quickly and didn’t feel stuck or sluggish.

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Brodie, great review. How tall are you and how long are your legs? I’ve added the Virgo LV to my list, but am thinking that deck height might be too tall for me. I’m 5’5" but have a 32" inseam so my upper body is equivalent to that of a very short person. I’m also shrinking so my spine might even be more compressed than last measured.

I’m 5’7”, “normal” leg proportions I guess? Women’s pants don’t tell you inseam length. I generally fit well in LV kayaks - most MVs are too big for me.

Thanks, that helps. I suspect the large deck on the Virgo is too tall for my shortness. I hate not being able to demo, but I’m narrowing the field!

I don’t think it would be too big. Try one if you can.

Well it’s got a “large deck” per P&H, and you had the above experience. Given how short my torso is, it’s concerning and not something I want to deal with. Unfortunately I won’t get a chance to demo. I’m probably going to end up getting a Scorpio LV, but I won’t get to try that first, either.

I hate feeling so indecisive!

Ha, I forgot I had written that! Pru, do you have access to any dealers that carry Dagger? The Stratos 12.5S and 14.5S are great small-peoples kayaks, I have a 12.5S which is almost too small for me, and I have paddled the 14.5S. Those may be a little easier to find since Dagger is a Confluence brand (Wilderness Systems/Perception/Dagger)

I was wondering! :laughing: There is a Dagger dealer about 90 minutes away but I checked with them a few months ago and they had no hope of getting stock. Kayaks are like unicorns these days. I have the opportunity to purchase a new Scorpio II LV from an amazing dealer and am trying to get myself off the fence.

Given the lack of stock you might want to just jump on a Scorpio if you have the chance. I have paddled one a couple of times and liked it a lot, only drawback is that it is heavy.

I think that is why I am on the fence - the weight. I have a lot of physical limitations and don’t want to make a stupid decision. My original plan when I sold my Rockpool Alaw Bach was to special order a carbon/kevlar Isel. I know that boat will please me. Then the price tag ($6k before shipping, taxes, options, etc) got me looking around at other kayaks. The Cetus LV in a light layup appeals, but I read several remarks on these forums about it being roomier than a typical LV boat and that stopped me in my tracks. If we were not in a pandemic, I’d travel and demo some boats. So here I am.