I tried out a CD Gulfstream awhile back and thought it was a nice paddling boat. I actually thought that weathercocking was less pronounced in the Gullfstream than the Caribou, both with skegs retracted. CD claims that the Gulfstream is desinged for larger paddlers and that my rather ordinary 5’11", 165 make me too light for the boat. How do they figure this?
if gulfstream is like sirocco
I’m 6’1 and 175 and the Sirocco(which is pretty much a plastic gulfstream) felt like way too big for me, both fit and weight wise,i think its meant for people in 200-250 lbs range.
I’ve read alot of posts indicating
the gulfstream/sirocco run better when loaded down (ie; excursion boats for multiday camping, etc). I personally have a sirocco that I use both loaded & unloaded that I dont seem to have any problem with. However, I’m gettin on 190 @ 5’10". the gulf does sound like it may be a bit big for you, but u can always try it and make some comparisons.
the biggest issue
is whether your legs fit the thigh braces well, you’re on the light side for it but not unacceptably so. Most of the problem I’ve seen with the Gulfstream is folks that are too short. The Gulfstream is more like a nice efficient 15’ kayak with lots of room. If it gets very windy you might consider adding some weight. If weathercocking in and of itself bothers you you might consider a Chatham 17.
at 6’ 3"
185 the cockpit (sirocco) is big, but I can lock in nice and tight. Prefer a snugger fit but I LOVE being able to leap from the boat after a surf landing.
To each there own, but I don’t like paddling it fully loaded (6 days, food but not water). It was slow to accelerate, an effort to pull at cruising speeds, difficult to turn - it lost all its playfulness.
you’re not too light
for the Gulf. as another poster was saying it all depends on cockpit fit and comfort. the Gulf is one of those boats that tends to fit a wide variety of people well, due to a very good seat, and nearly perfect coaming design with the right amount of thigh bracing. it is not a huge cockpit, but on the med/large side, with a widish seat. some like a snugger cockpit, some like a roomier cockpit, go figure. the benefit of this larger cockpit is that it is easily outfitted to make it snugger if you want. will fit wider hips than some play oriented boats in it’s category, but again, a good seat and coaming design makes it easy to make adjustments. it is a very round bottom boat though and is therefore fast edge to edge or a bit tender for some people’s taste, even though it has a 23" beam. nice boat, lots of fun, not as balanced in overall performance as say a Tempest or Explorer.
is the Gulfstream’s little brother/sister (featured in Doug Alderson’s Savvy Kayaker book). Designed for folks your size. Why not give that a spin?
Doesn’t answer the question
But I have to agree with others.
I’m 5’10", about 180-185, and own a Sirocco. I like the boat, but it weathercocks with my weight a lot. Another 20-30 lbs is noticably helpful. It’ll soon become my secondary boat.
You’re into the next level up in price range looking at the Gulfstream. At that level there are some really nice boats available to you. That’s not intended as a negative comment toward the Gulfstream.
Boats are designed to perform best around a certain point of the boat being "sunk" into the water by the weight of paddler and gear. That doesn't mean that they won't behave decently at less than that weight, but that they may not act as ideally well. Since the immediate effect of the boat sitting higher is that there is a shorter waterline (assuming a boat with rocker like the Gulfstream) and that more of its height is vulnerable to the wind, weather cocking is one of the first things that gets affected. It'll tend towards it more as the waterline gets shorter and more windage is available above the waterline.
It may also affect the width of the boat that is actually in the water, but that varies with the hull shape. And a boat like the Gulfstream has such strong stability that it's not something most would notice.
As I said, lower weight is not in itself fatal. Fact is that on any given day in warmer weather there are expedition kayaks all up and down the coast being used on day paddling trips, and even with all the 5 star BCU stuff they are still probably loaded a little light for their planned expedition weight.
But fit is. A boat that is intended for larger paddlers has a cockpit intended for them too - so at 5'4" there is no hope of my thighs finding a brace without major contortions. And it feels like the boat is up around my neck. At 5'11" and 165 pounds you may be at the point where the boat's weathercocking etc is tolerable for you (tho' you should try it with an additional 30 pounds just to see), but you may still need to take a hard look at the cockpit fit.
Slipstream too small for 5’11" person
The Gulfstream was originally designed by Derek Hutchinson (aurhor, founder of the BCU etc. etc.). It was originally produced by Orion in England (I think). Can’t remember the model name. Derrek is a big person probably 250+ lbs and used it to carry weeks of supplies for expeditions. I think it’s the boat he’s in on the cover of his rolling book - original edition.
Are you a new paddler? New paddlers always want a boat that’s too big for them and it’s just something that takes time paddling to get used to what is good for you. But going by your size - it’s a tank for you. I paddle with a guy who has one and he says it weather cocks like crazy. He’s about 220 lbs. I paddled it and I’m 6’2" 180 lbs and it’s just way too big for me. Plus it’s slow.
big boy’s boat
Gulfstream is a high volume boat. It is also beamy against current norms.
There is a plethora of good boats out there. If you think you like the Gulfstream, demo Valley, NDK, P&H boats as well as Tempests and Chathams. At 165 you might want to try the 'LV' versions of the longer boats (e.g. Nordkapp and Aquanaut LVs), unless you plan on heavy camping.
It’s been a while since I paddled one, but at 5’9", 155 lbs I remember liking the Slipstream and thinking the Gulfstream was huge.
Why bother with a Gulfstream when…
the Andromeda (yes, they still make 'em) is more of a ‘sports car’ and a better fit? I’d put it between the Slipstream and the Gulfstream as far as weight and height fits.
ah … the Andromeda
light of my life
fire of my loins
Too much information…
John, use the Force! (4)
See you on the water,
opening lines to Lo-li-ta
but you’re not 5’11" and 165lbs.