Peregrine vs Merlin II

Can anyone comment/compare these two hulls? I live in the Central Valley California where these high-end hulls don’t come up very often and recently I purchased a like new Merlin II, gelcoated carbon/Kelvar. Now a Peregrine has come up for sale.


They are very close.
Both are descendants of the Curtis Solo Tripper.

Background. I had a Merlin II and have a Peregrine.

My Merlin II was skin coated a UL layup and suffered some injuries and was replaced by the Peregrine (which floated by used…this was not an sought after purchase). The Peregrine had a gel coat. I am prone to dropping boats on Canadian Shield and gel coat does protect.

My Peregine is slightly straighter keeled than my Merlin II was despite published specs. You can verify by using a laser level or chalkline. Its got a flatter bottom for a greater percentage of the run along the bottom lengthwise.

Loaded with the same load Peregrine takes a bit more effort to turn.

The differences are really minor though. The Peregrine is advertised as nine inches longer than Merlin II but in actuality the extra nine inches is almost all overhang and the waterline lengths almost identical.

rather similar boats
I own a Merlin II. I have only paddled a Peregrine on flat water 3 or 4 times at Raystown and Cooper’s Lake.

Kayakmedic I believe has paddled both and owned both and will perhaps comment.

Dimension-wise the Peregrine is 9 inches longer with a very similar waterline width and is less rockered fore and aft so one might expect it to be perhaps a hair faster and harder tracking. My impression was that the Peregrine was perhaps the slightly faster boat, but distinctly stickier in the stern so perhaps a little more biased towards lake paddling than river paddling.

From my limited experience I would be inclined to say that there would not be a whole lot of reason to own both boats, unless you were looking for a boat similar in handling and carrying capacity to your Merlin II for a second paddler.

My 2cents
I have owned 2 Merlins and Paddled a Perigrine a lot. Paddling blindfolded I can’t tell the difference. Bothe Merlins were Kev crystal,so had a flatter botton then non-foam bottom ones. I find the Perigrine more attractive to look at. Unless the Merlin is a black gold,which I find ugly,I like Curtis’s layups better. If I was going to buy one of them I would buy the Perigrine,but can’t see a reason to buy both either.


I spoke to Dave Curtis earlier this year about buying a boat from him and he arranged for me to contact a nearby Peregrine owner. When a used Merlin II came up for sale I couldn’t resist. I’m glad to know my Merlin II is close to the Peregrine, I couldn’t really afford a new Peregrine.

Solo Tripper Family Tree

– Last Updated: Dec-23-11 4:59 PM EST –

Putting David Yost's solo tripping hulls on a timeline might be helpful.

Curtis Solo Tripper: 15'6" X30" str sides 1978
Curtis Vagabond: 14'8" X27.5" shouldered 1983
Curtis Nomad 15'4" X28.5" shouldered 1987
Loonworks Mistral 15' X 29.5" tumblehome 1990
Swift Loon 14'6"X 28" tumblehome 1992
Swift Heron 15' X 29" tumblehome 1992
Bell Merlin II 15' X 29" shouldered 1995
Swift Kewaydin 15 15' X 29.5" tumblehome 2011

Hemlock Peregrine 15'9"X28.5 based on Nomad
early 2000s
Hemlock Kestrel 14'9"X27.5"based on Vagabond
early 2000s

dates are from memory, generally within a year; I could look up if anyone cares.

Specs adjusted 23 Dec 2011