pintail speed?

i know that this is not a hull known for it’s quickness, but is it “romany slow?”

i know in the right hands any kayak can be fast–but i don’t have those hands.

my current boat is an orion and i’m looking for something lower volume and hopefully a bit quicker–am i trading up in a pintail?


no and yes.

In the 3 years I had a Pintail I found it to be quicker than my Romany 16. both in terms of hull speed, glide and turning quickness.

The R~16 holds more kit and tracks better.

both boats, IMO, are sportier and ‘quicker’ than an Orion.


i’ve got both - - -
my Explorer is not a quick boat by any means but it’s quicker than my Pintail in my opinion. certainly the Pintail is much more playful, turns on a dime … but fast? no. with it’s rocker, it’s got less hull in the water than the Explorer.

kit-holding is not a priority…
hence my interest in a low volume boat. fun, low windage and a bit more “keep up with joneses” speed are my hopes.

there are other boats on my list.

My simplest explanation
would be that a pintail makes either a great second kayak for park n play, or short distance touring for a smaller person. I would love to own one too, but I think an anas acuta would be more fun because of its narrower beam.

Both of them seem quite dull in flat water, but in high winds and textured water they are pretty lively.

Maybe An Avocet?
lower volume, same beam but less length than the Pintail but also less rockered (more water line). Means a little more speed but still enough maneuverability than an all out straight tracker type boat.


keeping up…
i guess my concern is that in my orion i always feel like i’m struggling to keep up. now granted i’m on the small end for the boat (165lbs) and i generally paddle it unloaded.

of course i’m going to test paddle it, but it’s so hard to actually tell if i’m paddling faster or not.

“Big Boat” for Smaller Paddler
means you pushing more weight. Plus when you not packing a load, than you’re riding higher and more affected by wind. You work harder to keep the pace.

Another relatively lower volume boat to consider with not too much rocker is the BD Ellesmere. 17’x22" 8" aft deck.


if you’re having problems keeping
up in the orion, I would work on building some torso rotation technique, making sure your technique is good. Then focus on building enurance over distances, and then maybe also doing some sprints for good measure.

It is just like running it’s something you have to work on to make it happen. If you don’t put that many miles in, when you go out with a bunch of people who do, you will lag, and then die over time.

Some people are natural atheletes and can just go out and do it with no training. But the rest of us normal humans have to train. The glide of the kayak is really one small part in my opinion of being able to move effeciently at speed.

I’ve had my ticket punched by guys/gals in 17 foot 22 inch wide kayaks with plenty of rocker who are 15-20 years older than me. Why? They put in the training. I may be younger and in great cardiovascular shape from running, but they focused on technique and endurance specifically for paddling. And I paddle an 18 foot long 20" wide kayak with almost reverse rocker.

I think there is sometimes an over emphasis for recreational sea kayaking on the hull and paddle and not enough on the paddler. I’m sure it’s the same thing with cycling. A bunch of blokes all standing around talking about which frame, tires, and gear ratios are best for what conditions, but there is some guy who has two gears who can go faster than all of them because all he does is train. Same thing with kayaking. Focus on the engine, and you will go faster. Focus on the kayak and you will most likely always lag behind.

very well put…
while i’m not a total novice, i could certainly use some improvement in my technique.

and i to have seen exactly what you stated. not long ago i was out with a group and the guy with by far the shortest and “slowest” boat was literally paddling circles around us. of course he was in great shape and had dynamite technique.

i want to switch to lower volume simply because i do not see any possibility of me needing to carry lots of gear and i’m a relatively light and small person. i figure while i’m out looking for a new boat–might as well find one that might assist me keeping up too.

I Agree About The "Equipment"
focused myopia too. But, it’s easier for me since I have the boats that fit me (or what I want) already and I don’t much paddle with speedsters (or much anyone) anyways. :smiley:


well with that in mind
a pintail is never going to be the fastest boat, but it will be a hell of a lot of fun to paddle when it’s rough out.

If you are looking for lower volume and still very fast, I’d say these are some choices in no particular order:

Betsie Bay Aral, or Recluse.

Nigel Foster Silhouette

or maybe an Impex Outerisland? 18’ 21" wide and with very little above the sheerline, and very little rocker.

If you can find a used glass eddyline falcon 18 that is also a fast boat, but I would never recommend anyone buy one of their carbon lite models. the repairs and maintenance are too dodgy, although I’ve had two people email me and claim the repairs can be done just as well as glass, but when I ask for photo demonstration of their techniques and finish work clam up.

It’s the motor, not the boat.
As a wise man once told me:

“A strong paddler can paddle a slow boat faster than a weak paddler can paddle fast boat.”

I fear that “buying” your way to faster is a fool’s errand. I speak from personal experience here. If you buy your hulls by how they handle, you’ll have boats that will handle the conditions in which you want to play. You can always learn to adjust your forward stroke to compensate for their technical slowness.

I spent a year training for speed and endurance in a Romany (16) and quickly learned to push that boat to speeds equal to stronger paddlers in much “faster” boats. I’m not saying that I was “race fast” in the Romany but I could easily push it to 4.7 knots for hours on end. I took that boat on a 30 miles trip with Explorers, Gulfstreams and an Expedition and had no diffculty staying in the middle to the front of the pack.

For years I was a “slow” paddler and tried to buy my way to faster touring speeds. Several boats later and several thousand dollars poorer I learned about paddling forward. The “the motor is more important than the boat” guys had it right, given my experience.

Cheers, good luck!


excellent suggestions, all…
thank you.

i guess i’ll just go with the boat that i look sexiest in…:wink:

I’m very happy with mine, but I so rarely go out in groups now that I have little idea of it’s relative speed. It’s not a flatwater rocket, but it’s a happy boat when there are waves to play in.

Last summer I demoed a Tempest 165 and a Lincoln Isle au Haut, both of which felt comfortable for my size (160 lbs) and fairly speedy – maybe faster than the Avocet, but not as manuverable.

Good strategy, appearance
on trailer or roof rack is important as well.


Kwikle-I still have not put my Pintail up for sale although I’m always considering the idea… My daughter will be in Germany for 11 months next year so she won’t be paddling it. So, if you ever want to see it just shoot me an email. Since it won’t be used for a long time, I have it stored in my basement. Do you still have the pictures of it? It has the Henderson pump and Nexus compass. She can balance brace in it and roll it with a hand paddle.

Fool’s errand
While I of course have to agree about the motor being key, the boat should not be overlooked. An upgrade can keep motivation and interest at the level needed to keep working on that technique.

As you said: “Several boats later and several thousand dollars poorer I learned about paddling forward.”

I can’t help thinking that progression through those boats had some impact on your interest and technique.

No one or the other - BOTH! In what ratio? That’s different for everyone.

Flip side is a more efficient hull can actually make you a weaker paddlers - it did it to me!

BTW - I’d like to see you hold a Romany 16 at 4.7 knots (5.4 mph) for “hours on end”. Actually 2-3 hours would do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not doubting you, or “calling you out”, just saying I’d like to see it (as I have seen a few other amazing paddlers - Barton comes to mind beating skis with a sea kayak). At that average speed you’d finish the Bogey race in Key largo (13.2 miles) in 2:26:40. Not in with the winners - but a good time. Too good for a Romany 16 maybe (go to and compare to the 16-18 sea kayak times last year). Since I know many of the paddlers who paddle that race, what their times are, and what hulls they paddle - like I said - I’d just like to see it.

Maybe you meant MPH? 4.7 MPH is pretty reasonable to hold over distance in most any sea kayak.

Of course it’s hard to compare. The good racers are usually in faster hulls. Who knows what they could get out of a Romany. Maybe a top notch paddler like yourself is capable of that easily.

I doubt I could hold our Pintail at that speed, and it’s “faster” than the Romany. I was also slower than that last two races I did in a Q700. Guess I’m just slow. Other’s here can attest to that.

lower volume faster Valley boats

– Last Updated: Jan-28-05 7:14 PM EST –

There are at least two Valley boats that are lower volume and faster than an Orion. They are the Nordkapp and Aquanaut. Both are also livlier than an Orion. Both are also faster and track better than a Pintail.

that is true,
both of those kayaks are lower in volume and longer than an orion.