Among the sea kayaks:
CD Caribou (1998 Model) She excels in rough water, has good gear storage, surfs real well, and above average speed. Rear coaming is a little too high, though. Overall, the best compromise for all uses IMO. Been paddling her for all uses since she was brand new.
Valley Anas Acuta Just plain FUN. Slow, a bit on the unstable side when sitting still for many inexperienced people, but super maneuverable, and can handle most any sea conditions. Great roller, too.
Betsie Bay Recluse FAST easy roller. Also unstable when sitting still for the inexperienced. I can’t paddle her anymore since surgery last year - deck is too low, making it way too painful to do so. Was my boat of choice for long day paddles in mild seas.
Of my better half’s fleet, she has:
Foster Silhouette Fast, easy roller, playful, unstable. I really like this boat. It’d get a lot more use if she hadn’t outfitted it so that nobody but herself could fit in it. It only gets used in fresh water and flat seas nowadays.
NDK Explorer LV The original LV, which was just a regular Explorer with a lowered deck. Slow, maneuverable, great in rough water, decent cargo room even though the deck is lowered.
Necky Arluk 1.9 Another fast all-around boat with good characteristics. Hardly ever gets used anymore, but it’s a good boat all the same.
Both the Necky and the Betsie Bay are for sale. The Necky casually for sale if the right offer made, and the BBK is for sale if the offer is the right price (We use if for guests on the lake down the street otherwise).
3 piece Nordkapp great for going straight and keeping in an apartment or hotel but at 80+ lbs, heavy
Mariner Express my usual boat
Northwest Sportee fun boat for waves and big water and light
Feathercraft Khatsalano for travel
When someone or usually my wife, asks about my multiple boats and the old line “you can only paddle one at a time” comes up I just say, “you can’t expect Tiger Woods to golf with only one or two clubs, right?”
Different boats for different conditions. I have a main tripping boat, a poly touring boat with more rocker for rougher conditions, surfing and rock play. I have a boat I use for racing and then a whitewater boat. I also have a barge-like sit on top that will be a fun platform to expose the kids when they get old enough.
A shed full.
Nothing serious or dedicated. We enjoy our friends and company whether we’ve met them yet or not.
7 WW boats, 1 transition boat(Jackson Rogue 10) for floating slow rivers, and 1 sea kayak (QCC700X). The WW boats are differentiated by purpose (playboat: Dragorossi Fish; River Runner w/play: Dragorossi Pintail; mild creeker: Dragorossi Mad Boy; Dagger Redline: class boat, visitor boat; assorted boats from the past including my namesake boat the Riot Disco)
None of them is specialized
The whitewater boat (Jackson Side Kick) is a generalist model.
The two sea kayaks (NDK Pilgrim Expedition, NDK Explorer LV) are generalists also, though biased towards hauling camping gear. I’ve never had any specialist kayaks because I haven’t needed them.
I intend to sell the Explorer LV and try to get a rock-gardening/surf play boat in plastic, when one small enough for me is made. I’ll keep the other two kayaks. If I get tired of waiting, I might buy a SOT that could be used for the same purpose even if it’s not the best way to go.
There’s been no lack of fun using the nonspecialized boats, so I’m not exactly obsessed with buying another boat.
Aside from the uses mentioned
My preference is to go with specialized boats as opposed to compromises. In addition, I have some buddy boats, for lending, and beaters that I employ for giving instruction where contact with other boats is frequent.
it’s an addiction
Clearly kayak collecting is an addiction. Current inventory consists of :
Island Kayak Expedition, great boat , not made any more, great for extended trips
NDK Explorer- slow , great once you cut out the stock seat and replace with a foam. Good boat to lend to inexperience guest
Current Design Caribou - hard chinned surfer
Pygmy Artic Turn 17 - light, nice looking, fast
I’m always looking to buy a new boat and to sell one, fun just to ride different designs in different conditions.
I actually have the exact same two boats (though something like a Cetus, Force 4, Explorer, etc would serve the same purpose as the Aquanaut), and I think they’re a good pair. Both tend towards opposite ends of the distance/play continuum, but they’re both capable across a wide range.
Sea kayaking is not like golf, where you can choose a different club for each shot. If that were the case, I’d probably choose something more like a white-water boat, and a surf ski. But those are too extreme for the range of needs that each outing presents when sea kayaking. Every day involves a variety of conditions and environments, so even if you’re going rock-hopping, you may want a boat that can paddle at 4 knots for a couple hours to get there and back. Similarly, when out on a multi-day trip, I want a boat that can maneuver well in rough water, and surf those following waves when they come up.
all specialized except one each
We each have one one that we could do everything with.
For me it is the Current Designs Kestral 140; it does every kind of water and trip well except for the fact that on many of the places we go it would need repairs afterward. (I’m starting to save the repairs and do them all twice a year)
For her it is the Dagger Alchemy L.
Then we have some sea kayaks that are not so good for rivers; a Wilderness Cape Horn 140 and a Cobra Expedition.
We have a whitewater only boat; a New Wave Buzz that we need to sell or give to a good home. We don’t paddle any water that is would be the best boat for.
We have a rec boat that is a hoot in the ocean and bays; the Wilderness Manteo.
And Finally we have a couple of surf boats; A dagger Kaos and a Cobra Revision. The Revision is a decent rec boat for rivers and swamps as well if you are willing to put up with it’s slowness off a wave. The Kaos is a one trick pony.
If we each only could have one boat I think we’d get another Alchemy and sell everything else.
Fiberglass and plastic
NDK Greenlander Pro made with fiberglass for big water(lake Erie/Ontario). Plastic WS Tsunami 140 for creeks with rocks and such. Plus really need one more out of plastic a bit longer and sleeker too for big water were I might be landing were its ruff were I dont want to scratch or gouge fiberglass gelcoat.
4 boats 4…
…different uses …a 17.5’ fiberglass cruiser … 16’ poly boat for camping and getting beat up…13.5’ foot tandem ,rigged for solo fishing…10 foot hybrid w/w boat.
ANOTHER ’ NOT SPECIALIZED’, SORT OF…
We have 2 SOTs, a ‘racing SOT, & 3 SINKs. We didn’t really consider any of them ’ specialized’ when we bought them - they were each at the time a progression on our paddling experience path…
We started out with a tandem plastic SOT, then got the Scupper Classic, and then the Scupper Pro TW, moving up to a pair of excellent plastic SOT singles.
That was followed by our Knysna Isthmus, a glass 17’ x 21" ski- like rudderless SOT, in my pursuit of more speed in an SOT.
Next came our Perception Eclipse - still wanted a speedier boat, but also wanted one we could stay upright on and actually use for distance paddling, zoo opted for a SINK, the Eclipse.
Then I surprised Sally with her Hurricane Tracer, another SINK. After installing an absolutely required self, it became Sally’s every day ride.
And finally, I got my Valley Aquanaut, a classic ’ British Boat’ SINK, for a little more speed, about 14-15 pounds less weight, and a retirement present.
Now each of these individually could have some merit in having the case made that they were/are specialty boats, sort of. But for us, each was merely the next step in our paddling ’ careers’, no much more…
So to each his or her own, May your quiver be as full - or not -as you want, and may you have the boat(s) you enjoy for whatever and wherever you
- Frank in Miami
The overlap between these two boats comes in handy. I’ve had the Delpin on the car all week for some surf play but had occasion to do a 14 miles tour today. The Delphin was good enough to avoid the car reload hassle and there was some surf on the tour anyway.