Replacing a Sirius

I currently paddle an old P&H Sirius, which I am fairly happy with. However lately I’ve started to look for a new boat, my priorities being:

  1. Easier to turn
  2. Equal or higher hull speed
  3. Equal or lower windage

    I mostly do day trips, so the boat has to handle well when empty. Being fairly low volume myself (140pounds/60kg & 5’9"/175cm), I would prefer a low volume boat. My list of boats to try is:

    -Valley Nordkapp LV (maybe I’m too light weight?)

    -Valley Aquanaut LV

    -Valley Anas Acuta (Slower than the Sirius?)

    -Skim Dex

    -Nigel Foster Silhouette (A too long boat for me in heavy seas?)

    Based on my priorities, how does these boats compare to each other and more specific to the Sirius? I would appreciate experiences from people of my size, but all thoughts and comments are welcome.

    I will of course test paddle any boat before I buy it, but maybe I can rule out some of the boats in advance? It would also be helpful to have a better idea of things to be aware of with a certain model.

    I have already looked at the reviews. Based on the reviews my Sirius get 10p, which means I should keep it…

    Thanks for helping!


My girlfriend has a Silhouette, and she’s 5’6" and 130 lbs. It’s fine for her. Actually, a very good fit.

I’ve paddled it in heavy seas and surfed it, and found that it’s a fun boat to paddle. You should demo one if you can. The stability is similar to the Sirus (Meaning a little tippy, but no big deal), it rolls real easily, and the hard chines and round bottom make it very maneuverable while still being a fast boat.

I don’t think it would be too long for you.


another thought
I switched from a Sirius to the Exp LV and really enjoy the handling characteristics of the hull.

Lyn (with a much loved Sirius for sale)

Good Luck to you
I’m still searching to replace my old sirius. Only boats to peak my interst that i knew of were the bahiya, nordkapp lv, and the list keeps getting longer as i discover new manufacturers(to me) and i want to try more boats, my current boss is trying to get me into a tempest 170pro. So, we’ll see how that turns out


Skim Dex?

– Last Updated: Apr-10-07 5:29 PM EST –

You actually have access to a Skim Dex? I've been wanting to demo Skim boats since I saw the first ad and their web site.

The Silhouette is a fast boat which is right for your weight. Those who have had a Silhouette in conditions seem to like its behavior. Though it feels very tender for someone my size (at 170+ the Legend suits me better), I find its stabilities more predictable than the Sirius. In other words, if you're used to paddling a Sirius, you should be fine in a Silhouette.

The Nordkapp LV is a fun lively boat. It is quick and responsive. It felt good unladen with my weight, you would have to see how it is for yours. It is no more tender than a Sirius and felt easier to manuever with confidence for me.

I've not paddled an Aquanaut LV, but do like my regular 'naut a lot. Aquanauts tend to be relatively fast and confidence inspiring in conditions. Not as supportive as an Explorer, but livelier and more fluid feeling.

Most of the newer Brit boats will have lower decks than your Sirius. Providing the volume is right for you, most should also have less windage.

An Anas would be the most playful of the boats you list. However, no one considers it a fast boat.

Sirius Replacement
I went through this process, of replacing my Sirius , for two years and ended up with a Force4 from Impex. I weigh 140 lbs . and I don’t feel the boat is too big,but it depends on how you plan on using it.

Another boat to consider is the Evergreen Triton. GOOD LUCK!

Fast and maneuverable
The Explorer is slow.

Having a faster yet more maneuverable in the same boat is tough. I would say anything out there will be about the same of the Sirius if not slightly better at one while being slightly worse at the other.

What do you really want, faster or more maneuverable?

Great answers!
Thanks for all your input. I guess I can cross out the AA from my list due to lack of speed. Though, if I had the luxury of having two boats the AA might be one. From your answers I am getting more and more interested in the Silhouette, which is a pity due to the price tag… This means my list is now down to four boats:

  1. Valley Nordkapp LV: I’ve heard some great things about this boat, but I’m afraid I’m too low weight for it to perform at its best?

  2. Valley Aquanaut LV: It seam to be a stable and well performing boat, but maybe it’s too stable to my liking?

  3. Nigel Foster Silhouette: Seams to fit my priorities well, but the price… I have to try it though.

  4. Skim Dex: The low volume should suit my weight. As it’s the shortest boat on the list I have my doubts about its speed. But due to its plumb stern, the waterline length probably equals that of the Sirius? It’s said to be a very lively and maneuverable boat.

    Based on what I’ve heard I would think the Explorer LV to be too high volume (when empty) and probably too stable for my liking? The P&H Bahiya seams to be a boat that has to be put very much on edge to make it turn, and since I’m in the lower end of the weight range for this boat I probably need to brace hard to make it turn tight?

    Living is Sweden, the Force4 from Impex or the Evergreen Triton is not available to me. However, on the plus side, the Skim kayaks are easily found.

    I guess this is as far as I get before I get to try out the boats myself. But keep posting, it’s always useful to hear what others have to say.


hull speed

– Last Updated: Apr-11-07 8:53 AM EST –

Is a nice thing to have, but in non-racing environment is not that useful. There are very few paddlers able to drive a hull to its full speed for prolonged time. Exception is surfskis - there ability to surf is defined by hull length.

Quick search results in an example of theoretical 20ft hull having 6kt hull speed, while 10ft has ~4kt. However, hull drag on 20ft is going to be twice that of 10ft - just simple arguments, no real hydrodynamics.

In real world, given two hulls of the same length, the one with the lowest wetted area should have speed advantage. So, choose ~16ft, as narrow as possible, rounded hull. Wait, isn't that Skim Dex?

BTW, it is possible to go faster than hull speed, olympic sprinters do it quite often by 2x or so.

No simple answer
I’m aware of the hydrodynamics involved. And yes you are right that for a relaxed cruising speed longer isn’t better. However I often find myself paddling at 4.5-5kt. And allthough this is far from hull speed, at this speed the shorter boats will suffer from greatly increased drag. I guess I could find some slower paddlers to paddle with… :wink:

I was hoping that the Dex is at least as fast as the Sirius. Beam and effective waterline length should be roughly the same. I’ll just have to try and see. By the way the Dex is v-bottomed with hard chines.

kayak drag data
There is a website that lists kayak drag data - it was mentioned here on p-net a couple of times.

Here is some interesting read

I don’t think it will make a short boat convert out of you ;), but some other readers might find it useful. NM

The Sirius feels fast…
Most sea kayaks have very similar drag figures below 4.5 knots. It is at and above 4.5 knots that there becomes a noticable difference in drag among boats. If you look at the drag data you will find that the Sirius is not particularly fast comapred to an Aquanaut or a Legend, and reads marginally slower than an Explorer - not a boat known for speed.

If the Sirius is fast enough for you then just about any decent sea kayak will be fast enough. If you’d like a somewhat faster boat, there are many which qualify.

That the Sirius feels fast might be owing to perceptions not directly related to actual velocity. Matt’s thread on this is informing.

good choices!
I’m similarly sized (5’8", 145 lbs) and I currently paddle a Silhouette. While I have done extended camping trips out of it, 90% of the time it is paddled unladen. I love its speed, it’s manueverability, it’s surf tendancies, how it rolls, and the fit. The only thing I don’t love about it is that my particular boat is HEAVY (almost Romany heavy)! I have the older Walden made Silhouette. I don’t know what you consider bigger water but I have been out in 3-5 foot seas and breaking surf and I was comfortable. It’s a tippy boat so you need to have good balance and confident edge control but it’s pretty easy to get used to it.

With that said, if I had to choose any other boat in the world, I’d pick the Nordkapp LV. I’ve paddled it unladen only in flatwater but it was an absolute joy to paddle. The fit wasn’t as good as the Silhouette but overall not too bad. It accelarted well, carved amazing turns, and rolled beautifully. I would still love to try it out in swells and surf though. You really can’t go wrong with either boat.

Fast and LV
I’m painfully aware that many sea-kayaks are faster than the the Sirius. Hence my post. But most of them tend to be fairly high volume. For some reason most smaller boats tend to be short and wide. It seams smaller paddlers are supposed to paddle slow and stable boats. :frowning:

Great input
Now I really have to try those boats.

If you’re in Europe…
what about the Rockpool boats?

That ‘Alaw Bach’ sure looks good.

not very LV?
I haven’t seen a Rockpool up close. I’m sure they are great kayaks. But I have my doubts about the “one hull fits all” idea. A kayak suitable for a standard sized paddler, will usually be a barge for me. Although a very sparkling and colourful barge, if it’s from Rockpool.

North Shore
check out the calypso, they are a b***h to find in the states but I think they are still avalible new over in europe. I love mine, nice low deck, decently fast, pretty manuvurable, surfs like a mad dog.