Romany, Explorer, Avocet

Tomorrow I am demoing three boats…NDK Romany 16, NDK Explorer, and the Valley Avocet. I was just wondering if anyone could provide some insight/comparisons of these three boats. I am 5’11" 170lbs, day trip paddler. I currently paddle a Capella and am looking for something with a little less volume.

I Think The Romany

– Last Updated: Jun-22-04 8:04 PM EST –

is what you looking for for a fun day boat. I've seen heavier guys than you in that baby. Or the Romany LV if you want to be really low volume. Explorer is intended to carry load with the paddler. Avocet seems the size of the Capella but I can't be sure never having seen them side by side.

Test time at NESC?


PS. Get a short boat and come play at nahant. :)

Let us know your impressions…


– Last Updated: Jun-22-04 8:13 PM EST –

I am going to Mikco, NESC doesn't carry NDK boats. I am currently leaning towards the Romany, I enjoy the playfull aspect of kayaking, but I wanted to demo the other two boats as well. I just hope the Romany will be OK for longer open water paddles, and be able to keep up with everyone else, hence my decision to try the Explorer. So many decisions, I can only afford to own One boat, and just want to make the best choice.

PS. I hear the Romany is pretty good in surf.

I tried the same three
at MIKCo two weeks ago. I ended up ordering the Valley Aquanaut. I am 5’3" and weigh around 135# and the Romany LV was too snug over my thighs. It really has a very low deck.

I was torn between the Avocet and Aquanaut and my choice ultimately was made for speed and compartment volume for possible longer trips. I chose the Aquanaut over the Explorer primarily because of the quality issues I keep hearing about on the NDK’s. The Valley hatch openings are larger than the NDK’s which also appealed to me.

I think you will find that the Avocet and Romany are comparable in feel, speed, and handling, and the same with the Explorer and Aquanaut. So, with me it ended up being a decision between Valley vs. NDK.

Tom also let me try out a used Greenlander Pro and a Nordkapp. I loved carving turns in the Greenlander but thought my newbie skill level would make me less confident in rougher water.

Good luck with your demo and let us know what you choose!


I guess if that is of concern, the less rockered Explorer may give you a longer waterline but it is has more volume that you may need and get affected by wind more.

I haven’t gone on a club paddle in a long, long time. None of the group paddles I went on, officially and unofficially, involved more than 3-4 MPH. The Romany should be fine, unless you’re going out with the “Big Boys…”

Regardless, kind of cool to get a new boat, provided you don’t sweat it too much. :slight_smile:


How about a nice pre-preg carbon Quest?

I know where you can find one.


Pre-Preg Quest?

– Last Updated: Jun-22-04 9:10 PM EST –

Joel will be dissapointed when he finds out I got another boat and not that gorgoeus pre-preg quest. As much as I really want a 34lb boat, the Quest is just too big for my needs.

Big Boys
I still got another year or two and lots of skills practice before even considering hanging with the Big Boys.

Keep Practicing.Regardless…
you always have a choice of “hanging alone” as well. :slight_smile:


PS. My favorite touring partner is Ronin. I don’t get yelled at, or babied. :slight_smile:

Not to worry, she’ll do her part!
Last year before the Greenlander and I came to terms I was padding the Romany exclusively. I took it out in big conditions, exciting winds, surfing and trips short and long (30+nm). The only thing the Romany lacks is storage space compared to all the gear you can stuff into an Explorer. Sing’s right of course that the Explorer will be somewhat easier to paddle at speed but the Romany loves to be paddled up around 4.8 knots, well above move peoples touring speed. The main advantage to the Romany over the Explorer is the fun factor. Inch for inch there is no boat that will be as much fun as a Romany, regardless of the conditions. It’s also one of the easiest boats to roll.

The Avocet is faster than the Romany and in plastic, just loves to be banged up against the rocks. Don’t let yourself fall into the “either / or” trap, get 'em both! Your wife doesn’t own just one dress does she ?? Then neither should you own just one boat !!

The Explorer is the great equalizer. A great boat if you are just starting to push your limits and want the most insurance that you can slide your butt into There are precious few conditions that this boat will not handle with grace but remember it’s longer length means that it will behave a bit more quietly and with a tad more reserve than it’s sexy little sister the Romany.

You cannot go wrong with all (or any of the) three. And then start thinking about the Greenlander Pro when you are ready for a boat with legs!.

Cheers, enjoy !!


MIKCo Boat house
Where does MIKCo keep their boats now that they no longer have the boat house? Where do they do the demos?

I almost bought a Capella RM but ended up with an Avocet RM. It felt significantly smaller, with a snugger cockpit and lower fore-and aft-deck hights. The cockpit on the composite Avocet is supposedly a bit larger than the RM. The Avocet has much more rocker than the Capella and is much looser. The Explorer felt less playful than the Avocet but was very solid and comfortable – I understand why folks trust them for serious work. I haven’t spent much time in a Romany but recall that it seemed somewhere between the two in personality.

Same place
Same beach, same racks

just on the north side of the boat house

The avocet has considerably
less cockpit volume than the capella.

Have fun!

I have both
a glass Capella and a poly Avocet. Very different boats. I do like the lower volume of the Avocet and its more snug fit compared to the P&H which required a bit more padding to achieve the same control.

I have struggled with the VCP hatches on the plastic Avocet. Very stiff and too tight compared to the Cap’s Kajak Sport covers. I did improve this situation with rounding off the VCP’s rubber cover’s lower edge with rough sandpaper. Most of the cockpit fittings required de-burring as well. The hour for this was a very minor issue on an otherwise fine play yak.

The Avocet does generate a turbulent bow wake at about 4 knots. This is about my sustained speed limit. I can push the Capella a little faster with the same effort and produce a clean wake.

I am 6-1 and 175 pounds and feel more comfortable in rough water in the Avocet. My size 12 feet, in water shoes, just fit comfortably under the Cet’s deck with foot braces all the way forward.

For the money, the Avocet is a great boat which I will not outgrow.

I tried to demo an Avocet but
did not fit. I’m about your size 165 lbs, 5’11".

I have long legs and I needed some more room to stretch out. Really nice boat though! Looks very well made and I like the 3 layer poly that Valley uses.

Agree – the Avocet is not a flatwater speedster. It’s much happier when there are waves to enjoy.

I have both an Avocet and a Capella
and find them very different boats. Agree with the above posts in total. As for speed, I keep up just fine with the long boats. The Explorer is in a different class all together. A true expedition boat, not a day paddler as you mentioned being interested in. Could not even compare the three fairly. I am a day paddler and playboater but would consider the Explorer on my short list of long boats. You are gonna win no matter what you do.



I have an Explorer and Greenlander Pro
I have to say the Explorer is a great all-around kayak. It’s moderately fast, tracks straight but is very maneuverable when edged, has enough storage for a week-long trip but also paddles extremely well for day-tripping, has secondary stability that’s like leaning against a wall, is great in rough water and especially in following seas and is built like a battleship. Most will have some imperfections but usually nothing that will bring you to tears. The Pro is quite a bit faster, more responsive to edging, more tippy and generally less predictable than the Explorer in rough conditions.