Romany vs. Avocet Followup

Just wanted to follow up on one of my previous posts (for some reason it won’t let me do it through the archives)

This weekend I got to paddle a friend’s Romany (along with my Avocet) in some surf.

Well, depsite what I had previously thought these two boats are really quite different.

Please note that I am 5’8, 190 pounds so I believe my short and stocky build probably has a lot to do with how these boats handle for me.

I found that the Romany felt completely different. It definitely has a more upswept bow. Much smoother and better at riding up and over incoming and breaking waves going out through the surf zone.

Romany had much better secondary stability and it did not kick in too early as with some boats.

Maneuverability was similar, but I would say the Avocet was perhaps more manuevable.

Found the Avocet was easier to catch waves with. Maybe because of slightly better hull speed.

Found it difficult to prevent broaching on the wave with the Romany. Did not seem to respond well to rudders when surfing, but responded quite well to edging…probably b/c of harder chines.

Romany rolls easier, but both roll quite easy.

All of these points are fairly minor…what I found significant was the difference in rough water performance.

The Romany’s higher secondary made it quite a bit more stable in rough water and breaking waves. Did not hardly have to put down a brace. In fact, it was so stable in these conditions that I found myself not even paying attention. Actually I found it a bit boring in the conditions I was in. Made the conditions feel like they were less challenging than they were.

The Avocet overall is more fun to me to paddle…livlier hull. Super manueverable and smooth in rough water. Allows you to really feel the water and makes even benign conditions feel fun.

However…despite all of these things I hate to say it but I think that I probably will sell my Avocet and get a Romany (found a used one locally). I have been debating over this for a while.

With my height and weight I find the secondary on the Avocet to be completely lacking. Granted, I have never capsized in it even in some really rough conditions, but it requires frequent bracing in rough water when the water rolls the boat underneath you past the balance point. In some ways I like this because it makes the boat exciting to paddle and makes you a bit of a better paddler, helping you to practice instinctive bracing, but this is not optimal for really challenging conditions.

I plan to use this boat for my rough water play boat and hope to get out in some big conditions this summer. Also, I do tend to go out by myself in rough water at times as well. Having a super-capable boat makes more sense for me probably. I would have to say that the Romany definitely fits the bill.

I love the Avocet, but I think that I have just gotten too heavy for it (gained some weight). If I were lighter then I think things might be different, but I really think that its lacking performance in rough water is due mostly to my weight (when I sit in the boat I weigh it down to the point where the seam is only about 1 or 1.5 inches above the water).

Too bad I can’t keep both boats. I would probably opt for the Avocet in lesser conditions and the Romany when things got rough.

(Okay here is where you can respond and tell me that I need to shut up and paddle more, work on my stroke, quit worrying about boats, etc, etc., ha ha.)


You’re having fun
and that’s what matters.

I like the fact that you are actively
comparing/contrasting/experimenting. How do you appreciate one boat? Paddle another one and another one and another one and another one. I enjoyed your post very much, though I own neither boat I am interested in all of them.

Thanks for the followup!
As an Avocet owner I was especially interested in your opinions. I don’t have much time in a Romany, but my perception was similar to yours – that it’d try to take care of me if I got into trouble. The Avocet, on the other hand, positively encourages me to go find opportunities to be silly. I’d swear it has a sense of humor. Since most of my paddling these days is in less-challenging conditions, it’s a good match.

I’m not saying that the Avocet isn’t a capable rough-water boat – it certainly is. It gets bored on flat water. But it does have a distinct personality.

worthwhile observations
It seems people are always trying to decide between a Romany and an Avocet, your experiences paddling each are valuable.

You might also note how the Romany felt compared to your Meridian, as that is another recurring discussion.

I really enjoyed reading this
since I am still looking for my first kayak and those 2 are on my list of boats to demo. I am going to try them next weekend and am curious to compare my findings to yours.


Good point on the Meridian. One of the guys on the trip this weekend had a Meridian and I got to paddle that as well…what a great weekend!

I did own one at one time, but it was a long time ago so I could not go off of just memories b/c they had gotten a bit gray and my skills have increased a lot since then.

I found the Meridian absolutely boring! Moderate primany stabilty, excellent secondary (really exellent)…but the secondary kicked in waaay to soon. Made the boat hard to put up on edge in my opinion.

I was surprised as well…since the Meridian is a supposed copy of the Romany. The are very different boats! The did not feel at all alike to me.

The Meridian is a very comfortable boat though I must say. I also think it is a great boat for an advancing beginner. It offers a low enough primary stabilty to give it some degree of liveliness, but the secondary kicks in very early thus providing confidence in rough water and allowing those uncomfortable with edging to feel comfortable handling the boat…personally I think it was probably the perfect boat for me when I had it but I don’t prefer it now.

Attributes: lighter than Brith boats, super comfortable, easy to roll, great secondary, confidence inspring for the advancing beginner.


Easy now
some pro in a Meridian will paddle circles round you, and she’ll laugh at your comments. Remember, our thoughts on boats are just ours, and not definitive. For every trait you appreciate, or don’t like, there are others who would think completely opposite. That’s whats so individual about boats. I’ve owned both a Romany and Avocet and paddled many many miles in both. My thoughts are not like yours at all, but yours are just as valid…for you. I think we have to keep that very much in mind.


I agree with you. Was not trying to imply that the Meridian is not a good boat, strictly a beninners boat, or that my impressions of it are absolute. Those were my impressions of the boat.

I still think it is a very capable boat, just not what I prefer. Great for an advancing beginner, but did not mean to imply that it is strictly a beginner’s boat. Perhaps as well I really meant to say great for an advancing intermediate paddler. Romany is a great beginner’s boat too, but some of the top paddlers paddle one.

I also agree with you comment that boat impressions are very subjective. As I had said before in a previous post…they’re all good. Just really depends on what combination of attributes and trade-offs you prefer. I also think that how a boat handles for one person can be very different for another as height and weight have a big impact.

Some things can be universally when comparing boats in my opinion. For instance, it is for sure that the Meridian’s secondary kicks in sooner than with the Romany. Whether you like that or it works for you is a matter of preference.


The pleasure of…
diff’s in boats. Especialy now that there are a couple more options that work for someone of aberage female size. Quite fun.

Just a thought as I was reading this thread - we ran into someone on Lake Champlain last season who used to run a kayaking outfit before he sold it and he and his wife moved to living full time on their sailboat. We were trying to stay out of this guy’s way, and every dratted time we got clear he was in front of us again. After the third time we gave up and just sat, then found out he’d seen the Anas Acuta profile and was chasing us.

In talking with him, it turned out that his favorite boat had been the Sirius, a boat that has very little discernable moment where you feel what we tend to call secondary stability. Not at all the boat that I or my husband would choose - we tend to like something that shows you where that point is - but it was that very vagueness that made him most like the boat.

Neat to have so many toys to play with…

Variety is…

– Last Updated: May-29-07 1:13 PM EST –


Your continued exploration of skills and boats is a pleasure to read.

There are a lot of good boats out there. Even narrowing the field to a number that can actually be demoed in any season could be difficult without the observations of other paddlers.

The first 'sweet' boat I demoed was a Meridian SKS about 6 or so years ago. I now own a Romany and a few friends own Avocets. Fortunately, a friend recently picked-up a Meridian. I hope to trade boats with him for a paddle to see how the Meridian feels now that I have a lot more experience.

R vs A
Well, Salty, go ahead and share your thoughts regarding both boats. Some people might appreciate them :slight_smile:

good review thanks
Good comparo and thanks for your followup!

Anas Acuta???

What happened to your idea of picking up one of these? I was hoping to borrow it from you, uh, I guess after I take you up on your offer to play in your Greenlander Pro. From one gear freak to another…

Mike B

In short
A few thousand miles in a Romany. Superb boat…like it more than the Explorer, as way more playful, and I pack efficiently so don’t need a big boat. Excellent all sea all round boat with super handling. Construction was rough and the boat required regular crack repairs, leak repair etc…BUT, it took a lot of abuse over a few years, so overall fine.

Avocet…easily all of the above, but even more playful for me. I like the avocet better for big folowing seas, and rock gardens. For me it just took what I loved about the Romany and added a bit more playfulness. Flip a coin.

And a Bahiya and a Nordcapp LV
It would be interesting to see what his impressions of those three boats would be and how he would compare to the Avocet and Romany. I have slowly come to the conclusion descriptions of how boats behave typically says far more about the paddler than the boats. Obviously boats have different personalities. I rather think its more whether the paddler’s personality meshes with the boat’s than whether a given boat performs well or not as long as we are talking about boats from well respected makers.

Agree eel
I think if we select a few boats within the “category” of paddling we like, and paddle each in a variety of seas, we’ll each find “the one” that just works for us. Regardless of the logo on the boat, I say pick the one that does it for ya. In time your preferences will likely change, as will boat choice. There truly is no best kayak in my mind. I say category because basic design elements will make some boats better choices than others for a given task. One would probably not choose an Epic or QCC for rock gardening, yet they excel in distance touring. So much of it comes down to fit, comfort, subjective stuff, nostalgia over a brands history etc, what your instructor likes, what your club endorses etc. All these factors influence people…sometimes more than factual performance. No wrongs, only personal choices.

Agree with Salty on the Avocet being more playful. Again, I would probably prefer the Avocet if I were lighter. I really like the boat a lot, just think I am weighing it down a little too much to realize its full potential.

Anas Acuta…yeah I still am thinking about one…have to try one out though which I have not been able to do yet. Not sure if I like the ocean cockpit which may be a deciding factor for me.

Have heard that it actually handles a lot like a Romany despite its much different cosmetics. I have been told that the Anas Acuta was used as a baseline from which the Romany was somewhat copied. May explain the similarities.

However, the Meridian is also supposedly a copy of the Romany, but I found it to handle nothing like the Romany at all.


Anas Acuta O/C
According to Peter O., the Anas Acuta will now also be available with a keyhole cockpit, as well as the traditional ocean cockpit.

I am still in lust with the O/C, but it should be interesting. I am waiting to at least see a keyhole version before placing my order.

Hope it’s soon, the cash is trying to burn a hole in my pocket.

According to Aled Williams
he and Nigel used a Pintail mold as the starting point for the Romany. He described in pretty good detail (on this board) the process - including using battens to harden the chines.

Rather ironic being the Pintail was basically an Anas with rounded chines. But apparently the Pintail mold was what Aled and Nigel had in their possession as a starting point.