Romany vs. Avocet???

I would like to hear some opinions about how the Romany and Avocet compare from those of you who have experience with both.

I am an advanced paddler and although fairly short (5’8) I weigh about 200 pounds so I may be a bit on the heavy side for these two boats.

I paddled an Explorer for years but recently changed to a Valley Aquanaut and find I like its fit and its softer chines a bit better than the Explorer and am considering swapping out my Romany for an Avocet.

Do you think I would be too heavy for an Avocet? I have heard some folks say that it is designed for a light weight paddler. I find I am okay for the Romany but probably pushing the upper envelope of its weight limit.

How would you compare the Romany and Avocet in terms of fit, maneuverability, playfulness, and rough water performance (surfing, performance in wind, etc)?

From my recollection (several years since I have paddled an Avocet) I recall the Avocet being a bit roomier, a bit faster, a little less stable / more progressive edging due to softer chine and maybe a little more neutral in the wind. I can’t recall how it compares in terms of surfing, rough water performance and maneuverability. I suspect it is pretty comparable to the Romany but maybe a little more lively.


Have an Aquanaut & Romany
I am 6’ 185 pounds and have an Aquanaut and a Romany. I’ve paddled others’ Avocets from time to time over the past decade. My sense of how the Avocet compares to a Romany is pretty consistent with yours.

Personally I prefer the Romany to the Avocet in that I prefer the Romany keyhole cockpit and the way the Romany performs in moving water and surf. I’m not saying the Romany performs better, just that I prefer its personality in moving water and surf. The Romany also seems a perfect guest boat as it is more reassuring than an Avocet while being very responsive.

Of my kayaks, the Romany and the Aquanaut are the 2 that I can least envision not having. This is my eighth season paddling the Aquanaut and sixth season owning a Romany. I remain very glad to have both.

BTW, in 2003, the final 2 boats on my list, after months of demoing scores of boats, were the Explorer and the Aquanaut. I chose the 'naut then, and would do so again.


– Last Updated: Aug-10-11 4:46 PM EST –

I know heavier people who have used the Avocet. You might not be able to load it up with equipment but that won't be an issue if you are using it as a day boat.

The cockpit in the Avocet is a bit bigger than the Romany.


– Last Updated: Aug-10-11 5:32 PM EST –

I've known a number of paddlers of scale who are very happy using their Avocets as day boats. The Avocet feels to be a bit higher volume than a Romany - though that may just be the roomier cockpit.

The Avocet feels a bit faster and pushes a smaller bow wake than the Romany. But speed on the flat is not a strength of this type of boat anyway. Besides you have your Aquanaut for covering distance.

If you want livelier and more fun than your Romany, you might try a Pintail. If you want livelier and faster than your Romany, you might try a Nordkapp LV. A Nordlow is also livelier and faster than an Avocet.

Try before you guy the Avocet
I mean you need to sit in the cockpit to be sure. The Avocet cockpit dimension had ocilated over the years. I’m on my 3rd one, because the seond one I bought to replace the 1st (moving across country) turned out to be very different in cockpit dimension than my first.

To give you an idea, I weight 110 dripping wet. I fit snuggly in two of the Avocets without extra outfitting. I bet you won’t fit into either of them. But the one I didn’t like, because I was swimming in the cockpit, will probably fit you just right!

Avocet for light weight paddlers…

– Last Updated: Aug-11-11 8:27 AM EST –

That was Valley's original idea. But there is a reason they finally came out with the Avocet LV, which really is a smaller person's boat. Narrower, tracks a bit straighter and much smaller cockpit.

I am much lighter than you and less than a good match for the volume of both of these boats. That said, the Avocet has a more lively, bouncy feel on water than the Romany. Neither is a fast boat overall, the Avocet may be slightly quicker off the mark for a fast sprint.

Are you thinking of a plastic or a fiberglass Avocet? That may affect the cockpit size mentioned above - one may have moved around more. Also check the deck heights - I think the Romany is a bit lower. And as mentioned the cockpits have a different idea - the Romany with an aggressive keyhole and the other with a basic oval.

But in overall usage, they are pretty equivalent boats.