Swift Saranac Kayak

I am ready for a larger kayak and would like any advice on the Saranac

14 or Saranac 14.6 kayak either pros or cons. I want to be able to tackle

gulf water and be safe in case of high winds. Also looking for kayak

with room for camping or longer day trips but don’t want any heavy

weight. Please help.

Swift Saranac
I have a swift Saranac 14.6 C/K layup w/skeg(38lbs). It’s a nice boat that is easy to handle even when the conditions get windy. The 14.6 is probably to big a boat for me volume wise as 14 would be a better fit for me. My only complaint is that it is a little on the slow side when your trying to keep up with 15’and 16’ sea kayaks, this is mainly a function of the hull design since it’s a transitional boat.

Best to learn about hull shapes
I recommend that you learn about hull shapes and decide which one would be best for you. Then study the Swift hull shape carefully and make sure it meets your needs. Demo the kayak in a variety of conditions.

Personally, I far prefer a shallow V hull over the much flatter Swift hulls. I find the Swifts unstable in waves coming from the side and easily blown about. But that’s a personal judgment that you have to make for yourself.

My personal opinion is that for a few hundred dollars more you would do better to get an Eddyline, perhaps the Equinox or Journey in your case. The hull is very stable.


– Last Updated: Feb-13-10 8:24 PM EST –

You haven't said a word about your height and weight, so it's difficult to offer advice.

The swift Saranac Series are Yost designs with his characteristic elliptical bottoms which seem more seakindly than most. That said, speed is a function, mostly, of waterline length, so 14 foot hulls won't run with seventeen footers.

The Saranac series are nice boats; maybe transitional between rec Ks and true Sea Ks, but seakindly and comfortable.

I have had my Swift Saranac 14.6 out in a 2-3’ ocean swell with a strong 15knot wind blowing and never exhibited any instability even when getting slammed with waves from the beam. Any high volume boat will get pushed around when the wind kicks up but once you deploy the skeg it becomes a non issue as you maintain your course heading. What I really like about this boat is it’s light weight(38lbs), how easy it is the lean it on edge and easy turning. However the flat bottom hull creates a larger wetted surface area and hence slower hulls speeds. Overall though not perfect it’s a keeper.

Larger kayak
I am 5’2", 120 lbs and really looking for a longer kayak that is stable,

able to carry overnight camping gear, not a barge on the water and good maneuverability in turns and light weight. I know experience and education is the better teacher and I would not knowingly go out in rough seas but in the event I was caught in this situation, I would like a kayak

that was easier to handle. I only mentioned the Saranac as it was just one I was looking at. I’m trying to avoid putting out a lot of money and possibly getting something that would be a disappointment and one I would be stuck with owning. I would like to stay in the 14 to 15 foot range. I would definitely demo a kayak before I bought but any suggestions would be appreciated.

Love my 14.6
I’m 5’-7", 200# and tried more than a dozen sea kayaks before coming around to the Swift Saranac LT models. The cockpits on the longer boats are way too skinny for me to get into and out of comfortably.

Eventually I choose the 14.6 because of the raised area in front of the cockpit (sheds 2’-3’ lake waves very well fully loaded).

The skeg works great on lakes when I’m running light; don’t get pushed around very much at all.

I’m not sure why they refer to these as “light touring”, I’ve done several week-long 60 mile+ river and chain-of-lake treks no problem at all; lots of room for gear and provisions.

I didn’t have the $$$ to get kevlar (wish I had now) but even with the Trylon the portages still aren’t that bad.