Old Town is a very old, very big and very well respected company.
They make a number of recreational kayaks that hug the border with touring kayaks. The Loon and the Sarrento being most notable. But the only true solo touring kayak they make is the Castine. It has the two bulkheads (the Loon and Sarrento have one) and perimeter lines that differentiate it from their rec boats.
I have a Castine 140 on order. What I like about it is it isn’t too far removed from a recreational design. It is only 14 ft. It is fairly wide, at 24.75 inches. The cockpit opening is generous at 38" by 20".
It isn’t meant as a replacement for my Pungo, but something else in my quiver.
Old Town is a very old, very big and very well respected company.
I keep looking at the castine and I like them since they are the closest thing to the classic Necky manitou kayaks. I just wish they made the with a skeg instead of a rudder.
Something else in the quiver. A lot like having more than one shirt, and a spare if you invite a friend to share the experience
Neither the Pungo nor the Castine were my first choices, though I mostly just overlooked the Castine. They were what became available.
One of the boats I was considering, before buying the Castine, was this boat.
I knew I didn’t want a rudder. There are real advantages to an adjustable skeg, but I wasn’t sure I even wanted that.
I just picked up my Castine.
I’m a little dissapointed. I haven’t paddled it yet, but I’ve looked it over and gotten in it.
First off, it has a bit of a keel. I’m not a fan of keels. I suppose an argument could be made for a keel on a 14 foot touring kayak, but keels are never desirable on a river boat, and I, eventually, plan on using this boat on rivers.
I suppose a more serious seakayak would say the cockpit fits pretty well, but I bought this kayak because it has a larger than normal cockpit opening. I’d hoped it would make wet exits quicker and easier. But as wide as this cockpit is, I still think it needs to be wider. My Pungo is maybe too wide, but this is too narrow. So I’ve learned something. I need to look for kayaks with cockpit widths between the Pungo and Castine.
The seat is very nice.
I read a review of the Old Town Loon and he was comparing it to the Pungo. He thought his Loon was better made and higher quality. I think a lot of Old Town, but if the Castine is a reflection on what the Loon is like, I think the Pungo is a better boat.
The 145 castine is one inch wider than my Tsunami, two inch wider cockpit. 100 lbs higher capacity. Could fit a paddler approaching 300 lbs. I would like to know how it handles. I have it in mind for a person I.know.
Last evening I went paddling with a seakayak club and used my Pungo for the first time.
It gave me enough confidence that I might take the Castine 140 the next time I paddle with them, which will either be next week or the week after.
I’m kinda interested in how it will paddle too.
My experience with the Pungo, which was mostly favorable, and talking to the other paddlers, makes me think I might be shopping for an Eddyline Sitka LT.
My biggest problem with any of the boats is transport. It takes me way too long and I’m going to end up injuring myself. I’ve got to find solutions.
If you really think the Castine cockpit is too small, the Sitka LT is not going to work for you. Published cockpit size for the Castine is 38” x 20”. Sitka LT is 33.2” x 17.5”. Smaller in both directions. Great boat (I want one myself), but by your own criteria it won’t work. Unless you learned some things paddling last night that have changed your mind? You haven’t been specific about the Pungo experience, or about what else you learned from the other paddlers.
Here is a screen shot from the Eddyline website - note the size and shape of the cockpit:
The Castine cockpit isn’t too small, it’s too narrow, and the Pungo’s is too wide. I’d like a cockpit narrow enough that my knees/thighs have good contact, but wide enough that I easily come out in a capsize.
It’s a druther. If I had my druthers, that’s what I’d get. But that wouldn’t be my sole criteria for buying a kayak. It is unlikely I’d find everything I want in one boat, so sacrifices have to be made.
I’ll pick the boat that checks off the most boxes without having a deal breaker.
I guess I don’t understand. 20" is a pretty wide cockpit by kayak standards. What do you think is going to prevent you from performing a wet exit in this boat? Go do a wet exit in shallow water with a helper nearby in case you have an issue.
The Castine is still wider.
They must be in high demand… well, like most outdoors gear these days. My brother ordered it back in February and finally took delivery in July. To this novice, it looks we’ll built, at least compared with my Riot 13.
@SOTconvert Have you paddled the Castine yet? Tried a wet exit?
Soon, I hope.
I’m upgrading my rack system to make it easier for me to put my kayaks on my truck. Got some stuff today, but still waiting for more.
I may have also found a paddling partner close enough to help me load and unload.
I’ll probably save wet exit practice for a pool setting.
What I really need to practice is bracing. If you have good braces you’re less likely to need to wet exit.
I’m feeling pretty optimistic about the Castine. I think it will work out OK for the foreseeable future. Inflatable is great and I have two nice hard shells. Life is good.
Got a cockpit cover for it today. I’ve been polishing off the little nicks and scratches from warehouse and shipping.
Replying to your deleted post, as usual, you misrepresent or misinterpret what I’ve said.
I’ve made it pretty clear that I am working on my fear of entrapment. I’m doing so by starting with kayaks with large open cockpits and gradually working toward smaller cockpits. Suggesting I get over my fear of entrapment by going straight to a very narrow seakayak with a tiny cockpit opening is extremely bad advice. That’s like telling someone they should get over their fear of bears by confronting a wild grizzly. Makes no sense.
One should buy a kayak that fits what they plan to use it for. A recreational kayak or day touring kayak fits what I plan on using it for. A sea kayak does not. If I never go beyond a day touring kayak, like my Castine, it’s because there is no need to.
You need to get over your fear of entrapment by practicing capsizing and falling out of a boat. You can mess around with sitting in different boats all you want. It has negligible effect on solving the problem unless you actually practice getting out.
This is not the first time anyone has said this.
I agree that you should use a pool session to try to learn wet exits. Maybe you can find an instructor who can guide you in that safe environment. If you can overcome your fear of being trapped in the kayak it will open up a lot more possibilities for you - and even if you end up only ever wanting to paddle the Castine, you’ll be much more confident and comfortable knowing you can wet exit if needed.
@SOTconvert If you’re interested in lighter hardshell kayaks, there are a few companies other than Eddyline that you could check out too. Delta kayaks and Hurricane kayaks both use thermoformed plastic and have models similar-ish to the Eddyline Sitka series. There are probably others as well, but those are two companies I know of off the top of my head. Delta kayaks are made in Canada and I think Hurricane kayaks are made in the USA, like Eddylines.
In my experience the listed cockpit dimensions on touring style kayaks are typically an outside the coming to outside the coming measurement. Can I ask what the ACTUAL inside the coming measurement is at the hips? My guess is it isn’t 20" but more like 17.5" of 18". I also am looking for a larger cockpit for many of the same reasons as you.
Glad you found this forum.
But you may want to try a different method. SOTConvert posted something saying he was leaving this forum a couple of days ago. Is there an LL Bean anywhere near you?