The Romany and the Explorer

After all the discussion about the Romany and the Explorer, I’m curious about the actual differences between the two.

Is the Explorer just a stretched Romany with a slightly different deck design? Are the cross sectional shapes pretty much the same?

I overlaid the plan and profile views in photoshop and they appear to be exactly the same when the Explorer is scaled down to the Romany’s 16 feet.

Your giving out British design secrets! L

Of course it couldn’t be as simple as that…

Kind of

– Last Updated: Feb-21-07 10:30 PM EST –

The hull cross section is the same. The Romany has much more rocker. The Explorer has higher decks.

Also it appears from observation looking at my Romany and my wife's Explorer (as well as others) that the cockpit in the Romany is set further back in relation to the overall length of the boat than the cockpit in the Explorer.

Though related boats, the difference in rocker, cockpit placement, overall length and volume result in the Explorer and Romany feeling similar but different.

Similar but

– Last Updated: Feb-22-07 8:14 AM EST –

My Explorer LV (which is the regular Explorer hull - just a lowered deck and smaller cockpit) does sidways stuff as easily as the Romany. Maybe I notice the weight more - in usual use the Romany is fully unloaded when I am in it and the LV is more often under partial load.

But while we tend to load both boats a little more bow-heavy than our others, I see the Romany getting kicked around wind in ways that the Explorer does not - probably due to the cockpit placements Jim mentioned above. In the Explorer it is pretty much dead center, in the Romany it is clearly shifted back from there.

Less bow wake on the Explorer as it comes up to speed, of course less rocker proportionate to the length.

While related boats aren't unusual - I forget exactly but the Pintail and/or Anas Acuta have spawned offspring - these NDK boats the two are particularly close. This may be partly because the shorter boat came first so the problem was more straightforward than going in the other direction - don't know enough about how these things are done to do other than guess though.

Cockpit Placement

– Last Updated: Feb-22-07 10:44 AM EST –

When I scaled and overlaid the images, I noticed that also. The front of the seats actually end up in exactly the same place though.

When you mention that the Romany has much more rocker, by that do you mean that the rocker is actually overall higher or it just appears to happen quicker?

Sure seems that way
It sure seems like it’s the case with these two boats. Wish I had the cross sectional shapes of a Romany to compare to the Explorer, which cross sectional appeared in Sea Kayaker.

If it’s the case, it’s only a matter of increasing the distance of the forms by, what?, 1.3 inches each.

Thanks, don’t suppose, you’d want to go out and pull some lines from your kayaks to see how they match up? :slight_smile: Probably too much work for this whim of mine.

The AA spawned a great deal, some say all, of Valley’s boats. The Pintail is a child of the AA, and the Avocet a grandchild. I believe that the Nordkapp is also a child of the AA, which means that the Aquanaut is a grandchild. I’ve seen a chart composed by Duncan Winning that details all the AA’s descendants, and that’s pretty much my only info on the subject.

Rocker = Curve

– Last Updated: Feb-22-07 11:19 AM EST –

I believe rocker is defined as the curve of the keel as opposed to the maximum depth of the keel from say the waterline. If the same maximum depth is evenly curved over 18' and 16', then the 16' boat will have more rocker or curvature in its keel. I have no idea how the Romany and Explorer compare in terms of the rocker of the hull in the water and suspect that would depend on the hull shape over their total length and the load in any event. Also, it is fairly common for the rate of curvature to not be uniform or the same for the bow and stern segments of the boat. Trying to eyeball these things and then guess how it affects the boat's performance is best left to naval architects.

Just my $.02.

Of course he would
"I’ve seen a chart composed by Duncan Winning that details all the AA’s descendants, and that’s pretty much my only info on the subject."

Maybe its all an urban legend, but the story is:

Since Duncan lofted the lines of Ken Taylor’s SOF from Greenland, which were then used to create a SNG plywood kayak, which was then used as the pattern for the Anas Acuta; it is not surprising he would indicate all boats coming from the AA since he was in one respect the father of the AA. I believe the Qaarsat is a far more accurate rendition of Ken Taylor’s SOF than the AA so the AA is no longer the closest FG boat to a Greenland SOF. Well, of course there is the issue of just what is a Greenland boat and for that answer one can look at the drawings in Mr. Golden’s nice book and realize there all kinds of shapes and sizes.

Maybe when less snow…

– Last Updated: Feb-22-07 4:56 PM EST –

Celia's Explorer is in the basement and my Romany is hanging under the rear porch. There is nearly 2 feet of snow in the back yard and it is to be cold for a few days here...

I've had my Romany sitting on flat pavement alongside Explorers and it has noticably more rocker. I've also had it sitting alongside an Anas Acuta and one can observe the kinship.

Quick note on lineage: the Anas Acuta was Valley's first sea kayak. All Valley sea kayaks descend from it. One line is; Anas to Pintail to Avocet to Argonaut (now Aquanaut HV) to Aquanaut. Not too long ago, on this board, someone posted photos of an Anas (or Pintail) next to a classic Nordkapp. It was easy to see kinship. I believe the Nordkapp was Valley's second sea kayak (preceeding the Pintail) so it would be a direct descendant of the Anas. The line from the Nordkapp seems to be the various versions of the 'kapp. (Hull sections of Nordkapp and Aquanaut are different)

As far as NDK, Aled Williams noted, again here, that he and Nigel used a Pintail mold as their starting point for the Romany. The Explorer (most properly Romany Explorer)was adapted from the Romany, seeming mostly by stretching the keel line. This adaptation was not done by Aled, so he conveyed less detail.

Pull Lines?
Both boats (Romany and Explorer) are hanging and so fairly accessible - if there is anything I can measure that way let me know. Anything requiring they be sitting on the ground is less likely until there is a bit less ice under the porch. You’d have to add deck height to make it to the regular Explorer, but my guess is you are mostly thinking about the hull.


– Last Updated: Feb-22-07 6:37 PM EST –

Yep, rocker is the banana shape of the hull when you're looking at the profile. I'm curious about the maximum heights that the stems raise above the lowest point of the hull.
With I had both boats available to me without having to get a couple of guys together.

About performance: Not really interested in performance. Just interested in how the boats shapes relate to each other and how the Explorer is derived from the Romany.

Ya, mostly the hull
Yep, I’m mostly thinking the hull. Taking the lines off a hull is a process that I wouldn’t want to put you through just to settle one of my whims.

But the easy way to do it would be to take a piece of cardboard just cut so it will fit around the hull, and then use a compass to trace the cross sectional shape of the hull at the center and then every foot on the Romany and every 13.125 inches on the Explorer.

If the lines are exact at each of those locations, then the Explorer is just stretched by 1.09375 at each station. The other way they could have done it was by expanding the distance between only certain stations and keeping the rest the same. I suspect that it was stretched at every station.

I want to thank both of you for your offers. It is very generous.

Do you happen to remember the title of the thread you mentioned? My search-fu isn’t that great and I can’t seem to find it.


Good question
I don’t own either, but they do look very similar other than the increased rocker of the Romany…you can easily see this in any profile shot. The Romany has quite a good bit of Rocker.

I have an Aquanaut and an Avocet…suposedly sibling boats, but I find them to be very, very different. I would guess that the Explorer and Romany are more similar than my two Valleys.


Bend stiff soldering wire

– Last Updated: Feb-22-07 8:14 PM EST –

around the hull. Easier then trying to make cardboard cutouts of the hulls' various stations. To get the rocker measurements run a taunt string the length of the hull just above and over the keel line and measure from the string down to the hull. That will determine the rocker differences between the two hulls. Make sure the center of the hull/boat and the center of the taunt string are both level (carpenters level) before measuring so the string or boat aren't tilted on one end which would negate accuracy.

…more similar than my two Valleys

– Last Updated: Feb-23-07 7:18 AM EST –

Very true.

The hull cross section of the Romany and Explorer at mid ship is pretty much exactly the same.

The Avocet is rounder and 1/2" wider at midsection than the Aquanaut.

Both of the 16' boats have more rocker than their 17.5' off-spring.

Comparing Rocker
So, with all the talk about rocker, I loaded the Romany’s and Explorer’s profile views into Photoshop, scaled them to the right size. Romany at 16" and Explorer at 17.5".

Then I overlaid them and used a transparency. I looks to me that the rocker height is exactly the same in both kayaks. But it looks to be much greater on the Romany when you look at both of them.

“It looks to me that the rocker height is exactly the same in both kayaks. But it looks to be much greater on the Romany when you look at both of them.”

Yep, you’re right
Appearances are deceiving.