too many used choices

-- Last Updated: Jun-01-06 10:06 PM EST --

Just a couple weeks ago, I was bemoaning the selection of used boats in central NC. Well, it seems that several of the owners of the ads I responded to have come back from out of town all at once. Very shortly after I bought an OT Pack canoe to augment an OT Penobscot, I began to get responses on these canoes & kayaks for sale. These are very different boats, and would serve different niches for me, but some of the deals are just too good to pass up. I can understand why some might think that anyone considering these very different boats against each other might be nuts. I'll try and explain my thoughts.

WS Cape Horn 15' Sea kayak w/ rudder $500- As a transitional touring kayak, with rudder, this boat would offer me the most variance and flexibility from what I've got, currently. I'm leaning strongly in this direction, to augment the OT Royalex canoes.

Prijon Yukon $250 - If this was the newer Yukon Expedition with hatches, it'd be an absolute no-brainer. As it is, it appears to be much older, lacking hatches, and therefore of somewhat questionable utility for me.

Mohawk Solo 14 in fiberglass - This, and the solo 13 in R84 were amongst the final contenders when I opted for the more versitile Penobscot 16. Currently, I think a well made solo canoe would fit 85% of my SOLO usage better than the Penobscot. Alternatives are outfitting the Penobscot with a center seat, and maybe a rower, but this Mohawk glass boat is actually cheaper than a cheap rower. However, there is substantial merit to having a tandem camper around. While I was originally against fiberglass, after having a couple of ABS boats, I can at least say that I know how to, (and have previously), repair(ed) fiberglass. I can't say that about ABS.

Hurricane Santee XL and Santee 100 - When I demoed the Santee 116, (formerly XL), I thought that if it had a bigger cockpit and larger footpegs, it'd be just about perfect for the majority of my current uses. The wider cockpit model is the Santee 116 Sport. But, here's the kicker, the "his n hers" Santees, while perhaps not optimal, are available at a local, one price for one transaction cost far less than what either a single Santee, (100 or 116) would cost at a discount dealer. This deal is just too good, but it also represents the least flexibility from what I've currently got, with the exception that this would give us his n hers boats to flog about in. When I bought the Pack canoe, I really wanted a Santee 116 Sport, but it was double the price of the used Pack. Since then, I've seen the strengths & drawbacks of the Pack, and like some, dislike some. We'll see how that changes with a longer paddle. But, it's never going to be fast or track well. The Santee is better in both regards, but isn't nirvana.

Matched pair of WS Cape Lookout 15 foot kayaks - By far the most expensive option. These may not even be available anymore. I had balked on this pair, but in terms of a pair of his n hers boats that would add flexibility to the current armada, this was an interesting option.

Last, but not least, a rowing, sailing dingy has just appeared for $700. It's short, kinda ugly, and perhaps not at all my cup of tea, but it would add versitility. I'm not seriously considering it, because I don't have a trailer, and hate trailering, anyway. But, just in terms of what's out there, and at what prices, it needs to be mentioned.

Well, I'm just thinking aloud. Constructive comments welcome. I guess I've got a long ways to go in figuring out what I want in a boat, and how much I'm willing to pay for it. The good news, is that some of these are reasonably priced to the point that I could buy a couple, try them and then sell off whichever, and probably not lose TOO much $$$. The less good news is that I really couldn't buy more than one or two of these, and would have some storage issues if I turn this place into too much of a boat yard.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Have I finally gone 'round the paddler's bend, never to return again? Does a 4-5 boat flotilla make any rational sense? ... Nevermind that last question. I quit worried about being perceived as normal back in jr. high school.


– Last Updated: May-30-06 10:47 PM EST –

Oh, and I should again point out:

I'm not interested in WW.
Usage of any of these would primarily be on slow rivers, swamps, lakes, estuaries and bays.
Camping would likely be limited to 2 nights/3 days max. and is not a priority, as long as we have the 16' tandem, though having a solo overnight camper has it's allure.

Getting his n hers boats has it's appeal, but is not an overriding concern. Getting a solo boat for me is of more importance at the moment, just because I'm the one that's shown the most interest both in soloing, and in everything else. (There is still some question as to whether a boat for her would be idle after a few short test runs.)

Stability for using binoculars would be of importance to me, but I'm not at all worried about tipping over, etc, as I actually prefer 2ndary stability over primary, if making the choice between them.

well, I just realized…
The kayak selection is always growing. Because each time they make a new kayak, thats another model added to the selection. So companies make them and stop making them. But boats are coming out, so it just gets piled on to the selection. Like cars, Making new generations every few years so the selection of cars grow. like in the 60s, we had less car models because now we can choose from cars made in the 70s,80s,90s, or 2000+ also. even if a kayak company stops prodution, they still made models of boats that gets added to the selection. Because your not nececerely being forced to buy a boat in production. the only way for the selection to stop growing is for kayak models to stop being made. If models never came out, then you’d just have kayaks that have already been made.

I’m Central NC
I’m thinking about selling my Cape Horn 15. Where are you looking for boats? Craigslist? Classifieds? I’m trying to get a handle on what to ask for my boat.

50% or less

Just as a general guideline, most of what I’m looking at is offered for 50% or less of replacement cost, usually with accessories thrown in for free. Some of the really fantastic deals are down to almost 30-40% of replacement cost when one figures in the accessories like paddles, PFDS, dry bags, roof racks, etc. But, that assumes that one wants or needs the accessories, which are often of low quality, or just about worn out, or both. For instance, I personally wouldn’t attach any value at all to a 6 yr old PFD that shows signs of indifferent care. Nor would I attach any extra value to a heavy, budget paddle.

That doesn’t have to be as grim news for sellers as it sounds, because usually the prices of the new boats have gone up dramatically from when the seller originally purchased them.

If your boat shows excessive wear, you may have to go a bit lower. But, you never know, you just might find someone who really wants that particular model. I’ll come right out and say that I gave closer to 60% of replacement cost for the OT Pack, just because it was a model I really wanted, (or thought I did), and was a local, relatively hasslefree sale, even if it did come plenty pre-scratched. (Doesn’t matter, the first 4 times out, I put many more scratches and dings on it than the previous owner had in several years.)

I started
in a Cape Lookout 15.5. I still keep it around for running rocky rivers and such. I have camped out of it for days and paddled Lake MI in 3-4’ waves with no issues. Learned to roll in it, beat it hard and it took it in stride. My friends were always amazed I kept up with them so well while they were in their composite sea kayaks. I think it’s a great first boat for bigger folks. (I’m 6’1" & 230 lbs)

Having been out of production for some time now, I would look close for UV related issues in case it wasn’t stored properly. The foam bulkheads need regular sealing and the hatch covers won’t keep the storage compts completely dry, but the same can be said for many current production kayaks. If it’s in great shape, $500 is a fair price.

bought the Cape Horn
Well, tonight I drove down and bought the used WS Cape Horn 15ft. with rudder. The seller threw in a spray skirt and a surprisingly decent Voyageur fiberglass paddle. I haven’t even untied the boat and taken it off the car yet, but I think this was a step in the right direction in terms of versitility, and augmenting the canoes in a new and different direction. Of all the boats I’ve looked at over the past 6 weeks or so, this one seems to be one of the better blends of hull shape, hatch size, cockpit size, functionality and price. It’s gonna be fun seeing which I prefer to solo, this yak, or the Penobscot 16 outfitted with a center seat and a 9’ double blade paddle. I suspect that each will prove to have it’s advantages for different kinds of adventures.