Upgrading from Manitou Sport to 13 or 14

-- Last Updated: Apr-03-14 1:18 PM EST --

First post, so be gentle. =)

I have owned a Manitou Sport (10'9") for about the last seven years. First five years I used it roughly once a month, the last two years (at least between March-Oct) I am using it several times a week. Mostly for 30-60 minute paddles in the morning for exercise or to go to grocery store, etc.

I feel like I have outgrown it and am looking for something that is faster and tracks better. I have the chance to grab a demo Manitou 13 (12'10.5") or 14 (14'4") and am torn between the two and could use some help. If it matters, I am 5'11" and 160 lbs.

The city where we live has a large lagoon, and where we live backs up to the lagoon so I can essentially drop the boat in from my back yard. Lagoon is very calm, flat water, and most of my paddling is in the morning when the wind is < 5mph so I don't deal with rough water. I pretty much go one direction and then back so there isn't a lot of turning.

From my research here are my pros/cons:

Manitou 13
Pros: About $180 cheaper, lighter, easier for me to haul and store in backyard
Cons: Slower than 14, not sure how much faster it would be than my 10'9" Sport

Manitou 14:
Pros: Faster, tracks better, has skeg
Cons: More expensive, may be a hassle to haul out of water and store due to length.

The skeg is nice, but if I am paddling 90% of the time in very calm conditions, it doesn't seem necessary. Also, I am not doing any tight turning, so lack of turning ability on the 14 isn't much of a factor either.

Anything I am missing? Suggestions? I am literally torn between the two. I think the 14 is a better boat on the water, but is more expensive and going to be a lot more inconvenient hauling it out and storing.

Thanks for any help in advance.

Primary Parameter?
Is it just speed you’re after? If so then go 16’+.

Where do you live that you can paddle to a grocery store? Very cool!

If it’s more of a workout, get a 12’ SUP board, as your lagoon doesn’t have any winds to compete with.

Other suggestions I’m sure will follow.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY



speed is one factor
The main reason for upgrading is for a faster, better tracking boat, but I think anything will be an improvement on what I have now. I think 14-15’ is my absolute limit based on current storage/launching space.

I’m also looking at a used 2012 Cayuga 130, which seems to be very similar to Manitou 13 except it has two hatches.

Are you sure 14 will be faster for you?

– Last Updated: Apr-04-14 7:19 AM EST –

EDIT - reading a later response and coming back and rereading this; I realize it wasn't obvious I meant to be comparing the 13' and 14' boats, not comparing to current boat.

Yes, when you do the calculations, hull speed is faster if length is faster. But because of less wetted surface area and lower weight, sometimes slightly smaller boats actually require less effort to maintain the same speed. Rarely true, since the smaller boat will have a larger width to length ratio, but sometimes true and often a lot closer than you might think. The maximum speed rarely comes into play for general paddling. If you are going to paddle around at 4 MPH or less (common speed for general paddling), it might take about the same amount of effort in either boat.

Am I missing something? I’m missing
a useful impression of where and how you want to go to broaden your paddling experience.

The change in boat behavior you propose is relatively small, and perhaps not worth the effort.

If I were you, I might first get a touring kayak similar to my Necky Looksha Sport, 14.5’ and fairly agile. I took the rudder off because, as a ww person, I can steer it by edging and paddle strokes. Such a boat would give you something faster, and with handling that would reward the learning process. Incidentally, however, the later Looksha 14 is not the same boat.

And if you’re anywhere near moving water, consider something like a Liquid Logic XP9, or one of the Jackson hatch-ed crossovers. Or, for $500 or less, you should be able to get a used ww kayak that covers water fairly easily. Like a Jackson Zen or a Liquid Logic 69.

Everyone should have at least two kayaks. Trying to get by with just one is likely to result in a compromise that leaves you unsatisfied. Which, I gather, has happened in your case.

I have both the Manitou 13 and 14

– Last Updated: Apr-03-14 9:59 PM EST –

paddling differences between the Manitou 13 and 14 are negligible and the Manitou tracks well enough that the skeg is really not essential. The only reason I bought the 14 as my second one is that I wanted a front bulkhead in order to qualify for certain paddling club outings. On the Hudson, some groups insist on front and rear bulkheads for flotation in self -rescues. The 13' only has a block of foam up front.

I think there would be little difference from what you’re paddling now. Go with a 15 or 16 foot boat, you won’t regret it.

Expected differences as I see it

– Last Updated: Apr-03-14 9:48 PM EST –

Unlike some of the other people that replied, I DO think there will be a noticeable difference between your current boat and either of the two you are considering. A 10'9" boat is short enough that if a person of your size puts forth moderate effort, the resulting cruising speed will be getting close enough to what's called "hull speed" that you'll be putting more energy into making big waves than what's ideal for efficient travel, though with very light effort, it's probably more than efficient enough for your purposes. I have a lovely 12-foot double-ended rowboat which moves practically effortlessly at a "proper" speed, but it took me a while to learn to avoid putting more than light to moderate effort into propulsion, as too much effort just isn't worth the return on a boat of that length. That boat has virtually no overhang at the ends so it has a true 12-foot waterline length, but due to the overhang on your boat, it's probably almost two feet shorter, so you'll be into the speed range where you are wasting your energy making waves at a pretty low level of exertion. There's nothing "wrong" with such a boat, but if you want a little more speed, and/or a little more return on your increased output effort, you will certainly get it with either of the boats you are considering.

Some of the other people are saying don't bother with anything as short as 13 or 14 feet, but at your level of seriousness (based on the types of outings you describe), I really have trouble believing that you can justify a 16-footer (or longer).

There are no absolute answers of course, but my gut feeling for short quiet-water trips is that the step up from an effective length of 10 feet to 13 or 14 will actually be a lot greater than taking the next step to the lengths the hard-core paddlers are recommending. Viewed in that way, 13 or 14 feet seems like a happy medium between where you are and where some responders are (but you may not really need to be).

As to your question about tracking, a close friend of mine has the Manitou 13, and I've seen how it cruises and how it tracks. I can't imagine anyone needing a boat that tracks harder, though a lot of faster boats do. Either the 13 or 14 should require virtually nothing in the way of refined technique to go a straight line.

Thanks GBG, very helpful response.

meant to compare 13 to 14 earlier
I just re-read my earlier response. Yes, I think either one will be noticeably faster than the current boat, or to be more precise the same effort will likely produce a higher speed. I meant the difference between the two boats you are considering is minimal with respect to effort producing speed.