I have seen the write up in Sea Kayaker and the kayaking blog site review of it, but interested in hearing from any others who might have paddled the larger Etain. If so, how did it feel or compare to similar boats like an Explorer or Cetus or Aquanaut. Maneuverability, tracking, following seas etc.
its a big boat
I have a Tiderace Xplore. I demo paddled the Etain along with a dozen or more other boats last fall. The Etain was the only boat I found comparable to the Tiderace for fit and performance for a big person(I’m 6’7 and 220 lbs). I like a snug fitting boat and the front deck is pretty high with a little too much leg room for me but it handled well and had more secondary stability than my Tiderace. I’ve tried a NDK Explorer HV and those are torture compared to my Xplore or the Etain.
Douglas Wilcox review
You might find this review useful: http://seakayakphoto.blogspot.com/2011/02/valley-etain-sea-kayak-test-preview.html
I haven’t yet had the pleasure of trying an Etain. I’m pretty happy with my current task force. I would suggest you also try an Aquanaut. I have 4 sea kayaks (Romany, Nordkapp LV, Elaho DS, Aquanaut). When I can only have one to use for the greatest array of conditions I choose the 'naut.
I have paddled an Aquanaut. Thought it was a nice well balanced boat. Didn’t care for the seat in that one I paddled and had to keep my legs a bit straight in it, but still thought it was a nice boat. Yes, I have read that article on the Etain.
Only on flat water
I paddled one for three hours on a Christmas Eve paddle on a local reservoir. The RM 17.7 one.
I normally paddle a WS Zephyr,me at 205, 5’ 11". I wanted to try some more ‘expedition’ boats, some day I’ll get one for longer coastal paddles and maybe camping. So my comparison is to it.
It was a bit easier to sprint in (maintain over 5 MPH), just as easy to maintain normal pace, just as easy to roll, not as easy to turn, but not too bad in that regard. I would need to do some outfitting adjustments (hip pad, raise in front of seat) in order to match my own person comfort level in the Zephyr.
It may have had a bit stronger secondary, but can’t say for sure. I don’t think a static test tells me anything, I’d need to take it into surf or other moving water.
A paddling buddy owns one, and has similar comments compared to his usual Necky Chatham 16 ride.
Explorer vs. Etain
Why do you say the Explorer was torture compare to the Etain and Tiderace Explore? Fit? Comfort? Performance?