Great day Saturday, only got run off the water once by a thunderstorm.
Other than at demo days, etc. I have only paddled one kayak so I can't give much of an evaluation, but that won't stop me from giving impressions/opinions. Also, as seems to be typical, the demo was on flatwater, so I haven't tried any of the boats in the conditions they were designed for. I assume that boats that felt pretty much the same on the pond at James Island would have probably felt radically different in the Stono inlet. I did not carry a GPS or HRM, and had a different paddle almost every time, so impressions of speed were highly subjective. Here goes anyway.
Tried the two boats I wanted to demo, the Foster Legend and Silhouette. Legend seemed pretty fast, stable, edged and turned great. The Ledgend was really easy to hold on edge it seemed to lock on to the edge and hold steady there. I did not get that feeling with the silhouette, it edged easily enough, but it, the P&H Bahiya, and the VCP Aquanaut seemed to move easily to whatever edge you set them for at the given instant, without the feeling of stability on edge the Legend gave. A buddy who tried them reported the same difference. The Silhouette seemed faster, but edge or no, was not nearly as easy to turn as the other 3 just mentioned. It did turn easier than the Impex Outer Island, which seemed to be quite fast considering the old, out of shape paddler (me) in it. It did not want to turn. You could edge it OK, and maybe if I'd had a spray skirt I could have turned it better, but you could probably say the same for the others, also. I was surprised at the stability of the Outer Island, I found it quite stable, as I did all but one of the boats I tried. The NDK greenlander Pro (the "pro" indicates a keyhole cockpit) was not unstable, but on entering and exit it did not give the same feeling of being in control as the others. I did not have any problem with stability in any of the demo boats. My personnal boat is a P&H Sirius hf. The outer Island is the only boat I have ever paddled that felt harder to turn than my Sirius, I resorted to Derek Hutchinson type stuff to turn it around.
The P&H Bahiya was a pleasant surprise, at 17' 6" and maybe 20" wide I expected it to be similar to the Sirius in a turn, but no, with that hard chine it cranked right around. Seemed to be fast enough, also. I liked it better than my boat in the given conditions.
The Impex Force 4 seemed to be a nice boat, comfortable to edge and turn. The NDK explorer I was expecting to be a slug based on some comments I have read, but at my speed, which wasn't to great by the time I got to it, it moved very easily and responded nicely to edging and turning strokes. I don't think you'd go wrong with either of these.
Towards the end of the show I noticed a VCP plastic Aquanaut, and whoa, this thing is sweet! seems OK for speed, easy to edge, turns as well or better than any of the above, I'd put the handling right there with the Legend , except you don't have that locked on feeling of the edge, its set the edge where you want it from one instant to the next. When I finally brought it back in, I found out that I hadn't seen it before because it had just been delivered, apparently I was the first one to paddle it. Also noticed the "LV" after I got out of the boat - that's why I had a bit more interference getting my size 10 1/2 wet suit boots under the deck. It was plenty comfortable though, and if I get one it will be the low volume for sure. Price was 1599, maybe a shade steep for plastic, but Hey, its a Valley boat, wouldn't that be so cool! And you'd know the hatches won't leak. I gotta have one, but maybe not this week. Somebody buy it and sell it to me used, please?
I really liked the Legend, and its supposed to be good for surfing following seas, something I'm not too good at with the Sirius - maybe my paddle is a bit small for good acceleration. Only thing, its an expedition boat, right? So when I go out for an hour or two in stuff that generates some seas to get free rides on, I'd have too much boat in the wind to be able to get upwind far enough to get much of a ride? I' thinking the VCP I tried might be better in a bit of wind. Comments please?
The Greenlander was a wild piece of equipment, I'm not sure what that thing is all about, but you put it on edge, at first it doesn't do anything and then zip, you turn. I already have one oddball boat I like and I don't need another.
I really liked the Bahiya, I don't know how the volume (and windage) compares to the Legend and AQ LV, but I guess for right now, if I were to buy another boat it would be between those three.
Big disapointment - when I finally talked the Hobie Cat rep into letting me try the sail rig on the new Adventure 16 SOT (with Mirage drive!) the wind never came up, except a couple of puffs. The sail is a boomless mast sleeve deal with one batten placed like a gaff, rather simple cut, stows nicely but not any kind of wing shape like you see on a windsurfer or catamaran. It was not large enough to be effective in light wind, I tried it on all points of sail. the Mirage drive can function as a cb to get you upwind, but you'd want the optional cb for this thing. You'd have your hands full with a stiff wind off the beam, with this narrow a boat you'd be hiking out all over the place. At first the rudder is a killer, the lever works opposite a saiboat tiller, OK after you get used to it. the lever to raise the rudder is a really great rig, if you are gonna have a rudder it ought to be like this, except that the lever to operate the rudder is too small to easily set course corrections very accurately. The Mirage drive really works, I'd love to have one of these things. I'm not so sure about the sail rig, I'd want to try it in some wind first. The 16 paddles OK but not great, the paddle bungee clip is a good touch.
edit PS: For reference, I am 6 ft, 185#.
Great day Saturday, only got run off the water once by a thunderstorm.
Thanks for the comments Dwight
I am seriously looking at the plastic Aquanaut LV and your comments were very encouraging.
Just for anyone that cares, the latest…
....issue of Sea Kayaker magazine for June 2006, which came in the mail yesterday, reviews the Valley Nordkapp LV, the brand new boat that has had several dedicated subject lines here on pnet. The review of that boat (which of course is not the Aquanaut), stated that Valley made it specifically for a "lighter paddler who wants an expedition proven kayak" and for the "average-sized paddler who.. doesn't need the (full sized)Nordkapp's capacity". The three reviewers liked it (they always do, in essence, since many of these companies buy magazine ads), but I was interested to see how all three mentioned the low stability, pimary and secondary. One rated its stability "low to moderate" and two rated it "tender". One said even the secondary stability was only "moderate". At end review, the manufacturer states that "the full-sized Nordkapp is still the kayak of choice (over the Nordkapp LV) for those over 200 lbs or expecting to use the kayak heavily loaded on most of their trips". Note that two of the three reviewing paddlers had 35lbs and 50lbs of cargo for the review, and yet still found the stability as described above (one would think the kayk to be more stable when laden), and later stated that it is "best suited for experienced paddlers". I am taking pieces of a full review, and reading the review if interested is key.
What this has to do with the full sized Aquanaut, I don;t know, but so many boats are mentioned above that I thought I'd describe the article in case someone is looking at this model. The demo day, as described, sounds like a fun learning experience.
to do with the full sized Aquanaut…
The standard Aquanaut has a different hull section than the Nordkapp (and I would guess the Nordkapp LV) and is not as tender. The Aquanaut’s hull is widest above the waterline which gives it a more reassuring feel. Sea Kayaker found that the Aquanaut had a slightly longer narrower waterline than a Nordkapp H2O. SK also showed the 'naut produced less drag above 4 knots than the H2O. My new Sea Kayaker has yet to arrive, so I don’t know the drag figures of the Nordkapp LV.
The plastic Aquanaut LV is shorter and wider than the standard Aquanaut in composite. According to the Valley 2006 catalogue, it seems the poly Aquanaut LV is the same as the boat Valley introduced last year as simply the RM Aquanaut. SK tested both the standard Aquanaut back in 2003 and the poly this past year. They are related but different boats.
If possible, I would suggest trying a standard composite Aquanaut to compare to a Legend, Explorer, etc…
Go paddle will ya! Enough already.
A buddy of mine is about your size, he liked it fine. (He paddles a Tempest 170 and gets upwind better than I do)
What and get my kayak wet or maybe even scratched?
OTOH my gearhead side is glad to see there is a correlation betwen those stability curves and reviewer’s impressions.
Thanks again Dwight
Actually spent about 4 hours paddling in the pouring rain amongst the detritus washing down the Mohawk yesterday. Thank heaven for Gore-Tex and thick gel coat on my Aquanaut
Valley is also releasing a low volume glass or Kevlar version of the LV Aquanaut this year and should be in the USA soon. Has the same dimensions as the plastic version currently available, should be a great glass boat for smaller paddlers looking for more speed.
RM & Composite Aquanaut LVs
The composite Aquanaut LV is suposed to be an inch lower decked and a half inch narrower than the poly version.
would question their findings…the Aquanaut is 1/2 inch wider, 5 inches shorter and I believe has more rocker than a Nordkapp…just don’t see how it has a longer waterline unless the person testing the boats was really light and never set the boats into the water…even then I would question their results
just a thought
I believe one of our local dealers
(as of a few weeks ago) had the only glass Aquanaut LV in the country. I sat in it but didn’t paddle it. It was beautifully constructed and comfortable. It is snugger than the plastic LV.
Been paddling quite a bit- nothing
like multi-tasking though: paddling and researching.
Can be big differences
Between the overall length and width of a boat and how long and wide it is in the water with an average load of say 200#. For example, acording to SK my NightHawk is about two feet shorter than a NDK Explorer but only about 6" shorter at waterline. It is wider overall at 22", but is over an inch narrower than the Explorer at the water line. So people often say I have a short boat, etc. yet it really isn’t all that different. In fact it has a longer waterline than some 17’ boats with those big swooping bows and sterns.
that is why Epic and qcc fit into certain racing classes and have a longer waterline than the competition (part of their design strategy)....I just question that between these two particular boats that they were tested in the boats particular design/load ranges or were they both tested with a 180 pound guy with no gear....if both of these boats (Nordkapp and Aquanaut) were loaded to 1 or so inches below the seam...(different weight person to set each of these boats to that depth) then what does the waterline do....doesn't do any good to test a boat with the wrong weight for it's design
SOOOOO...I question their findings...
also ...with each boat into the water to that depth....now , how does each handle? these two boats are not designed to carry the same payload
just my take
question their findings…
The Nordkapp has way more overhang (above the waterline) than an Aquanaut. The reduction of overhang is one of the changes Valley notes for its newer models. The Aquanaut also has very little rocker. Set an Aquanaut and a Nordkapp next to each other on pavement (or level floor) and it becomes obvious how the Aquanaut at 5" (4.5" by SK's measures) shorter overall has a longer waterline. SK measure of waterline length at 150 pound load is given as the Nordkapp at 14'5.8" and the Aquanaut at 14'11.8" With 250 pound load - Nordkapp 15'2.25", Aquanaut 15'5.9"
The waterline beam is a function of the hull section and volume. Sea Kayaker found in actually measuring an Aquanaut and a Nordkapp H2O that the overall width for the two boats was the same - 21.5" When heavily laden the Nordkapp and Aquanaut have essentially the same waterline beam - at 250 pound load the Nordkapp waterline beam is 21.1", the Aquanaut is 20.9". Lightly loaded (150 pounds) the waterline beam is still very close - Nordkapp 20.5", Aquanaut 20.4".
than I would expect, I have a jubilee and it’s a HM model so I expect that would account for the large differance that these two (Aquanaut/Nordkapp) boats feel like to me
mine is also a 3 piece boat…not exactly sure if that changes anything drastically except weight. Interesting figures anyway…I like both boats, but prefer my Nordkapp for how and what I use it for…not really sure how much it weights when loaded for a 2 week trip, but I doubt that it and me and gear come in under 300 pounds (I weight 205) I probably have around 50 pounds of gear and then there is the weight of the boat ### Maybe sea kayaker mag should have kept going with their figures and weight loading. Myself and my Nordkapp, without any gear , exceed the 250# mark. I would be curious to see their figures for a 300 and a 350 pound gross weight. maybe in their next review. Guess they figure that the Nordkapp and the Aquanaut are light person boats or not to trek with boats…why would they even measure these two boats with the 150 pound mark?..thats even less than I weight, stripped naked…not that I couldn’t paddle that way …well with my PFD and a skirt
oh well…guess I got windy again
Best Wishes Always
At 300 pound load…
Actually Sea Kayaker does give the stats up to 300 pound load:
Nordkapp waterline length w/300 load measures 15’4.9", beam 21.24"
Aquanaut waterline length w/300 pound load measures 15’6.2", beam 21.1"
I was not precise in saying the overall width of these boats is the same. I rechecked and the Nordkapp measured a quarter inch narrower overall than the Aquanaut.
The hull profile is different in these two boats. The Aquanaut is widest above the waterline, giving it a more reassuring feeling when leaned or edged. This is also why though the Nordkapp is slightly narrower overall, the Aquanaut has a slightly narrower waterline beam through all loads.
The 'naut is also slightly higher volume boat (though lower decked) at 12.94 cu.ft. v H2O’s 12.02 cu.ft.
Of course the Nordkapp used in this test was an H2O. Your 'kapp is an HM, so the waterline is longer than these measures.
Nordkapp LV speed…
My Sea Kayaker arrived today.
I’ve been charting many of the stats from SK reviews to have at ready reference. Sometimes I like checking data against impressions.
On the Kaper Winters chart at 4.5 knots the Nordkapp LV produced 5.24 pounds of drag, as compared to the Nordkapp H2O at 5.27 and the Aquanaut at 5.04. At 5 knots the Nordkapp LV & H2O each produced 8.04 pounds of drag and the Aquanaut 7.42. At 6 knots the Nordkapp LV produced 14.76 pounds of drag, the H2O 14.22 and the Aquanaut 13.3.
To compare against a truly fast sea kayak, the Epic Endurance 18 drag figures are 4.73 @ 4.5 knots, 6.47 @ 5 knots, and 11.27 @ 6 knots.