VCP Avocet

I’m this close( my fingers pinched together) to buying a brand new 2004 glass Avocet. It’s been in the store for almost 2 seasons. I’ve sat in it for about 1 hour, just contemplating whether $2350.00 plus tax is a good deal. I paddle a Perception Corona now and love it… I would have liked to buy a Dagger Meridian, but I think the Avocet could fufill my desires. I weigh 140 lbs. I could buy the Aquanaut for 50 bucks less, but 95% of my paddleing is daytrips on Lake Erie or inland lakes. Any feedback would be appreciated. I can’t test paddle the boats, but I liked the Avocet better as the Aquanaut’s seat pan was pretty small and not very comfortable. Thanks for any replys…

If you like the color…

Buy it!

Really it’s a fine boat, I only wish I could fit in one.

It’s not like you’re getting married to it… You can SELL it or even keep it and get another…

Don’t we wish…

I think you’d like it…
I wish I could fit into one as well. There are a few in one of my local clubs and they look like sweet boats. Plenty fast enough, though not a speedster, fun to play in waves and an easy roller. All around good boat. 2350 for a new boat sounds reasonable as well.


– Last Updated: Aug-08-05 7:04 PM EST –

Thanks for your replys....I'm feeling better about it already..

It’s great but I think you should try it
I really like the Avocet. So much so that there is a brand new, two-day-old Avocet RM on my bedroom floor. It (she?) has not even touched water yet. I’ve been on several tours in the glass version as well and loved it. These are fun responsive, sea-worthy boats with all the known Valley advantages. I also tested both the glass and RM versions of the Aquanaut. Fine boats too but a little different. The glass Aquanaut is bigger, faster, tracks better and less playful. The Aquanaut RM is (in my opinion) in between the Avocet and the glass Aquanaut. You might want to try it. It’s very nice.

The point is though that every boat feels a different and fits differently. Depending on where you are located, you should be able to at least demo them. I demoed and bought my boat at Atlantic kayak Touring on on the Hudson in NY.

The Avocet is a highly desirable boat and I don’t think you’ll have a problem re-selling it if you don’t like it.


2 birthdays
and still in the store-that means it was probably on sale twice! negotiate the price a bit, 15% less or some free gear-spray skirt, drybags etc.

I know I should demo it, but…
Oddly enough, the best shop in my area has no place to demo boats. I think I’m gonna insist on having a demo, but, if they won’t, I still might go ahead and buy it. I’m looking for a playful boat, something to play in clopotis as well as 8-10 mile paddles a couple or more times a week. The reviews here tell me it just might be the right choice…

it’s been reduced to cost + shipping…
my son works there, and this is what he’s been told… I’d have no idea if they’re not being truthful, but I’ve had a decent relationship with this store for a long time. People buying kayaks around here aren’t familiar with VCP’s as well as the store owners aren’t either. They allowed their boat room manager to bring 5 Valley’s into inventory in the spring of '04. He’s no longer with them. They are big with Current Designs as well as Perception. I have yet to see a Valley boat on the water around here, But no one’s carried them in the area before. I am aware of Valley’s reputation, hence I sorta really want one…

Go for it
If you sat in it for an hour, and it felt great, you are almost there. The advanced kayakers might crucify me for this, but I bought my two yaks without demo (foolish beginner that I am). I sat in them for a long time and did my homework and they both worked out perfect for their intended purposes.

Last month, I was at my local launch site and a young woman paddled up in an Avocet. It appeared to be constructed beautifully and at 150 lbs. (me-not the boat), it will be on my list if (when) I decide to move up.

Good luck and don’t fall off the fence you’re sitting on.

There’s nothing like a Valley boat…
First the obligatory never buy a boat without demoing it.

Okay, that’s out of the way…

I’ve paddled a few Avocets and own an Aquanaut (ProLite layup). I’ve paddled a slew of boats, particularly Brit and Brit styles.

The Avocet will get you through anything you might wish to paddle. It is very playful, pretty fast for a 16’ Brit style boat. It has great secondary and pretty good primary stability. The Naut has lighter primary stability than the Avocet and likes being on its side - which is necessary to turn it (it has almost no rocker).

I feel the Aquanaut is the best 17+’ boat available. It has the best manners in challanging seas of any boat I’ve paddled. It is the third fastest Brit style boat ever tested by Sea Kayaker. Every experienced paddler who has gotten into my boat has been very impressed. I would not trade my Aquanaut for any other boat.

However, if you are not planning to camp or do long paddles, you probably don’t need the 60lbs and 17’7" of swing.

It is a good deal on the Avocet. My understanding is that wholesale on a Valley boat is around 2200-2400 plus shipping.

Unless you feel the need for the greater speed or the volume for camping etc… I would say go with the Avocet. And yes you will always be able to sell it.

Avocet size??
a couple of you mentioned not fitting into the Avocet. i realize it is a smaller boat but in which way is it challenging to fit into? does it have a very small cockpit for the hips? is the bulkhead very close for longer legs or is the deck height especially short?

after watching the Ultimate Guide to Sea Kayaking with that big guy Ken Whiting paddling a Chatham 16 i decided to go and sit in a Chatham 16. it was tight for my 6’5", 200 lb frame with my big flipper feet but it was not uncomfortable (at least in the showroom). i am dying to get out and try an Avocet and i will when i get near a Valley dealer, but i keep hearing how small it is. do you think i would even come close to fitting? i have a Pyranha i:3 223 ww kayak but that is murder on my feet after a while… i like the idea of the Avocet though, it sounds like a ww kayak for the sea, and lots of sporty fun.

get that boat!

You would probably fit …
I’m 5’8" and 195lbs. I fit and very much liked the Avocet RM and it’s on my short list. It handles very well, has a low rear deck and rolls easily.


If you fit in a Chatham 16…
then you will fit in an Avocet. I’ve paddled both and we just bought one of each this past weekend. There is a little more hip room in the Avocet. Also the deck is a little higher than the Chatham. Both are a blast to paddle.


do it!
I have an Avocet RM that works very well as a daytrip/play boat. Once you get used to it most other touring boats will feel unresponsive by comparison. When the waves kick up she wants to go out and play – but I also fish from her, and use her for teaching and safety boating.

My only concern is that you’re toward the bottom of the weight range for paddling it empty. I’m 155 and would sometimes like a bit less boat – but as a whitewater paddler, I’m biased towards small, snug boats. I added extra thigh braces to mine, but I’ve heard that the composite and RM versions fit differently.

Bottom line: I’ve enjoyed my RM for several years, and wouldn’t hesitate to buy a composite one if my budget allowed.

You’re not alone
Click on my profile to see a Valley boat on Lake Erie.

Find out what
their return policy is. There’s a shop near here that doesn’t let you demo their boats, but if you buy it and bring it back without any scratches, they’ll refund your money.

I’m 5’8, 145-150 lbs and…
I love the Avocet! It is definitely a fun boat and beautiful to boot. I’ve played with both the poly and glass boats and although they are different boats, both are splendid. The Avocet is playful yet fast enough for most people. It is a breeze to roll and the volume is low enough to avoid most wind related issues. Of course if I had to pick any Valley kayak I would probably get the Anas Acuta but for an general purpose kayak, the Avocet is great. (I’d replace the backband with an IR Reggie backband though.)

Thanks for the replys…
I’m really a plastic boat kind of guy, but I think I’m gonna do it. just an afterthought…If we ever meet up on the water, and I have an air of British aristocracy to me, slap the shit out of me …please!!!

Tough layup
Your Avocet will take hard use. Valley layups are very strong and withstand a lot of knocks and encounters with rocks.

If you are a ‘plastic boat sort of guy’ going with a Brit boat should be the least adjustment – both for strength and weight :wink:

no worries
That boat’s personality is more of a party animal than a high-toned aristocrat.