I love exploring and camping on extended trips (3-6 days). I venture down winding tree choked creeks, do sea crossings to reach small islands, and play in 2-3 class rapids all from a Wildy Ride 115(Bought it for fishing). Probably the slowest possible choice for what I do! I believed I would need a very short kayak for maneuverability when I bought, but I now think I went to short. I've had it for three years now, and go out fairly regularly with it. The biggest issue isn't storage capability, or stability; it's with the speed of the yak. I have outgrown its capabilities and I am eagerly looking to move to a better "performing" yak. So I'm trying to sort out which style is the most versatile for the places I paddle most; river, ocean, swamp, and small rapids. I've heard just get a longer SOT and others say a 16' plus expedition (Sea) Kayak. What do you guys think and any suggestions. I'm leaning toward poly because I don't baby my yak, and I find myself in gravel, sand, oyster beds, and rocks. On the Sea Kayak front the suggestions I've heard are Wildy Tempest, Perception Essence 17, Prijon Yukon Expedition, ect..but I'm open. Info: (I am in good shape, great balance, not much experience with sea kayaks, but that's really isn't a factor for me getting one. I pick up on things pretty quickly. 6' and 180lbs, lean build.) Thanks for any input!
For what you’re describing I wouldn’t want a SOT. I’m a huge fan of the Tempest 170.
Maybe 14-15 feet?
I think a full size sea kayak would be a handful on a small creek and when you’re trying to explore tight areas. It can be done, but it’s a lot of length to swing around.
How about a 14 or 15 foot sea kayak? Something with a lot of rocker and a skeg would be a good choice I think. High rocker will allow you to maneuver more easily in tight places and the skeg will help you track when doing open crossings.
Something like the P&H Delphin or Dagger Alchemy L might be good choices.
Keep the little one for those narrow choked creeks, and get a sea kayak for the big water. It seems as time passes, we all end up with more than one boat. :)
BUT if you can only have one then like esstyle said a P&H Delphin 155 would work a 150 might fit but thinking the 155 would fit you better. But best would be keep the one you have for the twisty creeks and get something in the 16 or longer sea kayak for the other stuff.
P&H are pricey though so maybe another 14 to 15 footer would work . Maybe even another Wilderness systems, a 145 tsunami as they can be found used for a lot less money. Not as good as a P&H Delphin especially in the rough stuff but ok if your doing just one kayak.
If doing 2 kayaks many many choices for the sea kayak. See what local kayak shop carries and go from there.
I agree with keeping 2 boats
I think a lot of us keep different boats for different uses (just like golf clubs). Going from a SOT to a SINK is going to be a learning curve adding edging to aid in turning.
Your SOT has solid primary stability, some of that will be lost going into an under 24" wide boat, but secondary stability will go up, this will enable you to edge the boat changing the profile of the water line enabling you to turn quickly in a longer boat. Some boats with a big rocker and flatter bottoms (PH hammer, Fusion, stinger) can be turned like a top, very handy to have in tight areas, but slower speed overall. The Alchemy or Zephyrs can be turned hard, and are faster in open water.
IMO I think an Alchemy S or L (depending on the fit) or a zephyr 155 or 160 (again depending on the fit) would be a good boat to try out. I would keep your SOT until you had a good reason to sell or trade it.
For all your responses and input. I think your responses have helped put me on the right track to making my decision. Thanks guys!
If you can find a Venture dealer, they are the cheaper boat division of P & H (who make the wonderful Delphin) and their British made roto plastic boats are excellent all around. Both my ex and I have and love out Venture Easky 15’s (which were recently discontinued but you might still find one for sale) and Venture has replaced the model with the Venture Islay 14 which might suit your requirements. A little more affordable than the P & H branded boats but same good designs, nice handling and quality manufacturing.