Any pros or cons on the Little wing 15.5 from Warren Light Craft

Can’t speak to the design. Their layup
is stiff and strong for the weight, but not for sea-surfing on rocky shores.

Have you paddled the 15.5

LW 15.5
I bought one (picture - http://tinyurl.com/yamlb2v) in June (actually, ordered in June, with their summer backlog - did not receive till September; if you’re thinking about getting one, this may be the time of year to order)

My MAIN reason for buying this was the weight.

My ‘weekend’ boat is a Romany - I can paddle ‘any’ water with it.

I got the LW for my weekday paddling boat. I use it every day for my 2 hour stretch.

I live about 1/4 mile from the water. I used to use a cart - but didn’t like the hassle (strapping on/off, hide it in woods, etc.). I then decided if I could find a boat under 30lbs that I liked, I would get it. After a bit of research, I decided on the LW 15.5 (advertised 28lb, when received - I weighed it - 27.5).

It’s great - for what I bought it for. The carry to the water it quite easy and it paddles well.

I think it’s design is supposed to be as kind of a fast boat. I’m not a racer, so maybe my technique is not very good, but for me, it’s not fast. (compare with my Romany - probably about same water lenght, I think the Romany is faster).

Tracks well, turns ok, handles well in light to moderate conditions (haven’t been out in ‘interesting’ conditions by choice)

I’m probably spoiled by the Romany, but when testing it, the LW was definitely more difficult to roll (though in the conditions I paddle it in should never encounter the need).

One more ‘compare to Romany’ comment. I like to lie back on the rear deck to rest or stretch. Can’t do this on the LW.

I think it’s a boat that has to be cared for. I put in at a place on an oyster bed. Unless (well) covered (so I can put it off a wall right into water), I will walk well into the water to launch.

I don’t plan on taking this out through the surf. Zac (at WLC) assured me that it was very strong, though it would ‘dimple’ if hit hard.

Minor things: didn’t have to buy new sprayskirt (slightly larger circumference than Romany), no day hatch (for my purpose - day paddling, I would have preferred this to the normal bulkheads - though they do keep me ‘safer’ in case of capsize & SS-implode), the seat is VERY uncomfortable for me (for 2 hours - ok, but much longer, I do a lot of ‘squirming’).


No. I usually can’t just hop in sea or
touring kayaks because of my size. I have to commit to buying and then outfitting.

Have you used the search function to find earlier threads on the boat? There were extensive controversies about the boat not that long ago.

WLC 15.5
Interesting report on your Little Wing 15.5. I would think that the LW 15.5 would be ‘faster’ (at least at top speed) than a Romany, but might not ‘feel’ faster at lower touring speeds.

I paddle a LW 12.5, and I have not found that I give up much touring speed in my LW 12.5 compared to my 16.5-foot Folbot Cooper. On paddles of several hours or more, I average just under 4 mph in my LW 12.5 and just over 4 mph in my Cooper. I have observed that my LW, I think because of its low weight and low mass, does not have as much ‘glide’ as other kayaks. I can feel it accelerate with each power stroke and then lose some speed between strokes. I switched to a relatively fast, high-angle stroke using a 205-cm bent-shaft Werner Cyprus and I can maintain a higher cruising speed much easier. In my Cooper I use a 220-cm Werner Little Dipper or sometimes a Greeland paddle and a slower cadence.

On seat comfort. I found that the seat in my Little Wing is the only one where I have NOT experienced any back pain after about one-half hour - in other words, it is the most comfortable in that aspect. However, I do experience some leg pain after about 2 hours that I do not get in my other kayaks, and I also start to ‘squirm’ around.

I bought my Little Wing for two main reason; light weight and low wetted surface area (16.4 sq ft at 150-lbs loading). I weigh 125-130 Lbs, so 150-Lbs loading is appropriate for me.

does length equal speed?
does length equal speed in kayaks? I mean to a certain degree … like under 22 feet or something like that.

Yes and No
This topic has been covered in great detail in other threads and posts on P-Net and elsewhere, so I suggest you look at some of those for more discussion. The short answer is that kayaks with longer waterline lengths have greater potential top speeds if the paddler can provide the power to reach those speeds. Longer waterline length also results in greater wetted surface area which can result in lower efficiency (they require more power)at low to moderate touring speeds. Kayaks with highr length to width ratios (long and narrow boats) are generally more efficient than kayaks with smaller ratios (short and wide).

One reason that I chose my Lttle Wing 12.5 was that for a relatively short length kayak (making it light weight and easy to handle both in and off the water) it had a moderately high waterline length (11’11") to width (21.5") ratio of 7.33, in the same range as longer kayaks such as Mariner Coaster, the Necky Chatham 16 and the Feathercraft Wisper. At the same time, it had the lowest wetted surface area (16.4 sq ft) of any published figures that I have seen in Sea Kayaker magazine or their web site; equal to the Mariner Coaster and the Epic Rec GP (now the GPX). The Little Wing 12.5 met my expectations in that it hadles easily and does feel very efficient to paddle up to about 4 mph.

Mistake in my last post
The waterline beam (width) of my Little Wing 12.5 is 19.5".

read more than I care to admit to
I was more referring to the comparison in speed to Romany. That’s almost 17 feet compared to a 12.5 foot long kayak. My bets will always be on the Romany considering these specs.

There is really nothing to compare…
since a 17-foot kayak will always be faster than a 12.5-foot boat unless there is some significant problem with the design of the longer boat. However, as far as paddling efficiency at slower touring speeds, I would not hazard a bet on either one, and my Little Wing 12.5 is less than one-half the weight of the Romany. By the way, I am not arguing that Little Wings are somenow better boats than NDKs (which I like very much); they just oriented toward different types of paddlers for different types of uses.

My point was that since the Romany and the 15.5-foot Little Wing probably have about the same wetted length and the LW 15.5 has a wetted beam of 17.6 inches (whcih is undoubtely narrower than the Romany), I find it hard to believe that the Little Wing 15.5 is a slower boat at either touring or top speed. It may feel slower at touring speeds since (at 28 Lbs weight) it probably has less glide (or momentum). One way to determine which boat is ‘faster’ is for the same person to paddle each under the same conditions and measure the speed with a GPS.

The difference in speed of the two will be tiny. Much more depends on the engine, you and the technique.

There is likely less than a 1/4 mph difference in possible top speed. Better to buy the boat you like the looks and the feel of in the water vs. the difference in speeds. Romany is an excellent rough water boat that’s fairly playful when you’re paddling it. Lots of guides prefer that boat, there is a reason.

Bill H.

speed is relative
but if you are paddling with a strong group of paddlers and your boat is lagging behind then it makes you think about getting a faster boat. We have a group of paddlers with ‘great engines’ but what matters is the right boat for the occasion.

If the group gets together to do a distance paddle then a long fast boat is a good idea. If they do rockplay then shorter boat with more rocker is a good idea.

Guides like Romanys or Explorer also because it gives them added stability to help out their customers in case of rescue or instruction.

I’m willing to bet that many of the guides that paddle Romanys while guiding also have different types of boats for various types of paddling. Romany would not be my top choice for a fast boat.