WS Zephyr 16 vs. Valley Avocet RM (LV)

-- Last Updated: Jul-24-08 10:31 AM EST --

When looking at 16-17 day/play boats, am I correct in thinking that these two boats may be more similar than others... in plastic . . . similar paddling characteristics, design, deck dimensions, etc. Thus personal preference to each will be dependent on individual fit in the cockpit, seat style, rolling characteristics, etc. The Zephyr being so new that few have test paddled it or own it yet. Hopefully, one factor will not be which has better water-tight hatches.

While the Romany, Chatham 16 and 17, and P & H 160RM may also be put in this category, my sense is the two boats in the post title may be closest.


– Last Updated: Jul-24-08 11:05 AM EST –

Given what flatpick has said about the Zephyr, here is what I suspect the relative "paddling characteristic" rankings of a bunch of boats are (from "playful" to "longer trip oriented".

----Chatham 16
-------Capella 16 (??)
--------Tempest 16

the Zephyr is chunkier than the Avocet. The Z may have a spot more rocker and manouverability but is not as sleek. The width gives the Z a more solid feel on edge, maybe too much for some. The A is super smooth in edging clear up to flipping!

I just paddled the Avocet and the Zephyr side by side at the Great Lakes sympo.


So if a main interest is paddling with a GP, Greenland-type rolls, balance braces, the Avocet might be the better “fit”.

Key word "relative"
I’ve paddled all those boats and would rank differently… BTW, my ranking would be as subjective as yours! That’s the problem with personal preference when advising others.

I’d be interested in seeing your ranking

I’d be interested in seeing your ranking!

I haven’t paddles all of the boats.

My ranking was a wild-a??ed-guess (WAG) for some of them.

Note that I don’t believe there are huge differences between these boats. There certainly is a problem in describing the amount of differences.

Things like how heavy and tall the paddler would likely change the ranking too.

I have yet to paddle the Zephyr! My guess is based on it’s design I’ll prefer it to the T boats as it seems to fit what I like in a boat.

Ranking?? Coaster is the most playful of the bunch for with the CH 16 a very close second which actually is very “coaster-ish”. I’d take it over the C based on fit / features. I also really like the Avocet and Romany as they are super fun. The T165 I like more than the 170 and it’s a great compromise for handling and directional stability.

Comes down to fit and subjective stuff.

au contrare
One night in the pool, I had an Avocet and a Romany (friends’ boats) to compare. I could balance brace the Romany better, and could norsaq roll the Romany but not the Avocet (can you tell my skills are limited?).

For me, the Romany with it’s boxy sides works better for GP stuff.

YMMV, of course.


I believe the Valley has superior plasti
triple layer plastic, very firm.

I think the WS boat has single layer plastic.

is a sweet rolling boat


Interesting comments.

The problem is that there are too many good boats!

Pick the boat (not the plastic)
I’d suggest picking the boat (not the plastic).

It’s hard enough picking a boat based on performance and fit.

Chatam coasterish
I’m curious what qualities the Chatam shares with the Coaster. Hard to imagine them being much alike. The Coaster is about 3 ft shorter and has that volume in the bow that resists diving on the front of a wave. I’ve wanted a Coaster for a long time and I have only paddled a Chatam very briefly on flat water. Please elaborate.

GP and boats

– Last Updated: Jul-25-08 11:32 AM EST –

The "standard" boat for Greenland skills is narrow, tight, and low to the water (a skin-on-frame boat).

It appears that most GP advocates concider boats like the Avocet and Romany (actually most boats) to have way too much volume. Even the "low volume" Anas Acuta is concidered too big!

For example, fit-wise, the Avocet has a bit more room in the cockpit than the Romany.

This means that the "best" boat is also going to depend on your dimensions.

It's possible that concidering used boats might increase your options beyond what is available in plastic.

What does your local GP group say?

Better plastic=better performance.

Show me numbers!

– Last Updated: Jul-29-08 12:27 PM EST –

What do you mean by "performance"?

It appears that the original poster is talking about "performance" characteristics other than "speed".

If you are talking "speed" (not necessarily the most important "performance" characteristic for the original poster), I suspect that any difference between types of plastic is tiny. So tiny that no one (especially a non racer) would ever be able to tell. I suspect that hull shape has a more of an impact on speed. (Keep in mind that tiny differences may be important to racing.)

If you are talking about "durability", it's possible that different plastics are more durable. It's also possible that different plastics (eg, three layer ones) are harder to repair. Anyway, with a little bit of care, any plastic boat can last quite a long time.

If you are talking about "rolling" and "bracing", the type of plastic has no impact.

Cut the ends off the Chatham
and compare the chine profiles aft of center, along with the volume in the bow of the Chatham.

Conversely, put pointy ends on a Coaster…

Neither are great flat water boats, both are superb rough water boats for reasons that they share.

Yes, I can see it in the chine profile. Kinda makes you wonder if the Chatam would be a better boat if they cut the ends off. Interesting. Thanks

Perhaps but
it wouldn’t look like what people want to buy :slight_smile:

Pointy ends make $$$. Most traditionalist sea kayakers would deem the Coaster ugly and too short blah blah blah… Many could never understand that great little boat. BTW, a lot of Brit / Greenland designs have actual waterlines between 13-15 ft. But you know that I suspect.

Not all plastics are the same…
I agree with njpaddler that differences in speed may be miniscule, but a three-layer poly boat is going to be a much stiffer kayak, and that is going to be a better performing boat.

Three-layer poly boats are also much easier to repair than single-layer ones. In most cases of hard impact damage, the three layer boats will crack the outer skin, but not the inner one. The repair, which simply involves using a melt stick to fill the crack on the outer layer is pretty simple.

I had two customers who rolled their car on the highway while transporting two P&H Capellas. The roof rack broke free and the boats were thrown from the vehicle. Both had all three bulkheads blown out, and received some nasty gouges…the plastic actually melted in places because of the friction. While there were long cracks, the inner skins never broke and the boats were repaired and are still being paddled (even if they look like hell!).