your opinions on CD Slipstream?

This weekend I came across a Current Designs Slipstream, in fiberglass, 2 years old but never used, for about $1900. This struck me as a good deal. The size seems right for me (it’s a 16’, 22" beam boat, and I’m 5’7" and 140 lbs.) but there was no way to demo it where it was. It’s also only 45lbs, which made me very happy. This is the first boat I’ve seen I could actually imagine moving around on my own.

Before I get a chance to demo one somewhere, I was wondering if any of you have been in this boat, and what you think of it. It’s beautiful, very sleek and with upturned bow and stern. To my (inexperienced) eyes it looked like it would be extremely lively, and perhaps to lively for me.

I checked the product reviews section of paddling net but everyone always seems to pretty much love every boat they review. (I guess that says something for the sport!)

I’m still at the advanced beginner stage, and although I will continue to take classes and learn, I thought this boat might just be too lively to keep me safe on the coastal waters of Maine for example. Any opinions on that?



I’d put my son in it
I bought a Slipstream for my 14-year-old who doesn’t have a ton of experience and he handles it just fine on quiet water. I’ll certainly sign him up for lessons so he learns some braces, rescues & boat-handling techniques before we go out in waves but I don’t feel the boat is beyond him. I’ve paddled it also and didn’t have any issues with it.


– Last Updated: May-29-07 12:14 PM EST –

Did you check out the reviews on this site?

Anyway, this boat has been around for a long while. Thus, I'd say it's a proven design.

I don't think this boat has a reputation of being "too lively".

It should relish being paddled off the Maine coast (if you keep your hips loose).

What other boats have you tried and what did you think of them?

Demo’d One

– Last Updated: May-29-07 12:53 PM EST –

Though I should caution it's been a while.

It is a "lively" boat (for a beginner) - translation, you'll probably swim a few times getting used to it. But for a first boat that'll teach you a heck of a lot more than one that just sits there, and in general CD boats are terribly seaworthy. They'll take care of you in waves if you stay out of their way.

Only two reasons I'd give to not consider this boat - first is that it is quite limited in storage for expeditioning. But if you plan to learn in it rather than go out on a two week trek up the Maine coast, that's hardly an issue. It's fine for a weekend trip.

The second is that, at 5'4", I'd like a lower front deck, lower rear deck and altogether smaller cockpit. But at three inches taller than me, and (sadly for me) just several pounds heavier, you'll find better contact than I did and find the deck proportioantely a bit lower. So I suspect that it won't throw up any particular obstacles to things like your learning to roll. Unfortunately I didn't have a reliable roll when I demo'd it so it wsn't something I checked out.

I rather liked the feeling of this boat too by the way - there is lively that is just plain fun and comfortable feeling, and lively that causes causes shortness of breath and extreme concentration on the horizon. The Slipstream was very much the first for me.

other boats
In this size range, I demoed a Necky Eliza (22") and paddled an older Dagger Prospect (22") during a half day tour. 22" and 16’ is what I’ve been looking for. I haven’t yet had a chance to demo some of the boats that were suggested for me on this site (Avocet, Romany, P&H Capella 160, Impex Montauk), but will get to at least the first 2 or 3 this coming weekend. They’re heavy though (I think around 55lbs even in glass).

The Eliza was fun, fast, it fit me well, quite tippy initially, but not a problem. It seemed hard to keep on edge, but I have very limited experience in that area. Of course, there were no waves where I demoed it. I could not lift this boat though, even though it’s supposed to be 49lbs. The Prospect was not as comfortable physically (leg went to sleep) and somehow didn’t excite me much. Both of these had rudders, and I’m curious to try a skeg instead.

It’s hard for me to imagine how a boat will perform in waves and wind, when I only get to demo it on flat water. So that’s making me a bit nervous about getting one that’s “too lively”.

I think it’s a scaled-down version
of the Gulfstream/Sirocco. If so, it’s a lively, fun, wonderful boat. Probably not so great on the gas milage (going fast straight), but super stable and turns on a dime. If I were 140 lbs., I would snatch it up in a heartbeat.

Same era
The Slipstream is a bit less playful than the Gulfstream, but yes it came out new in the same season. I think the Sirrocco followed a year later, but don’t quote me ont hat. The Slipstream was intended to be a little narrower, and a lot lower volume, for paddlers that didn’t need quite the cockpit girth of Derek Hutchinson…

my lack of skills
is exactly the problem in terms of demoing boats right now. Hard for me to test them properly when I only know the basics. I do have an intermediate skills class scheduled in a few weeks, so I guess I should go back and demo again after the class…

I don’t except to do 2 week trips, probably no more than 4 days or so. You think the Slipstream has less storage than an Avocet or Romany?

lively boats calm down in conditions
It’s like that Indian goddess Shiva–a hand going out in every direction. Good when the going gets rough.

Re the Necky Liza, was that in plastic or glass? I see on-line that they make both. Boy, that’s a tough decision. Still, with the Slipsteam you get a day hatch, and didn’t you say it’s used–for a better price?

didn’t find much noise around it
I googled it last night and was surprised not to find so much on it, compared to Avocet or Romany for instance (am I right to assume these are somewhat similar to Slipstream?). It made me wonder if it wasn’t that popular a boat for some reason.

Probably similar
To the Romany, but unless they have changed things you can get a volume of storage online from CD’s site. I think it’d do a few days easily if you pack a bit tighter than I do (which is really really not tight).

older design?

– Last Updated: May-29-07 1:32 PM EST –

I think the Slipstream is an older design than either the Romany or Avocet. So there might be a good bit less chatter.

Also a lot of coaches use Romanys. The Avocet being available in poly helps make it a very popular boat.

I've never been in a Slipstream (was told I'm too big for the boat), but my sense is that it is a good boat with its own personality - though maybe not wildly different from its 16' Brit cousins.

calming down
Lively boats calm down in conditions? See, I wouldn’t know something like that. I would have assumed the opposite.

The Eliza I tried was plastic. And I agree, the day hatch on the Slipstream is a great extra. The boat is not used, just an older model that hasn’t sold yet (really small, out of the way little kayak store). $1900 is actually a little more than I had hoped to spend, but it did seem like a good deal on a never used fiberglass boat. It’ll have to be my boat for a long time though, so I definitely need to make sure it’s right for me.

I’ll check that out. Thanks.

“expedition” boats

– Last Updated: May-29-07 2:52 PM EST –

I've done 5 day trips in a Romany. (I didn't have to carry water).

Very few people can justify an "expedition" boat for their only boat. Given your weight, you don't want too big of a boat anyway (an "expedition" boat is going to be too big).

Pack like a backpacker.

Celia probably has the best advice for kayaks for women.

how do you pack a tent in a kayak?
Perhaps a dumb question, but I’ve been looking at light weight tents online for a future camp and paddle trip. Even on the smallest lightest tents, the pack size is always kind of long, because of the poles. Does that actually fit into a hatch? Or do you put it somewhere else?

Less playful?
“The Slipstream is a bit less playful than the Gulfstream”

??? The Slipstream is shorter and narrower than the Gulfstream. I would have thought that the Slipstream was more manueverable than the Gulfstream.

I suppose…

– Last Updated: May-29-07 2:56 PM EST –

"lively boats calm down in conditions"

I'm not sure if this is very useful information especially since it's the paddler that makes a "lively" boat "calm down".

Sea kayaks are somewhat "tippy" by design. This is often disconcerting for people just starting out but they get used to it fairly quickly. The key to dealing with it is "loose hips".

I'm kind of understanding that "lively" means the boat requires attention all the time.

The Romany, for example, isn't concidered overly "lively" but has a strong reputation for rough water use. The P&H Sirius has a reputation of being particularly "lively" (and also has a good reputation).

One issue with overly "lively" boats is that they require attention all of the time (even when you are tired).


– Last Updated: May-29-07 2:47 PM EST –

It's generally no problem at all packing a tent into a kayak and my Romany has "crappy" litte hatches.

There's no reason that you have to load the tent as one big chuck. That is, split up the tent stuff. I pack the poles separately because I can slide them up into the narrow bow.

Often, the small tents have shorter poles (to fit into backpacks).

thanks for clarifying
I enjoyed that tippy feeling in the Eliza I tried, it made it more fun, and more in control, and I really started to understand the “wearing” versus just “sitting in” of a kayak. It’s just too bad the demo areas outfitters use always seem to be VERY still water settings (in my neck of the woods anyway). Although I certainly understand that from their point of view!

Sounds like this Slipstream is a possibility (no one here is telling me to stay away from it). So next step is to find one to demo. So many boats, so little time… :wink: