The ocean cockpit...

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Beryl
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The ocean cockpit...

Post by Beryl »

Does anybody miss these now all general purpose kayaks seem to come with the keyhole style?
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pathbrae
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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by pathbrae »

Only when I'm in the boat and launching through surf..... The I remember getting trashed trying to get into the boat in the first place!
So much sea - so little time to see it.

pugwash
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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by pugwash »

Interesting point, just printed out the plans for a Shrike build and I’m trying to make up my mind to build with either a keyhole or an ocean cockpit, leaning towards the later because it’s mainly being built to arse around rolling, but would it make it almost impossible to get into, so perhaps the keyhole is a better option? I’ve never paddled anything with an ocean cockpit so difficult to decide.

PlymouthDamo
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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by PlymouthDamo »

I've built one boat with an ocean cockpit but knowing what I do now, I'd have built all 3 of my boats with them. The advantages, in order or importance, are:


1. You have really good contact between you and your boat. This also depends on your deck being wrapped around your legs, but if you're building your own boat, you should be able to custom make it to achieve this. You then don't have thigh braces to worry about - just a big flat surface which your thighs can always press on so you can edge/roll the boat from all sorts of contorted positions.

2. To get into an ocean cockpit whilst your boat is floating, you have to learn how to hold your paddle across the back-deck like an outrigger. It's a simple trick to learn and once you've been doing it for a while, you'll suddenly realise you're able to easily re-enter your boat after a swim, as you're just going through the same procedure as when you launch.

3. If it's too rough to re-enter your boat upright, then it's far easier to do a re-entry roll with an ocean cockpit. For one thing, you don't have a long, flappy spraydeck to manage so it's actually easy to pop the spraydeck back on whilst you're still capsized. I've never failed to put my ocean cockpit spraydeck on underwater but I fail more often than not with keyhole cockpits as the big floppy spraydeck has a mind of its own. The other thing is that an ocean cockpit should be set at a steep angle which allows you to slide your legs in without bending your knees.

4. You get a much better seal between the spraydeck and the rim. Much drier.

5. An ocean cockpit can be as wide as you want it - right up to the edges of the deck. That makes rolling a lot easier.

The main disadvantage is that you can't get your bum on the seat before you get your legs in, so you either need to get in on dry land and then scratch the boat into the water or learn the outrigger trick mentioned above. Another potential problem is back-pain associated with having to keep your knees low under the deck. I suffered badly from this (even with keyhole cockpits) but the solution is to do hamstring stretching exercises with the aim of being able to sit on the floor with both legs straight out flat in front of you. When I'm in the habit of doing my stretches, it completely solves the back problem.

Beryl
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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by Beryl »

pugwash wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:47 pm
Interesting point, just printed out the plans for a Shrike build and I’m trying to make up my mind to build with either a keyhole or an ocean cockpit, leaning towards the later because it’s mainly being built to arse around rolling, but would it make it almost impossible to get into, so perhaps the keyhole is a better option? I’ve never paddled anything with an ocean cockpit so difficult to decide.
I have exactly the same problem and the Shrike looks especially cool in its ocean clothes. I’ve been swivelling back and forth but the recent acquisition for £18 of a new with tags Reed spraydeck for said profile has settled the matter. I just need to learn to roll before the launch?
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JB-NL
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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by JB-NL »

Yes, I do, after over 25 years in an ocean cockpit, I had
-always almost dry;
-chart in front of me and readable;
-minimum damage in case of rescue- exercises;
- no issues during roling..


Although, I have to admit in the Netherlands the conditions for take of and landing are in general easier then in the UK with rocks and rocky beaches..You almost always can get in the cockpit with dry feet... ;)
But even for the times when I was in rocky areas, no issues with the ocean cockpit...

JB
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SJD
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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by SJD »

Being cursed with long legs my shins and knees certainly do not miss the ocean cockpit.

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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by JB-NL »

SJD wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:01 pm
Being cursed with long legs my shins and knees certainly do not miss the ocean cockpit.
Can imagine that, a friend was almost 2m and had at that time a Nordkapp with a race cockpit, the smallest there was..he survived...!
JB
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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by pugwash »

I have enough problems getting out of a keyhole cockpit, a ‘friend’ described my exit style as resembling ‘a shot water buffalo’.

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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by PlymouthDamo »

I wonder if the problems some people have had with getting in or out of an ocean cockpit might be to do with the angle it's been set at? Have a look at the first boat on this page and you'll see an extreme example of how you can make it easy on yourself by having the cockpit angling up towards the front:

viewtopic.php?t=12800


My one's not quite that pronounced, but it's enough that I slide in and out of it naturally without having to think about my shins or knees.

Here's an example of one which I can imagine struggling with:

https://dashpointpirate.typepad.com/the ... aming.html

(The deck does rise upwards, but only forwards of the flat-looking cockpit rim. Although he doesn't mention it in the article, I reckon that must have been the main reason he ended up converting it to a keyhole cockpit.)

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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by overfallpaddler »

Ocean cockpits are really good and you’re right cockpits are getting bigger and bigger.
Ocean cockpits give a really good fit and variable knee positions. They also keep paddlers in the kayak in big surf.
For FSKs ocean cockpits are good too to allow different leg positions but again as FSKs evolve cockpits are getting bigger to give more freedom on the knees due to having ones knees together.
A Kayaks lifespan does decrease if it has an ocean cockpit due to the difficulty of launching and having to start on the beach but it is possible to practice entries and exits with a paddle behind you which does save the hull.
It’s good to have a good roll to save having to self rescue and obviously the re entry roll is a good skill. I guess it’s just easier to sell boats if they have a keyhole cockpit and they appeal to wide range of persons.

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JeromeWhitehorse
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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by JeromeWhitehorse »

I have long legs and most keyhole cockpits are too short for me... then there is not a single advantage anymore. And an ocean cockpit looks so much better...

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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by charleston14 »

I was expecting entry and exit of an ocean cockpit Anas Acuta to be rather more awkward than the keyhole cockpit of my mk1 Scorpio lv but to my surprise there’s little real difference to me as the angle of the cockpit rim compensated for its shorter overall length. Can’t do a bum first re entry but no big deal

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PeterG
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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by PeterG »

As you get older the ocean cockpit keeps giving. Getting in you can sit down on the rear deck in shallow water and, having to shaken the water off your feet, slide in. So much easier than sitting right down low into a keyhole and then trying to fold your stiff legs in. Getting out, having slid neatly out onto the rear deck, you can straighten your legs out and get some circulation going before having to stand up and it is so much less far to stand up! Quite unlike the undignified struggle to stand up out of a keyhole after 6 hours on the water.

If you are getting in and out on a beach there is not so much difference, but then you come to the spraydeck, can your arms stretch strongly long enough for a keyhole? The ocean spraydeck goes on so quickly and easily, a bonus if you are getting in and the next wave proves bigger than expected and starts to take you back down the beach with it. If you were facing the sea, the keyhole would already be full of water. I launch backwards to reduce skeg blockage and have a safe forced forward bend going through the dumping shorebreak rather than the risk of not managing to punch through forwards, even in this position I feel more confident of a first time take off as the odd bit of white water doesn't seem to fill the boat.

The rolling at any odd seating position is especially useful for the hurried re-entry roll.

My prediction -in 20 years time it will all be ocean cockpit except for those boats aimed at 'beginners'.

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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by Beryl »

I’ve just cut my ocean cockpit for the Shrike, looks tiny! Plan is to ‘stick’ it onto my existing kayak (keyhole cockpit) and get a feel for any difficulties whilst safely afloat on my lawn. Interesting point about keyhole spraydecks above. I thought it was just my weak arms as i find it quite a chore to fit either neoprene or Reed items.
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JB-NL
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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by JB-NL »

PeterG wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 10:02 am
As you get older the ocean cockpit keeps giving. Getting in you can sit down on the rear deck in shallow water and, having to shaken the water off your feet, slide in. So much easier than sitting right down low into a keyhole and then trying to fold your stiff legs in. Getting out, having slid neatly out onto the rear deck, you can straighten your legs out and get some circulation going before having to stand up and it is so much less far to stand up! Quite unlike the undignified struggle to stand up out of a keyhole after 6 hours on the water.

If you are getting in and out on a beach there is not so much difference, but then you come to the spraydeck, can your arms stretch strongly long enough for a keyhole? The ocean spraydeck goes on so quickly and easily, a bonus if you are getting in and the next wave proves bigger than expected and starts to take you back down the beach with it. If you were facing the sea, the keyhole would already be full of water. I launch backwards to reduce skeg blockage and have a safe forced forward bend going through the dumping shorebreak rather than the risk of not managing to punch through forwards, even in this position I feel more confident of a first time take off as the odd bit of white water doesn't seem to fill the boat.

The rolling at any odd seating position is especially useful for the hurried re-entry roll.

My prediction -in 20 years time it will all be ocean cockpit except for those boats aimed at 'beginners'.
Peter, I fully agree with the above, however I have my doubts if the manufacturers have the same view..they offer what seems best..

To quote Phaedrus:
“Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.”

Intelligence maybe replaced by experience....

JB
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SJD
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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by SJD »

I have owned four ocean cockpit kayaks since the late 1980s, two Nordkapps, one Anas Acuta and a Pintail. Having let many paddlers try these boats over the years, the single most frequent complaint was of a claustrophobic feeling from being in the smaller cockpit opening. If that is a prevailing mindset among many kayakers, this would suggest manufacturers would be unwilling to go against market demand for keyhole cockpits.

With that said, a modern/current design and manufacturing processes with carbon epoxy in a boat like a Tiderace Xtra with ocean cockpit would have great appeal for me.

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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by TheEcho »

I have paddled an ocean cockpit boat (skerray) and recently bought a Rockpool Isel. I decided against an ocean cockpit because I wanted to be fast in and out of the boat on awkward shores, particularly as I intended the boat to do leadership qualifications in. But I reckon that the increasing cockpit size has gone too far -our club whitewater boats have far bigger cockpits than the previous generation they replaced, making it harder for juniors and smaller paddlers to get the deck on. I find this with the Isel too - it has a very long, quite narrow cockpit, the same as the next size up boat, which is a shame as it is designed for the smaller paddler. I have short arms and I have to really lean forward in the boat to get the deck on at the front, which does spoil the reason I got a keyhole in the first place, which was to make a fast getaway before the wave hits. The ocean deck was flip and go in comparison.

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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by PeterG »

SJD wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:41 pm
Having let many paddlers try these boats over the years, the single most frequent complaint was of a claustrophobic feeling from being in the smaller cockpit opening.
When the weather is grey and the sea big and cold, some paddlers are like snails and try to retreat into their cockpit, you see them getting visibly smaller as the waves get steeper. The ocean cockpit encourages thinking yourself big, powerful and confident so the opposite of claustrophobic.

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Re: The ocean cockpit...

Post by SJD »

Good one

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