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First sea kayak - Virgo vs. ...

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 1:33 pm
by soeren
Hello ukriversguidebook

I'm about to buy my first sea kayak and trying to find what's best for me.

I have been looking at polyethylene kayaks as it seemed to make most sense, as this would be my first kayak and because I want something I can manhandle a bit. :) Also the price seems more reasonable for a first kayak.

I want something agile I can take to rough seas (surf the North Sea) when I get a little experienced, but also something I can take on 2-3 day trips down the fjord. Ease of transport is a factor too.
The shorter ones appeal to me and I like the P&H Virgo (CoreLite X) a lot, but have also been looking at the Zegul Arrow Play and Dagger Stratos (14.5 S).

I have some small lobster traps that I wouldn't mind being able to recovery from my kayak if that’s possible, so stability could be a factor too.

What are your opinion on these, am I looking in the right place, or am I better of with something completely different? And if I go try some what should I look for as a newcomer?

Re: First sea kayak - Virgo vs. ...

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 2:55 pm
by mcgruff
Lobster pots in a standard kayak sound dangerous. If you capsize you won't be able to roll, at least not at first. When you do learn to roll, you might still fail because there's a rope to get tangled up in. Now you're out of the cockpit, the kayak has taken on some water when you yanked the spraydeck, and on top of all that maybe there's a rope wrapped round your legs.

A sit-on-top designed for fishing sounds like a better option for that. They're much more stable. Falling out isn't a big deal if you can simply hop back on again. Assuming you can stay clear of the rope. An SOT like this Perception Triumph 13 is cheap too. If you can find something like this second-hand you could get some experience on the water, build up some paddling strength, and then sell it-on later.

If you're more interested in 2-3 day camping trips then a longer sea kayak with room for camping gear is definitely the way to go. Have you thought of building your own?

Hard-chine Greenland kayaks are relatively easy to build from plywood.

If you're confident in your woodworking skills there are some fantastic strip-plank designs from Bjorn Thomasson.

I think my ideal boat would be a Panthera with a surf-ski (ie sit on top) cockpit. Surf-ski designs have fast, efficient hulls if you have long distances to cover. This one is a hybrid surf-ski/tourer with lots of space for an expedition load.

Re: First sea kayak - Virgo vs. ...

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:46 pm
by simon64
I have experience in all of the kayaks you mention, I owned the Stratos S for a couple of years and thought it was excellent, it is agile, stable and affordable, seat and outfitting are as good as it gets, downsides being the hatches, especially the rear which wasn’t the best fit,and the kayak does not track well unless you use the skeg, this is due to the large amount of rocker, so longer straight runs are more tiring, but if you can paddle a river kayak straight you will have no problem.
Regarding the Zegul, I had a short demo on the MV and didn’t get on with it, it was less stable, harder to turn and felt big In volume and length and not as sporty as the shorter Stratos and Virgo, probably not the best choice as your first kayak.
I also had a demo in the Virgo, and instantly loved it, it is the same length as the Stratos Which I personally think is ideal, it is nearly as agile but tracks a lot better, it does turn best with a bit of edging, it has a dry ride and the stability is superb without feeling like a barge, speed is good, and in the corelite it is very light, other reviews on the Virgo are positive and this would be ideal as a first kayak that you won’t need to change quickly.

The Stratos 12.5 is due to be released shortly in the UK, looks like a fun mini sea kayak, I would go for one of these as a pure surf/play kayak.

Re: First sea kayak - Virgo vs. ...

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:29 pm
by soeren
Thanks a bunch guys, I'll forget about the lobster traps for now.

Does anybody know what the Virgo cargo space is in volume? I'm used to go on longer hiking trips with a 65L backpack, if I can approximately fit the same stuff in a Virgo that would be more than adequate. I hate that they don't show pictures of the actual cargo hold.

Re: First sea kayak - Virgo vs. ...

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 10:32 pm
by simon64
Easily more than 65 litres, if i had to guess i would say nearer to 100.

Re: First sea kayak - Virgo vs. ...

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:08 pm
by charleston14

Re: First sea kayak - Virgo vs. ...

Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 1:33 am
by Gordon Gilzean
I haven't paddled the virgo or the stratos but the p and h delphin would be a good option aswell for what your looking for, I've paddled a 155 delphin and I loved it, its very stable, tracks well, turns really easily and quickly, the seat and thigh braces are comfy for me and it rolls easily aswell, I've had it in rough water and it feels stable and reassuring, it surfs well aswell and a lot better than the longer kayaks as the bow doesn't dive as much, the only fault I could give it was its speed over long distance, for long distances I preferred a longer boat, the shorter delphin seems to reach max hull speed pretty quickly but maintaining this speed is more of a chore than a 17ft boat at the same cruising speed, all shorter boats would be like this though but no reason you couldn't keep up with the bigger boats at a normal paddling pace it's just a bit more work, if you can you should try and get a paddle in all of the boats your interested in and see how they feel as at the end of the day it's your boat and what works for me or others won't necessarily be the best choice for you

Re: First sea kayak - Virgo vs. ...

Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 7:42 pm
by alif18
Have a read of this review It might make your mind up for you.
I recently bought one and have paddled it a couple of times so far. I also have a P&H Scorpio and have also had a Delphin 155 and I was very impressed with the Virgo. It feels and handles really well. Maybe the best bits of the Scorpio and the Delphin. More than enough space for weekend camping.

Re: First sea kayak - Virgo vs. ...

Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 1:12 am
by soeren
Thank you alif18 that helped a lot, especially skudder part, I was on the fence weather to go for skudder or skeg, but ill keep it simple and go for skeg.

Re: First sea kayak - Virgo vs. ...

Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:43 am
by pathbrae
Forget all of the above.
I don't mean to put a damper on your enthusiasm, just to protect your wallet.
If this is your first sea kayak look for a good SH boat unless you really do have more money than sense. And even then - paddle it for a while first.

No kayak is "right" for everyone or for every occasion but, with a bit of experience, you will get to know what's important to you and what you want from a boat.
No-one is able to tell you what boat to buy
Normally I'd suggest joining a club, getting to demo days, pestering mates and paddling a variety of boats, but that's not so easy at the moment.
You'll also get to learn to "interperate" various reviews and work out whether the reviewer is genuinely impressed or just want's to get to paddle more free stuff.....
Or possibly even if they are in the same ball-park as you in terms of what is "good" and what is "bad" about a certain design.
Never buy a boat unless you either have paddled one already over an extended period in a variety of conditions OR have enough experience to know from a shorter paddle whether something will be right for you and what you want to do with it.

Re: First sea kayak - Virgo vs. ...

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:00 pm
by simon64
Used my new Virgo for the first time today, its better than I remember from the demo I had, it is so well behaved in chop and wind, the agility is amazing bit its easy to paddle straight.
Very happy, I have paddled a lot of sea kayaks in plastic and fibreglass and for me this is the best yet.

Re: First sea kayak - Virgo vs. ...

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2020 11:23 am
by rockhopper
I second what Pathbrae has advised... I bought a Delphin 150 a few years back having read lots of reviews on how good they were and that they had the Connect outfitting for a really nice fit when paddling. Having paddled for quite a few years I mistakenly thought I was a good enough judge not to have to take one for a proper test paddle (doh!) ..... Once I got it and after a few weeks of paddling and in spite of my best efforts I absolutely hated the boat. Just couldn't get on with it's weight distribution front to back, didn't like the ride it did fit me like a glove but that did not compensate for how the boat felt on the water. I sold it very quickly.


Re: First sea kayak - Virgo vs. ...

Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 6:41 pm
by simon64
Virgo Looking good in orange

Re: First sea kayak - Virgo vs. ...

Posted: Thu May 07, 2020 1:03 pm
by stevely
I was in a similar position last year (sceptic for lobster pots) I went for the Wavesport Hydra. I think it meets a lot of your requirements. Stable, good manoeuvrability, good outfitting, good space and quite good speed so is capable of keeping up reasonably well with other kayaks.

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