Rockpool GT^

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JulesT
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Rockpool GT^

Post by JulesT » Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:01 pm

I've owned an Alaw Bach for 4 years now and when I saw the postings about the new GT was keen to try it out. So last Sunday 3 August I was lucky to arrange a demo thanks to Mike and John at Rockpool. Although I've been happy with the Alaw Bach I was curious to see if the new boat might deliver the promised features I'm looking for, ie a bit more speed and volume.

After wind and rain throughout the week Sunday's weather was a considerable improvement at Rhoscolyn with some sunshine, wind of about bf3 and the promise of some left over lumpy seas from the weather during the week.

The GT is a very nice looking boat with graceful lines; the line between the deck and hull is a gentler curve than the Bach and the extra length is obvious. It also seems narrower than the Bach and with extra depth to provide the extra volume. There is also a considerable increase in volume behind the cockpit and up front. The hull cross section is 'U' shaped under the middle which extends a long way to both the back and front.

On the water I immediately felt familiar and comfortable with the GT, stability was not quite as much as the Bach but then the Bach is one of the most stable sea kayaks. I had no problem taking pictures and felt comfortable even though I was a couple of inches higher out of the water. Although I didnt immediately sense it was a fast boat the GPS indicated that progress was indeed rapid. There was no tendency for the nose to lift, the boat felt very well balanced.

I headed out for the beacon in search of some lumpy water and did find some just beyond it where the ebb tide was partly against the southerly breeze. I turned downwind and with the waves hoped to pick up the following sea. The swell was quite a long wavelength but nevertheless the GT still showed it had the same pedigree as the Bach for easily catching swell and wind blown waves. My Bach doesnt have a skeg and the only time I find this is a disadvantage is weathercocking in side winds, frankly I don't have the energy to keep a boat on edge for long distances so a skeg is on my wishlist. The Bach is brilliant at surfing swells and this is where the built in keel at the back works its magic and doesnt need a skeg in this situation. But in the GT the extra volume meant that the back of the boat did like to come around so I found it best to have the skeg right down to keep the boat tracking straight. The excellent balance of the boat meant that the nose kept well up and never threatened to catch in the back of the wave in front. After a second circuit of the beacon I paddled downwind to the entrance of the cymyran straits and had a play in some 2 foot breaking surf managing to catch one or two really long rides in. In sidewinds the GT was less prone to weathercocking than my Bach.

On the way back to Borthwen is where I noticed the only negative feature. As I was paddling into the wind and waves the bow was riding high and slamming down hard into the troughs behind. The hull shape which keeps a lot of volume forward and is mainly a 'U' cross section, proved good in other situations but didnt work well in this scenario. I guess every hull shape is a compromise. Before coming ashore I did a few rolls and these worked fine, the back deck still being plenty low enough for the 'layback' roll which is one of the easiest in my books. Manoeverability? very good although as expected not quite as good as the Bach

The fixtures and fittings were very good as to be expected from Rockpool. The Kayaksport hatches are lightweight, easy to fit and of course, watertight. There is a choice of seats and I found the seat in the demo boat just right, being positioned as low as possible in the boat. The new deck compartment and mini hatch is an excellent feature, it has a surprising amount of useful space and will be at the top of my wishlist for any new boat. There are a considerable number of criss crossing bungee lines across the foredeck which seem very useful. The footrest is something I've always had a problem with, primarily because I have long legs and also being not too flexible I like to fidget about in the boat changing positions rather than being locked into one position all the time. (in my Bach I've made a custom arrangement with wooden blocks with a gap in the middle). Incidentally I'm about 6' and 86kg. The skeg is Rockpools own with a Karitek slider and although working 'back to front' it worked well.

In conclusion the GT lived up to expectations and is on my shortlist although I plan to try a few other boats such as the Point 65N XP, Nordkapp lv and Tiderace explore.

Complete set of pictures here
GPS track here

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Complete set of pictures here
GPS track here
Last edited by JulesT on Tue Aug 04, 2009 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
Jules

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soundoftheseagull
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Location: Lives in a Pineapple but NOT under the sea, Prestatyn, North Wales
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Re: Rockpool GT

Post by soundoftheseagull » Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:23 pm

What colour did you order :) ????
Dave

Rockpool GT

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Mikebelluk
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Re: Rockpool GT

Post by Mikebelluk » Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:43 pm

Jules,
I was staying at Anglesey Outdoors that weekend, and a bloke staying there had demoed and returned the same boat you must have got earlier on Sunday, and he thought it was a top boat too.
My main observations were that it was a very light layup; there was certainly some 'give' on the rear deck, and it is very well made.

Owen
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Re: Rockpool GT

Post by Owen » Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:54 pm

Jules,

I know its a difficult thing to quantify, but what's the volume/carrying capacity like compared to the Alaw Bach?

I'd be interested to know how you feel about the GT compared to the Nordkapp.

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soundoftheseagull
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Re: Rockpool GT^

Post by soundoftheseagull » Tue Aug 04, 2009 3:29 pm

Not sure on the actual facts and figures but owning a Bach and having both tried and ordered the GT it appears to be a tad more, I know the Bach is 325 Volume Litres and the Menai is 381 I assume the GT is up there with the Menai?
The hatches are considerably bigger allowing for easier access etc.
I have managed to live out of the Bach for 6 days in Norway from looking at the GT I would surmise that part of a kitchen sink might join me on the next outing.
Give Rockpool a bell there always happy to help.
Dave

Rockpool GT

geoffm
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Re: Rockpool GT^

Post by geoffm » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:21 am

A really good review of the GT at Expedition Kayaks website by Rob Mercer.http://www.expeditionkayaks.com/ Rob is an Advanced Sea Instructor in Australia. I have been coached by a few top level coaches and can honestly say he is right up there with the very best of them so the review definitely carries weight.

Geoff

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soundoftheseagull
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Re: Rockpool GT^

Post by soundoftheseagull » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:33 am

I like it :0)

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Dave

Rockpool GT

rsd01
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Re: Rockpool GT^

Post by rsd01 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:09 pm

I just returned from Scotland after a weeks touring round the Summer Isles and Raasay and Rona in my Rockpool GT. The kayak handled everything thrown at her, when we left Sconser for Raasay we recorded a gust of 39.5mph SW, as you can imagine it was quite choppy out there. We were self contained camping and the GT swallowed up all my camping equipment, food and spare clothes, with room for more. Coming down the East coast we surfed for about 6km, the GT handled all well and was very fast. Also very maneavable when rock hopping and going in the caves.

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