HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT^

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CCL
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HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT^

Post by CCL » Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:09 pm

Dear all,

I've swapped a few emails re this topic with friends and I'm still deliberating so I'm keen to hear anymore experiences and opinions.

I've decided I'd really like a decent size expedition boat so that I don't have to pack quite as carefully as I do with my lovely Alaw when away for a week or more trip. I've had the Alaw for quite a few years now and I still love that boat a lot (I don't think I'm planning to get rid of yet either). The things I like (and perhaps would still like to have in a new boat...)

build quality
ergonomics (I like the high knee option for edging)
weight (I must be able to pick up an empty boat and load it myself...)
long cockpit - makes getting in and out so much easier and safer
the built in skeg/extended stern (every trip I go on, I get asked to help unjam other peoples skegs! - wee pebbles/shingle or worse, replacement cables needed)
UK built - any little problems or repairs are so easy to organise
boat handling/surfing/fun :)
footplate
oh....and I still like a little bit of sparkle ;)

Other things I want for the expedition boat
more speed (I have noticed keeping up with a paddler has become somehwat more difficult - he has a cetus!)
space....for my big tent (NF Mountain 25) which is more stormproof than my wee one

I have tried all three of the above separetly:
1. Tiderace Explore - my brief memory was that it is fast and still fun but I had a very brief try and it was over a year ago at least ;)
2. GT - tried it once on a very very windy day in 'sporty' conditions...was amazed how 'safe' the boat felt and I can't say I noticed that turning the boat into the wind was particulalry difficult buit that may have been due to the big waves that I was concentrating on! Later, on refelction, I wondered if it felt a bit 'boring' compared to the Alaw...maybe that is a good thing? for some reason, it left me feeling a bit flat...
3. Mike Marshall kindly let me have a shot in his lovely light cetus last year. I am now convinced that I will need a lighter construction than standard. No way could I pick up Mr R's cetus on my own, but I managed to shoulder Mike's back to the car park :) I was amazed at the ability of the cetus to turn on a sixpence but missed the tracking that I am used to with the Alaw's extended stern and worried that if the skeg is not working for any reason (it was super stiff to move up and down) then all that manoevrability could be annoying?

So, 2 questions...

1. Any more opinions or reflections on the cetus vs GT vs Explore?
2. Anyone know oif any opportunities where I might be able to do a compare and contrast of all 3 boats in one weekend?


huge thanks
Claire

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by Summit to Sea » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:18 am

Claire,

We have a cetus demo here on Sunshine Island, we're only seven or eight minutes from Rockpool and we just happen to have a Carbon-Pro Explore that you can demo, but unfortunately we can't sell you one. Still if it solves your demo problems, of all three in one location and in one weekend, then drop us a line, or give me a call (and Mr Webb, obviously).

Cheers,
Pete
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CCL
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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by CCL » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:27 am

Great solution Pete - many thanks for the suggestion. expect PM :)
Claire

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by Knoydart » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:56 am

You would be more than welcome to demo the 2010 Xplore and the Cetus with us up at Knoydart in Penrith. I would imagine the Xplore Pete has will be Aled's 2008 model with the older deck/seating/footplate arrangement. The current layup and outfitting has changed considerably since then.

Sorry to sound like such an advertisement!

If you want to talk more about it please give me a call on 01768 840 055 or email df@knoydart.co.uk .

Thanks,

Dan

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by Fast Pat » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:42 am

As I have said on a previous thread I am the proud owner of a Carbon vac bagged GT, having previously owned 2 Alaws and before that a Carbon Sirius and too many other boats over the years to mention. I can get P&H boats at trade price and could have saved quite a bit of dosh by going for the Cetus but found that it did not have the responsiveness of the GT, others find different so it is very much a case of what suits you.

I also test drove the one of the earlier Explore and of course the Menia (which really is a three week plus exped boat and I don't get the holiday for that). The Explore and the GT were similar but different in their own ways - but both were much more responsive than the Cetus and more fun to paddle. I actually tested the Cetus and Explore together and the GT some months later, I remember preferring the Explore over the Cetus a lot but making a comparison between the GT and the Explore is more difficult, I would need to jump out of one and into the other for a more refined review. In the end it was ergonomics and build quality and choice of layup / colours that decided me on sticking with Rockpool. (That and Mike and John's charm and helpfulness!)

One of my previous Alaws was the full on “disco boat” that changed colour as you walked along it - truly a thing of beauty, if however you want a light boat (mines 18kg including hatches) remember that all that glitter is weight that adds nothing to the structural integrity of the boat. Rockpool can thankfully do some funky colours that make the most of the boat without glitter and I am one of the lucky customers with Carbon starfish!

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by Summit to Sea » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:47 am

Knoydart wrote: I would imagine the Xplore Pete has will be Aled's 2008 model
What an accurate imagination you have, that's exactly the boat!

;-)

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by soundoftheseagull » Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:59 pm

Claire
With regards to ticking the boxes in your list having been in your position that is the owner of an Alaw I found that the GT did it for me.
I wanted a larger carrying capacity boat and from our paddles we generally do some mileage so the playful and responsiveness you get from the Alaw wasn’t a priority.
The GT although bigger is still very responsive and also a great base for taking photos etc.
I suspect that one boat will not do everything.
I have not been disappointed and would highly recommend it.
The others I quickly tried at the gathering in Anglesey but in fairness to them I had made my mind up.
I again also wanted the quality and service that I had been use too with Rockpool.
Good luck with your choice.
Dave
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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by MikeB » Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:01 pm

I had the opportunity to try an Explore X at the weekend, and even from a brief 5 min trip it was very, very impressive indeed. Fast, very comfortable and agile.

The latest backstrap is a significant improvement on most other arrangements - it's a curved, padded plastic strap and is held up by two webbing straps. It gives excellent support. I had tried one a year or so back with the more usual backstrap attached just with webbing at either side, and found it hopeless.

The seat was good, and set almost on the hull and although I'd not bothered altering the footrests, which were set slightly too far forward for me, it's easy to get a secure fit in this boat thanks to the excellent thigh braces.

It takes and holds an edge supremely well - very re-assuring indeed - and watching it's owner paddling in conditions which I know in the past have caused him a few wobbles in a Quest, it was very interesting to see how much more stable and controlled he looked.

My only criticism is that I thought the cockpit was actually too big, even for me! Those who know me will recognise that there are very few boats of which I can say that! I'd want to try it with a little padding at either side of the seat to get a snugger fit. That said, it was rather nice to be really "in" a boat, rather than a sense of being "on" it.

My only other criticism is that I now want to try the standard Explore again, with the latest seat / backstrap arrangement, and will then quite probably want one or the other, depending on how it fits.

Anyone selling one (with the latest spec) is very welcome to get in touch! and if anyone wants a well used Quest, there could well be one for sale shortly.

Mike.

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by CCL » Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:17 pm

I paddled round the Isle of Wight this weekend....in my lovely Alaw. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it felt 'sluggish' on the glassy flat stuff and 'we' were only really comfortable again when we hit the tide race :)

It has completely confirmed that I want a longer boat for distance.

Claire

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by Owen » Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:08 pm

MikeB wrote:I had the opportunity to try an Explore X at the weekend, and even from a brief 5 min trip

My only criticism is that I thought the cockpit was actually too big, even for me! Those who know me will recognise that there are very few boats of which I can say that!
Mike.
Mike did this Explore X belong to someone called Peter? If it did I had a quick shot in it a few weeks ago. To me it felt enormous, especially after me AA, like I was sitting above the water surface. I can understand why Peter likes it with his legs, but he did get blown about in the wind. For me the GT is a much better boat for big trips but just can't get my head around the price tag.

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by MikeB » Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:59 pm

Owen, yes, it is Peter's boat - there is indeed a lot of it out of the water, but on the Solway trip it appeared well controlled and we had a decent blow on the Saturday afternoon. That said, I scrubbed the return leg as the sea conditions were then outside the criteria for an "A"!

I'm rather heavier than Peter of course, and quite a bit bigger than you are, but my memory is very much of a "big boat". Currently in the process of trying to get a demo in a standard Xplore - if anyone knows of anyone in Central Scotland / Perthshire with one who might let me try it I'd be obliged.

Regs, Mike.

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by Zoe Newsam » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:17 pm

Claire- definitely go for a light construction. My carbon Nordkapp LV is a billion times more manageable for solo loading & unloading than my old boat.

Good luck with the hunt!
Zoe Newsam
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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by Briansmith » Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:26 pm

Claire.

Lots of enthusiastic comments for the Explore and GT. As a longtime owner of a P&H and a short time owner of an Alaw Bach...I'd say give the Cetus a really good trial.... having recently had a full day at sea in the Cetus LV I'm looking to change kayak (the Cetus is a bit big for me, I felt lost in the cockpit and don't need that much storage).

Happy paddling

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by tpage » Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:04 pm

Cetus, Cetus Cetus....
Image

Image

Tony

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:04 pm

Stonkin'

Douglas :o)

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Mike Marshall
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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by Mike Marshall » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:07 pm

I'm with Tony & Douglas Claire :-)

However I will relay any bargains at the symposium to you during your "jog" this weekend ;-)
Don't forget your phone....hehehe!!!


MikeM

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by Graham T » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:11 pm

That is an unusualy nice colour for the deck, if it paddles as good as it looks you must be a happy man.

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by CCL » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:53 pm

aaahhh Tony - that sparkly paint job could just tip the balance ;)

Mike, I'm wondering if appointing you as my 'personal shopper' was a wise move....especially after I saw that wee new gadget of yours that you are planning on putting in that brand new watershed bag ;)

Thanks for so many great responses...great to have so much choice isn't it?

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by Fast Pat » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:03 pm

But remember all that glitters is not gold - its just a lot of excess weight that you carry up and down the beach.

And I say that as the previous owner of the disco boat.

Image

Now a carbon starfish - thats cool but light...

Image

And Mike and John can I even do a nice 1980s slalom boat fade...

Image

From gold to red - or similar

Image

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by Graham T » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:40 pm

Nice fade job do Rockpool spray the gel into the mould ?
As an aside if the Rockpool plastic guides for the shockcords and grab lines are adequately strong which they appear to be it is must be a far lighter way of constructing this area as well as probably being quicker to put together.

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by tpage » Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:51 pm

Fast Pat wrote:But remember all that glitters is not gold - its just a lot of excess weight that you carry up and down the beach.

And I say that as the previous owner of the disco boat.

Excess weight- from an layer of paint- I think that my feeble frame may take the strain of the extra ounce or 2.

Claire, I had borrowed a Cetus from Douglas and liked it alot but had initially wanted to go for the GT, I still have my Alaw Bach (with one of the super heavy glitter paint jobs). I tried it expecting it to handle a bit like the Alaw but it felt lifeless to me. I did a back to back test with the Cetus and it was no comparison. Also the Rockpool skeg didnt work but the Cetus worked perfectly. No contest in my mind but I still love my Rockpool Alaw Bach though!
Tony

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by Fast Pat » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:09 pm

tpage wrote:
Fast Pat wrote:But remember all that glitters is not gold - its just a lot of excess weight that you carry up and down the beach.

And I say that as the previous owner of the disco boat.

Excess weight- from an layer of paint- I think that my feeble frame may take the strain of the extra ounce or 2.
I think you will find that it is a minimum of a pound and excessive glitter nearly two - looks good though!

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by Jim » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:21 pm

Will they make one that is starfish all over? (i.e. no heavy waste of space gel coat).
It will need some kind of UV protection - there are various polishes which claim to do that.

Presumably the glitter is metal flakes - can they rust? ;-) Can they affect you compass?

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by tpage » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:43 pm

Fast Pat wrote:
tpage wrote:
Fast Pat wrote:But remember all that glitters is not gold - its just a lot of excess weight that you carry up and down the beach.

And I say that as the previous owner of the disco boat.

Excess weight- from an layer of paint- I think that my feeble frame may take the strain of the extra ounce or 2.
I think you will find that it is a minimum of a pound and excessive glitter nearly two - looks good though!
I think I'll manage the extra pound! I regularly paddle with a friend who likes to collect rocks from the various west coast islands we visit. He takes them home as gifts for his wife (for her garden). Now that is a real PITA carrying the boats up the beach at the end of a long day. But most of the places we end up going dont have shops for more lightweight gifts.
I think they are metal flakes Jim but they are covered with a laquer (Probably weighs another heafty ounce) and so shouldnt rust- havnt rusted on my Alaw bach so far after 4 years. Compass must be fine aswell as I havnt got lost yet.

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by mick m » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:54 pm

I woldent bother, all my boats end up looking a bit secondhand within a mater of munths, and if I lived on an island with pebal beaches it wold probably be a lot suner ! I do regularly buff them with a protectiv wax to stop UV and still get years of good survace out of them , after all ther ther to be yoused

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT

Post by Jim » Sat May 01, 2010 1:32 am

mick m wrote:I woldent bother, all my boats end up looking a bit secondhand within a mater of munths, and if I lived on an island with pebal beaches it wold probably be a lot suner ! I do regularly buff them with a protectiv wax to stop UV and still get years of good survace out of them , after all ther ther to be yoused
He he, that was exactly my angle, but I thought I should avoid being negative (for a change) :-)
Once it's wet my boat looks as smart as any other, just don't look at it when it's dry!

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT^

Post by MikeB » Sun May 02, 2010 5:44 pm

With apologies to Claire for hi-jacking her thread, but it's possibly good to keep the comparisons in the same place - -

I KNEW this would happen! I've jsut spent a short day in an Xplore, and now find myself with a quandry. I like it - a lot - but it's got just enough aspects I don't like.

Here's some subjective impressions from a wee outing on Loch Tay, so not in "real" sea conditions, and only over 15 km's or so. That said, conditions blew up a little on the return leg and gave me some chop from a high 3. The boat was only day loaded, but then I carry a fair bit even for a day's outing, about 1.7st of kit. I weigh 18st at the moment, so probably 19st kitted up.

My comparisons are against the Xplore X and of course my Quest.

What's good: Like the X, the latest backstrap is a significant improvement on most other arrangements - it's a curved, padded plastic strap and is held up by two webbing straps. It gives excellent support. The seat is comfortable, set almost on the hull and it's easy to get a secure fit in this boat thanks to the superb thigh braces. The Quest knee braces are far less effective and I'd say the seats and backrest arrangements produce the same result in both boats, and I view the early P&H seat and backrest arrangement as an excellent benchmark for all other boats.

Like the Xplore X, the Xplore takes and holds an edge supremely well - very re-assuring indeed - and the boat is very responsive to edge, giving immediate turns and a lot of manoverability.

The skeg is a straighforward wire one and was smooth and free-running. It's also very effective and there was even a minor degree of lee-cocking with the wind on the beam and the skeg fully down! The Quest just isn't quite as good.

The Xplore tracks like a train with the skeg fully deployed whereas the Quest usually feels underskeged, a comment I've heard from many people. Solvable I hear by retro-fitting a KariTek one. I'd say the Xplore edges better and certainly feels more solid on edge, which is saying something as the Quest edges well. It's very predictable, and even allowing for the fact that I didnt have the chance to really test it in the fairly benign conditions, I had the sense that the secondary stability is remarkable.

I have no meaningful way of checking speed, but it seemed "fast", and certainly was a joy to paddle. At rest it was stable in a light chop and overall felt very secure, while still being lively.

Finish is excellent.

What's bugging me: Well, I was hoping for a cockpit a little less roomy than the Xplore X, but bigger than the Quest. But while it's slightly roomier, and very easy to get into thanks to the long keyhole cockpit, and there's plenty of room for my size 11's, it's a little snugger than I wanted. I am a "big chap", 6'2" with meaty thighs, so I really shoudlnt complain that a 21 inch wide boat is "snug" - it did give a little more cockpit space than the Quest does though, which was surprising.

As I said previously, the Xplore X seemed too big, even for me! The Xplore fitted very well.

I can't see the point of the fore-deck hatch - perhaps you could get a few choccy bars in it, but certainly not a para-flare in a w/proof tube. What it does do is spoil the fore-deck bungee layout so that a map sits far too far forward to be readable properly and fitting a deck bag would be difficult too. This may be a very personal opinion, but I think it's a gimmick. What was good was that it didn't intrude into the cockpit space like the Cetus' does, but then again the Cetus one is usable.

I'm not convinced the Xplore will carry as much as the Quest does, which may be a real downer for me, liking my comforts. The fore hatch seems about the same, and the big oval hatch would be excellent for loading. The day hatch is notably smaller as it doesn't extend forward into the cockpit much. That leaves quite a big area behind the seat which can of course be useful if you want to put things there. The rear deck is slightly lower than the Quest's too.

The rear hatch seems to offer roughly the same usable space between the bulkhead and the skeg box. Width is just about the same as the Quest, but again, slightly shallower. The space between the skeg box and the sides of the hull is narrower, thanks to a sleeker hull profile.

My quandry. I'd really hoped the Xplore would leave me smitten and wanting one. I liked it very much indeed, but there's not enough in it right now to make me part with money. But I'm also wondering if I really should just go for the Xplore X and be done with it.

I note that Tiderace reckon the Xplore is really best suited for paddlers up to 17st, 6'3" - which brings me to my real quandry. I liked it a lot - but I'm wondering if it will handle my usual "expedition" loading, both in terms of space, and ability to carry it all. (And no, I'm not interested in reducing it, although the plan is to get me to 17 stone - - ) Irritatingly, there's no indication of weight range for the Xplore X.

I weigh 18st at the moment, so probably 19st kitted up. I'm guessing I carry maybe 4 stone of kit (tent, and the usual gubbins for camping, food, water, beer) for a weekend trip. It all goes in the Quest nicely. When I add myself, it does sit low in the water though ;-)

Has anyone got any views / advice / opinions / thoughts? Ideally on expeditioning what is, I appreciate, a big boat, but in reality when loaded with little me, would probably be at the top (or over) of it's weight range. Quest v Xplore comparison in terms of loading, hatch space etc would be very much welcome.

Or, should I consider a Rockpool? Is it's backband similar to the Tiderace or still what I consider to be a rather nasty thing held on with string, as with so many boats? Would a Menai 18 differ much (in reality) from the Tiderace Xplore?

Has anyone got the load specs for the Xplore X?

Jim - you must have some technical thoughts on loading and performance?

Thanks to Sea Kayak Oban for very kindly taking the boat to Aberfeldy so I could test it without having to drive to Oban. Excellent service!

Mike.

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT^

Post by Graham T » Sun May 02, 2010 9:48 pm

Hello Mike, I do not have the stats you are looking for nor the experience you perhaps require. That said I have paddled both the Xplore and "S" version prior to settling on the S for me. I am 5ft 5in and 11 st. Note I should be 10 st.
From the outside I would comment that you are presently beyond the top design limit and may or may not get to 17st. If 17st is the top limit and you are looking at this for tripping and have desided you dont have any desire to pack light but rather the opposite how is the Xplore going to fit your bill ? and if as is not unlikely you stay at your present weight even the more so then. I say this as we get older the weight is harder not easier to shift so looking to the future.
I have a greenlander pro which sports a long keyhole cockpit such that a map on the foredeck would be difficult for me to read so even with this design a deck which can carry a map might be better. I dont like deck clutter so i'm not a fan of deck bags although I would use one. I find the small foredeck cubby hole very convenient for a number of small items, if however you dont like it, and bear in mind these seem to be more common so maybe will limit kayak selection in the future if you hate them, a deck bag with map holding facitlity should work for you, being short may be partly why I dont like them in the way.
The "S" seemed quite happy to sit in very confused waters without feeling unsettled at all.
I hope when you have made your choice it works out for you as expected

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT^

Post by geoffm » Sun May 02, 2010 10:40 pm

Hi Mike,
I really think you should try a GT. I don't think the new FB seat would fit you but if you got Mike to fit one of the the earlier seats you might just find it your perfect boat.
ps I just received mine here in Oz and it is a very nice boat to paddle.

Geoff

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Re: HELP needed...Cetus vs Explore vs GT^

Post by Jim » Mon May 03, 2010 12:33 pm

MikeB wrote: Jim - you must have some technical thoughts on loading and performance?
Difficult when talking about boats I'm not familiar with..... (I've never been much into keeping up with boats designs).

First thing to do is convert your weight to kg (114.5) - similar to mine , then find out the volume of the boat in litres (380 for xplore, 430 for xplore X). In fresh water kg = litres, and since you may need to use the boat on an inland cruise (or even the top of Loch Etive) you might as well base your reasoning on this.

So it will take 380kg (including the boat weight 24kg) to get an xplore so the tips are just level with the surface, this is a bit low in the water for ordinary use. Lets take a guess that you want about 1/4 of the boat above the surface in normal use (this will probably vary for different boats) so the useable capacity is about 285kg. Take away the 24 for the boat and say 120 for a fully kitted up you and you are left with 140kg to load up. This seems like a lot so maybe the 3/4 immersion was a bit out.

Anyway we can compare some different boats now, the xplore X will be within a couple of kg weight wise so you will have about 177kg to play with, the quest is 365l and 25.3 kg leaving 110kg for payload.

As I say, without knowing the characteristics of each boat and the design displacement the above comparison is not 100% reliable, however I would say that if you find the performance of the Quest to be OK with your normal amount of kit, then the Xplore should be fine too. The Xplore X is a big thing indeed!

It is however interesting to note that tiderace have put some GZ curves for the Xplore on the website, and from this it seems that the design displacement is for approx a 150lb paddler (68kg) with no kit. The GZ curve only shows the variation in stability but it might be worth considering that elements such as speed and handling are probably optimised for that displacement - would be nice if they had the curves for the X, although you might find the xplore just fine, you may actually find that all the characteristics of the X are slightly enhanced because you will be closer to the design displacement.

So just working back, 68kg + 24kg = 92kg. 92/380 = 0.242 so it looks like the performance is based on 1/4 in the water and 3/4 above! On that basis the X is optimised for 107.5 kg - pretty much 17st without cargo!

I hate to think what the volume of the Sea King is!

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