The Valley Etain^

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
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kevr
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Location: Derbyshire

The Valley Etain^

Post by kevr » Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:04 pm

Hi all,

Last August Pete at Valley asked if I would like to try out a new boat he’d built. Obviously I jumped at the chance to try out a brand new design. As luck would have it the following week we had a trip planned around Islay and Colonsay, so I said I’d take it on that. Pete was pretty sure that it would perform well, but as I had never even sat in it he was a tad nervous. What if I didn’t like it, would it spoil the trip? No worries there the boat was great! I took it out empty and fully laden in all different sea states and wind conditions and the boat performed well and it gives a very dry paddle. It was also truly amazing how much kit you could pack into it. A couple of weeks later I took the boat on another trip up to the small Isles. Again we had varied weather and sea states which tested the boat well. Overall I did around 450K in the boat with no name and it performed very well, very stable, which was great for me as I like to take lots of picture, but at the same time was easy to manoeuvre.
Well last week Pete asked if I would like to try out the now named Etain, offspring of the one I have in the garage. I again jumped at the chance as I knew Pete had tweaked the design and I was keen to see how it differed. It was our North west Sea Kayakers start of season meet up on the north east coast so that should be a good test for it. This boat was quite a bit smaller than the prototype I had tried, so Gill said she would try it first as she hadn’t liked the prototype as it was too big!! We paddled from Scarborough to Filey Brig and back last Saturday. When we started out there was a reasonable swell but no breaking waves. This soon changed by the time we got to Filey Brig. The wind increased sooner than expected and we had breaking waves from all directions together with quite a big following sea, great conditions for testing the boat. Gill normally paddles a Nordkapp LV and when we got back said she felt perfectly at ease on the water that day in the boat, even though she’d never sat in it before and was only laden with some spare clothes and lunch for the day. Apparantly, it felt like the well behaved relative of the cheeky playful Nordkapp, but with the ability to play when the time was right. It was even a more dry paddle than the Nordkapp.
I got to try it on the Sunday, though Gill was very reluctant to give it up. The swell was still there but there were no breaking waves. It felt quite a bit smaller than the prototype but performed very well, tracked well and was easy to manoeuvre. I also like the slight recess at the knee braces so you can feel very snug and at one with the boat.

Can’t wait to get two, though first I need to find space in the garage as the 8 sea boats, two river boats and all the paddling kit take up quite a bit of room!

I’ve put a few pics of both boats below.

Cheers,

Kev

The Boat with no name gets it's first taste of salt water!

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Approaching the first tide race at The Oa Islay

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Paddling towards the bottom of the Rhinns of Islay

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Light house at Orsay (Rhinns of Isaly)

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The beautiful beach at the end of Loch Gruinart

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Comparison with the Nordkapp

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Comparison with the Nordkapp

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The boat with no name, Avocet, Nordkapp and Aquanaught
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Sun setting over Jura

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Looking across to Rum

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Leaving South Bay Scarborough in the Etain

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Leaving North Landing Flamborough Head

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Heading towards the Gannet colony at Crab Rock

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The Shiner
Posts: 321
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:22 pm
Location: South Coast

Re: The Valley Etain

Post by The Shiner » Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:25 pm

Brilliant photos, interesting read too.
I'm waiting to demo one of these, but I don't think my budget will stretch to a composite one.

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wideblueyonder
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Re: The Valley Etain

Post by wideblueyonder » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:33 am

If it's of any interest, I have some comparison shots of the P&H Cetus and Valley Etain up on my blog. I've just spent a very enjoyable few weeks paddling the Etain for the the forthcoming Ocean Paddler review - really lovely boat!

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The Shiner
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Re: The Valley Etain

Post by The Shiner » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:48 pm

wideblueyonder wrote:If it's of any interest, I have some comparison shots of the P&H Cetus and Valley Etain up on my blog. I've just spent a very enjoyable few weeks paddling the Etain for the the forthcoming Ocean Paddler review - really lovely boat!
Wish I'd known, I would've liked to have seen one up close and not just in a picture.
Still waiting for Woodmill to get a demo one in : (

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wideblueyonder
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Re: The Valley Etain

Post by wideblueyonder » Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:44 pm

I know that Woodmill are planing to get a composite and plastic version in shortly so hopefully you won't have long to wait - the Etain may well come back my way before going back to Valley - if so I'll drop you a pm so you can get a look/paddle. Where in Hants are you based?

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The Shiner
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Re: The Valley Etain

Post by The Shiner » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:15 pm

wideblueyonder wrote:I know that Woodmill are planing to get a composite and plastic version in shortly so hopefully you won't have long to wait - the Etain may well come back my way before going back to Valley - if so I'll drop you a pm so you can get a look/paddle. Where in Hants are you based?
Yeah I've e mailed them but they don't have one yet, they're still waiting.
But it's not like I have a big wod of cash burning a hole in my pocket, I don't mind waiting.

Pm inbound

Woodmill Canoe Shop
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Re: The Valley Etain

Post by Woodmill Canoe Shop » Wed May 25, 2011 2:39 pm

Good News! Woodmill Canoe Shop have now got the Valley Etain's in the Demo Fleet! They're both composite and we have one of each size. Woodmill staff took them out last week for an after work paddle from Warsash to Lee-On-Solent. Great boats, great paddle, great time had by all!

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Active Nation
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Location: Woodmill Lane, Swaythling, Southampton, SO18 2JR
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Re: The Valley Etain^

Post by Active Nation » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:22 pm

I paddled the Etain a few days ago, admitedly on on the Itchen down to Northam Bridge - wow what a great boat. I have always paddled the Cetus and Scorpio or a Tempest 165 till now. The Etain felt great, the thigh braces, seat and back rest were just where i needed them. The boat felt pretty fast and responsive.

Just need to get it out on the sea proper now.

Thanks to Mike at Woodmill Canoe Shop for letting me use his demo boat.
www.woodmill.co.uk Check out our facebook page

Jonathan.
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Valley Etain^

Post by Jonathan. » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:22 pm

Is it just me or are the hatch volumes a trade secret? I've checked Valley's site in vain, and have also searched pages here but with no success.

Seems odd that such basic details should be so elusive.
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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: The Valley Etain^

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:41 pm

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Etain LV

Hello Jonathan think of a number and double it! As you can see the Etain LV is parallel sided for a significant part of its length. The Etain LV (175) is substantially larger in volume than the 7cm longer Cetus MV for example. It also feels huge in comparison to a Nordkapp LV, which is only 1cm longer. Thank goodness Valley have dropped the misleading "LV" from its recent marketing.
It is a very nice kayak but it is not a small kayak.
Douglas

swagstaff
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Re: The Valley Etain^

Post by swagstaff » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:33 pm

Valley have changed the fit of both the Etain 17.7 and the Etain 17.5, but the Etain 17.3 (the lowest volume one) remains the same.
The change has in effect lowered the thigh braces and given them more curl downwards on the inside edge ie supplys a better grip. This does however mean less room for those with big thighs. You can get the old fitting by special request.
At present there is in plastic only the 17.7 & 175 not the 17.3.
WHITEWATER ALL YEAR LONG

Jonathan.
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Re: The Valley Etain^

Post by Jonathan. » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:08 pm

Thanks both - but what I've been trying to learn is the volumes of each hatch, particularly the 17-7 which is the boat that interests me.

I can easily check, for instance, how many litres of chocolate (5.7ltrs) I can cram in the fourth hatch of a Cetus HV, another boat I'm considering. But the choccie capacity of an Etain pod? Or any other hatch? The figures seem to be mysteries.
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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: The Valley Etain^

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:24 pm

Hi Jonathan, the 177 Etain has so much volume that most people would never run out of space. As said many times before, try and paddle it. Unloaded, it floats very high and unless you are heavy, one of the smaller Etains would probably be more suitable for every day use. I am 200lbs and found it a bit big. At 200lbs, even the 175 is still a bit big for me to use primarily as a day kayak. The Valley pod is small, too small for a standard size VHF... Just big enough for a pair of tightly rolled up pogies.
Hope that helps
Douglas

Jonathan.
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Re: The Valley Etain^

Post by Jonathan. » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:34 pm

I weigh the same as you, Douglas, so that sounds like a good tip. Many thanks.

I'll make sure to try the 175 - though being 6ft2 I do find many boats impossibly small.

Cheers

jonathan
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Balgarvie
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Re: The Valley Etain^

Post by Balgarvie » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:41 am

I'm 6'3" and weigh 218lbs and have been paddling the larger etain for 18 months now with no complaints. Its a very good fit and the seating position I find to be very comfortable indeed. As has already been said the volume is huge, I can easily get in the day hatch what I struggled to get into the rear compartment of my previous boat. The removable storage box at the front maybe looks like it would be more at home on a medical ward but I can get a sling, hat, gloves and emergency first aid kit squeezed in there.

mick m
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Re: The Valley Etain^

Post by mick m » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:39 pm

Jonathan. wrote:I weigh the same as you, Douglas, so that sounds like a good tip. Many thanks.

I'll make sure to try the 175 - though being 6ft2 I do find many boats impossibly small.

Cheers

jonathan
I paddled the small one , I thort I was in the large one , plenty of room fo size 12 feet, and im 6'2'' 85kg it wold make a grate expodition boat, I cold emagin loding it up for weeks away , thay sail OK to

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