Valley Skerray^

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rockall
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Valley Skerray^

Post by rockall » Sun May 08, 2011 10:57 am

I'm interested to get users' (if there are any) views on the Valley Skerray sea kayak. I have the plastic version acquired secondhand and am wondering what it compares to (or was replaced by in the Valley lineup?). From the little I've found on it, it appears to be quite well thought of, but I've only found a few comments. Someone said it was like a plastic Pintail...but I'm too new to know what a Pintail is!

Thanks
Hugh

Goatboat
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Re: Valley Skerray

Post by Goatboat » Sun May 08, 2011 7:53 pm

The Skerray was one of Valley's earliest Plastic Sea Kayaks. We had four early Plastic one, bought second hand from Plas Menai in 1994. They were well used when we got them, they just keep on going. I paddled one for 6 years.

The Pintail is based on the Anas Acuta which was a more traditional Greenland styled hard chined hull. The Pintail has a more rounded hull than the Anas Acuta.
Pintail is quite a playful craft and turns ands is more playful especially so when edged. Suits lighter paddlers.

http://www.valleyseakayaks.com/boats/classic

The Skerray is a great allrounder and was used a lot by Outdoor Centres. As a starter Sea kayak I would say it is a good choice.

Mark

rockall
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Re: Valley Skerray

Post by rockall » Mon May 09, 2011 1:36 pm

Thanks for that, Mark, useful information - good to know that the Skerray is a good all-rounder, probably what I need!

I've been dubious about the speed of the boat the few times I've been out, but this has only been on lakes, allbeit with some wind and small waves. But I made little impression on a 12ft Dagger! The bottom of the boat is well scratched from centre use, although it doesn't leak a drop anywhere. But someone suggested that scratches can cause 'drag'...? That much drag?

My guess is that the boat will come into its own once the sea is reached... ;)

ian.miller
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Re: Valley Skerray

Post by ian.miller » Mon May 09, 2011 1:58 pm

The plastic skerray is exactly that. It was the plastic version of the composite skerray which was available in a standard version and an expedition version. This was in the days before LV and HV became trendy terms. (early 90s). I seem to remember it bore no relation to any of the Valley range and the composite version was certainly a useful boat. The plastic version was Valley's answer to the appearance of the first Cappelas and I always thought it was a much better boat than the original cappela and seemed to be less likely to suffer from hull deformation.
IanM

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Ceegee
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Re: Valley Skerray

Post by Ceegee » Mon May 09, 2011 5:53 pm

I've got one, as others have described.

Fine intro boat - old scratched centre boat used to get back into the sport several years ago. Moved on to a Nordy and an Alaw B. but kept the Skerray for rock hopping, to lend to vistors and to take newbies out for short trips.

Yea, scratches do slow it down, but it's not fast anyhow. The (composite) Nordy left it standing. I suddenly had an overdrive!

Try to store it on it's side/hanging in slings. The bottom of the hull can dish a bit if stored on the ground. Look out for cracks/splits in the PE around the (rear) of the cockpit rim. The valley hatches (oval rear/round front) perish v. quickly (and are pricey) IMO. I take them off and store them inside when not in use.

Does yours have the day hatch and keyhole cockpit or is it the really old version like mine?

Image
Cheers,
Steve C. G.

rockall
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Re: Valley Skerray

Post by rockall » Mon May 09, 2011 7:52 pm

Hi Steve,

Mine's the old version, ocean cockpit, no day hatch. I do keep it stored on its side, it lives outside in the yard!
I'll post a piccy when I can work out how to - seems they need to be stored online somewhere and I haven't got flicka or picasa.

Hugh

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gasserra
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Re: Valley Skerray

Post by gasserra » Mon May 09, 2011 11:58 pm

I've had one of the old plastic ones for a few years--in fact, it's the kayak in my avatar. Ceegee' comments are dead on.

There were two plastic versions, the Skerray RM with the ocean cockpit and the Skerray RMX with a larger slalom type cockpit--sort of a forerunner to keyhole cockpits of today. Hulls were the same.

It's well worth storing indoors, or at least under shelter, or even under a tarp, when not in use. The plastic degrades over time due to UV. My boat has been stored indoors, and it's held up very well despite being 15 years old now.

With respect to handling, I think it's quite a good boat. On the negative side, as others have noted, it is slow, especially in calm or flat conditions. However, it is stable, both at rest and on edge. It's very manueverable, and is very good in rough water--almost as good as a Pintail. It has large enough volume to hold a very sufficient amount of gear for camping. I think it is an excellent boat for a beginner to intermediate paddler who is keen to advance his/her skills, and, as Ceegee noted, it will remain useful later as your paddling skills develop. It would also be good for someone who wanted a sea playboat, but was too big to fit into a Pintail or Romany or Avocet. And, not insignificantly, if you find them today, they are usually pretty cheap. You can do much worse.

rockall
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Re: Valley Skerray

Post by rockall » Tue May 10, 2011 4:59 pm

Thanks for the comments, gasserra, am encouraged by what I hear so far...and the explanation on speed, which this boat doesn't seem to have! But all things said, I think I'll hang in with it for a while, although I'm tempted by glass... ;)

Here's a pic of it at Ullswater.

(no, you'll have to wait - forum script is just showing up" It was not possible to determine the dimensions of the image".....!! Sorry )

seylan
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Re: Valley Skerray

Post by seylan » Tue May 10, 2011 5:11 pm

Sorry to be the negative voice here but I don't like the Skerray. Not because of the handling - it's served me well enough in rough conditions and I find it ok, if not great, when its calm, and it turns very easily. But I find it incredibly uncomfortable. Perhaps you've got a more modern one, I don't know (I think some now have knee rests and comfy seats?), but my club has Skerrays and that's what I learned in and very few people in the club were able to paddle them in comfort. A lot of the guys had problems with their legs going numb - some took out the seat to give more room - and for others it was just plain uncomfortable. I would come back from every trip with big bruises on my back. And don't get me onto the subject of trying to roll them. Unless you're fairly hefty you just knock about inside them and get bruised knees as well as back and its really, really hard to roll them up.

So if you're comfy in it - great, you're lucky - but if you're not you might be doing yourself a favour if you looked around.

rockall
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Re: Valley Skerray

Post by rockall » Tue May 10, 2011 5:29 pm

Hi Seylan,

Well I haven't got a lot to compare it with at the moment...I certainly haven't had the bruised back or numb legs problems you mention.

I briefly paddled some glass boats at Karitek recently - a Cetus, a Capella and a Rockpool GT - and while they were certainly slicker in design and feel (more instantly responsive), they didn't feel desperately more or less comfortable than the Skerray.

I guess only time will tell.

Image
Last edited by rockall on Tue May 10, 2011 5:40 pm, edited 5 times in total.

seylan
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by seylan » Tue May 10, 2011 5:32 pm

That's good then. If it was that uncomfortable you'd certainly know about it by now. It does seem to suit some people - it just depends on your shape and size and the outfitting of the boat I think.

sleepybubble
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Re: Valley Skerray

Post by sleepybubble » Tue May 10, 2011 5:40 pm

rockall wrote:Hi Seylan,

Well I haven't got a lot to compare it with at the moment...I certainly haven't had the bruised back or numb legs problems you mention.

I briefly paddled some glass boats at Karitek recently - a Cetus, a Capella and a Rockpool GT - and while they were certainly slicker in design and feel (more instantly responsive), they didn't feel desperately more or less comfortable than the Skerray.

I guess only time will tell.

This is my Skerray

(sorry, I've no idea how to make the image actually show here, it's baffling)
Edited to remove Image to save on duplication...

Just like that! :))))
Last edited by sleepybubble on Tue May 10, 2011 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rockall
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by rockall » Tue May 10, 2011 5:41 pm

Got it!....see above.

thanks

Image

sleepybubble
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by sleepybubble » Tue May 10, 2011 5:55 pm

One of my mates has a Double hulled Glass Skerry, its quite the armchair. Feels loaded when its empty, and so can be a bit slow. He doesn't mind though as he mostly paddles when its either lively or we are doing a short camping trip. As you can see from the picture below on new years day it really is an armchair, the conditions were certainly lively as the swell was breaking over the rock he is hiding behind. It might be a bit of an effort to roll, but on the basis that you can sit in it without using support strokes in seas that most people would never ever venture out in I doubt you'd ever need to roll it.

Image


Mark

Edit. I'm not advocating that it is unecessary to learn to roll Just becasue you paddle a Skerry of course, that would be silly....

rockall
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by rockall » Tue May 10, 2011 6:01 pm

By contrast to those stormy seas....

Image

Like your photo, though, very arty! And would love to get out in those conditions...eventually!

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Ceegee
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by Ceegee » Tue May 10, 2011 6:59 pm

sleepybubble wrote:One of my mates has a Double hulled Glass Skerry,
So he's OK for icebergs ???

@ seylan, agreed, the seat is not the most comfy (I've mentioned this in other threads). IMO the issue is the very low foam pad seat which greatly aids stabity, but leaves the thighs unsupported. I extended and raised the lip with a bit of minicell, still the Nordy is far superior, and as for the Alaw seat, well I'd take it out and watch the telly from it if I could - 10+hours non-stop no problem.

As said, I use my (PE) Skerray mostly as a loan boat, or for shortish trips (1-2 hours max), where stability and crash'n'bash are more important than comfort.
Cheers,
Steve C. G.

sleepybubble
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by sleepybubble » Tue May 10, 2011 7:32 pm

Ceegee wrote:
sleepybubble wrote:One of my mates has a Double hulled Glass Skerry,
So he's OK for icebergs ???
If we see any I'll be sure to post the pictures... I think it was originally built for a paranoid coach who wanted a boat that wouldn't wear out in a hurry (well thats the story). It does weigh a lot. I can't paddle it as the front bulkhead is modified to far forward for me. I only found that out when showing him a cowboy entry with his own boat one day. I got as far as my knees being inside the boat before I ran out of room, not the sort of position to be changing your mind about what your doing. Needless to say once we had emptied the water out of his boat he wasn't quite convinced that it was an effective re-entry method.

Mark

rockall
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by rockall » Tue May 10, 2011 7:41 pm

I must admit the cockpit is a bit of an acquired taste. I like the sense that you're more 'at one' with the boat and the fit is kind of tight. But as entry is more than a mite difficult, I'm wondering what a hurried exit will be like....! I'm 6ft with a 34" inside leg and to get some knee purchase beneath the front deck I have the footrests two stops from the (bulkhead) end - even then I only have a very slight knee bend. The backband get's in the way as you slide into the cockpit and it's almost unavoidable to end up sitting on it and then having to fiddle it out from under your bum before you put the spraydeck on.
Once inside everything is OK-ish, in my limited experience (2-3hrs on the water). But entry and exit don't seem to be strong points for a 6 footer like me. Stability might be the saving grace if the boat has it, because I wouldn't want to be getting in and out more than necessary....

Incayak
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by Incayak » Tue May 10, 2011 7:58 pm

I'm wondering what a hurried exit will be like....
Not a good unanswered question to be paddling with.

rockall
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by rockall » Tue May 10, 2011 8:44 pm

You're right - we are going out this weekend to purposely spend the day capsizing!

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gasserra
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by gasserra » Wed May 11, 2011 3:36 am

Well, a few more points--

With respect to seat comfort--I think, as for most kayaks, this is largely a matter of individual body habitus. I'm perfectly comfortable in my Skerray. My wife, an inch shorter overall, with legs about an inch longer than mine, and within 10 lbs of my weight (no comment on which direction!) hates it. She finds it so uncomfortable that she won't even get in it. I have an RMX version--it's the thigh braces she hates. So seemingly small differences in body geometry seem to matter a lot.

I have found the plastic Skerray easy to roll. Not as easy as a Pintail or a Romany, or an Explorer, but definitely easier than an ocean cockpit Nordkapp.

As far as wet exits from any ocean cockpit kayak--if you try to dive out, like you might do in a big cockpit boat--you'll fail. Slide the boat forward off your legs, like slipping off a pair of trousers. No problem.

Fast Pat
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Re: Valley Skerray

Post by Fast Pat » Wed May 11, 2011 8:57 am

seylan wrote:Sorry to be the negative voice here but I don't like the Skerray. Not because of the handling - it's served me well enough in rough conditions and I find it ok, if not great, when its calm, and it turns very easily. But I find it incredibly uncomfortable.
This is a "fault" so renowned that there is a technical term for it "skerray legs".

We have had them in the fleet at work for 16 years, both ocean and keyhole cockpits, we have now finally replaced all but one with Rockpool TCC and Scorpios. In the time we had them they performed admirably, and certainly lasted better than the early Capellas but people either loved them or hated them due to comfort.

bjarne81
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by bjarne81 » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:08 am

Hi everyone!
I'm paddling an old Skerray plastic ocean cockpit version with lots of deep scratches and evidence of hard abuse for about one year (it was the only boat i could effort then), and find it quite sufficient.
As said above, the old foam seat is quite uncomfortable and the numb legs are a well known issue. I have removed the lower half of the seat to have a bit more space in the cockpit and it worked out quite well, now only my left leg gets numb sometimes due to getting pushed against the deck fitting of the skeg-line clamb, which is installed just at the wrong point :-) The Skerray is quite stable and I have had no problems with the wet exit and rolling it. Only the cowboy-re-entry is difficult as hell, due to the small cockpit. Here i would recommend an assisted re-entry, where you slip inside the boat feet first, using your buddies boat for support... The storage-space of the Skerray is big enough for multiple day camping trips, and I have even installed a fishing rod mounting for trolling :-) The low speed of the vessel is not an issue for me, for i prefer safe and stable paddling to racing :)
I would recommend the Skerray for beginners and intermediate paddlers, especially if there purse is as small as mine ;-)

(Animated image removed by Admin)

bjarne81
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by bjarne81 » Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:48 am

...tried to post an animated picture of me doing a roll in my Skerray, unfortunately it has been removed :(
I wanted to post the picture, to show that it's not that difficult to roll the specific vessel...
Maybe it will work as a link to the picture...
http://outlawsince81.gmxhome.de/roll.gif

Have fun :)

mikeybaby
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by mikeybaby » Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:27 pm

I had one of these beauties for 15 years.

Yes legs occassionly felt numb but if correct forward paddling (cycling the legs) was applied it was fine.

On the other hand, I like to spend most of my sea paddling playing in or around rocks and caves. I go where glass boated buddies free to tread and for that I don't need speed (although it will easily keep up with an AlawBach over full day out) I need manouvrerability. Its extremely stable as mentioned up close to rebounding cliffs/waves, also if you pick the right wave it will "pop" out on a wave if surfing very predictably.

rockall
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by rockall » Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:11 pm

You're making me want to keep it, now....!!

Big Ade
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by Big Ade » Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:28 pm

I had the HV Composite version known as the Skerray Excell.
It was plenty quick enough as very little went past me, and a faster boat was pointless due to having to wait ages for people to catch up.
One thing not mentioned yet is the rope operated skeg, truly brilliant compared to the tiny wedge things you seem to get on modern boats.
You could virtually dial in your course for open crossings like setting the hands of a clock.

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MikeB
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by MikeB » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:16 am

bjarne81 wrote:...tried to post an animated picture of me doing a roll in my Skerray, unfortunately it has been removed :(
The forum software doesn't support animated gif's.

rockall
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by rockall » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:56 am

I think the rope operated skeg is a pain! It's good in that it's simple and you can easily take it out of the box for repairs (bungee), but it's almost impossible to know how much skeg you've got down and locking it in position is likely to lose whatever deployment you wanted as you fiddle to get it under the locking roller. Basic but not very refined. If it's "dialling in your course like the hands of a clock" then I can get 12 o'clcok, 6 o'clock, but I wouldn't know whether teatime was 2, 3 or 4 o'clock ;)

bjarne81
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Re: Valley Skerray^

Post by bjarne81 » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:27 pm

@MikeB
Sorry, I didn't knew that...

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