Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

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MikeG
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Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by MikeG » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:54 pm

Planning on doing the circumnavigation of the UK starting in April next year. About to buy new composite boat which I need to be comfy and fast. Key information is that I'm 6ft 4ins and 16 stone so need a big boat. Money not an issue (i.e. can't currently afford any of them!)

Shortlist is:

1. P&H Cetus HV
2. Tiderace Xplore-X
3. Valley Etain 17-7
4. Rockpool Taran

Anyone have any thoughts on which might be best for this purpose? Realise it's about personal preference and comfort but all thoughts and advice welcomed.

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Mark R
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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by Mark R » Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:00 pm

Whatever you get, have it laid up as strong as possible. Assuming you're talking about going solo, your boat will be beaten senseless being dragged/ trolleyed on and off the water.

Mine now has stress fractures all along its length and wear patches in the gelcoat, and it's only been solo around Scotland...
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TechnoEngineer
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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by TechnoEngineer » Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:09 pm

Out of interest, what do you paddle at the moment?
XL-Burn-3 / Monstar / Kodiak / My Videos

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MikeG
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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by MikeG » Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:11 pm

Thanks Mark, I'm actually going with a couple of friends so hopefully the stress will be reduced. Might look for a second hand one so I don't destroy a new boat but I doubt there's many second hand Tarans or Etains about (or in fact any of these!).

Mike

TechnoEngineer - I currently have a Valley Aquanaut HV RM which I'll use for most of the training but need a composite for the real thing.

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immunogirl
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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by immunogirl » Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:20 pm

Why do you need a composite boat? Other than, they're slightly less effort to get moving? Just curious since you say you can't afford one anyways and the trip is probably going to trash a composite boat.

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MikeG
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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by MikeG » Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:51 pm

A good question...always good to test the theory. My understanding is that composites are generally less effort over distance due to flexing and various other factors. Whilst I love my current boat, it isn't comfortable enough over a long time period. I simply need more room. The Cetus HV is the best I've found for room so far but haven't had a chance to test it on the water. Happy to be corrected if my thinking is skewed. I will be able to save up for one so money isn't really the issue. Trashing may support a second-hand boat though.

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by Graham T » Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:03 pm

Other than the Etain which I don't know about I thought the other kayaks had all been proven themselves suitable for such a trip. So unless i'm mistaken as for most of us when buying a boat a good long demo would seem the only way for you to make your own best choice, as to fit and handling.
Good luck with your preparations I hope it all goes well. I wonder if there are three of you though if it might be important that you are all able to paddle at similar speeds over a distance

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by Lendal » Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:05 pm

Why will the boat get trashed? An expedition is just a series of day trips. Paddling each and every day I'd expect a glass / kevlar or any kayak to last considerably longer than 3 - 4 months or even 2 years!
The best advice is to get out there and try each and every one, in winds OVER force 3. Any kayak is a good kayak - up to F3. Plus a good idea to make sure it isnt dependant on a skeg or a rudder.
What about the Explorer HV? Have you tried that? Specially designed for you folks with 34" plus inside legs and size 10 (+) feet!
I don't paddle one as I'm 5' and not very much more!
UK should be a great trip though!
Good luck!

Mark..... the word VANDAL comes to mind! Poor kayak... !! ;-)

/Eila

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MikeG
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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by MikeG » Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:32 pm

Thanks for the comments. It would be nice to think that the boat didn't get trashed but I guess after a long days paddling you stop paying so much attention to the odd scratch. I never really got on with the Explorer - I realise that's the equivalent of blasphemy on here but there we go. Time to ring around the various demo shops I guess. Amazing how hard it can be find to find the larger demo kayaks.

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by Owen » Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:36 pm

Have you tired the Rockpool GT, their a big load carrier and handle really well full or empty.

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MikeG
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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by MikeG » Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:51 pm

Excellent recommendation Owen, I'll add it to the list.

Thanks,

Mike

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by Dan@Tiderace » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:54 am

From your description the Xplore_X would be perfect for your expedition- it has ample space for your own frame, with capacity for carrying gear without it being at the expense of performance. At 430 litres volume it has wider scope than many other expedition boats for just this purpose.

It's been tested pretty well as a design so far, with trips such as the record breaking journey from Scotland to the Faroes, solo unsupported trips the full length of Norway and 4 x Xplore_Xs completing a circumnavigation of South Georgia recently (during which one of the boats even survived being sat on by an enthusiastic Elephant Seal) being good examples. The standard, glass 'Classic' construction is absolutely solid and designed for prolonged, loaded use in big conditions.

Of course, the best advice is to try all the boats that may fit the brief, as you're going to be spending a lot of time with it once you get going...

Best of luck!

Dan

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by GrahamKing » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:42 am

Mark R wrote:Whatever you get, have it laid up as strong as possible. Assuming you're talking about going solo, your boat will be beaten senseless being dragged/ trolleyed on and off the water.

Mine now has stress fractures all along its length and wear patches in the gelcoat, and it's only been solo around Scotland...
I'm with Mark on this one. You've only got to drag a loaded boat a little way to wear through the keel at bow/stern. Fit a keel strip, and be prepared to patch it when the original gel coat gets exposed.
And choose your trolley carefully. If sand gets trapped between trolley and loaded boat, you can say goodbye to your gel coat. An open-framed design such as Freya's will suffer less from this problem. Been there...

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by Gages » Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:03 pm

If I may say so
The Nadgee Solo http://nadgeekayaks.com.au/our-kayaks/nadgee-solo.html from Nadgee Kayaks Australia ... me : ) .... would be an awesome choice ,strong as they should be,light as they should be and if Stuart Trueman can get all the way around OZ in one ..its the boat to have ...In built Trolley system,Kevlar Keel strip plus heaps more

The best ..just along way away !!!

Any one want to import these ?

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by marcusdemuth » Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:48 pm

Nordkapp

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MikeG
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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by MikeG » Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:58 pm

Thanks Marcus - short and sweet. An opinion born of experience!

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Taran Tyla
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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by Taran Tyla » Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:13 pm

marcusdemuth wrote:Nordkapp
I agree, though I only did Wales...

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by frosty » Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:16 pm

Point 65Xp fast and built to last.

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:22 pm

Image
photo Donald Wilcox

Hello Mike,

Get one with a sail!

Douglas :o)

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by tg » Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:09 pm

"I sink therfore I am".

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by mick m » Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:13 pm

Gages wrote:If I may say so
The Nadgee Solo http://nadgeekayaks.com.au/our-kayaks/nadgee-solo.html from Nadgee Kayaks Australia ... me : ) .... would be an awesome choice ,strong as they should be,light as they should be and if Stuart Trueman can get all the way around OZ in one ..its the boat to have ...In built Trolley system,Kevlar Keel strip plus heaps more

The best ..just along way away !!!

Any one want to import these ?
Thay are bilt tuff, Gages made up my 3 piece Bombora, its fast , plaful and with the in bilt trolley Its a breze to move around on solo trips , I always remove my water befor mooving the boat , even on the trolly, I generaly put it in a day pack and sling it on my back , 20l of water is 20kg , makes a big diferance to the boat. get the keel strip done to, my boat dosent have one , saving on as much KG's as I can for air travel. after 3 trips iv got a bit of damage from draging on coral and a run in with a bomie , its easily mended, and dosent interfear with the integrity of the boat .but needs the gell coat pached to keep the water out of the layup, short term not a problem, longtern cold suck up water and ad wait to boat or have other nasty repocusions . and if you can aford it go with kevlar , forget carbon for an expodition boat the kevlare is the ducks guts, its strong , flexabel (most important thing in my opinion ) and lite

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by PSK » Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:17 pm

mick m wrote: ...a bomie
A bomie?

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by geoffm » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:10 am

A Bombora John. Shallow place (often rocky) where larger waves will break. Don't know what you call them over there but they are definitely a good thing to avoid.

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by PeterG » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:00 pm

Lendal wrote:Why will the boat get trashed? An expedition is just a series of day trips.
Could not disagree more, the combination of heavily laden and less than perfect landing spots forced by the tide and weather, or the need to seek supplies; coupled with exhaustion, is a bad one for the boat.

That is why I would recommend the smallest boat possible, so that you cannot pack it too heavily and so that it will fit between those boulders and can be manhandled around those obstacles on the way up or down to above HW.

In my case the Anas acuta fits the bill, but for someone of 6' plus, a litle larger might be needed.

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by thames kayak » Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:50 pm

I reckon you have a few options.

If your going to push it in all weathers and use a boat with a skeg go for an Explorer. Explorers are reasonbaly fast and excellent in rough water. They have a strong lay up and a keel strip helps greatly. Well proven expetion boat!

If your going to push it in all weathers and use a boat with a rudder go for a Taran. Fast well built and the rudder save's miles and reduces time on the water. Becomming a well proven expedtion boat!

Get a trolley too and bring spare inner tubes for it, as the salt water will corrode the valves

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by immunogirl » Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:27 pm

Lendal wrote:Why will the boat get trashed? An expedition is just a series of day trips. Paddling each and every day I'd expect a glass / kevlar or any kayak to last considerably longer than 3 - 4 months or even 2 years!
The best advice is to get out there and try each and every one, in winds OVER force 3. Any kayak is a good kayak - up to F3. Plus a good idea to make sure it isnt dependant on a skeg or a rudder.
What about the Explorer HV? Have you tried that? Specially designed for you folks with 34" plus inside legs and size 10 (+) feet!
I don't paddle one as I'm 5' and not very much more!
UK should be a great trip though!
Good luck!

Mark..... the word VANDAL comes to mind! Poor kayak... !! ;-)

/Eila
Hrm. Apparently my superhero power is trashing boats. I bought a nearly pristine P&H vela in March of 2010. Right now, it pretty much needs new gel coat bottom, top & inside and it's needed that for probably about a year. It has been on a couple 10 day touring trips and I never land that boat on the ground, drag it up on shore, or get in on land - but I've also taken it rock gardening, through oyster beds, and through sea caves. Sand in combination with the bottom of my feet & the bottom of the seat has worn through the fiberglass on the inside of the cockpit. I couldn't circumnavigate the UK without absolutely trashing a boat, but maybe that's a testament to my lack of skills.

I wouldn't take a trip around for a UK circumnavigation that I would have to worry about it getting trashed. So wouldn't vote for the point 65 xp that someone mentioned - I think the layup on that boat's a bit on the thin side.

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by Dolphin » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:10 am

The 'best' kayak for an UK circumnavigation is the one that allowes you to complete the circumnavigation.

Going for a record time has probably more to do with the mindset than the kayak. 'Fast' kayak, 'wrong' mindset/focus/skills, no 'finish'. With the focus (and skills) of the Sean's, Freya's, Jeff+Harry's of this world that can also handle the specific craft with an appropriate paddling style and racing background one could go for a time record.

Will the circumnavigation have failed when the record is not broken? Is it then considered a personal failure? Is any completion a success, done halfway? Blame it on the weather? Does unsupported means never having a pub meal?

While it has become more popular, that UK circumnavigation, actually the number of paddlers that have succeeded is not that many.

Any completed circumnavigation of the UK, irrelevant of how many days or even years it takes, is a record achievement, at least to me.
A

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by mick m » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:32 pm

I mostly paddel coast lines , not realy into big crosings , but I subscribe to ''a fast boat gives you a beter margin of safty'' for an expodition boat im seriously looking at a taran, Im a minamalist so It wold be half emty most of the time , I can get 5 days kit into a 14ft F1 skin on frame (designed of a mariner coster ) its fast for its size ,its got bukets of both 1st and 2nd stability and realy manuverabel for rock gardens and with a weekends worth of kit I can still lift it on my sholder

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by MikeG » Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:16 pm

Lots of great discussion here and I'm delighted how active and involved this thread has been.

Incidentally, I never mentioned trying to break any records or being unsupported. I have no intention of putting myself through the torments of Jeff, Harry et al and having paddling with Harry at least I'm aware I'm nowhere near this standard of competency - part of the reason for the trip is to increase my experience and exposure to different elements (although I'm confident I'm up to it in case anyone's worried!).

So it doesn't look like there's a clear winner although the Taran and Explorer seem to be popular. I guess it really does come down to trying as many as possible.

Incidentally, without going in to details, I'd like to say a big thank you to Pete Baars of SummitToSea who has been very supportive.

I'll report back when the final decision has been made. Now to find a tent...

Thanks everyone.

Mike

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Re: Best kayak for UK circumnavigation

Post by Mark R » Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:24 pm

Taran would be a ridiculous boat to take, unless your over-riding focus is speed/ records. Take any conventional expedition kayak that you are usually happy/ comfortable in. You'll be fit/ fast enough after a few weeks anyway, whatever you're in.
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