Valley Skerray, Perception Sealion - any good?

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Coupey
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Valley Skerray, Perception Sealion - any good?

Post by Coupey » Mon Dec 26, 2016 9:03 am

I'm a keen kayaker but not sea kayaked before. I was looking for a plastic Capella, but I've been offered a composite Valley Skerray for £500 and/or a plastic Perception Sealion for £400.

At the moment I'm tempted by the Valley which is in very good condition.

Could anyone please tell me whether these boats are okay? I'm 5'9, and 14 stone.

This is the valley:

Image

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nigelhatton
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Re: Valley Skerray, Perception Sealion - any good?

Post by nigelhatton » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:10 am

Buy the valley skerrey and start paddling, I paddled one in Torbay just two weeks ago and I liked it.

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Coupey
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Re: Valley Skerray, Perception Sealion - any good?

Post by Coupey » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:18 am

Cheers Nigel. Thanks for that. How did you find the handling - brutal or forgiving? Also - is the boat heavy to manoeuvre out of the water?

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nigelhatton
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Re: Valley Skerray, Perception Sealion - any good?

Post by nigelhatton » Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:44 pm

I'm used to paddling narrow unstable kayaks but I found the skerrey fairly stable and quick. It was a 2001 fibreglass boat and when My rewind bought on her car I thought it was a P and h cappella. I'd say it weighed around 25 kgs. I'm not a good judge of touring kayaks but this thing steered straight with the skeg down. I never had a spray deck on because it wasn't my kayak so I never attempted to roll it. There are many experts and theorists on this website forum who may come along and offer an opinion.
He sea lion is a good boat but slower than he skerrey but tougher due to it being plastic.
Good luck

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Ceegee
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Re: Valley Skerray, Perception Sealion - any good?

Post by Ceegee » Sat Dec 31, 2016 3:49 pm

The skerray looks to be in great nic and imo is the one to go for, I had a PE skerry and it is a good all rounder! This seems to be an older model, so if you are at all "handy" over time you may want to remove the deck pump and replace with a day hatch and third bulkhead, moving the pump to the footrest, or go electric, and put in a cable skeg instead of the deck mounted pulley, cord and bungee. £500 for a minor classic in such good nic is a bargain. Check the condition of the hatch covers as the VCP ones are prone to disintegrate and costly to replace, you could be in for another £100 if they are bad.
Cheers,
Steve C. G.

Chris Bolton
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Re: Valley Skerray, Perception Sealion - any good?

Post by Chris Bolton » Sat Dec 31, 2016 4:28 pm

As others have said, the Skerray looks like a good boat for you. The original Perception Sealion was one of the first (if not the first) polythene sea kayak, I remember somebody had one in 1989, and the performance was definitely not up to the composite boats of the day (which are themselves not as good as more recent composites). There's a more recent Perception Sealion Fastnet - recognizable by the rubber hatch lids, not the strapped down polythene covers of the original, which may be better, but I don't know - I'd still go for the Skerray unless you're planning to bash into a lot of rocks.

Nick P
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Re: Valley Skerray, Perception Sealion - any good?

Post by Nick P » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:52 am

I had a Perception Sealion for almost 20 years.
When I bought it in 1989 it was one of only a few makes that didn't have small, round hatches, and that figured large in my selection criteria, on order to be compatible with camping gear that I had at the time.
However, as a boat it was very uninspiring, although I didn't know better at the time. It is quite a high volume boat with a very large cockpit. Much of that cockpit volume is wasted, partly by an albeit very comfortable armchair of a seat. The seat needed lots of hip padding (I'm not overly skinny: 34 inch waist). The seat back is rigid and too high - no way could I get my torso against the rear deck.
The bulkheads were 4 inch thick PU foam that was initially stuck in place, but soon became unstuck due to flexing of the hull (oil-canning). The forward bulkhead was way to far forward, unless you are a 7ft giant.
The boat was very prone to weathercocking in strong beam winds. There was no skeg option, although rudders were an option on later boats than mine.
So, in summary it was a big barge of a boat, capable of carrying large amounts of kit, but a very uninspiring paddle. I eventually changed to a Tiderace Xplore and also have a Capella.
Go for the Skerray!
N

TheEcho
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Re: Valley Skerray, Perception Sealion - any good?

Post by TheEcho » Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:50 pm

I have no experience with the Sealion. My paddling partner and I have a plastic Skerray and a more modern boat, Wilderness Systems Tempest 165, also plastic, which I have heard someone describe as a competitor to the Capella you were interested in.

Pros of the skerray compared to the Tempest
- more stable, hard to capsize, very forgiving
- hatches don't leak
- much cheaper
- roomy for big or small kayaker
- easy to maintain skeg on a string
- pretty manoeuvrable for such a long boat

Cons:
- hatch covers don't last forever if kept outside
- harder to roll than other designs
- high volume cockpit, needs lots of foam for most folk to feel a connection with the boat and get comfy.
- slower than the Tempest for same effort (at least for beginners, 'may not be the case for superhuman types going hull speed)
- won't track in a straight line quite as easily as the Tempest, although there is not a lot in it.
- hard to be precise with the skeg
- ocean cockpit

Although it does seem that it has more cons than pros (and generally we fight over who gets the Tempest) it is a good old boat and far cheaper than a more modern design. Yours being composite will solve the speed problem.

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