Boats for "Easyish" Charity Challenges

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Fozzy
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Boats for "Easyish" Charity Challenges

Post by Fozzy » Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:43 pm

Hi All,

I'm the volunteer safety team leader for Meningitis Now and lead all their mountain challenges.

Also as a sea kayaker they have now asked me if I could suggest and lead a kayaking challenging. Bearing in mind most participants will likely be novices whom I will have either never paddled with or only for a training day or two I need to keep this very sensible, whilst still being a challenge and very achievable by paddlers in the afore mentioned categories.

I've come up with a couple of options.

1. Caledonian Canal - 4/5 days easy touring with wildish camping

2. Bute circumnavigation - 3 days with wild camping - proper sea kayaking

I'm edging towards the Caledonian Canal as at least from a marketing viewpoint more people will have heard of it and it's not so weather dependent. Also it's easy to hire boats and arrange a shuttle at the end. However, and this is where my question comes in. Boat hire is circa £150 incl pfd and paddle. which is fine but in the longer term they may be better buying their own boats etc. As a charity they don't pay VAT and could probably get paddles and pfds included in a deal. Cosmetic seconds could be just the job.
What I am thinking of is the Dagger Stratos which you can pick up new (seconds) for £550 each before any bulk buy haggling. I only have very limited experience of these but from memory they would seem to fit the bill.
Does anybody use them for fleet boats for students or clients for days out and intro to easy expeditions? Any thought plus or minus?

Thanks in advance for your help and advice.

Steve

Irish Sea
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Re: Boats for "Easyish" Charity Challenges

Post by Irish Sea » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:28 am

From my personal experience I would think the Stratos would fit the bill. I found it to be an easy handling, stable and general fun boat to paddle. Pretty good outfitting too.

On the other hand in the thread below yours "club kayak for smaller people" somebody commented that he sees a lot of problems with new paddlers struggling to keep the boat going in a straight line.

I personally didn't notice any tracking issues with the boat but then I'm not a novice and I usually paddle an Anas Acuta which is not exactly what you would call a hard tracking boat...

As other affordable, better tracking, novice friendly boats I would suggest the North Shore Aspect or the Venture Easky 15.

Fozzy
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Re: Boats for "Easyish" Charity Challenges

Post by Fozzy » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:55 am

Thanks Irish Sea,

I did think about both those boats (my first boat was an Easky 15) but they are considerably more expensive than what we can get the Stratos for.
I read the post mentioned and noted the "tracking problem" was in the L version paddling across the harbour, so presumably with no load, and also were the boats too big for the paddlers? There's also an apparent lack of skeg use/instruction. We will be paddling with the boats loaded which should help tracking.
I've just arranged a weekend loan of a couple of demo boats in both sizes and have recruited some novice volunteers to paddle them loaded and unloaded so we'll see how they get on.

Cheers

Steve

Allan Olesen
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Re: Boats for "Easyish" Charity Challenges

Post by Allan Olesen » Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:12 pm

Fozzy wrote: There's also an apparent lack of skeg use/instruction.
Lack of skeg use, yes.
Lack of instruction, no. Everybody are instructed not to lower the skeg when we do these tours.

As I wrote, we sometimes ask the paddlers in the Daggers to lower the skeg anyway, and it gives better tracking in conditions with no wind. But I fear that if we do this in windy conditions with wind coming at an angle from the front, we will end up with a choice between bad tracking and good tracking in the wrong direction. I will admit that I have never experienced beginners in windy conditions because our harbour is rather sheltered, so this is only speculation.

Anyway, I can really recommend this boat. We will probably buy more of them because they are so fun to paddle and built to a quite high quality.

Fozzy
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Re: Boats for "Easyish" Charity Challenges

Post by Fozzy » Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:43 pm

Thanks for the input guys.

I've managed to pick up 3 brand new cosmetic seconds Stratos and another only a year old and got change from £2k so very happy. Negotiating over two more.

Irish Sea
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Re: Boats for "Easyish" Charity Challenges

Post by Irish Sea » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:27 am

Allan Olesen wrote:
Fozzy wrote: There's also an apparent lack of skeg use/instruction.
Lack of skeg use, yes.
Lack of instruction, no. Everybody are instructed not to lower the skeg when we do these tours.

As I wrote, we sometimes ask the paddlers in the Daggers to lower the skeg anyway, and it gives better tracking in conditions with no wind. But I fear that if we do this in windy conditions with wind coming at an angle from the front, we will end up with a choice between bad tracking and good tracking in the wrong direction. I will admit that I have never experienced beginners in windy conditions because our harbour is rather sheltered, so this is only speculation.

Anyway, I can really recommend this boat. We will probably buy more of them because they are so fun to paddle and built to a quite high quality.

What about using 1/3 or 1/2 skeg then? In most boats that would give you something reasonably well balanced in wind and some help with tracking. I paddle my Anas Acuta with a bit of skeg down whenever I'm doing any sort of distance paddling to help with tracking. Never encountered leecocking no matter what wind direction or speed.

Fozzy
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Re: Boats for "Easyish" Charity Challenges

Post by Fozzy » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:18 pm

Just back from a first paddle in a Stratos 14.5S so the smaller one. I paddled it alongside a Valley Sirona. Took my youngest son along who is a novice paddler and we swapped between the two boats. I'm 85kgs and he's about 65kgs

I would say it's perfect for what I want it for. Turns even quicker than the Sirona, excellent primary and secondary stability.
Paddling in about a force 3 neither of us had any problems with tracking. Yes with no skeg and a broadside wind, as soon as I stopped paddling it weathercocked very quickly. Half skeg cured this and full skeg on the downwind runs and it tracked straight and true.

Speedwise I would say it won't have any problems staying with a group at the normal day paddling bimble. It will be great for rockhopping. Not tried surf yet.

Overall very very impressed and a real bargain for what I paid.

Irish Sea
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Re: Boats for "Easyish" Charity Challenges

Post by Irish Sea » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:47 pm

That mirrors my experience with the boat. Dagger really got it right with this one. And the price is amazing for what you get.

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