What to get after a Virgo?

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SimonRS
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What to get after a Virgo?

Post by SimonRS »

Hi All,

I have a P&H Virgo which I have used for couple of years on lakes and in the sea. I find it a good balance of speed, stability and manoeuvrability. It's also good because I can get it on and off the car and carry it a fair distance unaided.

But I have been thinking of "upgrading" to something a bit longer to get my speed up. I was originally looking at a Leo, but having spoken to a guy who has one, he said it was a good kayak, but found the extra weight a problem getting it on and off the car and was now looking for a composite replacement.

So my question is, what do people think would be a good progression from the Virgo, to get to a 15-16' kayak that I will still be able to carry for a few years yet (I'm 66) and is not too different in manoeuvrability and stability from the Virgo?

Thanks in advance
Chris Bolton
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Re: What to get after a Virgo?

Post by Chris Bolton »

I have a Virgo LV, and on timed sprints it's only about 3% slower than my composite Rockpool GT. At cruising speed the difference will be even less. Hull length makes a difference if you're really pushing the hull speed, and making big bow and stern waves, but not much at typical sea kayak speeds. That's assuming you don't load the boat up - if you're carrying camping gear, a longer boat has an advantage as it has much more volume.

I don't know how fast the MV and HV versions are; they are wider than the LV. I think you might struggle to find a boat that's faster and as manoeuvreable as the LV. I use mine in preference to the GT unless I'm camping. The LV is slightly easier to get on and off the car than the GT (I'm 68). A lightweight Kevlar composite might be easier, but that £4-5k new.
AllanH
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Re: What to get after a Virgo?

Post by AllanH »

You may want to think about trying one of Summit to Sea’s sea kayak demo weekends on Anglesey. You can sit in and paddle a wide range of different kayaks, and might be surprised at what you end up liking best - I was! Other retailers may do something similar, although I’m not sure that they would have access to so many different boats from different manufacturers.

If nothing else, it may help persuade you that the Virgo is not as slow as you thought…
simon64
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Re: What to get after a Virgo?

Post by simon64 »

Treat yourself to a composite Virgo, it will be lighter, stiffer and probably faster than the plastic one, the Virgo is popular for a good reason, I have always liked kayaks in the 14-15 ft range as I find them more versatile than longer kayaks, and I don’t do kayak camping anymore so a day boat is all I need, I would like to demo a glass Virgo with the performance seat, I sold my plastic one due to the connect seat and outfitting not working for me but its a great kayak.
ChrisJK
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Re: What to get after a Virgo?

Post by ChrisJK »

Alternatively build yourself a Shrike which is fast, light and fairly manoeuvrable plus weighs around 15 kg it does exceed your length specifcation as it is over 17ft.
Costings need updating but probably £700-£1000
seawolf856
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Re: What to get after a Virgo?

Post by seawolf856 »

Virgo to Leo is NOT an upgrade. The Leo is a great beginners boat but not as fast or manoeuvrable as the Virgo. The Virgo has proven so popular because it is 'nippy' for a short boat and has been likened to a mini Scorpio because of its general good handling and 'do-it-all' abilities. It sounds like weight is you main consideration so upgrading to a Scorpio is not the way to go. I reckon Simon 64 has the right idea - treat yourself to a composite Virgo.
Sean_soup
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Re: What to get after a Virgo?

Post by Sean_soup »

AllanH wrote:
Sat May 11, 2024 11:45 pm
You may want to think about trying one of Summit to Sea’s sea kayak demo weekends on Anglesey.
^This might be a good idea y'know. Could be the ideal boat is something not even on your radar yet.

I get why the new composite Virgo is being suggested, but it baffles me a bit too tbh. Manoeuvrability is only really fun while you're manoeuvring around something - the Virgo is a boat made for playing and above all it's a rock-hopping boat! Rock-hopping in a glass boat is fun and all, but unless you really enjoy doing gelcoat repairs it's also kind of inhibiting. A beautiful shiny glass Virgo seems to me a bit like buying a pair of special walking boots that you'd be afraid to get muddy, where's the fun in that?

Just my opinion.. Also, while I'm at it, I'll go out on a limb a bit with some extra-opinionated completely unqualified opinion that you might want to take with a little pinch of salt. Here goes..

Away on a tangent with the 'boat I'll still be able to lift on to the car in a few years' thing - hit the gym! Don't accept that getting older means getting weaker, take Dylan Thomas's advice but start early - rage, rage! There's no better protection from injury than being as strong as you can be. Weight-bearing exercise is good for maintaining bone density too, an excellent investment for the future. Not everybody gets the choice, but for a lot of us declining muscle mass isn't something inevitable, or at least it isn't something we can't put off for a good few years longer with a bit of effort.

The best bang to the buck there comes from loose weights like a good old-fashioned barbell, and old fashioned whole-body exercises like deadlifts, squats etc. (The downside to those is that to avoid the risk of injury good form is essential, so at least a little bit of coaching is likely to be a must. The upside is that those exercises also improve proprioception and strengthen the important little wee muscles and stringy bits that stabilise the joints we never really think about most of the time - gym machines bypass all that by guiding the movement for you.)

A lot of smaller independent gyms are very welcoming places these days, and if you can find a place to do a quite short session with relatively heavy weights a couple of times a week it's almost certainly possible to roll back that "Oof - this boat is getting heavier!*" feeling and go back to cheerfully chucking your existing boat up onto the car roof like it's floaty light for a good few years yet.

*Edit to add:
Not necessarily an illusion if it's a glass boat that you're using for reckless rock-hopping and subsequently doing lots of repairs. Pretty sure mine is getting heavier!
simon64
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Re: What to get after a Virgo?

Post by simon64 »

Stunning monochromatic fade, 14kg Image
Sean_soup
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Re: What to get after a Virgo?

Post by Sean_soup »

Ooft - it should be stunning if you're not getting much change out of six grand!

Someone looking for a longer, faster boat for 'expedition style' paddling with that kind of money to spend might also do well to remember that you could buy a new 3-piece version of any of Rockpool, SKUK or Valley's composite boats in the custom colour scheme of your choice for a bit less than that. Heavier of course, but on land you only have to carry 1/3 of it about at a time.
AllanH
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Re: What to get after a Virgo?

Post by AllanH »

My reading of the OP's post was that he is looking primarily to increase cruising speed, while not getting a heavy boat that he can't car-top. The composite Virgo looks very nice, but I don't think it fits more than one of those requirements - my understanding is that lighter boats aren't necessarily faster (except when you're carrying them, of course).

The problem is that a faster kayak is likely to be one with a longer waterline and may also be narrower, which means it won't be quite as manoeuvrable or stable. My personal step up from the Virgo was a Northshore Voyager Evolution 16.10, which turns surprisingly easily on edge due to the hard 'half-chines' but is significantly longer and narrower than the Virgo and so is considerably faster. I keep the Virgo for bouncing off rocks.

As for loading on the car, since I swapped to a taller car I use V-cradles and load from the rear using the KCS load assist rollers. No more lifting a heavy kayak over my head and hoping the wind doesn't catch it before it's in place!
SimonRS
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Re: What to get after a Virgo?

Post by SimonRS »

Sean_soup wrote:
Mon May 13, 2024 2:11 pm
AllanH wrote:
Sat May 11, 2024 11:45 pm
You may want to think about trying one of Summit to Sea’s sea kayak demo weekends on Anglesey.
^This might be a good idea y'know. Could be the ideal boat is something not even on your radar yet.

I get why the new composite Virgo is being suggested, but it baffles me a bit too tbh. Manoeuvrability is only really fun while you're manoeuvring around something - the Virgo is a boat made for playing and above all it's a rock-hopping boat! Rock-hopping in a glass boat is fun and all, but unless you really enjoy doing gelcoat repairs it's also kind of inhibiting. A beautiful shiny glass Virgo seems to me a bit like buying a pair of special walking boots that you'd be afraid to get muddy, where's the fun in that?

Just my opinion.. Also, while I'm at it, I'll go out on a limb a bit with some extra-opinionated completely unqualified opinion that you might want to take with a little pinch of salt. Here goes..

Away on a tangent with the 'boat I'll still be able to lift on to the car in a few years' thing - hit the gym! Don't accept that getting older means getting weaker, take Dylan Thomas's advice but start early - rage, rage! There's no better protection from injury than being as strong as you can be. Weight-bearing exercise is good for maintaining bone density too, an excellent investment for the future. Not everybody gets the choice, but for a lot of us declining muscle mass isn't something inevitable, or at least it isn't something we can't put off for a good few years longer with a bit of effort.

The best bang to the buck there comes from loose weights like a good old-fashioned barbell, and old fashioned whole-body exercises like deadlifts, squats etc. (The downside to those is that to avoid the risk of injury good form is essential, so at least a little bit of coaching is likely to be a must. The upside is that those exercises also improve proprioception and strengthen the important little wee muscles and stringy bits that stabilise the joints we never really think about most of the time - gym machines bypass all that by guiding the movement for you.)

A lot of smaller independent gyms are very welcoming places these days, and if you can find a place to do a quite short session with relatively heavy weights a couple of times a week it's almost certainly possible to roll back that "Oof - this boat is getting heavier!*" feeling and go back to cheerfully chucking your existing boat up onto the car roof like it's floaty light for a good few years yet.

*Edit to add:
Not necessarily an illusion if it's a glass boat that you're using for reckless rock-hopping and subsequently doing lots of repairs. Pretty sure mine is getting heavier!

All good advice there! I definitely will get my free weights out again and maybe I have been taking my trusty Virgo for granted. Next time I'm out, I'll try to take fresh look her.
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