Expedition or day boat?^

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TimParish
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Expedition or day boat?^

Post by TimParish » Mon Mar 06, 2006 7:48 pm

Having just taken up kayaking late in life I'm looking to buy a sea kayak later this year. I'm trying to make a shortlist but am unsure as to the difference between a day/weekend boat and one for longer trips (4-5 days).

For instance, one of the kayaks I'd really like to try is the Rockpool Alaw but posts on this forum indicate that its only really suitable for short trip / weekend use. When I compare volumes (albeit in liters and not Kg) the Alaw looks comparable to so called expedition boats, so what is the difference? I'd probably only want to do one or two longer trips a year so don't want to fork out for two kayaks.

Advice from those in the know would be much appreciated!

Tim
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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Mon Mar 06, 2006 7:56 pm

Expedition, all the way...there are plenty of these boats which are still perfectly suitable for day trip exploring.

Main difference with the Alaw is not the storage (in truth, you can store anything anywhere if you really want, e.g. I'm carrying six days' food in my WW kayak this summer) but the hull...it is quite notably rockered (curved along its length) for surfing around and similar fun stuff.
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Douglas Wilcox
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Post by Douglas Wilcox » Mon Mar 06, 2006 9:24 pm

Hello Tim

I am in the fortunate position of having both a Rockpool and a Quest. I am also fortunate to get out get out more than most people, both on day trips and camping. I am also 85 kg which means I can weigh down expedition boats that are designed to be paddled with a lot of gear.

About 95% of my paddling is done in the Rockpool and I only use the Quest for camping trips. I personally like the feeling of manouverability I get from the Rockpool. As has been said lots of times before, get some opinions from others but ultimately decide based on your own experience of some decent demos.

Lastly the Rockpool has plenty space for gear as it lacks an expedition boats skeg in the rear compartment.

Have fun,
Douglas :o)

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Post by CaileanMac » Mon Mar 06, 2006 10:33 pm

Tim,

Difference's between what might be a suitable day boat and an expedition boat for you will depend very much on how much kit you want to take and MarkR makes that point that you can cram a lot if you want or need to. Main difference between an expedition kayak and a day boat is the volume but remember different boat shapes have the volume in different places which effect the handling of them. Advice again would be to go and demo a number of boats in really conditions with a realistic amount of gear in them.

There's lots to choice from - Valley, P&H, Rockpool, Kaspian, Point 65, et al on the UK market at present.

As to the Rockpool Alaw - go demo one and discover the kayak's hull features MarkR mentioned in his post. They also have an expedition boat the Menai 18 coming out this season.

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Post by Quest 129 » Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:40 pm

Hello Tim

I took up sea kayaking in my mid forties. I did a weeks course in the Hebrides in a plastic skerry and never fell in once. I tried out a nordkapp a guy was selling cheap and quickly discovered it was not for me. I bought a brand new plastic capella which I found to be just the job then bought a second hand quest about 3 years later.Both my capella and quest were my day boat/weekend boat/expedition boat.
I was desperate to get a boat to get on the water and getting a boat I was happy with was more important to me than thinking of its use i.e day/weekend etc.
Hope you get what you are looking for.

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TimParish
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Post by TimParish » Tue Mar 07, 2006 6:19 pm

Thanks guys, good advice. Looks like there's no substitute for trying them out. That'll have to wait until I've got a bit more experience so that I've got a baseline to work from! I'm hoping to get to Cwm Pennant for the festival in September - that may be the ideal opportunity.
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Robert Craig
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Post by Robert Craig » Tue Mar 07, 2006 9:53 pm

I keep banging on about this - but the important thing is whether the boat fits you!

4-5 day's gear is nothing much - it will fit in even the smallest sea boat!

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:49 pm

Robert Craig wrote:I keep banging on about this - but the important thing is whether the boat fits you!

4-5 day's gear is nothing much - it will fit in even the smallest sea boat!
Physically maybe, but if I then squeeze myself into an Anas Acuta the deck edge will be below the waterline, it was last time I went for a weekend in one!
It's not just about the travelling light philosophy, but how light you are! Skinny people don't realise how much bulkier and heavier fat peoples clothes are - seriously get 2 vastly different proprtioned people to pack the same type and number of items and the bigger guys pile will be bigger and heavier. You won't notice it for 1 or 2 items but when you have a weeks worth of spare paddling and camp wear it is significant!
I will still hold my hand up and admit that my boat generally holds 30 cans of beer which for a true expedition, never mind lightweight, trip would obviously not be there - I don't think I had any beer in the Anas Acuta all those years ago though!

As someone else has said the volume distribution is important, I haven't paddled an Alaw but I can see from the photos that it has a traditional "lump" in front of the cockpit area. These are great for keeping you dry and giving plenty of knee room in the cockpit but it is doing nothing to the boats ability to support weight, and also not providing space in the holds. Personally I'd love soemthing like an Anas or an Alaw or a Norkapp LV for mucking about in, but even if I was to travel as light as possible for 4-5 days in summer it would still be a real struggle to get everything in and stay afloat (but possible). For camping in comfort in the Spring (most of my paddling) I need to have a bigger boat - especially as I need to take 8-9 days kit and supplies (we aim to use both weekends!).

So think about what you really want to do, how big/heavy you are, how much of each type of paddling you intend to do and when.

A small person can get a weeks kit in any boat, a larger person can manage with a small-medium sized boat if only "expeditioning" in the summer, if mainly day tripping and messing about it may be better to borrow a larger boat if you go away for longer occasionally (you will soon develop a circle of friends and rarely will all be avalaible to paddle at once, which means there will be boats to borrow).

A quite separate issue is that of what actually constitutes an expedition boat - it may perhaps be a contraversial point, but the Nordkapp (original volume, HS or HM) epitomises expedition kayak design - it was the first and was right second time, it is long, sleek, fast, incredibly seaworthy, but when you actually consider it, that skinny hull actually makes it only a medium volume boat in the bigger scheme of things - there is more to expeditioning than huge amounts of gear!

In answer to Tim's original question, in order to help shortlist for testing (I have spent some time considering this hence I didn't post earlier):

If you are normal or light weight yourself, I guess under 80kg, and will only be doing occasional 4-5 day trips in warmer weather and don't mind going completely lightweight (mainly dehydrated food, just enough fuel, cooking and eating in mess tins, minimalist tent, ultralite thermarest if any, ultralite sleeping bag etc.) you will probably find a 'dayboat' up to the job. Marks point about manouevrability is well worth considering, for long distance paddling a longer straight running boat is desirable (most of a Nordkapps appeal rather than it's actual volume which as I say is middle of the range), but a dayboat with a skeg, or hard chines (OK, so I loved paddling the Anas Acuta!) will cope with this well.
If you are under 80kg but want to do your 4-5 days at any time of year (heavier sleeping bag required, more fuel - as a minimum) you might need to think quite carefully about what type of boat and maybe try some with the sort of kit you envisage wanting to carry.
Between 80 and 100kg I reckon you are going to be defintely shying away from some of the smallest volume dayboats for summer trips and looking at either the bigger ones or smaller expedition boats. For winter trips you probably want to get a fairly large boat.
If you are over 100kg (my hand is raised) I would say look at expedition boats right from the off - you probably have enough weight to keep any of them stable with minimal ballast for day tripping (see the tippy quest thread for seat position advice!) - I've never had any trouble! You will also find plenty of room for tripping.

I hope some of that helps!

JIM
* I refer to "expeditioning" above with the inverted commas because of course I have never personally been anywhere especially out of the ordinary, certainly never on a voyage of discovery, and that is what I understand to be the true meaning of an expedition..... hence I am uncomfortable with the term!

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Post by Fast Pat » Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:03 am

Jim wrote: As someone else has said the volume distribution is important, I haven't paddled an Alaw but I can see from the photos that it has a traditional "lump" in front of the cockpit area. These are great for keeping you dry and giving plenty of knee room in the cockpit but it is doing nothing to the boats ability to support weight, and also not providing space in the holds.
Actually it does allow you to create more space in the "holds", as with your knees raised as in the Alaw you need less leg length and can therefore specify the bulkhead further back if desired - by my reckoning about 8cm, even with the canted foot plate.

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Post by TimParish » Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:34 pm

Jim wrote: Between 80 and 100kg I reckon you are going to be defintely shying away from some of the smallest volume dayboats for summer trips and looking at either the bigger ones or smaller expedition boats. For winter trips you probably want to get a fairly large boat.
I fit in there somewhere (94kg). Another question then - does my weight mean that I could risk a reputably more 'tippy' boat, perhaps a Point65N XP, because my 'above average' weight would increase stability?

Accepting that I'll need to try any boat before parting with the 'hard-earned', if the above is true it does allow me to extend my shortlist.

Regards
Timbo

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:48 pm

TimParish wrote:[
I fit in there somewhere (94kg). Another question then - does my weight mean that I could risk a reputably more 'tippy' boat, perhaps a Point65N XP, because my 'above average' weight would increase stability?

Regards
For those of us in the less-than-sylph-like category, we need to remember that much of the weight tends to be fairly high up, especially for the taller ones - - - -

Tall and well built bloke that I am, I still like some ballast in the Quest on a day trip.

Mike.

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Robert Craig
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Post by Robert Craig » Thu Mar 09, 2006 9:23 pm

Jim, I think we're agreeing mostly. The biggest part of the load carried is the paddler - I doubt there as much difference between the weight of a big and small person's kit. Tents come in one size, stoves come in one size - most of it isn't person size dependent. I accept your point about beer though.


Ha - so there's a question. Does increasing the paddler weight make the boat more or less stable?

My gut feeling (pun intended) is that it's the height of the paddler (or the height of her/his centre of gravity when seated) which matters. High paddler CoG = high CoG of boat + paddler.


It's certainly obvious that a child in a sea boat isn't tippy at all.

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Post by RichardCree » Thu Mar 09, 2006 10:37 pm

The point 65 XP is not a tippy boat

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Post by Jim » Thu Mar 09, 2006 11:35 pm

Robert Craig wrote:Ha - so there's a question. Does increasing the paddler weight make the boat more or less stable?

My gut feeling (pun intended) is that it's the height of the paddler (or the height of her/his centre of gravity when seated) which matters. High paddler CoG = high CoG of boat + paddler.
Increasing the weight of the paddler makes the more stable, changing the paddler for a taller one that is heavier, it is impossible to say for sure without knowing the weights and VCGs of the paddlers and the hydrostatic properties of the hull. It depends if the rise in KG is greater than the rise in KM, or to put it more directly, whether GM stays the same, increases or decreases.

In assuming that being taller gives a paddler a higher seated VCG, you have inherently assumed that their torso is proportionally longer than than a short person's, however it is possible for tall people to have long legs and short torso's in which case their seated VCG may be lower than a short legged long torsoed shorter person!

There is also the question of perception regarding tippiness (as opposed to quantifiable stability). Someone from a non-kayaking background, or perhaps a background in modern flat bottom playboats is going to perceive as tippy, a sea kayak that a paddler with a long marathon racing background will find rock solid.......
Then again another previous non paddler may come along with a natural talent for kayaking and find the tippiest of tippy things (angmagssalik?) quite OK!

There are no easy answers, just general guidelines, after that it is try some boats out and see what works/feels right, and if one feels a bit tippy but otherwise seems perfect - ask about getting the seat lowered, or replaced with a foam one.

For reference if my estimate of an average kayaker is 80kg is worth anything, then I am immediately putting 25kg more load in my boat than the average paddler, and that load is fitting into the same bit of cockpit space that is otherwise unused. Thats 50 cans of beer less that I can carry, whether I have the storage space for them or not, if Tim is 14kg heavier, thats 28 cans, or about my normal weeks ration less than he can put in a boat than an average paddler. If I'm wrong and paddlers only average 75kg, then we are each losing 10 cans more..... To hell with the stability, beer is more important!

(I might go teetotal for this years easter trip)

JIM

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TimParish
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Post by TimParish » Fri Mar 10, 2006 7:26 am

RichardCree wrote:The point 65 XP is not a tippy boat
Even for a relative beginner? If that's the case it's definitely on my short list! Are there any stockists in the South that have a demonstrator that I could try? I live in East Anglia but visit Dorset fairly frequently (The in-laws live around Bournemouth!).
Timbo

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TimParish
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Post by TimParish » Fri Mar 10, 2006 7:28 am

Jim wrote:
I might go teetotal for this years easter trip
How about a bigger boat?
Timbo

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Post by RichardCree » Fri Mar 10, 2006 8:57 am

i have put beginers in the xp without a problem, contact Dave at Knoydart in Keswick, he will let you know where you can demo.

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