xtra or aries

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Billy g
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xtra or aries

Post by Billy g » Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:02 pm

Thinking of a new boat, have you got any experience of these two. My shortlist is currently a choice between p&h Aries 150 and tiderace Xtra. I'd be using the boat for day trips, surf and rough water play. At 70 kg and 5'5" I might be on the small side for both these boats so the xcite s is also on the radar. I'd like to be able to add a sail, so after reading reviews by Douglas I'm leaning towards the Aries.

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: xtra or aries

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:54 pm

Hello Billy

I have paddled both the Aries 150 and the Xtra and at 5'8" and 72kg I found them equally great for your intended use of day trips surf and rough water. I certainly did not feel I was on the small side for either. Indeed I currently paddle the larger Aries 155! I have not paddled the Xcite S but I have paddled the Xcite and for many years owned an Alaw Bach (which is a very similar design also by Aled), again I did not feel too big for the Xcite.

You really need to try all of them, they are all good but small differences in hull shape or cockpit dimensions can make a huge difference in whether your experience of a kayak proves to be the same as the vox pop. For example, I always fancied an Anas Acuta and am the right height and weight for one. But I have bulky thigh muscles and the cockpit ergonomics for me were too uncomfortable though I really enjoyed they way it paddled and handled rough water.

If and ONLY IF, you were interested in paddle sailing to the extent that you would fit the sail every time you go out, I would recommend the Aries over the Alaw Bach/Xcite. Six of us who used to paddle Alaw Bach's and Xcites switched to Aries after trying sails. The reason is quite simple, those of us who were in Aries were significantly faster downwind in a F4 with the sails up than those in the Alaw Bach/Xcites. However, when not paddle sailing, many people who have paddled both prefer the Alaw Bach/ Xcite as they are not so skeg dependent as the Aries. In the Aries you do need to use the skeg when it is windy. That doesn't bother me in the slightest because I would not dream of going windsurfing without a skeg, but many kayakers, who like a more traditional style, prefer kayaks that can be paddled with minimum skeg. (Recently I have been paddling an Evolution Kayaks Nomad designed by Mike Nelson. It is remarkable how little skeg it needs.)

I hope that helps a little.

Douglas

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MYSSAK
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Re: xtra or aries

Post by MYSSAK » Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:51 pm

Billy g wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:02 pm
At 70 kg and 5'5" I might be on the small side for both these boats so the xcite s is also on the radar.
Best is always to try it personally but my wife is smaller and lighter than you and she is happy in Xtra HV.
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Billy g
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Re: xtra or aries

Post by Billy g » Mon Dec 10, 2018 5:29 pm

Thanks for you thoughts Myssak, as always Douglas, your advice and ideas are very much appreciated, yes I agree you cant beat a bit of time spent trying out boats. Having spent the past few years paddling an xplore s, I know I really like the tiderace cockpit, the xplore s is an excellent boat for me, and I enjoy it in all conditions. I plan to keep it for expeditions, but am looking at getting a more manoeuvrable boat for playing, rock hopping and tideraces. I will make sure I get a day or two in a friends Aries 155, can you tell me if the Aries 150 has a tighter cockpit.

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Re: xtra or aries

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:51 pm

Hi Billy the Aries 150 is only 1cm narrower than the 155 and shares the same cockpit rim and seat. I paddled both the same day and remember being surprised that the 150 didn’t feel tighter given that my thighs do not fit an Anas Acuta or a Rockpool Isel. I suspect there is little difference in deck height though the cockpit length is probably shorter in the 150. At my weight I found the Aries 155 to turn tighter when edged as the stern of it disengages shortening the waterline more than with my weight in the 150. The 150 has 11litres less volume which probably gives a similar waterline in relation to the stern rocker with someone 11kg lighter than me compared with me in the 155. Aled can explain this much better than me because his designs for Tiderace and Rockpool also disengage the stern when edged. Do not assume that a shorter kayak with your weight in it will turn tighter when edged than a bigger one of similar design. You really have to try them. In the UK we are spoilt for choice especially with those designs that are available in more than one volume. There are lots of demo days up and down the country to try out and compare different designs and sizes if you do not know someone with the kayaks you are interested in.

Have fun choosing your new kayak.

Douglas

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