P&H Cetus for those who haven't seen it^

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Simon Willis
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P&H Cetus for those who haven't seen it^

Post by Simon Willis » Tue Jun 26, 2007 12:17 pm

I have the use of a demonstration P&H Cetus for a couple of weeks. For anyone who hasn't seen it, I've posted a (pretty crappy) video on my blog showing its lines and a couple of the features. I'm not a boat reviewer, I don't have the experience, so don't pay much heed to my comments. But if you haven't yet seen the boat, you might want to take a look.
S

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journeyman
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Post by journeyman » Tue Jun 26, 2007 12:32 pm

The skeg deployment sounds a bit nasty!
Where there is noise like that I guess there is ware and tear.
Out of interest does it deploy more easily/noiselessly if you press the release/locking tab?

Thanks for the tour, look forward to hearing your comments on how it paddles.

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Tue Jun 26, 2007 12:35 pm

I ordered one some while back. I very much hope it isn't an Edsel!
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Post by Simon Willis » Tue Jun 26, 2007 12:48 pm

Hi Journeyman & Mark

The noise worried me too. I tried using the catch-release to deploy the skeg but it's tricky. The catch and the slider are stiff. It's hard to simultaneously push the tab forward and pull the slider back.

I tried pinching the slider and tab together. Occasionally this worked and the skeg slide down noiselessly. On other occasions, I could get enough grip. Both are plastic so wear might become an issue.

Cailean has mainly paddled this boat and I think he found he same.

I suspect (hope) this might be something to do with it being a demonstration model and having a bit of rough handling. Good points are the slider is now on the left of the boat so you don't take your control hand off the paddle (unless you're left handed!) and there's a tube over the skeg so it's less likely to kink in the slider housing.

We're taking it out again at the weekend and I'll ask Cailean, far more experienced than me, to add his comments.

S

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Post by Neilgr » Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:29 pm

I had a short paddle in the Cetus at the Skye Symposium and I too didn't like the skeg control mechanism.

It seems to be a complicated, and not very effective, way of returning to the old string and bungee cord controlled skeg that Valley originally had.

I don't fancy having to fiddle about with that skeg control in a very lumpy sea.

It's a good job you don't need to use the skeg as much as with some other boats.


Neil.

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Post by lozbrown » Thu Jun 28, 2007 2:01 pm

Wouldn't the noise issue be negated holding the tab when you retract the skeg? Much akin to pressing the button on your handbrake when pulling it up.

The early versions I saw didn't have problems with the system and weren't "stiff".

It's actually a similar system to the one on the master TG which has been very successful, except with allot more expensive custom made parts.

The main advantage is that there is no cable to kink, which is one of the most regular repairs on sea kayaks.

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Post by Simon Willis » Thu Jun 28, 2007 2:17 pm

Hello Lozbrown
Wouldn't the noise issue be negated holding the tab when you retract the skeg? Much akin to pressing the button on your handbrake when pulling it up.
Yep, that's the point of it. As demonstrated in the video. There is no noise when pushing the catch-release and retracting the skeg.

The noise comes when deploying the skeg. It is difficult to simultaneously push the catch and pull the skeg slider as the actions work in opposition to one another. You have to pinch and pull and in the demo boat, three of us found it very sticky.

As for there being no cable to kink - are you sure about that? I didn't realise there was no cable.

There's certainly no visible cable in the slider mechanism, but I thought a cable still ran to the skeg. In which case, landing on a beach with the skeg deployed could kink the exposed cable at the skeg end.

I might be wrong, I'm not experienced with many types of boat, so I'll check this weekend. Cailean has promised a mini-review too.
S

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Post by Simon Willis » Mon Jul 02, 2007 10:15 am

I was completely wrong about the way the Cetus' skeg works and I'll post a new video tomorrow. Cailean has already posted a mini review.

I hadn't realised, it is sprung-loaded to want to be down. There's an elastic shock-cord in the skeg box with curls around the skeg and so by default it's down.

It's pulled up, not by a wire but by a thin cord attached to the slider. This is why the ratchet is needed or the elastic might keep pulling down the skeg. The metal bar, on which the slider runs, doesn't move as it does in a Valley boat.

In the Cetus we've used, the slider was getting sticky (hence my other posts). Was this a sign things were going wrong? I don't know. However the skeg now won't deploy.

I think that somewhere along its length that thin cord has got stuck. Pull the slider into the "down" position and the cord bunches att he slider end. Pull the skeg down and it springs down after an initial tug. I haven't had time to fully investigate the cause of this, but it's certainly not a kinked wire - there is no wire.

It's an interesting system but which might yet need some work.
S

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Post by mitchmix99 » Mon Jul 02, 2007 12:12 pm

The P&H Easky 15 has a skeg that sounds similar to this. Sprung with elastic and a cord keeps it up (release the cord to drop skeg). One thing I like about this, is if you forget to raise the skeg on a beach landing there's no danger of kinking a wire.

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Post by Jim » Mon Jul 02, 2007 2:13 pm

Simon Willis wrote:I was completely wrong about the way the Cetus' skeg works and I'll post a new video tomorrow. Cailean has already posted a mini review.

I hadn't realised, it is sprung-loaded to want to be down. There's an elastic shock-cord in the skeg box with curls around the skeg and so by default it's down.
Gosh, that sounds rather like the system employed on many dinghy rudders since the advent of shock cord..... Have we really only just invented this in sea kayaking?

Jim

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Post by NeilG » Mon Jul 02, 2007 6:51 pm

My Valley Aquila has a very nice positive push/pull slide and is cable operated. I can't fault it. I wouldn't fancy the Cetus version with cold fingers.

I recall a discussion about this kayak a while back. I was really impressed with the small front deck compartment, but it doesn't seem to be too useful - except perhaps for keeping your camera handy....
Shame as I really like the look of it.

A friend has an Easky15 which is almost a sea kayak, in fact it is so good that other than in harsh conditions, it does not seem to make any difference. I will check out his skeg on Wednesday as I'm sure his tends to float up. The elastic is present but maybe not attached as it should be?
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Post by Mark R » Mon Jul 02, 2007 7:34 pm

I have sold the family silver and mortgaged Mrs R, so I have a ordered my own Cetus, due to arrive soon. I do hope that this skeg thing doesn't prove to be an inbuilt problem. It's difficult - obviously - to make a judgement from one problem encountered on one boat.
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Post by Simon Willis » Mon Jul 02, 2007 8:05 pm

Mark
I had an e-mail conversation with Bob at P&H today. They're putting together a PDF for cetus owners about the skeg. It's not a problem, I'm assured, but the new design needs a new type of care. In brief - you have to keep tension on the shock cord.

This was a demo boat, so after lots of people waggling the skeg about, the cord probably needs re-tensioning. I can't test this until the weekend as I'm down in Glasgow and the boat's in Argyll.

If you want to see this in detail have a look at the latest video on my blog.
S

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Post by Jim » Mon Jul 02, 2007 8:24 pm

Simon if you need any help checking the skeg out I may be around at the weekend (may be helping parents move or decorating) and my boat is stashed on the way to Argyll :-)

Jim

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Post by mitchmix99 » Mon Jul 02, 2007 9:50 pm

I took a picture of my Easky's skeg earlier but my webspace is broke! The skeg system on the Easky has the elastic around the bottom/nearside so it's always trying to pull the skeg out. The cord is then attached to the other side of the skeg (skeg is rounded rounded where it's in the hull/stern), when pulled tight it keeps the skeg up. The skeg itself looks very similar in design to the Cetus, possibly the operation is slightly different?

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Post by mitchmix99 » Tue Jul 03, 2007 9:02 pm

http://www.ibcsl.co.uk/skeg.JPG

This shows the bottom of the skeg - you can just make out the elastic....

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Post by NeilG » Wed Jul 04, 2007 10:17 pm

Been out tonight. Bit of a sea running against the tide in Southampton Water. The force 5 gusting 6 made it interesting, especially surfing on the way back.

I've checked my buddy's Easky 15 - his skeg is pulled down by the tension in the shock cord. It is pulled back up by a rope through a jammer. Very simple and effective, although the adjustment is all in two inches of rope so it is rather on or off and not a lot in between.

I presume the slider fitted on the Cetus provides degrees in between, but only as long as the shock cord is behaving, ie new.
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Post by Mark R » Sat Jul 07, 2007 1:22 pm

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Post by NeilG » Sat Jul 07, 2007 3:01 pm

Very nice! All new matching kit to go with it then? Remortgage Mrs R!

You will be bailing out of it in three feet of water to save scratching the hull every time you come ashore...
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Mike Marshall
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Cetus

Post by Mike Marshall » Sat Jul 07, 2007 11:33 pm

Sweet Mark, very sweet.
You will not regret that purchase, ever.

MikeM

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Post by Mark R » Sun Jul 15, 2007 1:01 pm

My Cetus has now been out a few times ...

Image

Each time the seas have been pretty windy/ confused/ choppy, but I haven't paddled it loaded yet.

Overall, I'm very happy with it, it's just what I was after. I wanted an expedition boat that suits my paddling style (always forwards...) and has enough storage for luxuries (laptops etc) and the Cetus fits perfectly into my specs.

Basically I agree with most things that Simon and Cailean have said in their reviews, although I'll add the following comments/ amendments ...

- It looks lovely. That's pretty well all I care about!

- I don't think that it actually does look all that big. It's decks are lower than the Quest's and it is narrower. The extra volume has been hidden in a slight widening behind the paddler and also by maintaining width towards the ends.

- I never care much how well a sea kayak turns (I don't buy a 5.5. metre boat for its slalom potential) but yes, the Cetus really does turn amazingly well when edged. As Cailean noted, this makes turning on the move (or atop a wave) a doddle.

- With a lowish front deck, there is less knee height/ space than in a Quest. Fine by me.

- New grab handles/ footrests/ backrest - all good.

- One bugbear of past sea kayaks is that the empty space infront of the footrest is excessive. My Cetus has minimal wasted space - perfect - although I have no idea if mine was actually sized 'to fit'.

- Deck hatch is great, it keeps a big cag dry well, or the other night it fitted a VHF, bag of flares (how come Simon's didn't fit?), GPS, Lucozade bottle etc. all at once.

- A surprisingly aspect of the deck hatch is that it doesn't really obstruct anything inside the cockpit, I can even just about paddle with knees together.

- The skeg 'button' system would indeed be fiddly if you were trying to operate it in extreme conditions, but has been no problem otherwise.

- One aspect of the 'elasticated' skeg system is that it prefers to be fully up or down. Getting a setting inbetween is a bit of an art.

- The bloody awful grating noise that the skeg slider makes when Simon moves it in the video is because he hasn't pressed the release button - ooops. Think, driving with handbrake on ...

- The skeg is made of somewhat flexible plastic, I don't know if this will affect performance, but it doesn't look too convincing.

- In a choppy confused seas, the low angled bow and low front deck made for a relatively wet ride.

- Build quality seems really good, my hatches are 100% dry for instance.


Next test is a long loaded trip ....
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Post by Jim » Sun Jul 15, 2007 2:05 pm

Mark R wrote:- The skeg is made of somewhat flexible plastic, I don't know if this will affect performance, but it doesn't look too convincing.
I wonder if there is a market for aftermarket upgrade parts? Either way you could probably drop the skeg out (you may have a world of misery with the elastic, or not) find a sheet of aluminium of a similar thickness and trace round the skeg onto it and then cut it out and file the edges smooth/rounded. Hey presto a stiffer skeg for evaluating the effects of stiffness with.

Now making carbon skegs is a bit more work but not impossible....

Glad you like your new toy, have fun with it this summer!

Jim

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Post by NeilG » Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:03 pm

Want one! I'm fed up with rummaging about in the day locker behind me to find my flask, hat, etc, etc. The deck locker seems a lot better than first thought.
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Post by Simon Willis » Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:43 pm

Hi Mark

I'm glad you're enjoying your Cetus so much - I'm sure you'll have a superb trip in it this summer.
MarkR wrote:the bloody awful grating noise that the skeg slider makes when Simon moves it in the video is because he hasn't pressed the release button - ooops. Think, driving with handbrake on

Er, I did realise I was meant to press the button. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

Imagine a car where the handbrake has to be forced down against the ratchet - that's what happened (occasionally) to that partcular Cetus. The release had became so stiff it couldn't be pressed forward and pulled back simultaneously. Eventually, the skeg stuck in the up position until manually pulled down.

P&H examined and found a couple of problems with the skeg, telling me it was no wonder I had difficulty. They also found "a lot of grit in the slider". They're looking to make a couple of changes to stop this happening over time. So Mark - make sure you keep the grit out.

Enjoy the gorgeous boat. BTW - I was trying rocket flares and it was a demo boat - work in progress. And don't let that cute bambi eat all your plants.
S

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Post by Mark R » Tue Jul 17, 2007 5:38 pm

'Ocean Paddler' magazine has a Cetus review which pretty much chimes with everything said so far about the boat's performance and fittings - nice to see that reviewing isn't an entirely subjective art ...
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Post by Mark R » Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:28 pm

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Post by Summit to Sea » Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:55 pm

We've now got one over here on sunshine island* as a Demo boat, if anyone wants to arrange a demo, please drop me a line, infoATsummittoseaDOTcoDOTuk


*Anglesey

Cheers,
Pete

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