Plastic sea kayaks - any good?

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James F
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Plastic sea kayaks - any good?

Post by James F » Wed Feb 11, 2004 9:49 pm

I am thinking of trying to beg for a cheap one of these Dagger Exodus, its their all new platic sea kayak.

I would probably use it mostly for day trips around the South West and Pembroke, also the occasional weekend coastal camping trip. I would not be hunting the Narwhal or finding the North West Passage.

Should I try to get this boat, or use the money to get a second hand composite kayak - what do you think?
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MikeB
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Placcy boats

Post by MikeB » Wed Feb 11, 2004 11:22 pm

Well, there are them that swear by them, and them as don't! I've had both, and much prefer the composite variety. I can make a "back-to-back" comparison with P&H's Capella and the composite version is far better.

Now, having said that, I have several friends who paddle plastic boats and love them.

Further, on a recent wee mini-epic, we ended up with 3 composite boats with various degrees of damage and the plastic boat in the group came out of the episode without a scratch. Go figure!

Can't comment on the Dagger specifically tho.

Mike.

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Jim
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Re: Plastic sea kayaks - any good?

Post by Jim » Thu Feb 12, 2004 12:28 am

Firstly I am a composite paddler on the sea, and I know why!

Secondly it looks quite adequately specced, it would probably be a good boat for you - but do try one first if you can!

Composite boats are stiffer, what this means is that for long distance paddles and serious multiday trips you will waste less energy due to the boat flexing in waves and as a result of paddle strokes.

This seems irrelevant if you are only weekending (and less) with it. You can also forget about it between trips. I have to remember my composite boat a few weeks before a trip and check that it is still watertight. I don't do a lot of sea paddling but I seem to be doing week long trips and with folks who think little of putting in the odd 30 mile day and paddle even faster composite boats than my old cheap thing!

I'm only looking a web page but the boat looks OK, balanced with most of the right bits. It is missing a pump, but a handheld will suffice in many situations, the page does not mention bulkheads but the hatches imply they are fitted.

Horses for courses, it wouldn't suit me but should be good for weekending and daytripping. It will be a lot less hassle than my composite (or most secondhand composite) boat to keep seaworthy. American designs are often much wider than british, which gives flatwater stability but rough water instability. Whilst the weather can get rough at a moments notice, Weekenders are less likely to ever need a slippery unstable hull in rough seas, and to be honest it's only really the true whale hunters amongst the rest of us that will really reap the benefits on a regular basis. It is described as multi chined (flat panels rather than a round hull) which is generally a good compromise between the ultra unstable expedition craft and the over stable day craft - my composite boat is chined, which is partly why it is slower than others, but also helps with tracking and gives me reasonable stability in all conditions.

I must have said enough!

JIM

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Mark R
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Re: Plastic sea kayaks - any good?

Post by Mark R » Thu Feb 12, 2004 1:10 am

James, can't comment on the Dagger boat, but obviously some plastic designs are better than others...many (like our Carolinas) aren't really sea boats, they are touring/ inland/ sea crossovers.

More crucially, we'd all be paddling flashy new composite sea kayaks given the choice, any day. Don't rule out buying a decent composite sea kayak second hand, for similar money.


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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Plastic sea kayaks - any good?

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Thu Feb 12, 2004 10:12 am

Hi James,
I recently did a 15km round trip with a friend who has a poly capella which is reputedly one of the better poly boats. On the return he persuaded me to swap boats, just as far as round the next headland. Well a southwesterly had sprung up and as the tide had changed a small swell began to grow and therewas nowhere we fancied landing so we had to return in each other's boats. It was horrible. The quest left me miles behind catching each wave. And it weathercocked even with the skeg. If you have paddled both before making a purchase you will save up for a composite. If you are really strapped get a second hand poly, as Mark says you can get a second hand composite for poly money.

Mind you, I started paddling on the sea in an H2..... and until I could afford a second second hand quest my daughter had to tag along in a redline.
www.gla.ac.uk/medicalgene...locco3.jpg

You will enjoy the sea whatever you paddle.
Douglas :)

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Jim
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I must have said enough!

Post by Jim » Thu Feb 12, 2004 1:28 pm

But didn't!

Whilst in good nick and when repaired well, the hull surface of a composite boat is far smoother than a polythene boat which also helps with the resistance.

Weight is a tricky one, some polys are lighter than composites, obviously the newest high techiest composites make everything else look like steel narrowboats but I don't think anyone using the boards can afford one of them?

The rotomoulding process means you won't get quite the same lines as an equivalent composite boat and it is actually subtle things like this than can make a big difference.

Finally, if you are going to be talked into tagging along with Mark whenever he continues his round Britain trip, you will want a composite boat to keep up with his! The speed does not matter as much when everyone is equal, but even when paddling with composite boats of different speeds it can affect group dynamics.

JIM

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James F
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Re: I must have said enough!

Post by James F » Thu Feb 12, 2004 2:11 pm

The chances of me paddling round Britain, are to say the least, slim!

Thanks for your help.
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MikeB
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Speeeeed

Post by MikeB » Thu Feb 12, 2004 5:49 pm

Jim's right - composite boats do tend to be faster, although it has to be said that a lot depends on the capabilities, technique and power of the paddler!

All I will say is that I used to find it difficult to keep within the overall body of a mixed group when I paddled a plastic Capella - as soon as I changed to a composite N/kapp I was usually at the front and with the Quest I'm at or near the front.

(Unless I'm out with a certain Mr McKenna - powerful paddler + N/kapp = speed-king! Nothing a drogue or sea-anchor won't fix of course - - - :D )

Mike.

Helen
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speeeed

Post by Helen » Thu Feb 12, 2004 8:03 pm

(Unless I'm out with a certain Mr MacKenna - powerful paddler + N/kapp = speed-king! Nothing a drogue or sea-anchor won't fix of course - - - )

Ahhh - but then he's burnt out at nights while U mike are still ready to party so I've been told!

I'm also looking into buying a sea kayak - was thinking plastic I have to say - just need to test one out now - unless I can find a nice second hand boat at a reasonable price. Mike (smooth talker that he is)has also persuaded me to invest in some sea boats for the Club - just need to gauge club members opinions and persuade the doubters amongst them that sea kayaking is exciting. Not worried about the storage aspect if we are evicted from our boatshed cause I have a garage that can easily store a nice sea boat or 2!

Helen

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MikeB
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Helen

Post by MikeB » Thu Feb 12, 2004 10:09 pm

1) Mr McKenna - burnt out : ah yes. The youth can't take it. I mean, after a nice fast 36km day, and a few kms hiking round Rona, what the point of having a nice bothy on Raasay if one goes to bed at 9.30 - the old man was still wanting to party and the yofs were sleeping!

2) Plastic for Helen : nothing wrong with them - Id recommend them for you quite happily!

3) Club plastic boats - exciting : Pity you weren't with us on the Forth that day!! That was exciting! Anyway, it's a "different sort" of exciting - and it's not all about adrenelin anyway!

Mike.

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seismicscot
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Plastic Kayaks

Post by seismicscot » Thu Feb 19, 2004 12:21 am

If you are wanting to explore rock gardens and ride the surf, then go for plastic - it can handle the knocks far better than any compo boat. However, if you just want to go from A to B over open water, then you can't beat a sleek (and expensive) composite boat.

Clark (rock gardening placky boat paddler)

Chris S
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Plastic Kayaks

Post by Chris S » Mon Apr 26, 2004 6:25 pm

A couple of new(ish) models have come out: the Capella has been replaced by a new model and there is a plastic Aquanaut from Valley. Has anyone tried either of these?

dave
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new and old poly capella

Post by dave » Wed May 05, 2004 8:04 pm

the new plastic capella is not necessarily better than the old one. The thigh braces are smaller and tacky, the new day hatch difficult is to access on the move, takes up useable space from the other rear storage space, oval hatch covers, higher cockpit rim, padded seat soaks up water and stays wet, rear elastics not so good for splits.
Im happy with my year old poly capella.

Chris S
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Plastic boats

Post by Chris S » Wed Jun 23, 2004 8:02 pm

I've just spent several days paddling a Rainbow Laser in the Mediterranean. 8) I thought it was a really excellent boat. It was tested in moderate waves and fairly strong wind and proved itself to be a proper expedition capable sea kayak which tracked well, turned on its edge well and, despite not having a drop down skeg, was hardly deflected at all in cross winds. I thought it was infinitely better than my Mark 1 plastic Capella and I'm seriously considering getting one, although I'll probably try the plastic Valley Aquanaut first. The Laser seems pretty good value at £640. www.recreationuk.com/prod...ucts_id=30

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Re: Plastic boats

Post by David P » Wed Jun 23, 2004 8:59 pm

[Glad to see you're back, Chris ...]

Can't say I've heard much of that particular boat/manufacturer/seller... And I'd be loathe to buy from anyone with such a patchy website, with no meaningful company or contact information, and such patchy info about the products they sell etc! Perhaps a lesson in that, somewhere? [i declined to buy a laptop from a company - in part, specifically because they had a wholly inadequate, unusable, out of date and horrible website! Oh, even less excusable for an IT company. But it can affect sales!]
--
David P.

Chris S
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Flaky website

Post by Chris S » Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:41 pm

Hi David,
Rainbow is an Italian manufacturer which doesn't seem to have much penetration into the UK market. I don't suppose that website helps. I find it inexplicable that they have come up with such an effective "British" boat design with the Laser. None of their other sea/touring boats seem to be in the same league.

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Rainbow

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:49 pm

Colin in our club has a nice Rainbow river runner.

It performs very well with no vices. It has a far higher standard of finish than Pyranha and the polythene seems denser and stiffer for no extra weight.

www.gla.ac.uk/medicalgene...theroy.jpg

Douglas

Chris S
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Rainbow

Post by Chris S » Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:55 pm

Rainbow's website isn't very easy to find on Google so here's a link www.canoa.it/rainbow.asp

steveh
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Rainbow

Post by steveh » Wed Jun 23, 2004 11:11 pm

Funny, I was in Perception Kayaks today talking to Neil about Carolinas, he has two Rainbows in stock and they look very impressive. 3 hatches deck webbing and the plastic seems (eskimo) strong. would like a demo
Steve

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Simon Willis
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Poly boat user

Post by Simon Willis » Wed Jun 23, 2004 11:43 pm

Liz and I both have poly Capella's. BUT I prefer the composite Sirius (and others) I've also paddled. So why did we buy plastic boats? Three reasons:

1. We figure we're going to bash into things when we're learning and plastic takes the knocks much better.

2. We live in a flat and have to store them in the club boat house, where they get even more knocks (see above)

3. We bought them almost 2/3 price from Glenmore Lodge at the end of their season after they'd only been used for about 10 days each.

Only problem is, now we're improving, we're starting to wonder how long we can put up with the plastic boats before switching to composite.
Edited by: Simon Willis at: 6/23/04 11:45 pm

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RossC
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Re: Rainbow

Post by RossC » Thu Jun 24, 2004 10:04 am

Falmouth Canoe Club bought a couple of Rainbow Lasers last year and they have proved to be a great success. I would agree with Chris S's assessment and add that they also seem more stable compared to the plastic Capella. I suspect they might not be quite as sleek but they do track well.

The web site might look quite flaky (I amaged to find contact details)and the manufacturer may not be that familiar but the price for these boats is in their favour. I would certainly recommend them as a proper shaped plastic sea kayak that will hold a decent amount of gear.

Alec
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Poly boat user

Post by Alec » Thu Jun 24, 2004 6:02 pm

We used 2 capellas and 2 perceptions last year for our first season and were very pleased with them but now I got a 2nd hand quest and my pal has just got a 2nd hand skerry. We now leave the other guys in the poly boats behind especially when its windy from the side like in Skye at the weekend.
Cheers Alec

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Mark R
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Re: Plastic sea kayaks - any good?

Post by Mark R » Thu Jun 24, 2004 6:29 pm

My wife now owns one of the new Capellas and loves it as a reliable, stable, efficient mover. I gave it a try and thought it was just fine in terms of handling...although I personally found the deck and cockpit area a bit low for my tastes. Being 6'3" I'd maybe look for a scaled-up boat in terms of volume.

The construction seems A1 - we lifted it with a weeks' gear loaded, and there was only a very slight bowing in the middle.


-----------Mark Rainsley

Chris S
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Plastic sea kayaks - any good?

Post by Chris S » Sat Jun 26, 2004 7:13 pm

I called in at Berkshire Canoe and Kayak (Reading)today on my way back from Wales. (They are one of the shops listed on that flaky website). It seemed like a perfectly OK shop that looks as if it has been there for a while. The stock consisted of lot of Canadians, inflatables, sit-on-tops, and recreational kayaks, a few sea kayaks and hardly anything even remotely resembling a white water boat. Also quite a lot of continental kit. They were a bit busy so I didn't have the opportunity to ask what they are playing at with that flaky website.

They had a Rainbow Laser on display. There are a couple of relatively unimportant features that I'm not keen on - the bulkheads are foam, not welded plastic and it comes with deck netting.

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