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old kayak advice - considering a purchase


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Hey NSPN folk - I'm a relative newcomer to your midst but hope to be more involved in the future. I figured this was a good group to ask for advice as i consider a decision about a new/used boat. I've been paddling an old Valley Skerray plastic boat for 15 years, and longing for a glass boat most of those.

Cost has been the barrier; even the used cost... especially since i don't paddle a lot. (kids, bikes, garden, house...oh and work too)

Neighbor offered to sell me an old (90's i think based on serial number starting in 94) Current Designs Solstice GT for $500 (i could offer 400). It needs some work for sure, but i can handle that and have a friend with fiberglass skills. (chalky, faded gelcoat; serious but small damage to bow at the tape line, lines mostly all shot)

My question here is: do i want this boat?

Pros: price / resale value / sturdy and fast glass boat. Gets me an upgrade to glass.

Cons: not very playful, hard to turn, likely hard to roll, and an old hull design. i'd rather be in a Tiderace or a Cetus mv or other. plus this is a project boat.

I know, it comes down to what kind of paddling i want to do and what i'm willing to spend. I'm unlikely to upgrade for a few more years if I don't get this boat. I do some surfing off Plum island via pavillion beach, some trips to Misery, some paddling in Maine, and we just did a 4-day trip with family to Saddleback cabin also - so hopefully more trips in the future.

Have hull designs really changed so much since then?

Thoughts on resale value if I fix it up and end up selling it?

any other guidance here?

THANKS in advance. Greg in Hamilton

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Greg, welcome.

I understand from where you are coming; but, frankly, for the money being asked for that Solstice, you are not generally going to get into any composite boat. You would <like> a Tiderace or P&H boat; but you will be nowhere near their secondhand value at that sort of money (I'm afraid). A used Cetus might be found for around 1600 (go into the sold section of the classifieds and have a look and keep a regular eye on the classifieds on Paddling.net).

Now: should you buy the Solstice to do up for re-sale? Problem: boats are simply not selling at present -- some of us have had a hard time selling ours of late. I never thought the Current Design kayaks as being as well-built as most British boats (subjective view, this: I have only had Brit ones, myself) and perhaps this particular design <is> rather dated? Modern boats seem to have more rocker for playfulness; but you know all about that, paddling a Skerray (I have one of those, myself, too! Lovely boat! As much rocker as a Pintail; but because of its generous girth, once you get it <right> up on edge, the ends come way up out of the water and thus allow it to turn on a tickie -- sorry, a dime! Perfect boat for rock-play)

If you can buy it for 400, go for it -- as a boat on which to learn repair work, knowing you might own it for a while; but I do not see it much as a step-up from what you have. Speed is not so important: any respectable group will travel at the pace of the slowest participant.

I suggest that you join NSPN and come along on some trips with us! There is plenty of summer remaining...

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I think Pintail brings up some good points. BUT, I wonder what the boat cost new back in 1994 was. 15 years ago, I paid $2000 for a new fiberglass boat. What would it have been 6 years prior?

Cost to refurbish the old boat? New hatch covers, new deck lines, new bungies and fiberglass, Epoxy? And really, you still have a Current Designs Solstice GT. BTW, have you paddled the boat? Is it even water tight enough to paddle it?

Is it currently waterproof? Maybe the hatches are shot so you can't even tell... What about the hatches themselves, perhaps they need to be replaced.

On a sunny day, put the boat on saw horses and turn it upside down. Stick your head inside the hatches and see how much daylight you can see coming through. It might give you an idea of how much work you will need to do.

Truthfully, I heard tell of a 10 year old Brit boat in good condition going for $300 recently at a reputable shop. I really think that your neighbors should just be happy they don't have to haul the boat off to the landfill themselves.

BTW, I haven't heard of any Cetus MV's going for $1600 although Pintail thinks they may have. That model in particular is hard to find used.

On your pros - I don't think that this boat really has much resale value even if you put $200 or so into it, I don't think you will get $500 for it used.

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A couple of additional points. I doubt anyone would say the Solstice GT is a bad boat for what it what designed for, but I doubt it is a good boat for the type of paddling you have described. It is and I suspect will continue to be a buyer's market and there are many nice FG boats to be had for very reasonable prices. A well made FG boat if cared for can last well over 15 years. There are some great deals around for really nice "classic" boats. As in around $1,400 for Valley, Impex, NDK, and P&H boasts in great shape. Wouldn't you rather be paddling than mired in a dubious repair job?

Ed Lawson

Whose newest boat is over 10 years old

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While looking for a new (used) WW kayak on Craig's List in MA and NH, I was surprised to see how many really nice sea kayaks are out there for sale, some look to be in very good shape and reasonably priced, classic fiberglass British designs included occasionally.

I paddled an ancient plastic P&H Capella for a long time before I found the boat I have now and it was worth the wait. I appreciate it every time I paddle.


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So what are you willing to pay for a fiberglass kayak? i.e: if you saw a nicer kayak for $1200 would you grab it? $500 for a kayak you won't enjoy won't save you any money.

There's a Valley Aquanaut for $1200 and a a Kajak Sport Millennium for $800 available used. I suspect the Aquanaut is more what you're looking for. The Millennium is not as good in the rough stuff, it's a straighter tracker and it's probably faster.

I always tell people to make a list of the kayaks (or whatever) they want then keep searching and be patient.

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Ok thanks all for taking the time to weigh in - very helpful indeed. I turned down the offer, not due to the work or price but the end result - not the right boat for me. I want something more playful while still good speed through the water: a quiver-of one boat.

As for a WATCHLIST: The VCP Aquanaut sounds like a good candidate. Cetus MV also; Tiderace Excite is maybe more on the playful side. P & H Bahiya maybe also. Happy to have others on the list if people have suggestions - most of the above seem pretty rare in the used market. (I do see the aquanaut on Craigslist....hmmm.)

I want to get to a rough water demo day and try a few in quick succession. Does anyone know when these are generally held?

I also hope to make it to another Chebacco lake day in the next few weeks.


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(At the risk of slightly hijacking the thread)

Do we know what is driving the "buyer's market" that Ed described. I have seen this, some really quite nice boats offered for prices maybe half of what they were a few years ago.

Are people leaving the sport? Upgrading to other composites?

Designs have evolved somewhat but I haven't noticed a revolutionary change.

Do we know if the sellers of new kayaks are doing OK?

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Might drop the price on my Pintail, Nothing more playful and will keep up with any group.

If you buy good pedigree you will be safer imo. (nspn classifieds).

Not sure why the market is down. Seems like people still flow into the sport. Maybe more are buying new?

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I think the market is down for several reasons

1) sea kayaking isn't as popular, I see a lot more people buying rec kayaks or SUP's these days

2) prices, with new sea kayaks selling for $4000+, then add the cost of the gear a lot of folks get turned away, they look at new kayaks not used

3) with people leaving or tapering back on the sport there are a lot of used sea kayaks out there and anything you sell is only worth what you can get for it

4) this darn internet, it brings us all together and it lets us easily compare prices and search several states away, any one remember the want advertiser and uncle henrys?

5) these things are heavy and I'm not getting any younger

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