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newbie question


bazzert

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Hi

I'm a total newbie; just took a class at Osprey kayak in Westport saturday; and then tooled around on a rented kayak on sunday at Charles river canoe. Totally hooked!

I would appreciate some suggestions on boats for a tall person (I'm 6'5", 250lbs). On sunday I had a perception eclipse 17 which seemed very comfortable (although difficult to track without the rudder, but I'll put that down to inexperience).

thanks,

Barry.

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Long list of boats you should fit in, all have skegs, no rudders

VCP Aquila

VCP Aquanaut HV/Argonaut

Impex Assateague

Impex Force 5

WS Tempest 180

Boreal Fjord (glass or plastic)

P&H Capella 17'9"

P&H Quest

Kajak Sport Viviane

Necky Chatham 18

Nigel Foster Shadow

The list of boats with rudders is incomplete, as I'm not fond of rudders

Seda Glider

Perception Eclipse

North West Discover XL, Pursuit XL

Current Designs Expedition, Titan

Also check out www.kayakplace.com lots of good advice for larger folk

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Michael, thanks for the list and the link. very useful! On the topic of rudders I rented an eclipse on the Charles on sunday and initially went out without the rudder deployed. It may have been a factor of the current (which was quite strong sunday after the heavy rain) and/or wind and it may have been my inexperience, but I found that I would paddle for a bit and then it would skew to the left mostly and then no matter how hard I swept on the left it would skew around almost broadside. This was really frustrating. Only when I deployed the rudder could I get it to track straight. I would appreciate your thougths/advice on this. I plan to take another class or two and go on some guided tours.

thanks,

Barry.

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Barry,

My first boat was an Eclipse and although not the best tracking boat on the market, it did so reasonably well. If I recall, it was quite windy the day you paddled so it could have been the fact that with the rudder up you basically have sail on the stern. I didn't use the rudder when I had the boat and on windy days it would always catch the rudder out of the water.

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Hi Barry!!! If you decide to join NSPN, you should come to the lake practice sessions once you get a boat - they're held on Tuesdays at Mystic Lake in Medford and Thursdays at Chebacco lake in Essex . . . it will be a great way to meet some other folks in the club (all ranges of skill levels) and get some free training from the rest of us!!! :)

I'd also go with skeg, not rudder when looking at boats but that's just my humble opinion :)

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possible reasons the boat was turning to the left

1) the wind- a boat will generally want to turn up or into the wind, this is call weathercocking

2) your technique- a lot of people find the boat turning to the left when they first start to paddle, they are usually right handed and are pulling harder on thier right side then thier left because they are stronger on thier right side (btw. you shouldn't be pulling at all)

3) the current- it may have also been a factor, it can push, pull, nudge a boat around

I know I push harder on my right foot and therefore with my right side, I know this because I'v worn through my booties quicker on my right heel than on my left.

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Michael,Kevin & Gillian,

Thanks for all the advice. I'll definitely try out some other boats in different conditions and see if I can figure this out. Joining NSPN is a no-brainer; I live about a mile from the boat launch at Mystic lakes.

Barry.

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All of the boats mentioned above are good boats---many come in both rotomolded plastic, fiberglass and kevelar models. The first question you should ask yourself is how much money do I want to spend on a boat? If the answer is under 1000 dollars, then you are probably looking at used RM boats. If the answer is under 1500 dollars, more or less, then you could either buy a used fiberglass or a new RM boat. If the answer is under 2200 dollars, more or less then you could buy a new fiberglass or a used kevlar boat(note that some models in fiberglass have gone up a lot in price this year due to the increase in oil.) If you can spend 3000+ then you can get pretty much whatever you want. The advantage of RM is that they are less expensive and tend to be tougher, requireing less maintenance and upkeep. They are also heavier and less stiff than fiberglass or kevelar making them slower to paddle and harder to lift on the top of a car(although I'm sure that a guy with your build would have no trouble with that). fiberglass is lighter and more stiff making it easier to paddle and lift, kevlar is the lightest and stiffest of all making it the easiest to paddle and lift. In certain circles fiberglass and kevelar are regarded as de rigor, and nobody would be caught dead in an RM boat---most paddlers don't have that problem, in fact most guide businesses, in Maine any way, use RM boats exclusivly due to the price and maintenance issues. I suspect that at your novice level you probably wouldn't notice the difference between boats made of rm, fg, and kv. Most paddlers start with RM and trade up as their skills increase. My advice would be to try a number of boats,and find one that you like before making the purchase. Let me put in a plug here for WS Tempest---the Tempest 180 is an excellent boat--it's wide--23" and long--18' but unfortunatly only comes in FG and KV---the list price is 2800 for the FG and 3400 for the KV((I just looked at them last week in one of the local shops here) The Tempest 170 is a little smaller and might still be comfortable for you, partularly if you find the perception ok---it does come in KV, FG, and RM--the RM model lists for 1575 but I'm sure if you shopped the end of season sales you could get the boat for much less in the RM version and also the FG and KV models---whichever boat you get, be sure to try it on the water first---if the owner or business won't let you then I would go someplace else---I made the mistake of buying my first sea kayak(model not made anymore) without trying it first---two years later I traded up for a Tempest 170 after renting one for a day up in Canada--haven't looked back since.

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I went thru similar circumstances trying to locate a boat I could fit into. Many of the boats for bigger guys I could not get into; i.e. my thighs never made it below the cockpit. Several of the big guys boats I could get my legs below deck, but never bend my knees or I felt cramped.

I tried many boats and originally wanted the Impex Assategue, but for some reason just didn't fit right. I never had a chance to try the P&H Capella 173, but instead found a great boat and deal in the Kajak Sports Atrisian Millennium. Lots of room, paddles well, great initial stability, etc.

I'm only 6'1" 235 pounds and actually jealous of you guys with more choices.

My advice, try out your boat before you purchase; paddle many boats or just sit in them.

BTW, great list of boats you compiled. I paddled the NF Shadoow too, nice boat and I fit.

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Barry - I was in the same position you're in now, but a year earlier...I took a class, got hooked and jumped into the paddling world. I'm 6'4"/230# and tried out about 20 boats before I found what I wanted. In my case, it's an Impex Assateague, but built by Impex (thanks to Danny Mongno of Impex and Bryce at Charles River) with the front bulkhead about 5 inches forward of the factory location. I still have to corkscrew my way into the cockpit, and frequently fall when exiting (a drysuit is a good thing), but I have a range of places to put my feet. I do wish I could lift my legs straight up and out of the cockpit, but unless I switch to a sit-on-top, I don't think that's possible.

A new carbon/kevlar Assateague (or any other composite boat for that matter) is not cheap, so that your decision should be carefully considered. I know that others here have said the same.

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Several people have pointed out (and rightly so) the high cost of many of the boats on my list. My suggestion would be to try them all and wait for a deal. What type of deal? Well here are some spectacular deals that folks have gotten over the years on used boats, Kajaksport Viviane $1050, NDK Greenlander $400, NF Legend $950?, NDK Explorer $950. Hell Atlantic Coastal Kayakercurrently has a Kajak Sport, Artisian Millennmnium for $1200 in the classified ads.

So buy a boat that gets you on the water, almost everyone buys a new/different boat after thier first year of paddling. In other words don't worry too much about the boat.

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Michael:

Thanks for the response on this. $1200 would definitely be in my budget ($3500 would not!). I contacted the person selling the Kajak-Sport so will see where that goes. Any other suggestions on where to find listings ? Also, in terms of evaluating a used fiberglass boat what are the things to look out for ? Finally, are there any outfitters who stock these types of boats that I could take a trip on or rent to try them out ?

thanks again for all the information; it has been very helpful. (I promise as soon as I have a boat my membership form will be on its way!).

Barry.

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