Submitted: 05-04-2007 by longshadow
First a little background on the reviewer for your comparison: I’m 5’7”(30” inseam more importantly), 160 lbs., size 10˝W feet, and have been paddling for 4 years. I should also mention that my preference has been for point A-B type of paddling including large open water crossings on the Great Lakes and Greenland rolling skills.
Now the boat: The finish is as impeccable as every P&H I’ve ever seen has been, excepting their newer line of rotomolds (’04 on). The seat pan, cockpit and thigh braces are very appropriate for smaller paddlers and contact where they’re supposed to. In fact, of all the kayaks I’ve ever been in, the Sirius is the most comfortable especially over long hauls. For reference, other kayaks that I felt had comparable fits are the P&H Vela, Impex Outer Island, and the Impex Force Cat3. What the Sirius has though that the others lack for me is foot room. I’ve got to be barefoot in all the others, but in the Sirius, I can wear anything from water socks to stiff, thick soled mukluks comfortably, and that’s saying something. This could be a real boon on a rocky surf landing. Storage is actually quite ample for being a low volume boat at 305 litres. I think this is due to the increased “usable” space created by the deep V hull. Many other kayaks lose usable volume because of their lower deck height and fine, needle ends. The Sirius manages to maintain enough cargo room for a week or two’s worth of supplies without becoming a barge or losing efficiency (great glide too). Back to that deep V hull feature, along with the low rocker, this makes for a very hard tracking kayak…harder than the Outer Island which is longer and notoriously stiff. It must be edged or it will not turn, period. Edging is not a big effort though as it really wants to be on its side; secondary stability is really good. This also makes for a “twitchy” ride if not up to speed. Once up to speed though, the low initial stability firms right up. A little ballast weight will also help with this. Also, even though the boat is officially 14” deep, it does not have a high deck relative to the paddler; it is deeper than most kayaks below the seat pan due once again to the V hull. For the hatches, I have two complaints: The 9.5” fore hatch is way too small for “expedition” paddling. Can you camp out of it? Definitely. You can buy a bunch of smaller drybags or put the drybags in and load them through the hatch, reversing this process to unload. The question is would you want to do this every day for weeks? Not me. The other hatch complaint is that the day hatch seems too far back. Compounded by the low initial stability when not moving, and it becomes a bit precarious fishing around in there for any amount of time. Having a Greenland paddle helps as I can just outrigger it like a paddle float, but it takes extra time and attention.
After reading all of this, one may think that I don’t actually like the Sirius, but I actually believe this may be the best compromise craft I’ve paddled. It’s hard to find a small person’s boat made to accept bigger feet as well. I’m sure I could learn to adapt to the hatch issues that I’d have for the 1-1˝ weeks a year that I’d be camping out of it. As for the rest of the year? Good fit yet ample room for winter wear here in Michigan, hard tracking, fair turning, fast, efficient…I still want to try a Foster Silhouette, but the Sirius remains at the top of a very short list for me.