Submitted: 07-06-2007 by magooch
There have been lots of reviews of the Sirocco that describe its performance and its various pluses and minuses, so I’m going to talk about its style.
As I began to look at sea kayaks, naturally the long slender sleek designs were very appealing. At that point I didn’t realize that there are several definite and very different categories of design. I’m not sure how I gravitated toward the British style, or design, but I did. I think the Necky Chattams were the first real sea kayaks that I got to actually touch and see up close. I even got to sit in one at that time. To say the least, I didn’t like the fit at all, so I immediately started to look elsewhere. By luck there just happened to be a Sirocco sitting on the floor of the store and I was invited to try it on. My reaction was, “this is more like it.”
This initial trial sitting in sea kayaks, limited as it was, got me to thinking that I’d better do a lot more research and looking. The short version is that I narrowed my sights down to a P&H Cappella; I liked its looks and it got very positive reviews. Finally, the day came when I got the chance to try one on. Just like the Chattam, the Cappella didn’t fit. No matter how I squirmed around and tried to adjust, I couldn’t find room for my legs. There were a few other points that discouraged any more consideration of the Cappella, but the bottom line is that it got crossed off my short list.
Again, by pure luck, or providence this store just happened to have a brand new Sirocco on hand. And it was the color (white) that had caught my eye in the CD brochure that I had picked up from the previous introduction to the Current Design brand.
When the Sirocco was brought out and sat down on the floor next to the Cappella the looking was all but over. However, being a non-impulse kind of buyer, I tried to be coy and act like I was only mildly interested. The salesman took the bait and offered me a deal that I couldn’t refuse, but I managed to keep my cool composure and said, “yeah, maybe I’ll give it a test paddle.” Maybe my rear end; I could hardly wait ten seconds to get that sweet looking beauty on the water.
I knew from having read all the reviews I could find, that the Sirocco would feel a little tippy at first. I was somewhat surprised that it really didn’t feel all that tippy to me at all. I also was aware that there would be some inclination for the Sirocco to cock to windward. Nothing revealing about that, but I was taken with how adding a little skeg, instantly changed the Sirocco’s attitude.
Two other things that occurred to me during this demo were how very little evidence of velocity through the water there is and how easy it is to maneuver this boat. On the first point, I mean that it cuts such a minimal bow wave that by just looking at the water you don’t realize just how fast you’re moving. On the second point, the Sirocco isn’t the longest sea kayak, but at 16’-10”, I was all prepared to have my hands full getting the thing to bend to my will. To the contrary, the Sirocco complied with my guidance without any hesitation, and with almost no effort on my part.
I started out to talk about style, but I had to lay the groundwork. If you’re looking for the absolute fastest thing on the water, the British style probably won’t be your choice. If you’re looking for an expedition boat, you’ll probably want something with more volume. But if you’re looking for something that has curves and graceful lines in spades, in my opinion, nothing tops the British style. In the Sirocco/Gulfstream case, designer Derek Hutchinson has blended form and function into a package that I find simply gorgeous. The fact that the Sirocco is amazingly seaworthy, comfortable and competent at everything I ask of it is all pure bonus to its good looks.
Finally, in addition to all the above, I have found no reason to argue with CD’s assertion that the Sirocco is “the finest rotomolded British Style kayak available.”