Submitted: 10-19-2009 by Karovaldas
Absolutely great play-boat for day paddles! I am 6' and close to 180lbs and could comfortably go on a short camping trip in this boat but not much more than a couple of nights. That's what I have a Nordkapp for and the Avocet complements Nordy extremely well.
When I first paddled the Avocet I was surprised at the lack of speed difference between it and Nordkap HS. There is a distinct difference though and I could feel how effortless the glide in the Nordkapp was at a pace where Avocet hit the wall.
I was very pleased with the stability profile which I found to be more similar to my Nordkapp than to a boat in Avocet's class--NDK Romany. The Romany has a distinctly stronger primary which beginners relish. I found that Romany fought my attempts to put the boat on edge. Avocet is more stable on the edge than Nordkapp HS. However rockered the Nordkapp may be, 2' difference in length makes a huge difference in tracking and maneuverability. Avocet turns on a dime!
I absolutely loved the boat in surf! In the Nordkapp, I slide off the face of the wave broach and the ride is over. In the Avocet I can steer! Makes for much longer and controlled rides. At 16' it's not a surfing boat but at least I have a shot at some control in it.
The cockpit fits me well. I miss the ocean cockpit of the Nordkapp but not the getting in and out of it part :) Thigh braces are not as fool-proof but I have not gotten to installing the extra padding--have not found the need for it yet. In the Nordkapp I did that promptly after a 4-5' breaking wave sucked me right out of the OCEAN cockpit! I added about an inch on the sides in the upper thigh area for better contact with the boat. In the case of the Avocet, I am at the top of the fit bell curve and the fit is tight enough. Can't complain about the back band--it's small and could be much improved but for my paddling style it more than meets the requirements.
The boat is Pro Kevlar but weighs about as much as my light layup fiberglass Nordkapp. I don't quite understand how this is possible but a clue may be in the 1/2-inch thick layer of gel coat on the foredecks. I can see the thickness where the foot pump outlet exits on the top deck. It's thick! Could probably take a full tsunami!
In summary, a perfect day boat and play boat. Distinctly slower but much more maneuverable than Nordkapp HS. Fast enough for casual paddling. No shortcomings--I gave it a 9 because no kayak should get a 10. They are all compromises of one kind or another.