Submitted: 06-15-2010 by C
Well, I've finally decided to write a review on how the Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 performs in strong winds and choppy seas.
If you're considering a Prowler 13 against other SOTs, I just took my Prowler 13 out this morning to test it specifically against a force 6 wind (and gusting) and a moderate tide, with the wind and tide coming from around 10 o'clock in relation to the kayak.
I've had the Prowler 13 for two years now and alternate it with a composite Valley Nordkapp LV sea kayak, using it mainly for journeying when I get the chance.
Here's how this mini test panned out:
Over a 2.65 mile leg against the tide (not strong), across a hellish choppy and relentlessly windy open stretch of sea, the Prowler made 3 miles per hour. I don't have a rudder, but despite the wind hammering the kayak from an angle, very little correction was needed to keep it on course. The bow cuts through the water with negligible "slap", casting spray aside. Very smooth in fact. Waves coming "broad side" are wet... I wear a wetsuit in this kind of weather.
I pootled about a bit, in and around the local harbour etc taking in the sights, which added a couple more miles, then timed myself back on the 4.2 mile return leg, with the wind and moderate tide on the stern quarter (about 4 o'clock in relation to the kayak). On this course I used a lot of right hand paddle to counteract the slight broaching effect of following waves and wind on a moderate angle. This was good fun, with waves sluicing around, under and over the kayak, and the prowler made its usual "fair weather" progress of 5 miles an hour back in the bay where I started.
And that's it.
Hopefully the above has addressed some questions you might have about the Prowler 13's performance when it starts to get a bit "naughty". It feels very stable and maneuvers amazingly nimbly in this wind strength, tracking very well without a rudder... considering; rewarding a relaxed approach.
In normal conditions, you can paddle the Prowler at 4 –5 miles an hour all day with no need for a rudder. It also maneuvers easily in rockpools and tight spaces, and is a reasonable weight to load on the car single handed... I'm average build.
Compared to the Nordkapp LV, the Prowler 13 is slower as you might expect, being an entirely different kayak, with a little more effort needed to maintain "cruising" speed, but not by much, and easily puts in 20 – 30 mile days. I can't see a longer SOT, such as the Tarpon 160i being much faster. I'm going to try one in the future some time to see though... and a Prowler 4.5 Elite.
With great performance, load capacity, fitness for purpose, price, build quality and all round SOT convenience, the Prowler 13 is in my view, a very capable kayak, that gets you out there, and lets you hop on and off... coves, etc... with ease. A design classic.
I bet it's good for fishing from as well.