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Submitted: 07-30-2010 by Marshall
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First off, I am biased towards P&H, Venture and Impex kayaks which is why I use them in my instructional fleet and carry them in my Showroom. A further factor here is I found myself in the standard size Cetus more and more for teaching, guiding and just for the heck of it paddling. To celebrate my business' fifth year anniversary in Hyde Park, NY and for working typically 70+ hours per week I ordered a Cetus MV when it barely existed as a prototype last September (2009). It has finally come in and I've had it on the water for about four days now and can report a bit on it's performance thus far.

My Specs: I am 6', 182lbs, size 11 shoe, 33" inseam and 32 waist. I paddle with a very high angle style and usually use a Mitchell Black Magic 215cm or a Werner Cyprus 215cm paddle and sometimes a 36" single blade Mitchell Touring Special as my back up.

Mfg. Information
Length 17'9" (Accuracy Checked); Max. Width 21.5" (behind the cockpit); Max Deck Height 13"; Volume 87.7gal.; Cockpit 31.5"x16" Inside Opening (Accuracy Checked); Weight 55lbs Fiberglass (Accuracy Checked); Weight 47.5lbs Carbon Kevlar Ultralight w/Carbon Kevlar Deck (Accuracy Checked); Skeg bungee spring released P&H foil blade; Price: $3600 Fiberglass / $5220 Full Carbon Kevlar Hull/Deck w/Keel Strip
Model Tested = Carbon Kevlar Hull/Deck with Keel Strip.

Day 1 Paddle
My first experience with this kayak was not the typical day on the water. The kayak got put right to work in assisting Karen Knight (who paddles a Cetus LV) teaching in a number of kayaking scenarios. (Quantitative test paddling would have to wait for a few days.) My first reaction sitting in the cockpit of this Cetus MV was that it felt like a tailored fit. What I mean by that is that my toes have room but the deck doesn't feel overly high, there is solid contact with the thigh braces but without having to raise my knees to create the contact, my rear feels automatically centered in the kayak. This superb fit kept asserting itself throughout the time on the water teaching where a quite moment would allow me to reflect something to the effect of "Oh Yeah! This fits NICE!" Other words like crisp, quick, sporty, efficient, reactive and smooth were also adjectives that kept bubbling up.

Some other touches that I noticed are that the seat band is now attached instead of being free floating in the slot at the back of the seat pan, the skeg bungee has been reduced in it's power to work with gravity which makes the up-haul much easier and a small length of thin cord has been attached to dangle from the lower edge of the skeg blade as a manual tug line in case the skeg housing gets jammed with debris.

During the class with Karen Knight the conditions on the Hudson River Were quite calm with a flooding current of about 2mph. During rescue scenarios I did get the chance to scull/balance brace and roll. All of these maneuvers seemed easy and effortless to execute but any judgments on roll-ability of a kayak is something I'm not going to weigh in on. Speed and manuverability on this first day was as I've come to expect from the standard size Cetus but with a bit less volume around me it seemed to take less effort in heeling the kayak into skidding turns as it was easier to hold at a higher angle with less effort.

Day 2 Paddle
Conditions = 6pm till 8:30pm, 12"-18" chop, 3mph ebbing tidal current, 14mph sustained winds from NW gusting to 25mph, diminished to 4" chop with 7mph sustained winds from NW. On the water working again but this time with a couple that wanted to do a short kayak tour of the area. Starting off a placid calm evening paddle this wasn't and prepared the participants as best as possible prior to heading out. For me this meant a lot of maneuvering in wind and chop around the two other kayaks to keep everyone in the desired heading and provide coaching, encouragement and advice as we went. This made for a rather effective test bed for a number of attributes of the Cetus MV. I seemed to be able to accelerate and flit from person to person with wind, waves and current coming from a variety of directions. I kept feeling for weather cocking as the conditions would certainly lend themselves to it but none occurred in any direction I faced or traveled. Waves coming from abeam didn't seem to be large enough to disturb me beyond the kayak's primary stability range.

Considering this performance now, I wanted there to be bigger waves and swells to see if the Cetus MV would be as confidence inspiring as it was in this size wave and wind conditions.

Day 3 Paddle
Flat calm conditions allowed me to do a little testing using an inclinometer on the iPhone App.-Thoedolite and an Oregon 400c GPS unit to determine speed and distance on the Hudson River abeam of any current.

  • Measured Mile Performance = 5.7mph avg. speed
  • Maximum Sprint Speed = 7.5mph
  • Right Side Max. Heel Angle = 72 degrees before tipping
  • Left Side Max Heel Angle = 68 degrees before tipping (I'm definitely right handed)
  • Stationary Heeled Skidding w/ Forward Sweep, Turn Diameter = 14' either direction
Coming in after sprinting around in the mooring field I did manage to catch on a couple of small swells left over from a boat wake. The Cetus MV quickly picked up on these and scooted right along with only half hearted forward strokes from me to keep on the face of them. Hmmmm, when's the next steady north wind and flooding tide here that I can play hookey to go surfing? Could be fun!

Synopsis:
Needless to say I'm thoroughly pleased with the way the Cetus MV has come together in fit and performance. As with the others of the Cetus lineup it is an expedition kayak that with just a touch of technique can be used as a maneuverable day/play boat now with a sizing range to fit the 5 foot 100lb in the LV size, to 6'5" 250lb paddler in the regular Cetus and then there's me quite happily paddling with my new MV in the middle.

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