Submitted: 10-22-2003 by RTriebwasser
I have owned a Pachena for a year and have paddled it in every imaginable body of water including ditch, canal, river, reservoir, waterway, borrow pit, lake, bay and ocean, and in a variety of weather/sea conditions. This boat has never let me down. I went to a “try before you buy” event and immediately liked it. I consciously sacrificed the speed/range of some of the other kayaks for the added comfort/stability of the Pachena and haven’t regretted it. I’m quite sure this is considered kayak blasphemy in some circles, but I live in the Tidewater area of Virginia - heaven for kayak day-trippers.
I recently purchased a GPS, so I can give the speed characteristics for this boat. On flat water with no wind or current, I can indefinitely maintain a speed of around 4.5 mph. 5 mph is full speed ahead – in good conditions and with short water breaks I have sustained this for well over an hour. 5.5 mph is flank – you can get there and stay there, but only with maximum effort. Flank III for this boat is 6 mph – you can get there, but you can’t stay there very long. This is where you “hit the wall” with this hull shape. I recently tried some “fast” boats and found that cruising speed for them is around 5.5 mph. So basically, you give up around 1 mph with the Pachena with similar paddling effort as compared to full size 17-18’ touring boats. More importantly to me is how the Pachena performs in adverse paddling conditions. I have found that even in the most severe wind/sea conditions I have experienced, I was able to maintain at least a 3mph speed of advance with some effort. I’m talking about conditions where you get that spooky “I’m not getting anywhere!” feeling. If I didn’t have a GPS, I wouldn’t have believed that I was maintaining 3mph. In these situations, I have really appreciated the Pachena’s endurance and stability. It’s nice to know you can still make decent headway even when you go out and get bushwhacked by a sudden weather front.
Taking advantage of the Pachena’s extra stability I have purchased a Spirit Sail down-wind sail rig (full size). I highly recommend getting one for this boat simply because it’s a blast. I’m sure the purists would be appalled, but I like the idea of making the wind work for me occasionally instead of always against me. With a gentle 10-12mph wind I can go 4.5 mph without paddling. I can easily maintain 5.5 with paddling. I’ve even been caught in a passing weather front with my sail up and been propelled up to 8.5 mph! You definitely need a rudder for this type of kayaking, however. The Pachena’s rudder system is first rate and I also recommend it for this boat to help out in adverse conditions.
Comparing kayaks is a lot like comparing apples and oranges, but I give this boat a 10 of 10 because it is very well made, does what I expect a boat of this type should do, and provides me a level of comfort I couldn’t find in other boats. I’m 5’11” and 200lbs and for me, comfort = endurance. What I like best is that the Pachena is a very versatile, all-around kayak. It will take you almost anywhere.