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When paddling solo (which is 2 to 4 times a week) I am able to maintain a speed made good of 4.2 to 4.7 knots, depending on conditions. (the 4.7 knots being maintained on a 5 nautical mile workout circuit at ("race pace" effort). This includes a 20.1 nautical mile day where I maintained a SMG of 4.4 knots. This boat eats up the miles at it's target speeds! The biggest problem I have with this boat is having to slow down when I'm with other paddlers. Full on sprint speed in this boat (while using a greenland paddle) is a little above it's theoretical hull speed of of 5.36 knots. In dead calm flat water, I've been able to maintain a 200 meter sprint speed (maximum physical effort) of 5.45 knots, and the boat is in semi planing trim.
The boat tracks excellent, responds superbly to paddler input (leaned turns, rudder strokes) and accelerates very quickly due to it's light weight. I've had it out in Beaufort Force "5" conditions and felt completely comfortable.
The skin is still in great condition. I have not had to do any repairs or touch-ups to the urethane coating as of yet, and I'm expecting that I will be able to go another 3 to 4 years before needing to re-skin it.
All in all, this boat is one frickin' awesome paddling machine, and my feelings about all the qualities I initially raved about in my original review have not diminished in the slightest. A highly recommended boat for advanced paddlers, or even intermediate paddlers who want to push their abilities to the next level.
I built mine at the June 6-12, 2011 class and have now logged a little under 200 nautical miles (230 land miles) in it, in all types of conditions (calm, wind, surf, heavy hydraulics), both loaded with camping gear and empty, and I can say without hesitation that it is by far the best sea kayak I have ever paddled!
It is basically an F1 with a 7 inch longer stern and 17 inch longer bow, and is one inch narrower amidships. The extra length gives it a faster hull speed for those people who paddle a kayak faster than 4 mph. The cruising speed of this boat is a very easy paddling 5 mph and the sprint speed before the the hull starts to plane is 7 mph!
While paddling, it tracks like it's on rails. But throw it on edge, lean back slightly, and give it a sweep stroke and it turns VERY quickly for a 16 foot boat!
It does not weathercock regardless of wind or wave conditions or direction! And this is without a rudder or skeg. It does not need either. The stern is shaped so that it is essentially a built in skeg that disengages when the boat is put on edge.
The wide point of the boat (the LPB has an extreme swede form, meaning the wide point is behind the middle of the boat) is 22 inches, the width at the waterline is only 19 inches. This boat has a narrow waterline and flared sides. This makes it fast, but tippy until it is put on edge. The initial stability is pretty minimal when the boat is stationary since it is fairly deep V in the keel and hard chined, but lean it over and the secondary stability is sock solid! Continued leaning will reveal a slow, even, and very controllable listing to the tip point. The boat also rolls fairly easily empty, or loaded with camping gear using a variety of rolling techniques. Because of the skin over frame construction, the boat is light (35 lbs) and the ride in rough conditions is very comfortable due to the subtle flexing of the frame. It gives the paddler much more input as to what the water is doing underneath and around the boat. When heading into swells, it cuts through the small ones with little noise and none of the slapping common in hard boats, and on larger swells, the drop off the back side of the wave is very relaxed, controllable, and "cushy" feeling, rather than the butt jarring SLAP I've experienced in so many fiberglass and plastic boats. Even while paddling, this boat is very quiet. The bow does not push any water and consequently, this kayak makes almost no wake. If you like to sneak up of wildlife (or other kayakers) this kayak is the one to use!
The boat is also built tough! I have subjected it to any and everything I would subject a fiberglass boat to with no problems. If you are worried about SOF construction being fragile, don't be.
Having said all this, I should also say that this is not a beginner's boat. To get the full benefit of this kayak, you need to know how to throw your weight around in leaned turns, and your moving average speed while paddling should be greater than 4.5 mph. If you cruise around at 4 mph or less, the benefit of the extra water line length will be lost, and the the reduced initial stability will leave many people feeling a bit nervous. For most people, the F1 will be a more comfortable feeling boat. But if you paddle fast and aggressively, this boat is an absolute monster! A 20 nautical mile day loaded with 52lbs of camping gear and paddling at 4.5 to 5 mph is a cake walk with this kayak!
The specifications on my LPB (they are custom sized to the paddler) are:
Length: 16' 2"
Length at waterline (paddler in boat): 16'
Width at waterline: 19"
Shape: Swede form
Hull shape: V bottom, Hard chines, flared sides, minimal rocker (most of it in the bow)
Weight: 35 lbs.
Construction: Skin over frame with all connections being pinned, mortice and tennon, or tied with artificial sinew.
Frame materials: Red cedar, Ash, White oak (used for ribs and cockpit).
Skin: 9oz. ballistic nylon covered with 2 part polyurethane waterproofing.
If you want one, get yourself a spot for next year's classes at Cape Falcon Kayak! They fill up fast, and you won't be able to find one used most likely. I know there is no way I'm ever getting rid of mine!
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