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  Suggestions for best "rough water" kayak
  Posted by: acroreef on Aug-06-07 1:08 PM (EST)
   Category: unassigned 

Dear Folks:

I live in Michigan and want to purchase a kayak capable of the rough conditions on the great lakes. Which kayaks are recommended for rough conditions? (I am looking for something for only 1 day trips, so storage capacity is not a concern). Thanks to all who respond.


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  To go straight in rough conditions
  Posted by: sternsquirt on Aug-06-07 1:16 PM (EST)
and make mileage or to play and manuever in rough conditions is something that will help narrow it down.

You did say day trips but that can still mean different things (3 miles, 20 miles ?) to different paddlers.
  more info needed
  Posted by: suzanneh on Aug-06-07 1:41 PM (EST)
Best for me, my size and abilities might not be best for you.

This reminds me of the farmer at the stand yesterday where I was buying corn. He takes a look at the two boats on the roof, a P&H Capella 161 and a NDK Explorer. He then asked are they sea kayaks? My answer is yes. He then asked how are they different?

I wasn't in a particularly chatty mood as I had too much to do and so I responded with "different than what?" He didn't mean from each other, but different than whatever he thinks is a kayak... It could have been an hour long Q + A period as his next question was - they don't have rudders - what's that?"...

So, in order for people to answer your question, you need to provide more info.

  Old favorites
  Posted by: angstrom on Aug-06-07 1:43 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Aug-06-07 1:49 PM EST --

The NDK Romany and Explorer are widely considered to be good rough-water touring kayaks, as are the VSK Avocet and Aquanaut. There are many other good candidates such as the WS Tempests, the P&H and Impex boats, the Necky Chathams, and others -- depending on your intended use, anything from a surfski on down could work for you. It all comes down to personal preference and fit. Every boat is a combination of tradeoffs.

Look at the boats that are used by the guides and instructors on the waters you'll be paddling. That's often a good starting point.

If you're only planning on day trips I'd focus on the lower-volume boats.

  Rough Water Day Boats
  Posted by: wilsoj2 on Aug-06-07 1:50 PM (EST)
Among the boats that are widely considered to be capable and enjoyable day boats are:
NDK Romany
Valley Avocet
WS Tempest 165
Necky Chatham 16
P&H Capella 16something
Impex Montauk

These are among the boats most often referred to as 'day boats.' While some folk use longer boats for day paddles, these boats are all around 16'
  Add one
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-06-07 1:56 PM (EST)
I paddle a pintail in the great lakes, here in Northern MI. Not the fastest boat in the bunch but it's made for rough seas; maneuverable and also roomy enough for weekend trips (longer if you ack like a backpacker). And in reality, in rough seas it can keep pace with most other boats.
  CD Sirocco
  Posted by: redmond on Aug-06-07 2:03 PM (EST)
My Sirocco is great in the rough stuff.
  Guillemot Petrel
  Posted by: Dr_Disco on Aug-06-07 2:16 PM (EST)
Designed for day trips in rough water. Nice video:
  Lets look at variables
  Posted by: salty on Aug-06-07 2:36 PM (EST)
Lots of good kayaks, some listed above. But many more lesser know boats around the mud ball are also excellent.

I say look to a shorter kayak of 17 or less down to 14. You'll want a decent amount or rocker, as well as reserve stability which is hugely important in clapotis, rock gardens, surges etc., as it allows you maneuver more effectively against that buoyancy. Balance in wind, a decent amount of volume in the bow, a snug, comfy fit, and a deck that allows for spirited paddling, rolling, bracing etc.

A true rough sea boat will tend to be designed specific to that objective, so you will see common traits of full chines, rocker, decent, but not excessive beam / reserve buoyancy etc. These traits make the above boats and others like them excellent in big water. These traits make these craft less effective for long distance flat water efficiency, but they still do fine at touring speeds.

Other brands to examine: Kajak Sport, Mariner, Pygmy, Impex, Foster's boats, etc.

Cult mentality can be powerful, especially with the Brit boats, which are good, but I say paddle many in big water...take your time. Buy the one that just does it for you, and believe me one will call out to ya. Buy that boat regardless of the logo on it. Then go beat the hell out of it..OK! Good paddling.
  the ones made for rough conditions
  Posted by: LeeG on Aug-06-07 2:33 PM (EST)
Your question is a little like going to a shoe store and asking which ones are best for running and there's a dozen to chose from. Ok,,now what.
  rough water kayaker?
  Posted by: jtmusiel on Aug-06-07 3:36 PM (EST)
Without your profile, we have no idea your background/experience, but getting a "rough water capable" kayak won't make you "rough water capable." Generally, the better boats for such purposes will require more skills to be mastered to get the full potential out of the kayak. The same kayaks with an unskilled paddler can be dangerous.

More of the "more info needed" - what is your skill level? How much time/effort do you want to put into skill-learning? How rough is rough water?
  you're overanalyzing
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-06-07 5:42 PM (EST)
  Eskia on Lake Erie
  Posted by: ness on Aug-06-07 8:35 PM (EST)
I paddle a 16 ft. Necky Eskia in rough stuff on Lake Erie. It handles chop and waves very well.

However, it may be too big for some people. Depends on your size. My friend paddles a Necky Chatham 16 right alongside me in the same conditions (she's smaller) and she handles it all just fine, too.

We purposely bought these boats to use on Lake Erie conditions, which means -- it could change from flat water, to 3 ft waves, very quickly.
  Artic Tern on Lake Erie
  Posted by: mcyak on Aug-08-07 2:43 PM (EST)
On the flip side to Ness's boat, the tern (and Ness will attest to this) simply rides way too high in the water. The high volumn on this hard chine design is a bear to deal with in sine and swells. Go with a lower volumn (maby multichine?) if you can get away with it.
  If you need to ask this question...
  Posted by: jackl on Aug-07-07 6:30 AM (EST)
I don't think you are ready for rough water yet
I am not trying to be sarcastic, just telling it like it is.
Rough water kayakers work up to it, and when they are ready for a kayak that will do what they want it to, they know the models to choose from.

Just my take,

  My Opinion
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-07-07 7:03 AM (EST)
Paddling in rougher water is 90% the paddler and maybe 10% the boat. I have paddled more than once in fairly rough conditions offshore when I was at my limit, my boat was far from its limit, and watched better paddlers in lesser boats paddle circles around me.

Happy Paddling,

  And, A Good One At That. :)
  Posted by: sing on Aug-07-07 7:15 AM (EST)
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-07-07 12:12 PM (EST)
I don't often find myself agreeing with Jack, but the safest rough water kayak is the kayak sitting on the beach when it's too rough to go out.

If/when you do get caught out in rough conditions, it is your skill and experience that will save your ass, and most skilled and experienced boaters do not intentionally go out in rough weather because it's not really a wise thing to do.
  that's not really so
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-07-07 6:00 PM (EST)
Going out ill-prepared, significantly inexperienced or above your skill level isn't smart. Legions of kayakers ply rough waters to enjoy paddling in it and increase their abilities. See the distinction?
  nope ...
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-07-07 9:34 PM (EST)
what I've seen in my life are risk takers taking needless risks ... sortof like practicing having a head on collision at 25 mph to better prepare yourself for the real thing at 60 mph.
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-08-07 8:41 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Aug-08-07 9:04 AM EST --

The distinction is needless vs. calculated risk.

I was out this spring in the a.m. on a calm Lake MI. While I had a drysuit, pfd, vhf, etc., I was paddling solo and for my first time of the season. The water was below 40 degrees. Winds picked up and waves built to a sloppy 4' with dumping surf on shore. I decided to stay near the launch since I was alone, and when conditions worsened I got off the lake, before I reached a point where landing in dumping surf would be necessary.

Last week I went out with a friend and our trip ended up with 3'-4' following seas with a quartering chop. Actually similar to the first instance above, but I was familiar with the conditions, the water was very warm, and I had a competent partner versed in rescues.

Let's use your car premise. It would be dangerous to push your limits on public roads to get used to driving in snow and learning corrective measures (some of which can be fun). But it's a lesser risk to do the same thing on a closed course or large parking lot.

If you view risk on a sliding scale instead of an either/or option you can assess your appropriate level of risk. Get out in conditions using good judgement and increase your comfort by practicing and you reduce your risk.

  Posted by: old_user on Aug-08-07 11:58 AM (EST)
Once one begins grading risk (i.e. needless vs. calculated) you've crossed a line in order to rationalize risky behavior.

Quick question: does the Coast Guard practice and drill in bad weather?

Quick answer: not on purpose.
  Posted by: angstrom on Aug-08-07 12:06 PM (EST)
"To support those missions, training is a big part of the job as well, said Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer Gordon Muse, who is the base's top enlisted man. "If we are not doing missions, then training is very big," he explains. "If there's nothing else to do, then we do training."

It's especially important to train in bad weather, Muse said, particularly with the 47-foot heavy-weather boat that's seen in the commercial. The boat is nearly indestructible, and designed to handle 30-foot seas and a 20-foot breaking surf.

"You want to train in the environment you're going to be in," he said. "In other words, you don't want to wait until it's 2 o'clock in the morning in a storm to be out in 6- to 8-foot Seas. So when you get the opportunity you try to go out in it."

However, around the Chesapeake Bay, the weather is fairly good and the seas relatively calm most days. And, Harper said, the opportunities to train in rough seas are few. Even in bad conditions, the waves reach only about 8 to 10 feet, he said.

"That's not bad," Harper said, sounding disappointed. "You go to the West Coast and you've got 20- to 30-foot seas. Cape Hatteras in North Carolina has got big seas, too."
  nice try
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-09-07 11:44 AM (EST)
The son of a good friend is a BM1 and is the skipper of a 47-foot MLB on the Oregon Coast.

He says they only train on milder days and have strict orders not to do any rollovers when training because too much stuff gets broken (antennas, etc.).

Sure they train in weather that is not optimal for boating, but their "rough" weather training is in conditions that are well below what their vessel is rated to withstand, so it's not really rough weather training from that perspective.

  And by that standard of "mild"
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-09-07 12:26 PM (EST)
none of us are out on rough days, either.
  you're wrong
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-09-07 2:10 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Aug-09-07 2:12 PM EST --

"Not optimal for boating"? That statement presumes some level of risk. You're breaking your own rule.

You have to assess risk in order to determine that it is risk. You're talking in circles to validate your argument.

  That is not true....
  Posted by: seadart on Aug-09-07 2:54 PM (EST)
I have a friend who is a Coastie who practices in life boats at the mouth of the Columbia river in Hellacious wind/ swell events. The waves there are enormous.
  too much fun
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-09-07 2:57 PM (EST)
You guys are having way too much fun with this and I can well understand how important it is to you all to continue living in your alternative reality.

I would imagine if we went to a sex club in the nearest big city and admonished those in attendance for not practicing safe sex we'd get a similar response to what I'm getting here.

For the record, I have no objection if paddlers like yourselves enjoy taking risks. That's why my (and your) tax dollars support the Coast Guard and your local search and rescue.

Those that work for these agencies also get off on adrenaline rushes and without you folks challenging the elements their jobs would be quite boring; sortof like the Maytag repairman.
  you replied to your own post
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-09-07 3:09 PM (EST)
  How are Manitou & Recluse by Betsie Bay?
  Posted by: mcwood4 on Aug-07-07 7:12 AM (EST)
As long as this question is being asked I would like to know how the Manitou and Recluse models by Betsie Bay handle the rougher Great Lakes comditions.

In my "horse trading" I ended up with two almost finished composite Betsie Bay kayaks. So of course am wondering if they are worth finishing and the rough waters question is a biggie.



  Posted by: old_user on Aug-07-07 3:33 PM (EST)
My BBK valkyrie handles Lake Superior fine. Sometimes it's a struggle to keep the boat from broaching on steep following waves, but that's not unusual. I've never paddled the larger BBK boats, but my guess is that they're not that different, assuming your size is within their intended uses.
  Manitou & Recluse
  Posted by: jaybabina on Aug-08-07 8:30 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Aug-08-07 9:56 AM EST --

I've paddled with paddlers in those boats in some pretty rough conditions and like someone else said, they handled it fine in the hands of good paddlers.

What makes some paddlers feel more comfortable in rough conditions are rocker and shorter length as wilso-2 said.

Here's why: Picture a 20 ft kayak in an area where there's 3 ft peaks spaced 10 feet apart. The long boat gets bridged or held up on ends and can feel a lack of stability. A 14 ft boat with a flat bottom, shaped like a banana, sits on it's belly in the trough of the wave and you can eat your lunch there. That's the basic reason why highly rockered, flat bottom boats make their paddlers feel more comfortable.

The trade is speed (hull efficiency) and directional stability. It's not as black and white as my example and good paddlers paddle all types of boats in any conditions.

Product endorsement and advertising also is a big player in people's perception of what is supposed to be good.

  boats to consider:
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-07-07 1:32 PM (EST)
NDK explorer
Valley Nordkapp
Seda Ikkuma 17
seda swift 17
Prijon kodiak
CD solctice GTS
CD Sirroco
P&H cappella series
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-07-07 2:12 PM (EST)
"most skilled and experienced boaters do not intentionally go out in rough weather because it's not really a wise thing to do."

I think there are a lot of skilled and experienced boaters who would be very quick to disagree.
Also rough weather is a little hard to define as it dependes a lot on the perspective of the observer. Most skilled and experenced boaters know the difference between rough and too rough.

"Only by pushing our limits can we expand our limits."
"Risk is necessary to growth"

"A ship is safe in harbour but thats not what ships are for" William Shedd

"Danger and delight grow on one stalk."
"A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner."
English proverbs

" A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't.
But we do be afraid of the sea, and we only do be drowned now and again."

  there is hope !!!
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-07-07 3:48 PM (EST)
You and your friends will be glad to learn that a portion of our tax dollars go to a federal agency called the Coast Guard.

Their primary mission is to rescue people who get caught up in bad weather.

Sadly, they spend most of their time rescuing people like yourself who find pleasure in taking risks that a wiser person would not endeavor.


“Every man is a fool in some man's opinion”


“To the wise, life is a problem; to the fool, a solution”


“The best way to convince a fool that he is wrong is to let him have his way”


“However big the fool, there is always a bigger fool to admire him.”


“You can educate a fool, but you cannot make him think”


  Spare us
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-07-07 4:12 PM (EST)
Anyone who takes more risk than I do is an idiot. Anyone who takes less risk than I do is a coward.
  "you are
  Posted by: rick_s on Aug-07-07 4:16 PM (EST)
a turkey"


oops, no, that was me.

i agree with whomever posted that you come to understand the answer on the boat as your skills and experience increases BUT to espouse YOUR thinking rwven, we'd all be at home in a puff of wind lest we involve the CG and if we don't stay home then we're wrong and foolish.

withouth having ever met me, YOU can decide what's appropriate? you're one smart fella - most folks wouldn't presume to do that but you seem to have some insight.

it comes down to ME making a decision based on MY experience, knowledge and skill as to what is too rough for ME to paddle in. while the cg is on the sharp end of the stick and does have the capacity to deem any voyage as "manifestly unsafe" it comes down to ME keeping ME safe, not you or any government agency in this regard.

if i am taking appropriate precautions and weighing conditions and risk against experience and judgement...well, that sounds like the decision making process, doesn't it?

personal of the things i enjoy about kayaking and being an adult.

  Taking the advice
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-07-07 5:03 PM (EST)
It is now raining outside and forecast for electrical storms so I'm still in the office as driving home in these conditions would potentially create problems for the emergency services.

So while I was stuck here I got to wondering about
"If/when you do get caught out in rough conditions, it is your skill and experience that will save your ass," Kinda curious how to get that skills and experience without going out and practicing in rough weather?

Might be interesting to know how many rescues by CG or other emergency services involved people who regularly practice in rough conditions and how many involved people who generally avoided rough conditions but got caught out. I suspect its similar to the statistics for Mountaineering.
  Again with the fricken
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-10-07 10:15 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Aug-10-07 10:42 AM EST --

tax dollars crap. Like chewin' foil. If we had emoticons on this web site, I'd add about 50 pairs of rolling eyes.

Yes, the CG does practice in rough weather. Sometimes, pretty damn rough, especially at Cape D. in Illwaco, WA.

Yes, the whole idea is not to roll the MLB (motor life boat), crash the helo or flip the Safe Boat.

Yes, it's a lot of flippin' paperwork if you do, followed by hot washes and safety stand downs.

Each CG asset (boat, cutter, helicopter, plane) has a maximum operational limit for weather. I'm fixin' to leave for a day of paddling so I'm presently not going to list 'em all. Crews have operational time limits as well. After X amount of hours underway time my crew is bagged and a lot of folks need to be notified.

One of 3 things happen:
1) Everyone (chain of command, other CG units, local L/E and SAR agencies) are notified that we can not respond to SAR, period, and they pick up the slack.
2) We respond to -urgent- SAR only.
3) We call in a relief crew.

It all depends on the situation and the CG unit. Some units have 2 duty crews on at a time to try and avoid the above. If the weather exceeds the op limits of an asset, they don't go out. A waiver -might- be considered, in certain situations, by the Commanding Officer. Gone are the days of our motto "You have to go out, you don't have to come back."

Back to the question. I'm not sure what the best kayak is for rough water, but I sure miss my Necky Eskia. It kicked some fricken booty in big wind waves and rough seas. I never felt tippy or over my head. I'd use another boat on a regular flatwater paddle, unless it was for a newbie who needs a stable platform. The cockpit's roomy and comfy, but takes too much from storage and it tracks like crap without the rudder.

  what is bad weather?
  Posted by: scottb on Aug-07-07 4:45 PM (EST)
that could mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.
Many paddlers on this board thrive when bad weather brings good paddling.
  Rough water....
  Posted by: bowler1 on Aug-07-07 6:28 PM (EST)
To address the issue above about not paddling in rough water I disagree...I look for the days with small craft advisories. To me that is the first indicator that it may be a good day to go out on the water. Some people actually seek out storms and rough water, but are still safe about it.

But to address the question the poster asked....I would say we can make some inferences about his skill level and experience level. I think his question has enough information for us to make some recommendations.

This guy probably can't go wrong with an Explorer, an Aquanaut or a Romany. Those are probably perfect for him....outstandingly seaworth boats that are easy to paddle for all skill levels. I might add the Chatham to the list but not too many others based upon my assumption that the paddler is probably not very experienced and wants something seaworthy and confidence inspring.


  Why not others?
  Posted by: salty on Aug-09-07 9:09 PM (EST)
Definitely the Chatham's, but also Impex models, Foster models, Kajak Sport, Valley's, Tempests other models, etc.

I gave up my NDK for a non-Brit boat that "for me" outperforms it. Bowler, don't get too star struck OK. There is a planet full of superb water craft, and I'll add that there are some other "waterpeople" of astonishing capability around the globe other than Brits.

You're just infatuated and that's understandable. I think you'll grow out of that.
You'll retain the well deserved respect, but your world will expand...I hope for you.
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-10-07 3:32 PM (EST)
almost swallowed that condescension
  Rough water boats
  Posted by: haresfur on Aug-07-07 9:32 PM (EST)
I think there are a few boats that excel in rough water in the right hands but are kind of tender for many paddlers. But there are plenty of kayaks designed for rough conditions that are very well behaved, relatively efficient, and fun to paddle in mild conditions. For example I know people who use Tempests for beginner teaching boats.

So I think the original question is a reasonable one, since you can't really assess a boat in rough conditions until you learn to paddle rough conditions. A little more info would be nice, to be sure. My recommendation for someone starting into rougher paddling would be to find a boat that knowledgeable people you trust consider to be good in rough conditions, that feels comfortable edging and turning on the flat and in whatever conditions you can test in, and that brings a smile to your face. There should be any number of them out there.

Good hunting.
  Don't forget
  Posted by: bryanhansel on Aug-08-07 11:06 AM (EST)
to look for a used plastic Skerray or Avocet.
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-10-07 1:53 AM (EST)
a lot of people on this forum demonstrate a great deal of respect for your understanding and advice regarding boats and paddling in general.

but for crissakes, read your last post. leave out the condescension- it's bloody rude you go too far!
  Posted by: salty on Aug-10-07 4:06 AM (EST)
Look, I have huge respect for Dennis!! The man has done a lot for the sport and he's the real deal. I believe he would agree fully with me here that his boats, though excellent examples, are NOT the only options for rough water kayaks!!
All I am saying is there are many choices, many of which i dont even know about, that would be excellent. Bowler is a BCU follower and gave predictable advice. I say it's a very small portion of the market, and very narrow minded, and biased. That's all.
  There Is "Predictability..."
  Posted by: sing on Aug-10-07 4:51 AM (EST)
to certain answers to certain questions by certain people. But, in fairness, it ain't just the "star strucked" crowd though. I think if one has a different opinion, or info of additional value, then just post it up.

I think we all have a "koolaid" flavor that we favor. I've come to the conclusion that actively trying to convince someone that his/her koolaid isn't the only flavor is a waste of time. Besides... Do I really want a lot of folks "lining up" aat my favorite store and drinking my brand of kool aid...? ;)


Pink koolaid is the bestest flavor. :)
  British boats...
  Posted by: bowler1 on Aug-10-07 5:19 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Aug-10-07 5:22 AM EST --

I was not trying to imply that the other boats that Salty mentioned are not excellent rough water boats....
but given that the poster appears to be a beginner I think that that makes a huge difference.

I did have the Chatham in my list....but on certain boats like the Nigel Foster boats I would agree that they are great boats, but not really for a beginner.

You are right that perhaps I should have mentioned Impex as well. Definitely the Tempests (I overlooked those).

However, my point was that for a BEGINNER who needs a boat that is easy for him to paddle with his skill level and wants it to be unlimited in rough water capability, and wants something that will inspire confidence (my own assumpition based on his experience), I would argue that it would be hard to beat an Explorer.

That is not becuase of being infatuated with British boats, but because I think it is pretty true and probably fairly well accepted. Regardless of where it is made it is truly a good boat for an advancing beginner who wants to be comfortable and capable in rough water.

I also agree with the poster above who states that there are lots of other rough water boats that are great in the hands of the right person, but not right for a beginner (Nordkapp LV for instance I would think). My Greenlander Pro does quite well in rough water, but probably not good for this individual.

It just would be hard to beat an Explorer in this particular case. Not being biased. I think that boat is one that almost automatically comes to mind when one looks at the criteria this individual is looking for. Definitely it would be on the short list.

Oh and by the way....about the Koolaid....I have owned a Chatham and a Dagger Meridian....and very nearly bought a Nigel Foster boat. Would own an Impex any day (and probably will someday at some point I would think), also would be happy to own a Kajaksport. Also very nearly bought an Azul Sultan now made by Riot. So for the record, I am not as British bound as you might think.


  Not That I Care (My Favorite Line)...
  Posted by: sing on Aug-10-07 5:50 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Aug-10-07 5:58 AM EST --

but if we are to surmise that the orginial poster is a "beginner" -- quite possible given the "generality" of the question and the lack of specifics, wouldn't it be better to ask for clarification i.e., what do you mean by "rough", what boat do you paddle now?, how does it work for you in what you consider to be "rough" conditions?, etc. It may well be that he already has one of the "rough" water boats being suggested. The issue is perhaps not with the particular boat but with the driver. Then suggestions for a "rough water" boat become moot unless we think a boat can grant magical powers to a beginner to paddle "rough" water. Heck, some of the "rough" water described by some here, I consider benign. While other may consider likewise my "rough water" as benign. What I do know is that in my "rough" conditions, I don't care what boat you give to a "beginner" it ain't going to "inspire" any confidence in him/her, or take care of him/her. In my "rough" conditions, a beginner is going to get trashed, regardless of boat.

And, if the original poster is not a beginner, than s/he should understand that the more specifics given, then then more "helpful" folks (with "rough" water experience) can be with their suggestions.


  Face it Bowler
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-10-07 9:52 PM (EST)
you're just starstruck and infatuated. ya BCU butt kisser, you.
  Design Intent
  Posted by: eel on Aug-10-07 8:33 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Aug-10-07 10:23 AM EST --

"With the Romany Explorer, we aimed to produce a user-friendly intermediate-to-advanced sea kayak that an average paddler can paddle in advanced conditions." Nigel Dennis.

I think it fair to say they met their design intent. I also think it fair to say those traits enable good paddlers to explore increasing rough stuff with confidence.

As to whether that means it is a great rough water boat or a high performance boat for rough water I do not know. Personally, it just does not appeal to me, even if it can make me look good doing all the BCU stroke stuff.

I have no idea what people mean here when they say "rough water", "performance", etc. All I think I may know on this issue is that if I spend enough time is almost any decent boat, I can use it in most any conditions or venues of interest to me or which I may find myself confronting. Some have been barge like, some have been comfy, some have been fun, and some have had a very "exciting" edge; but they all "work" once you know how to use them. As a result, some very different boats ( Force4 v. Anas Acuta) have felt like great boats for "rough" water to me, but for different reasons.

  rough water boats
  Posted by: jonsprag1 on Aug-10-07 10:32 AM (EST)
I'm assuming that your original question has been answered---there are a number of boats, both british and american which meet the criteria of being "good" in "rough" water and they have been listed in the posts above---there may be others, equally as good, which have not been listed since. But you shouldn't ignore the advice about staying on the beach if the water and weather is above your skill level(if you have to ask it probably is) but just what your skill level is will change significantly over time. I used to think anything more than a ripple and any passage over 200 yards was dangerous. As my skill level increased and as I pushed the limits, very incremently I might add, I became more comfortable with so-called rough conditions---My idea of rough water now is significantly changed from what it was 7 years ago. Still, there is a limit when I will leave my boat on the beach and do something else for the day--and when I do "push the limits" I do so in a very controlled manner, making sure I have bailout points along my route where I can get off the water if I have to--also in those types of conditions I don't go out alone but with experienced companions and am also fully equipped with appropriate clothing and gear. And still there are times when I stay on the beach---am I afraid to go out then?---yup you bet.
  My wife is away for two weeks....
  Posted by: seadart on Aug-10-07 2:59 PM (EST)
I've got a big block of styrofoam in the garage and and something is taking shape .... wonder what kind of cool aide i have been drinking.

  Posted by: sing on Aug-10-07 4:04 PM (EST)
You realize there is new, higher density EPS that is reputedly water impermeable (minimizes ding and repair worries related to water infiltration). More expensive but maybe worth it when a test block gets shaped and approved in dummy pilot tests. :)

I think Homeblown Foam or something like that makes it. They're in CA and unlike the foam board suppliers with preshaped blanks, this company takes orders for custom sized blocks.

  Salty responses...
  Posted by: Celia on Aug-10-07 8:01 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Aug-10-07 8:14 AM EST --

For whatever reason, Salty usually sounds in writing as though anyone who likes NDK boats at all has been consumed by a cult rather than just has an appreciation for that boat. I've been assumed to think a number of things that I don't (I suspect the tendency is stronger with women), and you'd never know that I have a Vela under the porch as well and have quite decent respect for a number of other boats many of which are not British-made. Same way about the BCU, despite various notes on the quite pragmatic reasons for having something on paper. (for traveling in retirement).

I don't know if the person comes off the same way as the writing, but I wouldn't spend a lot of time trying to clarify to Salty that you have not been mind-melded by Nigel Dennis. It doesn't seem to have much impact, and aside from that particular quirk he has substantial advice to offer.

As to the original post, I agree that a better discussion of what is meant by rough water might help. I've had difficulty recommending anything on this one because of confusion about what is needed.

  Posted by: salty on Aug-10-07 10:45 AM (EST)
For the record I think NDK boats are outstanding and I have many many nautical miles in them! I have owned and paddled many Brit boats and I like them. What I'm trying to get across, and doing so poorly, is that there are many great kayaks in the world and certainly more than three possibilities to the original posters question! You'll note that my first response focused on design variables rather than brands.
I hope the poster will explore many options and think for themselves, rather than follow some guys advice and focus on three boats! Maybe my responses will help, and that's all I care about.
  Question on Variables
  Posted by: eel on Aug-10-07 11:04 AM (EST)
In your first post you mentioned full chines and an reserve of stability. Did you mean they tend to have a hard chine or just a well defined which may be hard or somewhat rounded chine, and what does this "give" a boat that makes it a good rough water boat. When you say extra reserve stability do you mean a big "shoulder" when the boat is leaned at a certain point or just a nice linear feel that enables you to lean the boat over and back easily?
I surmise some would like the former to give a nice place from where they can exert force to move the boat and some would like the latter for quick response when the water is throwing you about.
  Yes eel
  Posted by: salty on Aug-10-07 11:14 AM (EST)
"I" think boats with a full chine profile throughout most of their length, regardless of whether the edges are sharp or soft, combined with a decent amount or rocker, makes for a better rough water boat. These variables make these boats less effecive for straight line calm water paddling. As you say, this stability on edge is helpful in rough conditions as it gives the skilled paddler something to work off of, and the less skilled paddler some confidence. We see these design traits in many boats including models from NDK's, Valley, Necky, WS, Impex, Kajak Sport, Mariner, CD, etc...........
I've seen some Japanese and Kiwi boats that look pretty cool as well.

  Well made point
  Posted by: jaybabina on Aug-10-07 3:13 PM (EST)
You have to remember before NDK existed there were boats considered to be rough water boats like the Nordcapp. Why, because Frank Goodman used it around the Cape of Good Horn. It also had low stability which meant that it required skill and that also fortified the reputation. Derek crossed the north sea in an Orion - must be a good rough water boat. Then some unknown kid crossed all the Great Lakes in a Necky plastic piece of crap and the kayking world shut up about boats for awhile.

I paddle with a club reguarly in usually intermediate conditions and every boat imaginable arrives and sometimes it gets pretty nasty. Even (god forbid) Outer Islands too. All the boats handle it fine. Better paddlers just handle it easier.

One thing that NDK proved to the world is that initial stability is a good thing.
  Which side of the state are you on?
  Posted by: kwikle on Aug-10-07 9:34 AM (EST)
If you are on the east side, is your best bet.

If you are in SW michigan, is your best bet. Or Jim mulder at Gun Lake Paddle Sports.

If you are in GR outpost or bill and paul's, (talk to John Holmes) are great shops.

If you are up north, I think it is backcountry that carries valley.

Which boat fits you is a good question. Email me if you want and we can talk.

  only 3 boats
  Posted by: bowler1 on Aug-10-07 1:18 PM (EST)
My only point in narrowing the field down this much (which is probably too narrow) is that if the paddler is a beginner, then the recommendations of Nigel Foster Legend, Nordkapp etc. probably are not optimal. Great rough water boats for sure, but not necessarily "confidence inspiring" beginners boats.

I will reiterate what I have said in previous posts about what I have found out about boats in my short experience....they're all good....just different
  Posted by: angstrom on Aug-10-07 2:57 PM (EST)
If you want a boat for rough conditions, why not a whitewater creekboat? You won't get anywhere in a hurry, but you'll be bobbing along like a cork.

It doesn't even have to be British...;-)
  though it could be a Birt boat...
  Posted by: wilsoj2 on Aug-10-07 3:00 PM (EST)
Pyranha makes great whitewater boats ;-)
  Creeker probably best
  Posted by: Celia on Aug-10-07 3:17 PM (EST)
Pretty skimpy space for that jug of hot tea in a playboat.
  Gone from Syllabus
  Posted by: eel on Aug-10-07 3:28 PM (EST)
I should not mention this, but notice the whole hot drink thing in terms of being part of kit was radically changed in new syllabus? As in removed and replaced with something requiring the demonstration of judgment as to what to have. Good stuff in new syllabus seems to me.
  New BCU 4* re food and drink
  Posted by: wilsoj2 on Aug-10-07 4:19 PM (EST)
From the Trainer notes:

5. Food and drink
• Candidate should be provided with the knowledge of how to choose appropriate
food for the trips to be undertaken.
• They also need to be made aware of the importance of good hydration and the
benefits that might be gained from a hot drink.
  Lots of room for tea if you do
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-10-07 7:09 PM (EST)
what I'm doing this Sunday. My British designed, Canadian built, and American owned Foster Shadow will be towing my Seda Creeker 'til I get to the spot I intend to surf. Then I'll switch boats.

Why I can even fit three thermoses of tea in Shadow's day hatch.
  My God, my Kool Aid index just keeps
  Posted by: dogmatycus on Aug-10-07 3:24 PM (EST)
rising. I have a brit river boat, too!

  My Brit Cred Went Down...
  Posted by: sing on Aug-10-07 4:00 PM (EST)
got rid of Mega. Got rid of the Pyranhnas. But I also got rid of the Go-Native stuff.

I drink pink alone. :)

  When I drink alone
  Posted by: sternsquirt on Aug-10-07 11:20 PM (EST)
I prefer to be by myself. (GT and the Destroyers)

BCU cred holding steady with Mr and (future)Mrs. Squirt.

BCU: 6

NDK Romany
NDK Explorer HV
VCP Aleut Sea II
Barcelona Slalom
Pyranha Master
Pyranha Inazone

North American Allstars: 7

Black Marlin surf ski
Necky Phantom
Seda Glider
Necky Blunt
Necky Rip
Wave Sport Score
Perception 3D

If I count the Aleut as two, then I need to acquire a tie breaker! Or at least give away the 3D.

  And now for something completely differe
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-14-07 4:38 PM (EST)
I paddle an Innova Solar II in rough water, out here on the Pacific. And I mean rough: 5' dumping waves, washing machine turbos, boomers, strong head winds, Great White sharks, etc.. The boat flexes (like a white water raft) and takes a heck of a lot to capsize.

Of course it sucks on flat water, but that's where my real sea kayak excels.


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