Today Vicki and I went kayaking again. This time, instead of the tried and true Dagger Magellan that I usually use, I took the Valley Canoe Products Avocet RM. I think it’s a bit shorter boat, and it was definitely quite a bit narrower. It was a tight squeeze getting in and out, and the sides of the seat were pressing into me quite hard the whole time, but the firm connection made me feel much more a part of the boat. I had perfect control of the tilt of the boat just by thinking about it, and being narrower in the water as well, I could paddle closer to my body which I liked. It seemed fast, and it seemed to hit that sweet spot between tracking well and being able to turn when you wanted. It had a skeg but I never used it – but it’s nice to think that if I needed better tracking to get over a windy lake I could have it. In comparison, the Magellan was a better tracker, but there were times when I wanted to turn it and it seemed to take too much effort.
Vicki had the other Avocet RM, and she liked it too. She started out with the skeg down, since she’s found the other boats they had almost uncontrollable without one. But after having trouble making it around a few corners, she seemed to mostly paddle with it up, except maybe on some straight-aways.
The only thing I’m concerned about is that several web sites say it’s for paddlers up to 180 pounds. I’m considerably heavier than that – I was heavier than that when I was skiing in the Canadian Ski Marathon and I’ll never be that fit or that light again. I don’t know enough about kayaking to know what is wrong with paddling a kayak meant for a smaller person. Obviously I won’t get the optimal hull profile in the water, but am I in danger of swamping? Or is it just that I’d be limited in the gear I can carry? Because if that’s the only problem, it’s not problem – I don’t intend to carry anything more than a lunch.