Folding Kayaks Forum

The user forum for FoldingKayaks.org
It is currently Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:25 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 16 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:45 pm 
My wife and I have been looking for a tandem kayak for some time. We are fortunate to live less than an hour from both large and small rivers as well as the Atlantic coast. Ideally, any boat we purchase would be able to effectively deal with all these venues.

We have spent considerable time looking at folders. However, recently we've been researching the inflatable possibilities. We've communicated with Lee at The Boat People as well as reps from several other inflatable sources. We still question whether or not any inflatable including those from Europe as well as newer technology models such as the Razorlite from Sea Eagle can perform well at sea when conditions are less than favorable. We wonder if, even during ideal conditions, any inflatable tandem can offer a reasonable approximation of the speed and tracking seen in hard shells and well sorted out folders.

If anyone here has strong opinions pro or con, we'd enjoy reading them. Does the average paddler give up too much performance and/or safety when using any inflatable for ocean travel? We are also concerned about the open cockpits found on almost all inflatables. When wind and waves are high during the cooler months, how realistic is it to be out in these boats?

As always, thanks in advance.


Top
  
 
PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:08 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2005 12:57 am
Posts: 1232
Location: Anchorage Alaska
I have had my Feathercraft Java, Innova Helios and Innova Safari out in some conditions. They are slow but it is your skill and strength that will be the deciding factors

_________________
Feathercraft Kahuna ( Angela )
Mariner Express ( Miruku Maru ) ( In Storage)
Innova Helios 380
Northwest Sportee (SuperBoat)
Innova Safari
Mariner I
Feathercraft Java
Nautiraid 14
Innova Sunny
Feathercraft K-Light


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 5:45 am 
forum fanatic

Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 10:28 am
Posts: 51
I only paddle inflatables so can't give you any opinions regarding the loss of performance, although I'm pretty sure that all inflatables will struggle to match a proper sea kayak

The Gumotex SeaWave (see thread below) can be specced with a removable deck so you can use it with spray skirts. It's also certified in France for use up to 6kms offshore or something - there are videos online of it being put through the various safety tests. You can see one of the vids on this page http://www.gumotexbateaux.fr/kayaks-gonflables-seawave

There are quite a few testimonials on the Innova website (Gumotexes are sold as Innova in the US) from people who use theirs in quite extreme conditions, although that won't include the SeaWave as Innova doesn't carry it

Chris's blog https://apaddleinmypack.wordpress.com/ includes his experiences with the Seawave plus some speed tests

_________________
Barum Albatros
Gumotex Safari
Gumotex Sunny
Gumotex Scout


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 3:44 pm 
onsafari wrote:
There are quite a few testimonials on the Innova website (Gumotexes are sold as Innova in the US) from people who use theirs in quite extreme conditions, although that won't include the SeaWave as Innova doesn't carry it

Chris's blog https://apaddleinmypack.wordpress.com/ includes his experiences with the Seawave plus some speed tests


Lee Arbach (The Boat People) indicated that, "the reason you don't see the Seawave here is that Tim from Innova (the Gumotex importer for North America) has tested it on open water in Washington state, and he said it is quite slow. It would also be very expensive with the spraydecks, and you need to buy both decks if you want to be able to use the Seawave solo and tandem."

He strongly recommends his own Trinity II (among several others) which does come with Aire's better ten year warranty. The Trinity's open cockpit may be fine during summer months. I do wonder whether most paddlers would enjoy a hour or three on a brisk November sea without thermal and waterproof clothing.

Also, I've seen the Seawave available with both spray decks, skirts, paddles, etc. for about the same price as the optioned out Trinity offering on Lee's site.

Thanks for your responses. There's very little hard information out there on inflatables.


Top
  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 6:26 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2005 12:57 am
Posts: 1232
Location: Anchorage Alaska
caucapon wrote:
onsafari wrote:
There are quite a few testimonials on the Innova website (Gumotexes are sold as Innova in the US) from people who use theirs in quite extreme conditions, although that won't include the SeaWave as Innova doesn't carry it

Chris's blog https://apaddleinmypack.wordpress.com/ includes his experiences with the Seawave plus some speed tests


Lee Arbach (The Boat People) indicated that, "the reason you don't see the Seawave here is that Tim from Innova (the Gumotex importer for North America) has tested it on open water in Washington state, and he said it is quite slow. It would also be very expensive with the spraydecks, and you need to buy both decks if you want to be able to use the Seawave solo and tandem."

He strongly recommends his own Trinity II (among several others) which does come with Aire's better ten year warranty. The Trinity's open cockpit may be fine during summer months. I do wonder whether most paddlers would enjoy a hour or three on a brisk November sea without thermal and waterproof clothing.

Also, I've seen the Seawave available with both spray decks, skirts, paddles, etc. for about the same price as the optioned out Trinity offering on Lee's site.

Thanks for your responses. There's very little hard information out there on inflatables.


I will add that I get the same speed paddling the Helios 2 that I did paddling and Aerius 2. My partner is not a strong paddler and I have nowhere near the gear capacity, but transport and maintenance is easier

_________________
Feathercraft Kahuna ( Angela )
Mariner Express ( Miruku Maru ) ( In Storage)
Innova Helios 380
Northwest Sportee (SuperBoat)
Innova Safari
Mariner I
Feathercraft Java
Nautiraid 14
Innova Sunny
Feathercraft K-Light


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:21 pm 
tsunamichuck wrote:
I will add that I get the same speed paddling the Helios 2 that I did paddling and Aerius 2. My partner is not a strong paddler and I have nowhere near the gear capacity, but transport and maintenance is easier


That's interesting. At present, the two boats we are considering are the Trinity II and the Long Haul Mark II, the AE II's kissin' cousin. Lee indicated several times that the Trinity II was exceptionally fast for an inflatable.

How does the Helios 2 handle on a moderately rough sea?


Top
  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 12:03 am 
forum fan

Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:50 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Vancouver bc
I have an Innova Sunny and love it for paddling solo or tandem. I can feel a bit of flex in the boat in choppy conditions. With two people I can move fairly fast in it, probably faster than a hardshell solo kayak. Definitely more comfortable to paddle the Sunny in open ocean than a hardshell. I think the flex actually improves stability plus when I introduce new people to kayaking I think they appreciate the open deck.

The Feathercraft Aironauts looks really nice and speedy. Out of my price range http://feathercraft.com/kayaks/airo-double-naut/


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 1:14 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2005 12:57 am
Posts: 1232
Location: Anchorage Alaska
caucapon wrote:
tsunamichuck wrote:
I will add that I get the same speed paddling the Helios 2 that I did paddling and Aerius 2. My partner is not a strong paddler and I have nowhere near the gear capacity, but transport and maintenance is easier


That's interesting. At present, the two boats we are considering are the Trinity II and the Long Haul Mark II, the AE II's kissin' cousin. Lee indicated several times that the Trinity II was exceptionally fast for an inflatable.

How does the Helios 2 handle on a moderately rough sea?


Fine with a rudder. It can be slow going though. 2 people should be fine with it

_________________
Feathercraft Kahuna ( Angela )
Mariner Express ( Miruku Maru ) ( In Storage)
Innova Helios 380
Northwest Sportee (SuperBoat)
Innova Safari
Mariner I
Feathercraft Java
Nautiraid 14
Innova Sunny
Feathercraft K-Light


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:12 am 
forum fanatic

Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 10:28 am
Posts: 51
I've got a lot of time for The Boat People - back in the day they were one of the best sources of info about inflatables - but I think that perhaps you should exercise a little caution and not take everything they tell you as absolute gospel. I think that they've been forced into safeguarding their position a little better in recent years with regard to Innovas/Gumotexes. They used to really major on them, which was fine when the US and Euro inventories were largely aligned except for a couple of the more obscure models. But with so many of the Innovas now made from the inferior Hevealon while their Gumotex equivalents are made from Light Nitrilon (the Swings and the Twists) or full Nitrilon (Framura/Swing EX) and with the very appealing SeaWave not even picked up by Innova, you can see why they're majoring on boats like the Sawtooth/Trinity and also why they might be tempted to pass on a little disinformation about the SeaWave. Particularly when everyone has internet access and shops in Europe are prepared to ship to the US

I'm sure the Trinity is a nice boat but 'exceptionally fast' is a big call. The Boat People themselves reckon it's half a knot faster than the Innova Sunny (the boat that they previously used to rave about being the fastest boat for under $1000) and that two competent paddlers can do 4.3 mph in it. (Let's assume that's an average over a reasonable distance rather than max speed.) Well, if you Google translate this page (unless you speak French) http://www.mack-kayak.com/monoplaces/10 ... ist-1.html you'll see that during testing of the Seawave they covered 9 kilometres in 58 minutes on a calm sea with no wind. That's an average of over 5.5 miles an hour by my reckoning. I also read a blog post by some guy who'd done 100kms in the sea over a couple of days and had averaged 6.3 km/h which is just under 4 mph.

That Mack Kayak link also has some quite interesting info about the boat's safety at sea

I'm not trying to push you in any particular direction. I have nothing to do with Gumotex or any retailer, but I've always been very sceptical about the Innova/Boat People party line on the Sea Wave.

As you've noted, if you buy it from Solely Marine or Bluewater Sports here in the UK the full monty Seawave will cost around $1600 or if you get it from Boat Park in the Czech Republic (currently on sale) it'll cost you around $1,300 I think. 'Paddlesheep' and 'Kalif' on here have both bought one from there so they should be able to tell you the actual costs of getting it to the US

_________________
Barum Albatros
Gumotex Safari
Gumotex Sunny
Gumotex Scout


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:02 pm 
onsafari wrote:
I'm not trying to push you in any particular direction. I have nothing to do with Gumotex or any retailer, but I've always been very sceptical about the Innova/Boat People party line on the Sea Wave.


Informative post. I mentioned Lee/BoatPeople several times in the hope of receiving some feedback regarding that company's perspective. When researching anything, you have to be uneasy getting the majority of your information from a single source. Good to see a different take on today's inflatables.

Not sure what we'll do. However, gaining additional awareness never hurts!

Appreciate you taking the time and making the effort to inform.


Top
  
 
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:45 am 
forum fanatic

Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 10:28 am
Posts: 51
There are a couple of very positive reviews of the Trinity on Paddling.net http://www.paddling.net/Reviews/showRev ... ?prod=3154

You'll see that both reviewers make the point about drying time - in case you don't know the Trinity, as with all other Aire/Tributary boats, uses bladders inside a tough outer. This makes it a couple of kilos heavier than the SeaWave and probably a bit bigger when folded, and it also means that water can get trapped between the outer (which isn't fully waterproof) and the inner bladder. This reportedly makes for long drying times which may or may not be a problem. Gumotexes don't use bladders - Innova describes their construction method as monocoque, like a car tyre - so a quick wipe dries them

_________________
Barum Albatros
Gumotex Safari
Gumotex Sunny
Gumotex Scout


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:00 pm 
forum fan

Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2015 2:02 pm
Posts: 19
Hi Caucapon,

Regarding your post about inflatables for ocean use, I'll write a few lines about Gumotex and then summarize why I like inflatables.

I just posted some more pics of a Seawave on its thread, but I don't own that kayak anymore. There was a slight defect with velcro (see pics.) and Boatpark people exchanged it without any quesitons (I think return/exchange is included in UPS shipping price that you pay initially when you order, so there was no additional cost when I sent it back). At that point I decided to get a Swing 2 and Solar 410c instead as it fit within the price I had paid almost exactly. We used the Swing 2 for a while, sold it, and now I have a lime green and gray Solar410c but I might get a Seawave (this time without a deck) as it is currently on sale.

I realized that I don't really like decked kayaks and like to change positions of my legs often. In cold conditions, I protect them with clothing, in hot I use a pareo or a thin cloth/towel to keep the sun out.

If you do get a deck, there are two, a single or a double. 4 aluminum struts are part of the decks, so if you order both, you'll have two sets of struts. There are also two white plastic tubes that act as stiffeners so you can put the spray skirt on. Their spray skirts are not the best, too tight. What's good about the decks on Seawave is that you can open them partially as you can see on some of my pics. However, I think you can protect yourself with proper clothing and have an open boat experience. It was hard to fit my legs under and there was not much room to move around, but again I'm a bit over 6' and my legs are long and I like to move them a bit. My guess is that Framura is better in that respect as it is deeper and has two stacked tubes on each side, like Helios.
Also, compared to Solar, Seawave is more streamlined and gets more and more narrow as you go front/back from the centerline. I was surprised by that as it is 2ft longer, but again that's why it's a little faster and glides better than any other Gumotex boats. The website apaddleinmypack has a nice table that lists the maximum width INSIDE the boat which is usually not listed in the boat specs. If you don't use the struts and go open deck, than issue is solved, you'll have enough width. Good thing is that you can improvise your own deck, full or partial, and use existing velcro strips without struts to make whatever you wish (cover just the bow and stern, for example).
The speed is better than that of a Solar/Sunny, but not by much. What's really better is that you can maintain higher end of speed with less effort whether you go solo or with a passenger. It may be good if you paddle with your wife or someone not as strong as you. I could paddle with the same effort/speed whether my GF paddled or not. In Solar, I notice the difference. In other words, Seawave is efficient through water.
If you have more specific questions, please post it here and I'll answer. You can't really go wrong with any Gumotex kayak.

_________________
Helios 2
Safari
Sunny
Sevylor SVX5oo
Swing II
Seawave
Solar410c


Last edited by Kalif on Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:03 pm 
forum fan

Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2015 2:02 pm
Posts: 19
Right now, Gumotex boats are on sale and we (U.S. and Canada) don't pay 21% VAT, so it's really reasonable especially because the US dollar has been strong relative to European currencies (you get another 20-30% advantage there too). I just calculated that you can get 2 Helios II boats with shipping for $985. On innova website, one costs $999 plus tax/shipping.
The shipping (UPS is what they use) Seawave, 2 decks, 2skirts and bits and pieces to SF Bay area cost me $252 and it's just $30 more if you get two boats, so it makes sense to get two. You can use the Boatpark's website and it directs you to some European payment system. It might be good to call your CC beforehand and tell them about the purchase because they may deny it. Initially, it will look as if you are paying the full price with VAT, but they deduct it and then add shipping, so it all works out OK. I'm very happy with Boatpark. I also got their pressure gauge and valve wrench at the same time. Skeg and patch kit are included with the boat and Seawave (unlike Solar/Swing) come in a nice 100 l drybag.

Now about the boat people. I have been to Lee's house a couple of times and have bought a US version of Swing 2 from him that I sold later. He is a very honest man and is very knowledgeable about inflatable boats, especially materials used in the production. He told me all good and bad about Swing 2 before I bought it. We had it for a year and liked it quite a bit (the skirts are better than the ones from Gumotex, but you can't use them on either Seawave or Swing).
I have seen Trinity II that was made specifically for him and it is a great boat. The reason I use and prefer Gumotex is storage space so I can't have kayaks with bladders and outer skin as they don't dry easily and don't fold well because PVC is not as pliable as Nitrilon. However, Trinity, Sea Tiger and Super Lynx are amazing boats. If you ask me what I would like to be in if I'm in a really bad spot at sea or what I'd take to cruise Napali coast, or some other place where you go through 'washing machine', I'd choose one of those three. They are indestructible, look great, cheetah seats are amazingly well made and there are webbing loops between outside tubes and the floor throughout the boat and you can use hooks to attach anything to it. Most importantly they are self-bailing and all have 10yr warranty. PVC decays and gets brittle over time, but they will last and take some abuse.

Hope this helps.

_________________
Helios 2
Safari
Sunny
Sevylor SVX5oo
Swing II
Seawave
Solar410c


Last edited by Kalif on Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:13 pm 
forum fan

Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2015 2:02 pm
Posts: 19
Hi again Caucapon, just to add why I prefer inflatables:

I find them safer than any other type of kayak (folders included) in all cases, especially when it comes to 'ultimate' conditions which you hopefully won't experience. I am happy to accept a small loss in speed for a large gain in safety. If I want to go fast on the water, I go sailing, but when it comes to paddling, safety, comfort, ease of paddling and maneuverability are the top priorities for me.
The safest feature of an inflatable is its side flotation. Just like on a sailboat (even non- self-bailing ones), if you have side-flotation, you will be stable after capsize/righting the boat.

In 'traditional' kayaks, once the cockpit is swamped, the kayak will not sink, but will be unstable upon entering and will behave like a cylinder as it has flotation in the ends but nothing to prevent it from capsizing again and again once you try to enter it.
We recently had a fatality in Tomales Bay where a couple of kayakers unable to re-enter decided to swim back to shore (and probably ditched PFDs after getting cold in order to swim faster). The kayak was fine, never sank and washed onshore, but one of them died. We were out the same day, and for our inflatable it was just another day on the water.
You can relax, rest, sleep, if you want, and if the conditions are especially gnarly, you will not waste your energy staying upright. The kayak will take care of you. Entering the inflatable from water is easy and does not require any special equipment/procedures. You just climb back in. It's really nice when you take it to Hawaii and snorkel out of it wherever you want. Ok, you do need some upper body strength to get back in, but not as much as what you need to enter a 'traditional' kayak.

Hopefully, this can help you decide.

Good luck.

_________________
Helios 2
Safari
Sunny
Sevylor SVX5oo
Swing II
Seawave
Solar410c


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:58 am 
Hi Kalif,

Really appreciate all the info supplied. Precisely the kind of thing I've been trying to find. It's obvious that better inflatables have many positive attributes.

My primary concern regarding inflatables at this point is the overall effect wind has on them. My wife and I are both seventy years of age. While both of us are in decent shape and work out daily, the reality is that there is a real difference between thirty and seventy. Loss of muscle mass matters. We've been out on bays a number of times using typical rental hard-shells and have had absolutely no issues. Wind and lobster/power boat wake did not stop us in our tracks. Inflatables, understandably, are more susceptible to these forces. My son and his wife recently purchased an inexpensive Sea Eagle and have had a difficult time dealing with wind and wake. Can we expect significantly improved performance from better inflatables?

While we can certainly borrow our son's boat, I'd hate to discount this entire class of kayak because of dissatisfaction with a Sea Lion sporting huge side tubes. Extrapolation using a poor source can produce unfortunate results.

Again, thanks for all your observations and comments. They have helped me form a clearer idea of what a Seawave can offer.


Last edited by caucapon on Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 16 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group