A New Boat in the Garage
After a lot of on line researching and some waffling back and forth and listening to the experiences of some friends who have experience in kayaking we settled on some basic requirements. Sit-on-top models and about ten feet in length. Beyond those requirements just details. So a couple of boats fit the requirement enough to warrant making those as finalists on the list. Of course such things are always subject to change. And, they can change at the last minute. We spent Saturday morning hitting the big name sporting goods stores in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. We had already visited the web sites of these stores but now it was time to look at the real thing. We wanted to sit in real kayaks. There is only so much you can learn about a boat by looking at pictures and reading written descriptions.
We discovered that the selection of kayaks to be found in any brick and mortar store (at least in this area) is somewhat limited. That makes sense thinking about it after the fact. Physical inventory does cost so put the biggest selection on line. We did not find what we wanted at all but did get to look at enough boats to form some additional opinions and really, to firm our decision on what we wanted. Might as well go home and place the order on line.
Sidetracked by phone calls to a couple of sporting goods outlets in the local area introduced to a kayak model we had not heard of before. The description sounded good so lets take the pickup for another ride. Thus we saw our first Perception Sport Pescador 10. That name wont mean a thing to anyone not familiar with popular kayak names will not recognize this one. I had not heard of it before but as the store rep described it to me over the phone, it sounded like it fit the description of what we were looking for. On site viewing confirmed that it did indeed match our desires. We have read that the Perception Pescador is the twin (or sibling at least) of the Wilderness Systems Tarpon model from a couple of years ago. Looking at that boat, I can see the likeness. Apparently (see, you read, you learn) Wilderness Systems and Perception are the same company. Just different branding.
Only one in stock at that store but more available from their sister stores in other areas. We took this one home and the other should be to us well have to pick it up at the store sometime this next week. Oh yes, we also bought our paddles and FPDs Saturday so were set once the other boat is in our possession. Now to find the best places to put in on the closest lake by us. More on that subject to come.
Perception Pescador 12.0 Kayak - 2015
The Perception Sport Pescador comes in two lengths. Ten foot and twelve foot lengths. Long term use is going to be a better judge of what is the best length for my wife and me. Based on our previous kayaking experience, I think the ten foot length will be just fine. A little lighter in weight than the twelve foot model and sitting in it at the store I felt it was quite sufficient in length so I think it a good choice. This boat offers something our other choice did not. Two dry hatches. One on the foredeck and one just aft of the seat. Which by the way, the seat felt quite comfortable and I think will allow for long hours of sitting without too much of a fatigue problem. As we experience some paddling, I will post entries giving additional thoughts.
The sit on top style offers several features which to us are important. The most obvious one is the ease of getting in and out. Also, you actually sit a little higher in the water than you do in the sit inside variety. Whether that is an advantage or not, who can say. One might think that sitting higher would raise the centre of gravity and thus tend to make the boat more tip over prone. That is not the case at all. These boats are very stable and though we have not tried it, nor know of any reason to do so, supposedly you could actually stand up in it. Leaning to the sides does not give the feeling of being able to tip it over. In fact, leaning to the side gives you the strong assurance that you really can't tip it. At least not by leaning. However, it is as I have said before a matter of personal choice to go with the sit inside or sit on top style.
Two dry wells provide storage inside the hull. That can be handy for carrying things on a longer trip which are more secure down inside. The cavity behind the seat is perfect for carrying a small ice chest and we have done that on paddle outings.
The seat backs are adjustable for individual comfort. Scuppers at various points in the hull drain off any water which may get inside and the seat bases are high enough to virtually eliminate the wet bottom experience. Not that you may never have a little water under you around the seat but it's just not often and not much. Several foot rest positions are provided for best comfort adjusting positions.
On the subject of tracking. Tracking is the ability of a kayak (or any boat for that matter) to maintain a straight course in the water when not propelled. In other words, if you paddle hard to propel the craft forward and then remove the paddle from the water so that the craft simply continues to move a little distance before coming to to a stop, does it glide straight ahead on the same course, or does it wallow off to one side? A boat which tracks well will continue to glide straight ahead before coming to a stop. Now that's assuming smooth water where the currents are not opposing you. A boat with poor tracking will immediately wallow to one side or other when you stop paddling. It will almost give you the sense that you are trying to paddle a floating bathtub.
A boat which tracks well will make your paddling more efficient. For each stroke forward provided by the paddle action, the momentum of the boat's movement will carry it a little further on its own. A boat which tracks poorly will do just the opposite. It will require a greater effort as each paddle stroke is not only working to keep the boat moving forward but it is working to keep the boat on course and to constantly correct a tendency to weave to one side or other.
There is a balance between stability and tracking. Obviously the most stable boats will be wide in the beam and the ratio of length to width will be smaller. A boat with best tracking will be (generally) more long and narrow to cut through the water straighter but by being more narrow in respect to the width, the boat may not be quite as stable and thus more care needed to avoid tipping. Well designed hulls can help in this regard and provide a good degree of stability while still allowing for reasonably good tracking.
We have found the Pescador to be very reasonable in tracking. Not having had any paddle experience with longer and thinner "touring" kayaks I can't judge the difference in feel but our experience on local lakes and rivers has shown these to be pretty good, especially considering their moderately short length.
First Paddle Outing With The New Kayaks
Back To Travel and Leisure Page - The Off Time From The Day To Day Routine