The Sirocco is the rotomolded version of our popular Gulfstream. This kayak appeals to a broad market of paddlers who crave performance yet want a boat that is user friendly. Designed by Derek Hutchinson, the Sirocco boasts the same tight turning, quick paddling qualities of the composite version in a lower cost rotomolded construction. The Sirroco is an example of innovation at its best. Skeg, back band, and day hatch come standard.
Good for the price they go for now. Hull is a little soft. Boat seems to be built for a bigger paddler 180 +. Top speed 4.5,5 mph but will Cruise at 4 easily. turns easy in Rock gardens wanders about some downwind. Seldom does any thing unexpectedly.
For me, an experienced but moderately-skilled paddler, this is a great boat. Wide enough for my vast bulk, plenty room for multiday, and easy to paddle once I got used to it. Just sitting in it feels tippy, but edge 5 or 10 degrees either way, or start paddling, and it settles in and feels rock solid. And in 1 to 2 foot wind waves and boat wakes, it behaves very well and is very forgiving to the clumsy paddler. To me, it feels nearly effortless to paddle, and goes as fast as I'll ever need to go. There are a number of less important design features that I really hate...the cockpit is too short for easy in and out (with my long legs anyway), the thigh hook set up is foolish (why not mold them in rather than bolt on separate pieces?), the hatch and cover design is inferior, and the skeg throw is not deep enough. This last is a basic intentional design feature (according to the manufacturer), but I would like more cross-wind support in a boat (more ballast in the aft compartment helps this). All this aside, I'll still probably never get rid of this boat. It's just too much fun to paddle.
My wife and I bought two Current Designs Siroccos this past summer and they have been a blast to paddle. They are sleek boats that have a skeg which we use 1/2 or fully dropped for effortless tracking. The Sirocco with the skeg up is a very quick turner and super responsive in choppy Atlantic conditions. We paddle in Maine and the polyethylene shell works really well for us on our rocky coastline- definitely tougher than many poly boats. I find this kayak is a quick feeling boat with good acceleration. I definitely recommend that you give the Sirocco a test if you can before you get a kayak. It makes many other boats I've paddled feel dead in the water.
Fine boat, for me anyway. I'm 6'1" and 250, and it fits me, which is a big plus. It has plenty of cargo space, enough for 1 - 2 week trips. However, not the perfect tripping boat, since it's built for maneuvering and responsiveness as opposed to going straight. That makes it really fun to paddle though, and I love how it handles swell, chop, and big boat wakes. Is susceptible to weathercocking in any wind at all, and the skeg doesn't do much to correct that...has less than 3 inch throw. That can be helped by edging and aft loading, but my preference would be a little more "go straight" in the design. None of this is to say this isn't a great boat, because for me it really is. It is a terrific all around "real" sea kayak, and probably the last boat I'll own (unless I come up with the scratch for the glass version). Overall I give it very high marks.
I still love this boat...it has grown on me...my decision to buy this poly design of the Gulfstream has been further justified by seeing internet posts of Derek Hutchinson's passing and watching him paddle in my identical boat (mango Sirocco)...I've always wondered about purchasing a fiberglass boat...and kind of assumed that 'real sea kayakers' would never consider owning one...but when I see the designer of this boat and one of the most influential people in the history of sea kayaking in the poly version of his iconic traditional design, I feel more confident that I do not need to look for another Kayak...
I can still lift this 60 lbs boat onto my vehicle and I spend a bunch of my time paddling 'in tight' on the rocky shorelines of Georgian Bay, Ontario...again the other thing that occasionally has me considering buying another boat is that the Sirocco (mostly because of its significant rocker and 23 inch beam) is not a 'speedster'....I pushed it in a 4km race in 27:30 (8.7 km/hr/ 5.5 mph) but that pace is tough and unsustainable for touring....BUT it will tour at 6.75 km/hr (4.5 mph) no problem if you are an intermediate level kayaker...there are boats with a 22 inch beam and a bit less rocker that will go (as I said in my previous post) 2-3% faster BUT they don't turns as well and are not as playful...I sometime paddle it in the river that has current with ease....you can never have too many boats...I have 3...and may purchase another...probably a hair longer...maybe less beam and less rocker...but the trade-offs may very well have me grabbing the Sirocco for most paddles anyway...
another thing...from a media perspective this boat is not the 'flavour of the month' or even decade choice....its a design that goes back to the 1990's...don't overlook it in your decision to purchase your true all-around fun to paddle boat...it does everything.....carpe paddlum
That being said. I have enjoyed my Sirrocco very much. I am 6'1" and about 200. Fits very well for me. I have trained a lot of beginner paddlers in this boat and they all love it.
My only issue is tracking, without the skeg out this boat responds highly to currents and weather. But once in the surf it will punch through anything and surf just like a it was no ones business. I've since carved myself a Greenland paddle and keep the Shuna on deck as a spare. I highly recommend switching to anyone as it makes this boat even more fun.
I actually used one the first time I took a lesson and agree that it has some initial stability issues if you are new to kayaking or even new to the Scirocco. (I never let novice kayakers borrow it.) Now I hardly think of stability and I can't remember the last time I had a stability issues under normal paddling conditions. I seem to have the most stability issues when I am stopped to get water or rest and just get a bit careless, but I don't recall going over. Just a small quick scare that is quickly corrected with a bit of knee pressure. I did have one wet mis-entry shortly after I bought the boat on an awkward boat ramp - but that was my carelessness.
While a long boat - it is very responsive to leaning and turning as others have noted. I have had very small amounts of water get into hatches when I was doing a lot of rolling or wet-escape practice, but not otherwise. Since I keep anything I want dry in a dry bag - it wasn't an issue.
The only thing I would say about the boat is that it is relatively heavy and not all that easy to car-top. I now have Thule Hullavators so it is not so much of an issue but for many years I used rollers on back and a simple cradle in front. However, the boat rides well on a car - I once carried it for over a month on a trip from SC to northern MI, WI and back to SC without a problem.
I can do leaned turns and lean all the way over. I was never able to do that in my Necky Kyook as it was wider and didn't have that "secondary" stability that helps the kayak maintain it's stability when leaned over. I scored this 2010 model white Sirocco in brand new, never been in the water condition for $700.00! Now I can really learn what a kayak is capable of. I'm going to take rolling classes this winter so I'll really be ready to play hard next spring. I can't wait to take it out in some tasty waves on Lake Ontario and have some fun!
Other reviews had prepared me for the "30 mins to get use to it" and this is right actually I looked at my watch and at 26 min I said hey I like this. The first trip I pushed off and thought I was reselling the boat due to its twitchy feel compared to my Tsunami. But this would be like comparing a race car to the family station wagon.
Not a boat for your first time but once you actually hook into the boat vs just sitting there it handles, like an earlier review stated, like a jet fighter. I have paddled in 2' chop with strong winds and the rougher the water the more stable this boat becomes. The adjustable skeg allows you to go from super maneuverable to on a rail tracking by moving a lever.
The overall feel is a yak that wants to play and by my fourth trip I feel as confident as my tsunami. I would not recommend this yak as a first time boat if you big like me 6' and 215lb but if you want to move to a higher skill level boat that you will really have fun with this yaks for you. I also love the low back deck and low front very little wind effect. I can roll C to C but have not tried this yet (water still very cold in Canada eh.
Thank you for all the other reviews in helping me make my final decision.
ps the mermaid on the front is also a really cool touch
I went with the Sirocco. Why? It fit what I was looking for...I'm 6'2 200LBs so I wanted something a bit wider (but not a tub) than a 22 Inch beam....I wanted to favour responsiveness and turning ability over hard tracking...I wanted a durable looking and feeling poly setup (in my opinion way better than wilderness systems and Necky Poly)....and I love the look of a Brit boat with lots of rocker...and I love the mermaid on the bow as it sets this kayak apart from the others...
What did I give up? 2 to 3% sprint speed compared to some of the other options mentioned above... but those of us that have been paddling for a few years know that top end sprint speed is almost irrelevant... this boat will still cruise at 6.5 Kmph (4mph) loaded and 7.5 kmph unloaded... and its performance characteristics make is a blast to wave hop, surf, carve turns, and even paddle in the river...
This boat was the perfect purchase for me... newbies might not like it as it is not a hard tracking boat but trust me after awhile you will want one that will respond to your wishes.... I don't even use the skeg that much anymore as it takes away from the fun... if you want a boat that tracks hard but does not respond as well or you are under 175 lbs consider the Scorpio or the Tempest...they are good options... I'll be the one out in the waves in my mango boat will the mermaid on the bow...even if you beat me to the campsite by a 30 seconds or so: Carpe Paddlum
This is a cool looking boat with sweeping lines, a nice blue color and of course the mermaid artwork on the bow. I presently own six kayaks and while not an expert I do a fair share of paddling with my family in creeks, small lakes and in open water on Lake Erie and have taken rescue and rolling classes.
I am 5'10" tall and weigh 250 lbs. and wear a size 12 shoe. On the plus side this boat fits me well and is very maneuverable as advertised. It is easy to roll and easy to paddle on flat water. I like the simplicity of the skeg however, I really have not used it enough under all conditions to form an opinion of it. I get many positive comments about the mermaids.
On the down side I have many complaints with this boat. I can feel the hull bending when I get in. The seat brace is molded to the hull and not adjustable, the seat padding is very thin, the bulkheads leak and my biggest complaint is this boat is very unstable - at least for me. I paddled this thing in Alexandria Bay on the St. Lawrence river in heavy boat traffic and it required constant bracing to keep upright, I have not experienced this as much with any of my other boats in similar conditions.
If I had paid full price for this boat I would have been very unhappy after comparing the quality and features to other boats in it's price range and would have brought it back to the dealer. I would not recommend this boat to any one and I am reluctant to sell it to any of my friends - unless you really want the mermaids you can find a much better boat for the same or less money if you shop around.
The chines are quite soft and the bottom of the boat is fairly round despite Current Designs calling it a "shallow V." CD also rates the stability the same as the Storm kayak. I’ve paddled the Storm and it is NOTHING like the Sirocco in terms of stability. The Storm has loads of initial stability, the Sirocco considerably less. The Sirocco, for me, lacks initial stability to the point that I really had to pay attention to what I was doing. Now she will edge and turn like a champ, but be ready for a swim if you push her too far.
I’ve had a hard time feeling the end of the secondary stability so I always keep a low brace on the ready when making sharp turns. I suspect this may be partly due to me having more height above my hips than below. Derek Hutchinson, whom I do respect, did design this boat and he’s not exactly a real tall guy. The primary stability does improve significantly when the hatches are loaded and I’ve taken to bringing 8 lbs of ballast for the front and rear hatches during day paddles. That said, I’m still not comfortable enough to bring my good digital camera with me on the boat. She’d probably feel great with 40 lbs of gear. Being like most boats, she feels more stable moving then sitting still.
She tracks ok with the skeg up and just fine with skeg down. I’d never say it’s a bad tracking boat. Remember she is a great turning and very playful boat. While being playful, she still maintains a fine cruising speed for most any situation. Of course, if you’re looking to do really long paddles on a regular basis you should be looking for a different boat.
I found the outfitting to be decent but probably still sub-par to most of the boats it competes with. I like the foot braces and I hated the stock back band (it was replaced after the first summer). The thigh braces are so-so and also definitely sub-par compared to the competition. Other than that the boat has held up very well with no leaks or skeg problems. Most importantly, the plastic used for the boat seems to be as good as or better than the competition although not in the same league as Prijon and P&H. I paid $1100 for the boat new in ’07 and that seems about what it’s worth.
I’m now looking very hard at the P&H Scorpio, hoping to find more initial stability without giving up maneuverability. I’m sure my old Sirocco will make someone very happy...
I have read that some find it a bit tippy at first. For beginners it may feel that way, but once you have some time in any kayak, you come to realize that this boat is just very responsive. It is easy to edge and can spin on a dime, in the surf, when put even slightly on edge. Speaking of surf, this is where this boat shines. I paddle the Great Lakes and regularly take it out in 3-4 foot waves. This boat is totally at home in rough water and is very easy to surf (for a sea kayak). The hatches are all secure and dry with no implosion problems.
The poly that CD uses seems to be a bit more abrasion resistant than many other manufacturers and this boat really stands up to rough landings (voluntary or involuntary). This is a great boat for a competent beginner or an intermediate looking to take their skills to the next level. I feel that rudders degrade paddling ability and the skeg on this boat functions smoothly and reliably. It will allow you to increase your paddling skill and has helped me become a better kayaker.
Why did I rate it a "9"? The thigh braces are dated. CD should join the new era and add the adjustable outfitting like Wilderness Systems, Perception and Necky. I have had to foam out the thigh brace and hip area, a little bit. If they put in something similar to WS phase 3, this boat would be head and shoulders about anything in its class. Take one for a test paddle. It may not be for everyone, but for those that it fits.....what a ride!!
After reading reviews, I found tow sirocco's at a local dealer, and tried one. At first, it was the tippiest boat I'd ever been in. as I've read, it likes to be moving, forward or backward. Under way, it feels great! The specs list a total capacity of 375lbs., which I'm sceptical of, but plan to test. It is, as others have mentioned, a wet ride, compared to my wife's Tempest 170. I've leaned over so far that water pours over the side, and haven't tipped.....yet. The secondary stability seems very good. I'm taking a re-entry/ self-rescue class next week, and I plan to find out exactly how far I can go before it tips.
Being a novice, I'm sure I'll get more accustomed to the boat, but even as it is, I think I made a good choice for a first boat.
My previous kayak had a rudder, which hindered me from learning good paddling skills; very much like training wheels. The Sirocco has forced me to become a much better paddler. With the skeg down, I travel straight as an arrow. The Sirocco is so sleek, so aerodynamic and so hydrodynamic, I glide effortlessly through the water as my friends in wider / more stable kayaks are clearly working harder.
The Sirocco is a great looking and very well designed boat with plenty of storage for a multi day / night camping excursion. Two thumbs up!
As I began to look at sea kayaks, naturally the long slender sleek designs were very appealing. At that point I didn’t realize that there are several definite and very different categories of design. I’m not sure how I gravitated toward the British style, or design, but I did. I think the Necky Chattams were the first real sea kayaks that I got to actually touch and see up close. I even got to sit in one at that time. To say the least, I didn’t like the fit at all, so I immediately started to look elsewhere. By luck there just happened to be a Sirocco sitting on the floor of the store and I was invited to try it on. My reaction was, “this is more like it.”
This initial trial sitting in sea kayaks, limited as it was, got me to thinking that I’d better do a lot more research and looking. The short version is that I narrowed my sights down to a P&H Cappella; I liked its looks and it got very positive reviews. Finally, the day came when I got the chance to try one on. Just like the Chattam, the Cappella didn’t fit. No matter how I squirmed around and tried to adjust, I couldn’t find room for my legs. There were a few other points that discouraged any more consideration of the Cappella, but the bottom line is that it got crossed off my short list.
Again, by pure luck, or providence this store just happened to have a brand new Sirocco on hand. And it was the color (white) that had caught my eye in the CD brochure that I had picked up from the previous introduction to the Current Design brand.
When the Sirocco was brought out and sat down on the floor next to the Cappella the looking was all but over. However, being a non-impulse kind of buyer, I tried to be coy and act like I was only mildly interested. The salesman took the bait and offered me a deal that I couldn’t refuse, but I managed to keep my cool composure and said, “yeah, maybe I’ll give it a test paddle.” Maybe my rear end; I could hardly wait ten seconds to get that sweet looking beauty on the water.
I knew from having read all the reviews I could find, that the Sirocco would feel a little tippy at first. I was somewhat surprised that it really didn’t feel all that tippy to me at all. I also was aware that there would be some inclination for the Sirocco to cock to windward. Nothing revealing about that, but I was taken with how adding a little skeg, instantly changed the Sirocco’s attitude.
Two other things that occurred to me during this demo were how very little evidence of velocity through the water there is and how easy it is to maneuver this boat. On the first point, I mean that it cuts such a minimal bow wave that by just looking at the water you don’t realize just how fast you’re moving. On the second point, the Sirocco isn’t the longest sea kayak, but at 16’-10”, I was all prepared to have my hands full getting the thing to bend to my will. To the contrary, the Sirocco complied with my guidance without any hesitation, and with almost no effort on my part.
I started out to talk about style, but I had to lay the groundwork. If you’re looking for the absolute fastest thing on the water, the British style probably won’t be your choice. If you’re looking for an expedition boat, you’ll probably want something with more volume. But if you’re looking for something that has curves and graceful lines in spades, in my opinion, nothing tops the British style. In the Sirocco/Gulfstream case, designer Derek Hutchinson has blended form and function into a package that I find simply gorgeous. The fact that the Sirocco is amazingly seaworthy, comfortable and competent at everything I ask of it is all pure bonus to its good looks.
Finally, in addition to all the above, I have found no reason to argue with CD’s assertion that the Sirocco is “the finest rotomolded British Style kayak available.”
When I got it out on the open water of the big lake on a day with wind and waves, it was a different boat. Weathercocked severely, and I kept having to adjust the skeg to various increments of up/down to try to compensate for the wind without overcompensating. It was a quite frustrating.
The boat may have also been too high volume for me because on a choppy lake it seemed to bounce around on top of the water rather than slice through the waves. When I experimented by loading it with some water jugs in the bow and stern hatches, it behaved minimally better but still wasn't what I'd call an enjoyable paddle.
The quality of the boat seems good overall; plastic is probably no better or worse than average (not as good as Prijon, Riot, or P&H, in my opinion).
I sold my Sirocco after having only paddled it a few times. I seem to be in the minority here, but I really didn't like the way the boat handled on anything except very flat water. In that circumstance, it is fun, fast and glides well. I'm rating it a 5.
What I don't like - it a big boat for my 6’ 3” 180 pound frame. I have added minicell foam for a tighter fit, but would like a slipstream fit better. I have had a warranty claim already (foam bulkheads separating from hull, was resolved quickly and to my satisfaction). I'd also like a recessed compass mount.
Slipstream will be my next boat (wish they offered it in plastic).
I love the classic Greenland lines, day hatch, and lots of storage. The skeg is the only way I was going to go, rudders seem to me like training wheels that you never take off. Although someday, if I live long enough, I might need that third leg to stand on. I installed a flush mount fishing rod holder just aft/portside and a paddle clip,(one with a bungy type port-side clipping device), so better to fish/photograph with. I am very pleased with this boat, and already have my eyes on the Gulfstream!
Rolling is easy as pie in this boat. I have learned 5 different kinds of rolls, and it seems that the boat wants to help you roll. One thing to be cautious of is when you roll, the soft chines do nothing to keep you from stopping when you are upright. So, if you have a strong hip snap, take the time and learn to SLOW IT DOWN!! It did not take much lake water to learn that lesson.
The sirocco cuts through large waves like a dream. I have been on Superior in some very rough water and my boat not only rode the waves, but attacked them. Another thing to remember is that you ar low in the water, so if you are like me and like to play, you are going to get wet. Not a warning, just a heads up. But why are you in a kayak if not to have fun?
The hatches have had no leakage whatsoever with all of the abuse that I have heaped on my boat. I do have quite a bit of trouble opening my rear hatch quite often due to the lack of a pull tab on the hatchcover.
The one complaint that I do have is on very sharp turns, the stern drags over the water pretty hard and creates a lot of resistance, which is kind of a bugger when you are leaning over onto your shoulder already, WET!!
Overall, the Sirocco is by far one of the best plastic boats on the market for a person my size. I am so enthusiastic about it, my first glass boat will probably be the gulfstream, the glass version of the same boat. If you have any questions, feel free to write me, obviously, I love to talk about my sirocco!!
This boat handles very well. It took me about half an hour to become comfortable with the initial tippy fealing. But the more I worked my technique, the boat really inspired my confidence. With my lack of skills, it supprised me that I came to trust the secondary stability so much. First boat that I've gotten to that point with. With the skeg up, the boat turns on a dime. Applying different depths of skeg ranged from just enough handling to dead on tracking. While I wouldn't call the boat fast, certainly not as fast as a Looksha, it was satisfying. Furthermore, it glides very well and it seems to hold it's handling characteristics even in a good chop.
I think the plastic could be stiffer or more substantial, but then again, the boat already weighs 60lbs! The seat was comfortable as was the band. But I agree with another reviewer in that the rigging could be sturdier and more of it up front.
Overall, I've never had so much fun in a kayak as I had in this one.
Construction: The British design is very attractive. And you have to love the dual mermaids on the bow. The flared bow and stern are sleek and the Current Designs colors are attractive, but not pastel. I have a yellow boat and most kayaks in yellow have that crayon yellow color. Not the Sirocco. The yellow is slightly faded with black speckles and there's a nice black trim line between the deck and hull. The modified Greenland design, with a flat back deck, soft chines, and shallow "V" make this kayak highly maneuverable but a bit unstable for a novice paddler.
Hatches stay very dry and keep a good seal. The hatches are the "Kajaksport". The day hatch is a nice feature. I initially had some leakage but found I did not close the hatches properly. Some of my fellow Sirocco owners have had issues with the bulkheads. But mine have to very watertight with little or no penetration and I've been paddling the Sirocco consistently since June this year. Current Designs has resolved issues regarding the bulkheads. Perhaps I had no issues because I normally put an extra bead of silicon outdoor sealant on all my kayaks' bulkheads. But I do this to every kayak I purchase.
I wouldn't call this an expedition kayak, but it will pack enough gear for a couple days out of town. I fit all my standard camping supplies in it with no problem. Deck lines are very nice, though I would have added a few more on the forward deck. Grab toggles are built into the kayak, in the English fashion, and are secured very well. Skeg control is the slide-bar type. Skeg can be adjusted and operates easily. Overall, the plastic is very strong. I'm 6'1, 253lbs and I sat on the back deck. I gave a little but not too much. I would rate the plastic well above a Dagger, Perception, or Wildness Systems poly. The plastic has a very solid feel to it that reminds me of the stuff Valley uses on their plastic boats. It's not a light craft either. It weighs in at approximately 60lbs. When I consider my Kodiak was 17'1 and 58lbs, and the Sirocco is 16'10, this is a little heavy. But there is one plus, I hit a rock hard on my test run and was only left with a slight blemish when I expected a deep scratch. I've also had this kayak up on the rugged rocks of Maine and damage was minimal. This plastic holds up well and throughout this "heat wave" summer the oil canning was minimal. Though I would recommend a J-rack to keep the kayak on its side. This type of rack will prevent oil canning.
The only thing I wasn't nuts about was the back band, which I replaced with an Immersion Research back band. I'd actually recommend the smaller, whitewater "Reggie" back band for this kayak because the plastic seat rose slightly. The whitewater back comes right up where the seat flares making it a very nice fit! CD's back band was a little too low for a tall person, it probably works well with someone about 5'9, 5'10 max, any taller and it doesn't provide maximum support. I was happy with a whitewater type back band, but if you have back problems I would recommend something a little higher.
Comfort: At 6'1 253lbs, and a 42 waist, I fit well into 16X31 cockpit with room to spare. I have size 11 feet. And that seems to be the limit to this kayak's capacity. A 14- inch deck height probably helps out too. I have the back band back a little farther than most would like. But it's in a position where I can keep the foot pegs slightly forward. This gives my feet a little more wiggle room. I've also thrown down a PADZ foam seat cushion and another one in the cockpit for my heels to rest on. Seems to do the trick.
Definitely take this boat out for a spin for at least four hours before you buy it. Just to be certain. What is nice about the flat back deck, the back band, and the space under the deck is that you can take your feet off the foot pegs and get a nice stretch if you get tired. When I first tried the kayak with he Current Designs back band I didn't have it adjusted right, so I developed back pain has I paddled. I stopped in a secluded area and fixed the back band that helped a little. The IR back band is so comfortable that I have zero back pain now. Finally, the thigh braces are just shy of a little tight for me. Larger paddlers may find it useful to modify these braces with a drummel tool to get the right fit. Smaller paddlers will require a little outfitting, especially along the hips, to get the required feel for the kayak.
For the larger paddler, be sure your feet are comfortable. I think anyone who is 6-feet plus with size twelve and above would have problems. Also, make sure you can stretch you feet out beyond the pegs.
Just one more thing, this kayak does sit rather low to the water. It's usually a wet ride. Always expect to get wet. This good thing is it has great secondary stability. That means you might get wet but, if your skills are decent, you'll stay right side up!
Performance: Stability: I'll go right for the most obvious thing once you enter the water. If you are a novice you might not like this kayak's secondary stability. It will feel slightly tippy to the new kayaker. But I would say it is not as tippy as, say, the Perception Eclipse, when you first try it.
I have three years experience and have gotten used to narrower and narrower kayaks. This one is just on the border to feeling too tippy. But here's the hitch! The Sirocco's secondary stability is very impressive. I've had this kayak out in rough, boiling waters with plenty of wake-chop and reflecting waters. I this kayak out on large swells and on bays with 20-25knot winds blowing and white-capped three-foot waves. The Sirocco cuts right through this mess without slowing down and without making me feel like I was going to go over. I even stopped in some turbulent water to see how it handled staying still. Some good low bracing and slight edging in the waves kept me stable. The main thing, you keep this kayak moving and it will keep moving and stay stable. This is typical of most British boats. They like to keep moving.
When I first paddled the Sirocco I found that it got thrown around in rough water and it seemed hard to keep on track. But as I augmented and enhanced my paddling skills and learned to edge my turns properly this issue disappeared. A smooth, efficient paddle stroke will move this kayak through the water with ease. The Sirocco is like a piano. It takes the paddler a while to get used to how it performs, but once you've familiarized yourself with its characteristics you're on your going to enjoy this kayak.
Overall performance. The Sirocco is extremely maneuverable. Slight edging or correct forward sweep strokes will change course easily. Course changes are extremely fluid and slight. Once again, it takes time to get used to but once you've got it your going to love it.
You also need intermediate skills to paddle this kayak correctly. The smoother, and more efficient the paddle stroke the better. Know proper forward and reverse strokes, forward and reverse sweeps, know proper rudder strokes, edging turns, and know high and low braces. You don't have to be an expert at this stuff, just have some knowledge of how they are performed. I have gotten to the point with this kayak in which I hardly need to use corrective strokes, I simply "edge" the kayak a little to make corrections. An intermediate to expert kayaker would enjoy the "smooth operator" aspect of this kayak.
The skeg is very useful and performs well in strong winds. Not unlike other kayaks, quartering winds are the hardest to deal with. In any wind I found that "trimming" the skeg up or down just slightly assisted in the performance of the kayak. You don't need it all the way down or all the way up to get the best results. Slight "trimming" of the skeg a little bit up or down provided great, efficient tracking.
Another tidbit, this kayak can lean way out there. I can lean back on that flat deck with a good low brace and put nearly half the cockpit in the water. When you can get that much of the hull out of the water...I consider that a good thing. When you're hit broadside by heavy seas the waves have a tendency of washing over the kayak rather than pushing it up or to the side.
Rolling! I've just started to perform screw rolls with this kayak. It's an excellent boat for rolling. The flat back deck allows a taller paddler to "lay back" on the roll. If you think you'll be rolling in the future this kayak is for you.
Speed: This is not a fast kayak, but it is an easy one. What I mean is the kayak will reach a maximum velocity around 5.5 to 6 knots full paddle (or throttle). But the kayak WILL MAINTAIN at 3.5- knot speed with little effort. Paddling the Sirocco feels more like flying. Though I could see myself moving it took very little effort to move this kayak through the water. Better yet, the Sirocco does not lose speed in rough waters. The most outstanding performance characteristic of this kayak is its ability to slice through the most turbulent of conditions without losing efficiency.
Overall rating is…well it's a 10! I think I have enough experience now to rate a kayak so. Big thanks to Current Designs for finally coming out with a poly model based on Derek Hutchinson's great designs. From what I understand this kayak has become a hit. And it deserves to be a hit!
It tracked well when I had it out in heavy boat traffic (3 foot waves coming from both sides). Also, I found that I was able to go quite fast, especially when I pushed myself. For other kayaks I found that an increase in effort was often not worth the speed I gained.
I'm glad I made the change and look forward to hearing from other Sirocco paddlers. This is a wonderfully designed and well built boat.
Let me add to this review that I am 6' and 176 lbs. I paddle at least 20 miles/week. I currently own a Current Designs Solstice GTS in Kevlar. The Solstice is a very fast, hard tracking boat. I have been searching for a plastic boat that is very maneuverable, yet won't seem like a log compared to the GTS. I have owned and subsequently sold a Perception Carolina (my first boat, a great boat- my wife still has hers, I use it for fishing and for taking guests out), a Prijon Kodiak (didn't work for me at all) and a Perception Corona (not bad, but not fast enough). I think I have finally found a plastic boat that looks good, has superior maneuverability, and has decent speed. My one reservation about buying a CD plastic boat was their reputation for oilcanning on earlier (pre-2000) models. I have been told that this issue has been addressed. I cartop my boat often, so I will keep my eye open and report back to this forum if any problems develop. My Sirocco has been cartopped 5 times so far, including the 100-mile trip from the dealer to my house with no problems.
I hope to get out on the ocean soon if we get some more 50-degree days here. My lake can also get tumultuous when those March winds start to howl. I'll file a further update after I get the boat out into some varied conditions. So far, however, so good.