Brittany 16 Description
Read and submit reviews for the Brittany 16.
Brittany 16 Reviews
We have two Riot Britanny.…
I have a 2015 Riot Brittany…
Tracks like an arrow and fast for the size. Not that manoeuvrable to turn on a dime but with rudder down it it agile. I did not find it too responsive in edge turns, also due to round shine the edge support is delicate to find, this one is a tracker. With skeg down, this thing does not budge from its track, wind or wave has no effect on it. Seat comfort is great, back band is good and gives no back pain (it used to be a critic before, but they made changes to the padding and attachment) The compartments are dry after many rolls, compare to earlier models that used to take in gallons of water. The fit of the covers got modified to keep things dry. Low deck gives you more efficiency in windy condition (compare with my Boreal Saguenay, the Brittany is more efficient and requires less effort to keep speed).
One thing that i found to be on the negative side is the location of the day hatch, it is not off to the side enough, it is almost in the center of the kayak, and requires good agility to get your arm back and open, reach in, get your stuff and close back. I sold my Boreal Saguenay and got the Brittany and no regrets so far.
Wow! I love my Brittany 16.5.…
This is a review for the…
1. Differences between the two:
The Thermo is some 9 kg lighter than the standard, which makes a very notable difference in handling it out of the water. It is also a bit faster
The Thermo is made of a different and thinner material. It seems less robust and for white water (with rocks) conditions I take the standard Brittany. Having said that the Thermo is not flimsy, if you want to do sea kayaking (and this is a sea kayak after all) you will find both strong enough for what an ocean can throw at them.
The Thermo has a different more comfortable back rest (see details further down). The standard's seat however can be pushed back further that that of the thermo.
- Rudder mounting:
The Thermo uses an aluminium bracket
Why did I buy the two versions? I kayak with my girl friend and also on my own or with friends. I am faster than my girlfriend, so she gets the thermo and I the standard (and she gets light carbon paddle, while I take the cheaper aluminum one). This equalizes our speeds nicely.
When I am out without her I take the thermo.
If you're after one kayak only then I would go for the thermo. It's more expensive but you'll love the lower weight and the higher speed.
2. The pros:
I found them good value. They are fast and offer more than enough space for an average size man like myself (71kg, 177cm). They keep a straight line very well and the retractable skeg (goes up and down with a flick of a slider next to the cockpit) makes them track even better (which slightly increases speed).3. The problems:
They both handle very nicely in the ocean; it’s a joy manoeuvring them through the waves.
- The rudder paddles:
As others have commented before the bungees that act as the rudder paddles’ return spring make a u-turn through a hole in the sliders. This is a completely unacceptable design. It creates so much friction that you have no feeling at all for the rudder pressure. When I inspected the hole I found that (after 3 hours of use) it had already elongated to twice the size. The bungee chord was also chafed. That bungee should be looped back through a pulley or at least an elbow.
But there is a simple solution: Remove the bungees. A rudder on a kayak does not need a return spring mechanism, just as the tiller on a boat does not need one. The only problem is that the paddles can slide backward when your feet are not on them. So before you enter the kayak make sure they are pushed forward (that’s easier that doing it when you are in already). Once you’re in the kayak it’s not a problem because your feet are against the paddles anyway.
- The rudder:
The rudder is about 80% to 90% out of the water. It simply is mounted too high. In calm water that is not a problem. But with the waves up you find that the rudder is often not effective enough (and often it is not touching the water at all). I once had the whole boat going sideways while surfing down a wave. No rudder action at all.
I will try to make a modified bracket for the thermo to lower the rudder and to adjust its angle. Problem is that I can't access its bolts inside the hull.
I found some new solutions.
To tighten the bolts on the rudder bracket I use a 10mm extended socket (for a standard 1/2" socket spanner/ratchet) with a couple of layers to duct tape around to make it bigger. This I jammed into a paddle half shaft I had left from a broken split paddle. This makes a perfect tool to reach the number 10 nuts in the hull.
To make the rudder more effective I made a modified bracket. The rudder is now about 20mm deeper into the water and the axis around which it pivots is more vertical.
The good thing is that the new bracket looks almost exactly like the stock one, no "home-made" look to it at all; boat's still pretty. I am using the same type of flat 25mm wide aluminum bar (found it at my local hardware shop for A$7). This I shaped into the same C shape but with a somewhat longer top section. Then I drilled the four holes in slightly different positions, resulting in the improved geometry.
With an extra 2cm in the water the rudder should be about 50% more effective for an average weight person (70kg). I had a first test paddle and the impression confirms that. Especially in large waves I can now keep the kayak better pointed in the direction I want it.
- The rudder mounting on the Brittany 16.5 Thermo:
The bracket holding the rudder is fixed to the stern with two bolts. The nuts are inside the hull. They are practically inaccessible and they turn with the bolts. This means you can not tighten the bolts properly.
- The seats
The standard has an uncomfortable back rest if the seat is in the far back position. But most people will fit in well with the seat in a more forward position (and the back rest pulled forward also).
The Thermo has what Riot calls a floating back rest. It doesn't work. I guess "floating" means it can move up to the point where an adjustable strap limits it (and prevents it from popping out of the seat altogether). In reality, gravity keeps it down all the time. I prefer to have it higher. So to keep it up I drilled two holes in the lower part of the backrest (the part that slots into the seat), and put two plastic bolts through them. So now the back can not slot all the way down any more. Works great, I am comfortable now.
- The hatches:
Some water enters them when plunging into waves.
I have been paddling for 25…
The addition of both a skeg and rudder is a bonus stroke of brilliance. The plastic seems to be as high quality as any and the outfitting seems fine too, but the price was way under the competition for the same setup. It's fast enough and handles well in the rough, and is more exciting than most Camry/Accord do-it-all boats. Pretty hard to beat, really. Looks like Riot's back. Lets see how it fares long term.
I like the look and the fit…
After a session of rolling practice I was alarmed at how much water was through all the hatches, Litres not drops. I discovered that all the bulkheads were leaking. Again vendor support was good and he offered to re-seal all the bulkheads for me but I chose to do it myself with materials supplied by the vendor. I have now got a boat I quite like, but really it shouldn't have taken so much to get it to that point. There are some fittings behind the seat that have rusted very badly despite the fact I was the boat with fresh water after every outing. I discussed this with the vendor but by this stage I was starting to accept that the fittings are just poorly chosen for a SEA kayak and rather than replacing them with the same item, which will only rust again, I will work out an alternative at some stage in the future.
I think the kayak performs OK but because it is my first single I really can't comment in a comparative way
just purchased this boat for…
It's not a light boat, but if you want some quality in your plastic boat, not the thin cheap plastic some manufactures are selling, try this boat out. Always remember: paddle what you buy first and beware of people selling only one brand of kayak; they may put you in the wrong boat. If all Riot boats are as nice as the Brittany these boats will be around for a long time