I've owned a Wilderness Tsunami (first kayak I even bought), a Wilderness…
I've owned a Wilderness Tsunami (first kayak I even bought), a Wilderness Tempest (2nd kayak I bought), then a Valley Avocet.
I love the Avocet. I've only been kayaking about 5 years. I've owned the Avocet for 3 and it may be the last kayak I buy. It's a joy to paddle and only weights about 47 lbs so as a woman and small paddler, it's perfect for me. I'm 71 so weight matters to me. I not only keep up with everyone, I actually lead even with much younger kayakers.
It tracks so well and is so responsive. Best thing I ever bought.
wonderful - handles rough water very well and maneuvers very well. Easiest…
wonderful - handles rough water very well and maneuvers very well. Easiest boat to roll I have ever used. I wouldn't use it for loaded touring as I like more room for storage.
Bought a used, rotomolded Avocet in a nice granite color. Coming from…
Bought a used, rotomolded Avocet in a nice granite color. Coming from kayaks with rudders, I was concerned about turning the boat, but the Avocet proved to be quite easy to turn, and it edged very well. In fact, this boat is the most maneuverable kayak that I've ever paddled. I've taken the boat on rivers, lakes and the coast of Maine and New Hampshire, and the Avocet handled well in every paddling condition that I encountered. This boat really shines in rough water, and it always feels stable. At 16', the Avocet is not as fast as some of the longer, fiberglass boats out there, but I can generally keep up without working too hard.
As far as fit and finish goes, the Valley hatches are unmatched in the industry and provide a great water-tight place for storage. The Avocet has a handy day hatch that's easy to access while on the water. The hatch covers are a little tough to get on, but that's the price you pay for dry storage. The deck lines and bungies are good, and the skeg control is conveniently located at the front left side of the cockpit. At 5'7" and 165 lbs., the cockpit fits me like a glove. At first I thought things were a little tight, but that's because I had paddled some barges before getting the Avocet. The thigh braces fit me well, and I can really feel the boat when I edge into turns. The seat and back band are minimal, but I feel comfortable and my back is supported, so I don't miss the more elaborate seat.
I've had my boat for four years now, and I still get compliments from people who like both the design and the granite color of my Avocet. Apparently, the granite color is quite rare. I've seen several other rotomolded Avocets and they aren't as nice looking as my boat.
The only negative to report is the set screw on the skeg control knob. While paddling off the Isle au Haut in Maine, my skeg cable got kinked when I got caught up on some seaweed while trying to land. Back home I tried to replace the cable and found that the set screw was frozen inside the plastic knob. Apparently, the material used for the screw reacts chemically with the threaded portion of the control knob, making it virtually impossible to remove. With much difficulty, I ended up cutting off the knob. The Kayak Centre of Rhode Island had both the cable and control knob in stock, so I bought a couple of them. The cable replacement went easily, though I did have to borrow a special cable cutter from the local hardware store in order to cut the cable without shredding the strands of wire. The skeg works good as new, and I haven't had any problems. I only deploy the skeg in windy conditions, as the Avocet does weather cock a bit.
I have been paddling the Valley Avocet for about a month and…
I have been paddling the Valley Avocet for about a month and a half; been paddling for 5 years. It's my first boat without a rudder, it handles like a dream, it's an ideal boat for intermediate paddlers, rock gardening. The only downside is the weight, at 25 kg; but on the water the boat out performs most boats of similar size hence the rating of 8
I'm 5'-10.5" 175lbs. From the moment I dry tested this kayak I…
I'm 5'-10.5" 175lbs. From the moment I dry tested this kayak I knew it was meant for me. I purchased this boat second hand from Savannah Canoe and Kayak in Savannah, GA. First, let me say that Nigel and Kristen are the people you want to buy any paddlecraft from, awesome shop with a good energy. Now to the Avocet.
Initial and secondary stability are amazing, tracks very well, but will weathercock. I have found the sweet spot on the skeg which helps with the weathercocking without additional drag. Hatches are actually watertight, and for me, can be packed out for a few days. I look forward to many years of paddling enjoyment with my Avocet.
My polyethylene Avocet and I have learned together, and I have often…
My polyethylene Avocet and I have learned together, and I have often thanked the boat for teaching me another lesson on the waters of Lake Michigan. She has been easy to handle in waters of all severities, and even my kids have handled waves of 5-6 feet. Edging is predictable and even extreme. Early on, I could get the edge of my skirt in the water and turn on a dime.
I chose her on the recommendation of a kayak guide I respect, and on the fact that the internet is filled with reviews where instructors say that this is the boat they use when they want their moves to look crisp and impressive.
My only complaint (hence, the 9 rating) is about the skeg. The cable kinked early on because the design (no way to sugarcoat this) stinks. A repair has been difficult to effect mainly because the screw which secures the cable in the knob has fused to its socket (apparently a galvanic reaction due to a bad matching of metals). Otherwise, she is solidly constructed and has survived me dropping her from the car roof to pavement (more than once; yes, I apologized).
She is a joy to paddle, and I cannot imagine another boat could have been better at getting me "out there." And, now, with a lot more experience, she's still consistently fun.
I have owned an RM Avocet from new for three years now…
I have owned an RM Avocet from new for three years now using it two or three times a week mostly for day trips, rock hopping and in deep water surf/play sessions. Being a quite light paddler (65kg) this was recommended to me when I started off and I am happy to have gone with it as it has seen me well since then.
The build quality is excellent with no defects and despite a fair few nasty scrapes, bangs and drops it has held up well with people asking if its new still. The hatches are as watertight as the day I bought it. It does come in quite heavy and seems to weigh more than most other plastic kayaks I carry.
The Avocet turns brilliantly on edge and is perfectly stable at all points. It is reliably predictable without any surprises once you have been paddling it for a while and rolls up very easily when you do something silly. It is really maneuverable in rock gardens and caves able to pull off tight moves and quick turns that are needed in surging water around the rocks. It comes in to its own in rough water and its nice to be the one going faster in the group when it is the other way around on flat water! The Avocet isn't badly effected by the wind and the skeg isn't needed as much as on other kayaks I've paddled, the slider button could do with being smaller as it sticks out and I've bashed my fingers off it a lot.
The only let down for me would have to be the standard seating arrangement and thigh braces. The seat is uncomfortable and doesn't promote a good posture and the back band is pretty much useless. Valley really should have sorted this out a long time ago as its the most common valid complaint about their kayaks.
I have recently complimented the Avocet with a faster composite kayak for long distance paddling and crossings which isn't the Avocets strongest point however I have kept it as my day to day paddling and playing boat and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting a fun kayak that you can have total confidence in. I may replace my RM Avocet at some time in the future though, but only if I see a composite Avocet for sale at a decent price!
Absolutely great play-boat for day paddles! I am 6' and close…
Absolutely great play-boat for day paddles! I am 6' and close to 180lbs and could comfortably go on a short camping trip in this boat but not much more than a couple of nights. That's what I have a Nordkapp for and the Avocet complements Nordy extremely well.
When I first paddled the Avocet I was surprised at the lack of speed difference between it and Nordkap HS. There is a distinct difference though and I could feel how effortless the glide in the Nordkapp was at a pace where Avocet hit the wall.
I was very pleased with the stability profile which I found to be more similar to my Nordkapp than to a boat in Avocet's class--NDK Romany. The Romany has a distinctly stronger primary which beginners relish. I found that Romany fought my attempts to put the boat on edge. Avocet is more stable on the edge than Nordkapp HS. However rockered the Nordkapp may be, 2' difference in length makes a huge difference in tracking and maneuverability. Avocet turns on a dime!
I absolutely loved the boat in surf! In the Nordkapp, I slide off the face of the wave broach and the ride is over. In the Avocet I can steer! Makes for much longer and controlled rides. At 16' it's not a surfing boat but at least I have a shot at some control in it.
The cockpit fits me well. I miss the ocean cockpit of the Nordkapp but not the getting in and out of it part :) Thigh braces are not as fool-proof but I have not gotten to installing the extra padding--have not found the need for it yet. In the Nordkapp I did that promptly after a 4-5' breaking wave sucked me right out of the OCEAN cockpit! I added about an inch on the sides in the upper thigh area for better contact with the boat. In the case of the Avocet, I am at the top of the fit bell curve and the fit is tight enough. Can't complain about the back band--it's small and could be much improved but for my paddling style it more than meets the requirements.
The boat is Pro Kevlar but weighs about as much as my light layup fiberglass Nordkapp. I don't quite understand how this is possible but a clue may be in the 1/2-inch thick layer of gel coat on the foredecks. I can see the thickness where the foot pump outlet exits on the top deck. It's thick! Could probably take a full tsunami!
In summary, a perfect day boat and play boat. Distinctly slower but much more maneuverable than Nordkapp HS. Fast enough for casual paddling. No shortcomings--I gave it a 9 because no kayak should get a 10. They are all compromises of one kind or another.
I'm male, 5'9", 150. Bought a used RM Avocet from about 2000…
I'm male, 5'9", 150. Bought a used RM Avocet from about 2000 after many demos at a dealer (I felt bad going to craigslist after all that, but hey, it was less than half the price). Fits me very well I think, deck isn't too high, cockpit isn't too tight or roomy for my skinny frame. I narrowed my search down to the Avocet, the Valley Aquanaut lv, the p&h Capella 160, and the Necky Chatham 16 (all plastic), and this one turned up as the best deal used.
Not as fast as the Aquanaut lv or Capella 160, but not far off. Little less rocker than the Chatham 16, but a drier ride and almost as maneuverable. Tracking really isn't bad at all in lower winds, and with some skeg it does quite well. I'm not sure if they've replaced the wire skeg with a rope design, but despite the worry of running it aground my wire version operates very well.
The older hatches require a little muscle to fully fit on, but haven't let a drop of water in after numerous tests. Plastic is as good as any other boat I've paddled.
My backband isn't great, and it's worn out, but a small cushion makes it perfectly acceptable, and even good for lounging in the shallows.
Foot pegs are a the type you can pull back towards you with only your feet, and using both feet I don't need to use my hands to push them back either.
Overall a great boat. A compromise as any other boat, but a great compromise for me.
I have been paddling my Avocet for about 15 month. The build…
I have been paddling my Avocet for about 15 month. The build quality is excellent. The end toggles were not long enough to go over the bow & stern. I have removed the bungies on the end toggles and lengthened them so they go over the ends of the boat. I also added some padding under the bow deck. The model I have is Ultra Carbon. I have used the boat in the surf, 4 star trainings & assessment, L3 training & coaching classes.. Though I take care of the boat I do use it in all conditions. This layup has with stood everything I have put it through without any cracks in the gel or K/C. As to performance I have found that I can cruise @ about 4 mph. Though it does yaw slightly it tracks well with out the skeg. This is a very maneuverable boat & edges easily. I found that it a little faster than a Romeny & does not weather cock was much as a Capella 163. If you are looking for a boat in this range do not miss this one. For comparison I am 5'7" tall and 155#
The Valley Avocet RM is a nimble, mid-sized sea kayak with more…
The Valley Avocet RM is a nimble, mid-sized sea kayak with more rocker than Keef Richards and the ability to soar across choppy water in a fluid, dynamic fashion. Manufactured by Valley Canoe Products (VCP) in England, mine is an orange 2006 model (and I have paddled it for one year) and features a sturdy and stiff rotomolded triple layer plastic that is, frankly, second to none. I am a German-made Prijon fan, but even that blow molded plastic, as exceptional as it is, is not as stiff as the Valley plastic. The VCP finish is excellent, with a handy placement of bungie deck cords, even some near the bow for a temporary paddle hold, and a sturdy perimeter deck line for rescues. The bow and stern toggles are bungeed down to prevent wind flap. The hatches are with plastic bulkheads and are sealed at all edges, and access is by two large oval Valley “tupperware” type covers with a smaller round day hatch cover behind the cockpit. The hatch covers, although they do not take on water when I overturn the boat, leave a little to be desired with regards to remaining in place during car transport. Although Valley places hatch cover tethers on the composite models, these simple cords are lacking on the plastic boats; I will add some. My Avocet seems to have hatch areas molded into the boat that do now allow the hatch cover to seat fully in place. This is very hard to describe, but it is as if the hatch indentation in the deck is slightly small for the hatch cover itself. Owners should add hatch tethers for protection on the water to avoid a lost hatch cover in wind, and plan to cartop the boat without the covers in place to avoid loss. The Avocet has a lineage in the Pintail, which I also considered. The Avocet has less rocker than the Pinny, and the slightly longer waterline makes it a tad faster, yet not nearly as fast as the Nordkapp RM, which I also own. The Avocet rocker makes playboating in surf and boat wakes fun, indeed, and plenty of skills can be gained in edging and directional control with a boat with this degree of playability. The Avocet excels at playing in wakes and chop, where the boat always feels firmly stable—both primary and secondary—and is a thrill to capsize, roll, and practice reentries and rescues. For a truly traditional Greenland style boat with loads of rocker, one could consider the Valley Anas Acuta, but with its tight ocean cockpit, it’s availability only in composite (not roto), and it’s even more generous rocker than the Avocet, it is a specialty boat and thus I did not choose to purchase the Anas Acuta.
The Avocet keyhole cockpit requires some refinement, not in quality of finish, but in function of backband and thigh braces. The stock thigh pads are adjustable, yet more than one paddler I know has removed them completely on Valley boats, finding them useless. I find them to be flat and provide no “hook”, so minicelling may be desired (I have done this already on my larger Nordkapp RM). The backband is too far back on the seat pan, requiring one to lean back to contact seat pan and back band, but adding a wedge of foam or a pad over the backband helps comfort. Peter Orton, director of VCP, has stated that a modification to the backband is upcoming for Valley boats which might rectify the issue. I am 5 foot 8.5 inches and 161 lbs, and find the cockpit size on this 16 foot boat to be ideal with adequate foot and thigh movement/space, yet a firm feel for being in contact with the boat when upside down. The Avocet benefits also from adding a small amount of minicell on the hip pad area, and one could consider removing the seat pad and replacing it with customized minicell; I plan to do this for the ultimate fit. The skeg control is front right of the cockpit, and perhaps this is an issue with all skegged craft, but with Valley boats, it is fairly easy to strike the skeg control during a paddle stroke and pull it back (i.e. drop the skeg) unintentionally. This is more frequent in choppy water due to the errant nature of paddle control. A skeg control that, in my opinion, was even 3 inches further back than this one would likely not be as affected by the paddle stroke and yet be in a practical position. The skeg itself, plastic, works well, and seems to stay in place for partial deployment, allowing precise trim control. The Avocet features Yakima brand footpegs, which are slightly too small in size, but easy to slide (sometimes too easy, and should be locked in place my adding a cotter pin or cutting down the loosening level to prevent unintentional kick adjustments).
I should add a comment about speed in particular as there is likely a kayaker out there considering an Avocet for its size and fit, but wondering if they can keep up with the Jones’s in their paddling group. In short, yes, it is reasonably fast. It is not a high performance speed shark, like the 21 inch beamed Prijon Barracuda (see my review of that boat), which is likely the fastest plastic boat available, but the Cuda’s rockerless design is merciless on choppy water where it can be very unstable. The 21 inch beamed Valley Nordkapp is less speedy than the Cuda, but is plenty forgiving in chop and even on flatwater feels stable to this paddler. It’s size is medium, as it was based primarily on the Nordkapp LV, and thus you would want to compare this boat for fit before choosing an Avocet; it might better suit your needs if speed is the concern. The Avocet is not slow, but adding rocker does have it’s disadvantages in water speed. The Avocet is roughly 10% slower than the Nordkapp, which is 10% slower than the Prijon Barracuda, in my opinion.
All in all, I find the Avocet RM’s superior plastic, 22 inch beam, exceptional stability, and playful nature that can be tamed with the skeg (necessary in extreme wind or for making dedicated forward progress in highly textured water) to be a winning combination for it’s intended purpose. It is a sublime vessel for day tripping, playing in soup, and rolling. It would not be my first choice for long crossings, keeping up with a fast paddling group, or expedition paddles—the Nordkapp RM is superior for those purposes. I will add a review of the Nordkapp RM when I have spent more time in that boat, but if I could own only one Valley kayak, it would be the Nordkapp, which possesses the ultimate blend of rocker, narrow beam and waterline for tracking; it is fast. But, if shear fun is the name of the game, and a paddler is smaller sized, the Avocet RM is king. Coupled with the extended bracing and maneuvers available with a Greenland paddle, the Avocet RM becomes a ballroom dancer on the water. Valley Canoe Products is a top notch company and provides support for their line of legendary sea kayaks. They make only higher end sea kayaks (no recreational models) and seem to always push the limits of improving hull and boat design and function. Like a fine European auto maker, VCP is always vying for the next tweak to even better establish their name as the penultimate brand in sea kayaking. Take a Valley Avocet out for a spin. I think you’ll appreciate its playful nature—like a Labrador pup, always yanking at the leash to get you to romp with it. Email if you have further specific questions.
After a couple of years of testing boats and reading reviews my…
After a couple of years of testing boats and reading reviews my wife and I took the plunge and purchased two kayaks. My wife chose a fiberglass layup Avocet and I bought a kevlar layup P&H Capella. The Capella has some production issues so it is being replaced by the manufacturer which is another story(with a happy ending). As a result I have been paddling the Avocet a great deal. What a stellar boat. I come out of whitewater so I demand a great deal of responsiveness from a boat and this fits the bill. I take it on Class 2 river runs and she handles like a dream. The ride is dry due to a nicely flared bow. Only the bigger haystacks get me wet mostly because I aim for them and drive the boat hard. The more confused the water gets the better she handles, seemingly leveling out and becoming even more stable as it goes. I can hold both upstream and downstream ferry angles easily and change course quickly to catch eddies. Stiff winds don't seem to bother the boat even in current. Occaisionally on flatwater I drop the skeg if the winds kick up but don't really need it most of the time. She keeps up with the longer boats just fine as well. Don't feel I have given up anything in speed. Fit and finish are awesome. The only thing you give up in this boat is touring storage space. You will have to pack like a backpacker. Well worth the sacrifice. I like the boat so well I am buying a plastic version for my son. Can't wait to rock garden with this boat! What a winner. Only downside is that it's heavy. If I could afford the Kevlar I would get one.
I purchased my Avocet (glass) in February and have been quite pleased…
I purchased my Avocet (glass) in February and have been quite pleased with it. I should say at the outset that I put on about 15 pounds from the time I ordered the boat, so my current weight (195) probably abuses the handling potential some. Going from a CD Caribou, it took a bit of practice to keep the Avocet going straight, but with more careful strokes it can hold a line quite well with the skeg up. With the skeg down it tracks like a train. I took it out to Rhode Island for some surfing last week and it rode like a dream. The bow did plunge a bit in some of the heavy, dumping waves, but I'm not certain this would have happened if I were 20 lbs lighter. I have no problems keeping up with others in longer boats when at a cruising speed, and the fish form is great in ocean surf and in current. The craftsmanship is generally good, although when I received mine there was some chipping in the gel coat at the bow. The midwest distributor gave me $50 off and some gel coat, but I expected more given the price tag. I have somewhat larger-than-average thighs, which causes the seat to dig into my leg a bit and is probably the reason my right leg goes to sleep after ~1 hour. The backband isn't great, but I haven't found the need to replace it yet. Thigh braces are unpadded, but you would never know without feeling with your hand. The plastic model has a foam seat, so I may switch out for that. Hatches are watertight. Mine came with a bungee installed on the bow and stern to keep the toggles on the deck. I'd recommend cutting this silly thing off - it interferes with rescues. Generally, a great boat.
Great kayak that handles very well. Avocet takes waves in stride…
Great kayak that handles very well. Avocet takes waves in stride for a dry ride. I have taken on Lake Michigan and never had a worry. Tracking is very good and the skeg takes care of windcocking. The back band was replaced for a more comfortable ride.
I've had my VCP Avocet RM since November, 2002. It's my first…
I've had my VCP Avocet RM since November, 2002. It's my first sea kayak so I do not have a lot with which to compare it. In general, my experience mirrors that of the other reviewers who liked this boat. The reason I am adding my review now is because of the response I received from the manufacturer to a long email I sent after I kinked the skeg cable after accidentally landing with it still deployed. I had to replace the cable, and it was not an easy task. I was finally successful, and sent a detailed email to both the boat's importer and the manufacturer in England. Overnight, I received a detailed, thoughtful and informative reply from the manufacturer. He took a lot of trouble to explain the challenges in skeg design in general and especially for the different boats they make. He told me they have come up with a better design which they are fitting into the new models. This is the kind of customer service that keeps people coming back. I told him that when it is time to buy another boat, VCP will be the first place I look. I would give the Avocet a 10, but replacing that multi-strand stainless steel cable is a pain in the neck. I also think my next boat will be the slightly larger VCP Aquanaut.
A paddler's boat -- tracks well, turns and rolls like a dream…
A paddler's boat -- tracks well, turns and rolls like a dream and can handle heavy froth. BUT construction details stink (cf with any Current Designs or Widerness Systems plastic boat) -- all hatches leak, sharp edges on thigh braces, water comes in through skeg cable entry, back band is a joke, screws fall out (no locking nuts, etc. Awaiting response from U.S. distributor.
I have an Avocet RM that I bought used from a local…
I have an Avocet RM that I bought used from a local kayak shop's end of year rental sale. Of all the plastic boats I've paddled this one is by far the most fun. It is zippy and manueverable. It's sporty design (low rear deck and strong rocker) allow the paddler to quickly learn rolls, braces, and leaned turns. It's great in the surf and on rivers as well. The VCP hatches are easy to get in and out of and are watertight even in the surf zone and rolling. The day hatch should be on every kayak. The skeg allows you to adjust for any windage and makes open crossings much easier. My only complaint is the durability of the skeg cable design. Mine is constantly jamming and the cable housing allows water to leak into the rear compartment. Luckily this boat paddles great without the skeg so it isn't much of a problem. The cheap backband is also subpar, but I wouldn't choose any other plastic boat to paddle.
I recently bought a kevlar Avocet. I've previously been paddling small river…
I recently bought a kevlar Avocet. I've previously been paddling small river and whitewater boats, and wanted a fast, low-volume tourer for short trips on British waters. Before ordering the Avocet I tried a Dagger Edisto (too wide for me, and very slow), Perception's Carolina (ditto), Pyranha's Orca (ditto) and Mystic (nice boat, and very light, but the projecting internal fittings trapped my feet), Kajak-Sport's Viking (fitted well, paddled well, seemed rather shoddily made), and Nigel Dennis's Romany (didn't fit so well, but paddled beautifully). Then I tried an Avocet. It was faster and more responsive than the others I tried, and it was blissfully comfortable; excellent seat and thigh braces. The initial stability, unladen, was surprisingly good, and the secondary stability excellent. There's quite a lot of rocker, so the boat turns well, and this can be greatly enhanced with a strong lean. It's a fast and effortless boat to paddle, and glides along well between strokes. It also rolls easily, the low rear deck facilitates the lie-back at the end of a roll. The construction quality is really superb, and the deck layout is eminently practical and Valley's famed hatches are completely watertight. I find the main oval ones a bit of a struggle to close fully: you have to work your fingers hard around the lower rim to squeeze the last bit into the housing, but once down they really don't leak, even after rolling. The day hatch is easier to open and close, but seems equally watertight. It's the only hatch which doesn't incorporate a tether point: there's plenty of upper rim to drill through to attach a tether, though the rubber tends to close up after the drill has been extracted. Try drilling then poke an elastic cord through the partially closed up hole with a bradawl or similar. My boat has a skeg, which I've only found cause to use once, heading upstream and into a strong wind. It was very effective in keeping the boat solidly on course, though in less blustery conditions I've felt no need of the skeg; the boat tracks very well without it. The only detail I don't like is the backband. The demo model I tried was fitted with a Pyranha backband, and I'm planning to fit one to my own boat. The backband is easily and cheaply changed though, and the fittings to attach it are easy and accessible, so I've not allowed that small detail to affect my evaluation of the boat.
I began looking for a touring kayak to upgrade to from my…
I began looking for a touring kayak to upgrade to from my recreational kayak (Keowee II). I paddled Perception's Carolina, Walden's Passage, Dagger's Magellen and Cortez, Valley's Skerray and Avocet. I am 5'11" and 160 lbs. Kind of on the big side for a small paddler but not big enough for a big kayak. The Carolina and Passage were easy, stable and fun but a bit slow. Good fishing boats I bet. The Magellen was way to big and heavy for my taste. The Cortez was very fast and yet reasonably stable. Tracked very well but turned slowly and with effort. The Skerray was fast and just a hair to big for my build. Now for the Avocet RM. This is a very well built plastic kayak that is suited for speed, maneuverability, and rough water. I rented one for two afternoons from Sea Kayak of GA near Savannah. Nice people. The conditions day one were gentle. Day two saw lots of chop and a ripping tide. Both days the Avocet was fast, fast, and fast. This boat can maneuver and go all at once. Its skeg system is more appealing to me than a rudder. If you need to turn on a dime pull in the skeg and turn fast. I returned home and worried about the price of the kayak for two weeks before making the plunge. $1650 Later I owned a new yellow Avocet RM. I have taken it up the Savannah river here in Augusta into the faster, rougher, yet still open portions and played sea kayaker. The boat pleasantly surprised me with its ability to turn on a dime and sprint around. It took a few treks to the river to get down traveling in a straight line with no skeg down but gentle use of the hips solved that. With the skeg down this kayak tracks well. Different than with a rudder like I am used to. Not worse, just different. I actually prefer the skeg. The price really was a big issue with this boat. But when I realized I won't have to sell it in a year to upgrade, it seemed fair. The quality is easily as good as with most fiberglass kayaks. I watched a customer at the store learn how to roll an Avocet during a course given by a guide. Afterward the customer wanted to sell his Necky boat with rudder he had purchased only two months before because he felt he had outgrown it. Paddling half a dozen boats really helped solve the decision dilemma. The Avocet is a serious boat that doesn't have to be used seriously, but the price will keep you from buying one casually. Expensive, but worth the entry price.
After paddling over 20 different touring kayaks I bought 2 plastic Avocets…
After paddling over 20 different touring kayaks I bought 2 plastic Avocets from Great Outdoor Provision Co. in Raleigh,NC. It was great that GOP puts on a demo to compare boats. I really got to see the difference between 'just okay',good and great boats. The Avocet is a great boat. It is fast, tracks well and is very maneuverable. It is also the lightest and most ridgid 16' plastic boat I've seen. I just got back from Lake Huron. These kayaks performed great in all conditions, including 4' swells & 20 knot winds. My only complaint on this boat is the back band. But I've upgraded this now my boat is a 10.
I agree with Brad's posting on 06-29-2001. I have owned an Avocet…
I agree with Brad's posting on 06-29-2001. I have owned an Avocet RM (polyethylene) for about 13 months and I really like it! I've paddled it in various conditions on Pool 13 of the Mississippi River, small lakes in Illinois, Lake Powell in Utah, and Lake Superior's Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. I too replaced the back band. I'm using Snap Dragon's "Back Band 2" product, which was easy to install.
I liked the plastic Avocet so much that i sold it and…
I liked the plastic Avocet so much that i sold it and bought a composite one. the general handling is about the same but with a stiffer faster feel, the cockpit has better thigh grips than the RM version. I just love the way this kayak responds to every paddle input that you give to it. The composite kayak also looks sexier than the plastic one!
I recently purchased this poly kayak after trying and renting other brands…
I recently purchased this poly kayak after trying and renting other brands and models of kayaks. It tracks very well without the skeg, even better with the skeg down. It has great speed for a poly kayak; very maneuverable. It has two oval hatches and one right-side round day hatch, which remain absolutely water-tight in rough water and rolls. Excellent initial and secondary stability; it leans well. Only flaw is when paddling backwards; it tends to veer to the right when going backwards. But as far as plastic kayaks go, it's the best I've paddled, and competes well with fiberglass models.
Plastic day boat with 2 oval hatches and 1 round day hatch…
Plastic day boat with 2 oval hatches and 1 round day hatch behind seat, compass recess and retractable skeg.
A very smooth handling kayak without the vague handling of the Skerray RM, tracks well with only a slight tendancy to weathercock, Feels a bit slow compared to my Foster/Rowe boats, but is the best plastic sea kayak I've used.