I purchased the CD Kestral 120 HV for my better half two…
I purchased the CD Kestral 120 HV for my better half two years ago. Didn't look for any alternatives because no one, and I mean NO ONE, makes a better kayak for the money than Current Designs. We have owned and used a passel of kayaks over our thirty some years of wedded bliss...(no reference to another CD model).
The Kestrel 12' kayaks stand head and shoulders over any currently available "rec" boat. You are advised. Widest smile from my 54 yr old sweetheart since the day we got hitched. Just to qualify this gushing endorsement, we have owned boats from 8 mfg.'s and ran a kayak / canoe sales& rental for several years. We've run rivers and lakes all over the NE. Get this boat! Give it some time if you're a beginner. You won't be sorry.
I love the orange Mohican with both rudders and rear hatch. It…
I love the orange Mohican with both rudders and rear hatch. It is slightly faster and lighter than the t-bolt I love so much. In the t-bolt I had small out of way thigh braces so I could lean over until water came in the cockpit. I do not have that option with the Mohican. It is cooler on a hot day with lots of air to hit my chest. Get the rear bungees for water storage. If you are on a budget, then a used t-bolt is a better value. Add a rear bulkhead and small out of way thigh braces for start of race or when you get nailed by big waves.
Van dusen boats have won many gold medals. They are the best in the world but it helps to have size 10 feet or smaller for portage. ICF boats are made to be paddled barefoot. Not much room for the feet. My big disappointment is that getting back in might take a paddlefloat. Wide plastic sit on tops are easy to remount. This boat is not easy even in flatwater. You learn to go fast by Smile relax and wiggle your hips. J lean the boat to the left and right. learn how you can really lean it over and recover. Its weakness is that it is like a bike, it needs to move to be stable. Stopped, I like to let my legs hang out just like pontoons. You can make a hairpin turn by dragging one foot. Huki makes rear pontoons that might work. It really is about time in the boat. Near shore on a small river I like getting nailed by big wakes.
The Mohican is much more stable than you first think. Smile relax and wiggle those hips. Rocket fast. I wish I could attach an outrigger as a convertible OC1 or kayak. I wish Mr van Dusen made a more stable version to compete with the epic sport or marathon master. I love tiller steering and will never buy anything but tiller steering. Even my Seda Glider has tiller steering
The Mohican is indeed a superb boat that does what it was…
The Mohican is indeed a superb boat that does what it was designed for as well as can be imagined. I am an intermediate kayaker whose "forward stroke" leaves much to be desired, but when I get it right, this hull makes for the ultimate smooth and efficient glide through the water--fantastic! Construction and engineering is also fabulous, with the unusual combination of strength, light weight, and undeniable beauty.
OTOH, my boat is for sale. Why? I haven't capsized in a while, but when the water gets cold, I still feel too shaky for comfort. If I paddled on clean, warm water, this boat would be ideal. In mid-summer, I went to a local lake with the intent of capsizing. I put down my paddle and leaned, but stayed upright. Perhaps I would be fine after another season or two, but when the water gets dangerously cold, I feel I should be wearing a dry suit. Maybe we all should...
Orange Van Dusen Mohican with tiller steering, toe straps and both rudders…
Orange Van Dusen Mohican with tiller steering, toe straps and both rudders. Just 2 minutes to switch rudders because the understern fits thru a tube. The narrow nose is so fast but the main drawback is narrow place for feet. Hard to make buoy turn until you figure how to lift your foot out to slide bar across. I love the seat with no pad. The footstraps are so efficient at pulling your hip forward for the next stroke. Stability - similar to orion or t-bolt but t-bolt had small out of way thigh braces so I felt very stable in big water in t-bolt. With the Mohican you can let thighs rest against side to get some support or at start put feet outside boat to paddle sideways.
Mohican might be one minute per hour faster for me on flatwater than t-bolt. T-bolt turns better for me around buoys because of wider footbox. Have not yet learned how to get back into Mohican without paddle float. PFD makes it harder to get in. The Mohican is so ergonomic that it is easier for me to paddle at 7mph for an hour. If you are on a budget, a used t-bolt might be a better value. I added rear bulkhead to t-bolt.
I have had many canoes and Kayaks. At one time I had…
I have had many canoes and Kayaks. At one time I had 15 stored around at different places. I have paddled and owned over 30 during the past 30 years. Very few boats would I label a super boat. While not all boats are built for speed the Mohican certainly was. I guess I wouldn’t have expected anything less from Ted Van Dusen. His Rowing Shells and ICF k-1’s have one thing in common they go fast. The Mohican is one of the few boats I would label super boat. In the six months I have paddled it the Mohican just seems to be getting better. While a middle of the pack racer and river runner I was amazed at what I could run with it. I took it to my first race with only 3 days of practice in the boat. I must say I did poorly. The waves from the other boats at the start just un-nerved me. On the downstream run it was a different matter. I took off and caught up with a much faster paddler in his RPM downriver boat. I had the feeling that if I wanted I could pass him at anytime. He got me on the turns but only because I didn’t want to press my luck and do a Huli before the big crowd on the bank.
If you are coming from a fast surfski or an ICF kayak, the stability would be no problem. However If coming from a sea kayak or even fast kayak to the Mohican you will have to spend some time in it to get comfortable (3-4 weeks). At first I was fighting the boat. It wanted to stay upright -- I wanted to dive off of it. It took a few weeks before I could say it was a stable boat. If you tip it on the side it wants to roll up, not over, like most ICF and adventure kayaks. I can sit and talk but still have trouble turning around and getting anything off the back deck when under way.
Don’t think I have to say anything about the craftsmanship it’s a Van Dusen. It has no Verturi drains like most surfskis. That was a major selling point for me. The Mohican has a canoe bailer like in a C-1. Now unless I want to open the bailer the bottom of the hull is flat. No more worries about breaking off a verturi when I run over a log or small dam. In big lakes or in deep water I just leave it open. It drains water out and makes a gurgling sound waiting for more water to be splashed up and drained away. To get water out just like the Verturi you have to be moving.
The bottom has already taken a lot of abuse. I run rivers where rocks are a common occurrence, too common. While running over rocks and small step dams I have never broken it open. I have put some deep scratches in the gel coat. The bottom of the Mohican is tough. If it would have been a surfski I know I would have gone right the hull. SurfSkis are made to race in the deeper water. The Mohican can handle both.
The only problem is that it is too fast. The friends who I paddle with are left in my wake. In a thirty minute run I might be 5 or more minutes ahead of them. I had to put bungee around the boat to slow it down to get some training time in.
The dimensions are: LOA - 21' 2.5" LWL - 21' B - 17.5" B @ 4" WL - 16.1"
You might want to consider a new non-ICF kayak to race if…
You might want to consider a new non-ICF kayak to race if you are not limited to ICF spec boats. Specifically, the new Van Dusen Mohican. I had an opportunity to race one this past weekend on a slow flowing river that had a mix of shallow and deep water. (Usually, I paddle a Fenn Millenium and a Nelo Vanquish Vintage or Cleaver X. I also have no relationship with any paddling company so this is as impartial as it gets) The Mohican has a narrow entry and low foredeck like a k1 and a big ICF k1 type cockpit. Footboard and tiller. There was no cockpit coaming. It was 21' long, but looked and felt shorter. The hull was very flat right under the seat area - surprisingly flat. There is some resemblance to a sit-down type C1 canoe, only longer and narrower. The foredeck has nice cutaways for a close entry. The one I used had a bucket seat like a ski and a venturi drain of the type canoes use that you can open and close, but another I saw (Ted Van Dusen's boat) was set up like an ICF kayak. Its stability was exceptional and I'd compare it to a trainer ICF K1 like a Kirton Tor or slightly tippier than a Mako XT surfski. I could have sat on two telephone books and been stable, I think, and that's what struck me most about the hull. I'm accustomed to losing stability in a boat to gain potential speed, so I don't understand the physics of the design and I asked Ted Van Dusen about this. He said that if he took away the stability (flat spot) and made it really tippy, it would only gain about 1/2 % better resistance which translates to a fraction of that in mph. Even though I didn't need all that extra stability, I found myself using more leg drive and torso rotation and the boat just sat flat as I flailed away. Speed in deep water was very good and it's difficult to tell the 0.1 or 0.2 mph speed difference compared to an ICF K1, particularly when the ICF K1 resistance is more of the wave drag type and this Mohican is more of the wetted surface area type. My guess is that it has a comparable cruising speed / resistance at 7-8 mph. It felt like it probably doesn't sprint as well, but my guess is that it marathons as well as a current racing ICF K1 design. In the shallow water sections, I could hardly feel the bottom as the hull seemed to be somewhat immune to the suck water feel. It also was very good at wake riding another boat probably because of the flat spot on the hull. The hull shape looks different from other boats that I've paddled, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that it felt different in shallows and on wakes. Overall, I thought it was the nicest hull I'd ever paddled on flatwater and worth a look if you want speed and need some measure of stability and can live with a non-ICF boat. It would be a great boat for an intermediate paddler to learn to get faster in as you'd be much more stable than in a racing ICF K1. Plus, you would never need a faster marathon boat when you do get better. The build quality was also among the nicest I've seen. Solid and true as an old Struer I once had. I think there are only 4 Mohicans in existence right now and all on the east coast of the US - it's a very new boat. I also don't know what the production plan or availability is so you'd have to contact Van Dusen about that if you are interested.