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Kayak, Sit in or on?

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Looking for a second kayak for lakes and calm waters.  We have one sit in 10 ft plastic cheap kayak that works well.  It is light and sturdy, and that is a priority.

Lifetime sells cheap (dare I say disposable) kayaks at walmart if you can find them for $200 for a sit in.  Seems ok.

I've never tried a sit on version.  Are they reasonably stable?  I would guess so.   I see a lot out and about.

Aside from wetter, is there any downside to a sit-on?  I like the fact that the paddling angle is easier without a gunnel in the way.  I'm always banging my thumb on the sit in version.

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2 hours ago, Windward said:

Looking for a second kayak for lakes and calm waters.  We have one sit in 10 ft plastic cheap kayak that works well.  It is light and sturdy, and that is a priority.

Lifetime sells cheap (dare I say disposable) kayaks at walmart if you can find them for $200 for a sit in.  Seems ok.

I've never tried a sit on version.  Are they reasonably stable?  I would guess so.   I see a lot out and about.

Aside from wetter, is there any downside to a sit-on?  I like the fact that the paddling angle is easier without a gunnel in the way.  I'm always banging my thumb on the sit in version.

I like to take a good camera on board, which is considerably easier/dryer on a sit-in. They must also be more stable, with the lower seating position.

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Raised center of mass requires wider boat for stability. Wider ~ slower. No way around it. Compromises...

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3 hours ago, Windward said:

Looking for a second kayak for lakes and calm waters.  We have one sit in 10 ft plastic cheap kayak that works well.  It is light and sturdy, and that is a priority.

Lifetime sells cheap (dare I say disposable) kayaks at walmart if you can find them for $200 for a sit in.  Seems ok.

I've never tried a sit on version.  Are they reasonably stable?  I would guess so.   I see a lot out and about.

Aside from wetter, is there any downside to a sit-on?  I like the fact that the paddling angle is easier without a gunnel in the way.  I'm always banging my thumb on the sit in version.

Sit in paddles better, lower center of gravity, often narrower so more efficient, adjust the pegs so your knees wedge under the gunnels and you are one with the kayak. You can play in waves and surf in a sit in that you can't in sit on.

I would not count on either keeping stuff dry ....that's what drysacs are for

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Is there really a significant difference in speed in boats for recreational users? Sure this is fast:

330px-Silke_H%C3%B6rmann.jpg

But...

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4 hours ago, Windward said:

Looking for a second kayak for lakes and calm waters.  We have one sit in 10 ft plastic cheap kayak that works well.  It is light and sturdy, and that is a priority.

Lifetime sells cheap (dare I say disposable) kayaks at walmart if you can find them for $200 for a sit in.  Seems ok.

I've never tried a sit on version.  Are they reasonably stable?  I would guess so.   I see a lot out and about.

Aside from wetter, is there any downside to a sit-on?  I like the fact that the paddling angle is easier without a gunnel in the way.  I'm always banging my thumb on the sit in version.

My spouse is a park ranger who managed a large park in Maryland. She purchased several of the Wal-Mart boats for rentals. They split at the construction seam. I would avoid these. If you're trying to save money, buy a better brand of boat from the used market on Craigslist or Facebook market place.

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18 minutes ago, weightless said:

Is there really a significant difference in speed in boats for recreational users? Sure this is fast:

330px-Silke_H%C3%B6rmann.jpg

But...

Yes

I am far from an expert kayaker, nor am I a peak athlete, but I had an Eddyline mod-V kayak which was a little bit above the level you'd toss a rank beginner into (I tend to do stuff like that) and once I learned to steer it, I could easily go twice as fast and infinitely further, and be more secure in a chop if need be, than more ambitious & athletic people (like our friends teenage grandkids) in the tubby 12-footers and sit-on-top ones.

It was not the easiest to get into of all the sit-ins I tried but it was far from the most difficult, in fact it was easier than many of the beginner ones my wife tried out.

The sit-on-tops are more difficult to paddle IMHO, you're sitting higher up with less leverage and less bracing points to secure your body.

FB- Doug

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Yes, but which one do you want when you flip? It seems like the sit-in is a safety liability unless you can Eskimo roll it. Slow to exit upside down under water and very hard to empty and get back in unless you're standing in less than 3 feet of water. You can just climb back on a sit-on-top, no matter how deep the water.

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FWIW, I rented an earlier version of this years ago. I'm not sure I'd call my paddling skills "intermediate" but I found it pretty easy and efficient to paddle in the ocean in trade wind conditions. Renting before deciding might be helpful.

image.thumb.png.db994453232d544453641bc5479a9123.png

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30 minutes ago, mookiesurfs said:

Yes, but which one do you want when you flip? It seems like the sit-in is a safety liability unless you can Eskimo roll it. Slow to exit upside down under water and very hard to empty and get back in unless you're standing in less than 3 feet of water. You can just climb back on a sit-on-top, no matter how deep the water.

^^^ This!

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2 hours ago, weightless said:

Is there really a significant difference in speed in boats for recreational users? Sure this is fast:

330px-Silke_H%C3%B6rmann.jpg

But...

Well there is recreational

OIP.BMY7a8Dv1fwGjbSuX2JPBQHaHa?pid=Api&r

and there is recreational

ks0034a.jpg

If I can't have my knees wedged into the hull with a bit of pressure on the pegs ...kind of like skiing with your boots unbuckled...you can do it.

Beyond that there are a bunch of shape issues to consider with generally fewer choices in sit on. In a sit in you can have a high volume one that floats like a cork and rolls back up effortlessly or you can have one with an edge that let's you grab the water and play but is bit harder to roll back up. The yellow one above would be fun to play in but not so great for covering long distances.

If I already had a sit on I'd probably go for more of a touring as more complementary (easier longer distances with actual pay load).

Top-10-Best-Sea-Touring-Kayaks-in-2019.j

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49 minutes ago, mookiesurfs said:

Yes, but which one do you want when you flip? It seems like the sit-in is a safety liability unless you can Eskimo roll it. Slow to exit upside down under water and very hard to empty and get back in unless you're standing in less than 3 feet of water. You can just climb back on a sit-on-top, no matter how deep the water.

So learn your roll. It's really not hard (especially if you have a competent coach guiding you). If you end up in a really dodgy conditions you are much better off in a sit in if you know your roll. How many sit ons do you see playing in white water?

After you've nailed the roll with paddle you can move on to the roll without...in case you happen to let go of it when things go pear shaped. Hint...the hip flick is key (did I mention being one with the kayak)...

 

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2 hours ago, KC375 said:

How many sit ons do you see playing in white water?

 

 

Here's a couple...

 

Or,

Point taken that surf skis are not necessarily practical for anything other than surf (they're looooong, for a start!).

 

 

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To do the Eskimo roll, you also have to have the skirt in place, which I see a lot of people paddling around without. You can get thigh straps for a sit on top, so you are locked in. Personally, we got rid of our kayaks a long time ago and went to SUPs. We rarely use our dinghy anymore. 

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This has gotten a bit off the rails into kayak anarchy.... for poking around on flat water on a lake with family/friends, not doing whitewater, kayak camping/voyaging, etc, buy what's cheap and available and go have fun with it!

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9 hours ago, weightless said:

Is there really a significant difference in speed in boats for recreational users? Sure this is fast:

330px-Silke_H%C3%B6rmann.jpg

But...

The boat definitely matters. There's lots of slow plastic barges out there. I have a 20 y.o. workhorse of a sea kayak that's 17 feet by 2 feet. It's a joy to paddle and I can carry over my shoulder. I'm not an expert paddler but it's so easily driven due to hull shape that I'm barely trying as friends in wider, shorter boats are struggling. Doubly so in wind and chop, which this slices through. Also good for cavern diving if you're in a pinch... and yes, all of that fit inside my boat :)

 

B9z0P8K.jpg

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23 hours ago, mookiesurfs said:

Yes, but which one do you want when you flip? It seems like the sit-in is a safety liability unless you can Eskimo roll it. 

Paddle float re-entry is easy to learn and pretty efficient.  Re-enter and roll is even faster, but takes more practice and skill. 

Sit-in kayaks should have good bulkheads to prevent taking on much water when rolled and/or floatation bags.  With those they pump out quickly even when fully swamped. 

For most paddlers a 23” beam 14’ wide kayak offers a good amount of performance without being too ungainly.  That’s also a size where it is easy to learn how to roll the boat and other skills if desired. Dagger Stratos is a well designed lower budget model. 

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In my experience.... "it depends"

Sit-ON kayaks tend to be
-- heavier
-- more stable
-- slower
-- easier to get back onto
-- harder to store stuff inside

I (personally) prefer a sit-in.  I like being lower to the water, I like being able to wedge my knees under the deck for stability, I like being able to stow stuff inside (although dry-bags are still needed....) and more than anything else I like that lighter/narrower generally means faster and easier to paddle.  The biggest downside to a sit-in is that you either need to learn to roll, or you need to learn how to get back in and de-water.

Both (IMO) are a pain in the ass to store on a boat.  A typical roto-molded sit-on is going to be ~12 long and weigh 60+ lbs.  A roto-molded sit-in will be roughly the same. About the only viable way to schlep them around is on-deck.

I went a slightly different way - I wanted a sit-in that was lighter and easier to stow.  Ended up with an "Oru" folding kayak.  Weighs about 25 lbs, when folded it's about the size of a large suitcase (easily fits in the q-berth down below), when put together it is a surprisingly rigid 12-foot kayak and paddles like a dream.  Very happy with it.

$.02

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I picked up a 12-foot rotomolded SOT last year.  Stores easily outside the lifelines in Magma racks. Pull it alongside and hoist one end then the other into the rack. Easy.  Fun, but as everyone says, slow, wet, and lots of windage.   Aaand... now that I'm unexpectedly a dog-father again, too small.  

Hmm... found this pic that looks exactly like him, so maybe there is hope.  Can't tell what size that yak is though. I'd think the well should be big enough so he has at least the possibility to lay down.

cover_21_780x.jpg?v=1591649879

BTW, the CG had to rescue a couple of doofuses a couple weeks ago that went out in their SOT's to fish, while wearing waders  sea anchors to keep their legs dry.  It didn't go well...  

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I’d think a sit in would be pretty hot in the tropics.....

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2 hours ago, Training Wheels said:

I’d think a sit in would be pretty hot in the tropics.....

No real difference IME. If you are paddling your legs stay wet... unless you add a spray skirt for winter.

As for capsize...

a. You've got to be some kind of clod to flip a recreational kayak outside of white water.

b. You can reboard by flopping across the boat and rotating into the seat.  No one can eskimo roll a recreational kayak; too wide, flooded, thigh bracing not good enough.

I've used both. Sit-in for most uses. Sit-on for snorkling. But if the sit-on is wide enough to easily reboard, it will be like paddling a floating door by comparison. Slow and no fun.

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On 7/18/2020 at 1:24 PM, mookiesurfs said:

It seems like the sit-in is a safety liability unless you can Eskimo roll it. Slow to exit upside down under water and very hard to empty and get back in unless you're standing in less than 3 feet of water.

Well not really. Google "Sea kayak paddle float" for easy re-entry if you're paddlng a sea kayak (when loaded is much harder to roll than a river kayak.)

If you capsize you more fall out you've practiced it once or twice. It's more scary in belief  than reality

Sit-in to actually lower COG and I much prefer them because not fat and tubby and not wet ass (some SOT have self draining holes in the seat)

Look at the pics of the two typical recreational sit on above - the red sit on person's ass is several inches above the water. The orange kayak person ass is at or below the waterline.

Sit-in in the tropics? Just don't wear a spray skirt if the boat has enough freeboard and it's calm(ish).

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On 7/19/2020 at 6:53 AM, weightless said:

FWIW, I rented an earlier version of this years ago. I'm not sure I'd call my paddling skills "intermediate" but I found it pretty easy and efficient to paddle in the ocean in trade wind conditions. Renting before deciding might be helpful.

image.thumb.png.db994453232d544453641bc5479a9123.png

OK..so I'm a "get on the water by any means" kinda bloke...that happens to have a double garage full of watercraft (no room for cars!) I have had a rotamoulded plastic for the kids that was great for fun - jumping off, fishing, even paddling...and it took a pounding on rocks and concrete ramps...super rugged & stable & easily re-righted & reboarded... that's the starting point. I also have the Epic V10- elite (big expensive, light 10kg & fragile carbon version of the above) that got me thru the Molokai channel Ocean paddle race in good shape (defs need skills - opposite extreme of the plastic fantastic). I also have a Fenn XT  that I paddled across Bass Strait in (yeah...I have serious issues!!) to set a record a few years back. (never again!!)..then there's the K1s...3 of them (masters world comp version, olympic sprint version and Murray Marathon winner version), and of course, the competition surfski, the SUPs and the quiver of surfboards.....

The OP has asked a "how long is a piece of string" question and the answers all point out that it depends on skill levels and application. My tip is - get something rugged & stable...and as the skills evolve...move on up. Have Fun!!!

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43 minutes ago, Couta said:

 I also have a Fenn XT  that I paddled across Bass Strait in (yeah...I have serious issues!!) to set a record a few years back. (never again!!)..

What was the record? Fenn XT is a ski rather than a kayak isn't it? Sounds a little soggy. Did you strap gear on top?

(Furthest I've paddled is about 30kms, so I'm full of admiration any way you did it)

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^^^ Yeah Se7en, it was 345kms from Port Welshpool....with a few stopovers on the islands...longest day was 123kms....lots of stories, but the scariest bit was the daily crap, having been introduced to photos of the big Female Great Whites that were in the area by the local fishos who track them....I can confirm that from paddling to slipping over the side & crapping to resuming paddling was ~25 seconds!! The record? First crossing of Bass Strait on a surf ski....good times! I was a serious paddler back then in 2011...taking time off from sailing to explore new ways of enjoying the water...I did some serious mileage!! Molokai was only about 55kms but also open water with escorts. Physically the hardest was the Murray Marathon 404 kms over 5 days..but flat out racing in 40 degrees...did 6 of those and managed a win. Paddling was a bit of an obsession for a while - also did 3 world marathon championships which were very cool!!

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Much as I'd like to provide kayaking tips to @Couta  :P, you are on a whole other level.  Bravo.  

I'm reading that the paddle seems to be of a lot more importance than I had originally guessed.  If this takes on interest with other family members I'm guessing this is a first upgrade path.

The goal is calm lakes and waters.  Occasionally from the boat at anchor to the shore. (unlikely really, but would be nice) 

The portability of the sea eagle https://www.seaeagle.com/RazorLite/393rl has a lot of appeal, but the cost does not.

Covid has impacted the used market, and prices are almost as new.

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Paddle makes a big difference and is also highly personal.  It's a lot nicer to borrow other people's paddles to find out what works for you before plunking down a lot of money on them.  When I did a lot of paddling my favorite commercial paddles were the small blade Werner high angle ones (made for river kayaks, but I liked them on sea kayaks).  Cyprus is the high end model with that blade and the Shuna is the lower end model.

I also made a Greenland style paddle out of good quality cedar 2x4 and loved that thing.  It's an easy project.  I made it as part of a skin on frame kayak building class, but bought a hand planer so that I could make more of them anytime that I needed one (which never came up because I got into sailing and stopped paddling so much).

Here is a video from shaping the paddle:

https://photos.alexwetmore.org/Older/Kayaking/Paddle-videos/n-sK2sv/

Here is a photo from my kayak building class with the key dimensions for making the paddle.  You can look around in that series to see more about paddle making and from the class.

https://photos.alexwetmore.org/Older/n-PzPWtD/Kayaking/Building-the-Cape-Falcon-F1/i-M6JnGvr

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Werner makes very nice paddles - a good all around blade/shaft/weight is the Camano.  https://www.wernerpaddles.com/ - that's my backup. 
 I have an AT Fishstix as my main paddle: https://nextadventure.net/adventure-technology-exodus-fishstix-bent-shaft-fishing-paddle.html
Bending Branches makes nice paddles, and they range in price from about $50 for the AL/plastic to a few hundred for their high-end wooden paddles. 
A link that might be helpful: 
https://www.theadventurejunkies.com/best-kayak-paddle/

 

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On 7/19/2020 at 9:03 PM, thinwater said:

a. You've got to be some kind of clod to flip a recreational kayak outside of white water.

I take it you don’t have to do beach landings through surf where you are!

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I have two inflatable kayaks of the same size (about 2.30 metres): a Decathlon sit on top and a Kokopelli packraft sit in. I clearly prefer the Kokipelli. The paddling position is more confortable and the boat is more stable.

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13 hours ago, Couta said:

^^^ Yeah Se7en, it was 345kms from Port Welshpool....with a few stopovers on the islands...longest day was 123kms....lots of stories, but the scariest bit was the daily crap, having been introduced to photos of the big Female Great Whites that were in the area by the local fishos who track them....I can confirm that from paddling to slipping over the side & crapping to resuming paddling was ~25 seconds!! The record? First crossing of Bass Strait on a surf ski....good times! 

Very cool - I thought paddling a ski across sounded a bit more masochistic than a kayak, probably explains why you were the first to do it. Friends are currently trying to paddle around Tas in stages - few days paddling, back to work, then pick up at the same point later. I've had a couple of paddles with them, and joined in talking crap about paddling Bass Strait. Suspect they were more interested in my yacht as a support boat rather than my company on the paddle. Serious trip, I've had crossings where you could waterski, and others where I didn't want to be there any more.

I've done a fair bit of diving out in Bass Strait, with some deco hangs of over an hour. So I think you're pretty safe with a 30 second crap. I've never seen a Great White, but we did have a mako hang around on one dive. I blew off 10 minutes or so of deco and got back on the boat - I figured it was better to be a bit bent on the boat rather than a bit chewed in the water. I did hate those dives where my imagination got away and I spent deco half convinced I could see shapes in the gloom... and half trying to convince myself that I couldn't.

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13 hours ago, Se7en said:

I did hate those dives where my imagination got away and I spent deco half convinced I could see shapes in the gloom... and half trying to convince myself that I couldn't.

I think I may have done the aforementioned poo during that decompression stop.    No freakin way.   

I don't care if its a mosquito or a raging T-Rex... I have a huge desire not to be anythings lunch.   Aliens from Mars included.

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I had only used sit on kayaks and thought they were fine, until a neighbor in the harbor let me take his sit in kayak (nothing special, rotomolded kayak) and it is so much faster and easier to maneuver. As an added bonus, you get some sun protection. Definitely sit in.

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Se7en....I didn't see any Great whites either...just dolphins & seals (hundreds on the move - looked awesome!) but while waiting for a weather window at Port Welshpool (the pub - of course), the pro fishos there asked what I was up to....I told them...with the usual "ya fuckin mad!" response...then they pulled out their laptops and showed me their photos of "the girls" - big reproductive females....each had a name and a whole series of photos. The "girls" have trackers and the fishos are part of the ongoing research into GWS behaviour. Anyway...you can't "unsee" these things...so they do play on your mind!!! Were you Ab diving, wreck diving or just rec diving out there? Bass Strait is a brilliant playground....I did my first scuba diving in the (now gone) Kelp forrests of Wineglass Bay coming back from a Hobart race...and dived all around Deal & Erith...the tides are powerful, but the water clarity is fantastic..anyway - sorry for the thread drift!

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Werner makes great paddles. I had one of his early sea kayak ones in 1983. Kevlar blades and glass shaft but still super light and the oval shaft fit your hand. It was a big splurge (I was 16 at the time). Very sad day when I sold it with my kayak. I think I loved the paddle more than the kayak. 

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2 hours ago, Couta said:

 Were you Ab diving, wreck diving or just rec diving out there? Bass Strait is a brilliant playground....I did my first scuba diving in the (now gone) Kelp forrests of Wineglass Bay coming back from a Hobart race...and dived all around Deal & Erith...the tides are powerful, but the water clarity is fantastic..anyway - sorry for the thread drift!

The long hangs are diving wrecks, or occasionally sand in the vicinity of a wreck, and sometimes even reefs that looked a bit wrecklike on sidescan. I'm jealous of you diving Deal, I've talked about setting a trip up to dive Deal and the Hogan group, but never eventuated. I've also done a bit of pootling around the Prom and up an down Tas, I never really appreciated the giant kelp at the time, it was just there, occasionally you got tangled in it, or got it in a prop. You dunno what you got til it's gone.

Oh - I empathise with the get on / in the water by any means approach. I have a kayak in hobart, beach cat and divegear in NE Tas, Tasars, RIB, kayaks, windsurfers, dive gear, SUP here in Melbourne and until recently sold had our yacht in QLD or Sydney. When I had no money, it took everything I had. Now I find folks leave stuff with me and I have more stuff than room.

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14 hours ago, Se7en said:

Now I find folks leave stuff with me and I have more stuff than room.

Too true.

I just gave away the lapstrake rowboat. 

Really trying to give away the windsurf setup as well, but cant bring myself to do it.

A periodic purge is healthy, satisfying, and way way cheaper in cost and sanity in the long run.

 

** Edit:  That reads funny, but you get the idea...

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On 7/18/2020 at 10:46 PM, Kenny Dumas said:

Your friends will keep up with you/ not slow you down with the mirage drive. 

I picked up a pair of Adventure Islands earlier this year. You can now get the older ones fairly reasonable, I think we paid around $3,600 for the pair. While quite a bit more expensive then OP mentions the versatility of them is really nice. The drive is ridiculously efficient and moves the boat with ease. It even does well against the current we get in. They are also really good for new people as they are really simple and easy to use. When sailing they don't point worth a damn, are hard to make it through a tack without the drive, are super wet when the waves get over 3ft or so, but they sure are fun for messing about.

 

thumbnail_20200301_133901.jpg

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