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Old 15-03-2023, 08:39   #1
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Inflatable kayaks and canoes

I like to canoe and kayak and see these paddlecraft as an ideal way to explore rivers, mangroves, and other shallow, protected areas. I see canoes as ideal for this because the short, single-ended paddle provides more control and better clearance under branches, inside culverts, inside sea caves, etc. But kayaks are fun, too, and the cheap availability of rotomolded plastic kayaks starting about 20 years ago has made them ubiquitous at beach concessions and tour operations

I've carried canoes and kayaks on deck. It's a nuisance, it's windage, and both the small boat and the mother ship tend to get a little beat up from chafe.

Until the last 2-3 years or so, the inflatable canoes and kayaks on the market were of poor quality. Many were really no more than glorified beach toys and lacked USCG certification. Most were thin PVC with little reinforcement.

The market has changed.

Intex makes the K1 and K2, each under $300 (including a modest paddle and air pump) and weighing less than 40 pounds. I've seen people use these and spoken with them. They aren't great boats, but are fun and with care will last for at least half a dozen outings. Despite their modest aspirations and low price, they are better than anything that was on the market 10 years ago. They come with a USCG plate and a certificate of origin, so you can register them in states that require that (mine does, at least for the K2).

There has also been an explosion of high-end inflatable 'yaks. Typically these have more air chambers. Some use drop-stitched floors or other panels. Some are hybrid boats with an aluminum frame. Some are really light, like the Aquaglide Deschutes 130, which claims a weight of only 21 pounds. Some, though sold as kayaks, look rather more like canoes.

So, who has one on board? What do you have? How is it working out?
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Old 15-03-2023, 09:06   #2
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Re: Inflatable kayaks and canoes

I've had an Aqua Glide Chinook for about 10 years. Light, summer cruising only. No full time use.

Boat still looks and functions as new.

Very stable (lubbers are not intimidated).

While not nearly as fast/efficient as a narrow, hard shell, touring Sea Kayak, it will cover more ground than a typical hard shell rowing dinghy.

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Old 15-03-2023, 09:11   #3
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Re: Inflatable kayaks and canoes

We carry two inflatable kayaks on board, and have for many years now. They're from Advanced Elements. They're a bit of a pain to assemble, so we only pull them out when we're anchored for long periods (at least a week). But they've been great.

They're also surprisingly good boats. They track well, can carry a decent load, and are pretty tough.
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Old 15-03-2023, 09:15   #4
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Re: Inflatable kayaks and canoes

I have a West Marine (Advanced Elements made it) 1 or 2 person inflatable Kayak that I bought about 16 years ago. It's very good quality. Takes a while to set up but folds down into a storage bag that's about 2X3X1 foot. The top skirt can be either solo or tandem. Works very well. Very good paddles. Does not track as well as a rotomolded one but it's fun to go out rigged as tandem. I was using it off a 32' sloop at the time and the fact you could easily store it was great. We often use it from our VW hippy bus also.

Mine looks the same Mike Orielly post #3 except lime green. The Advanced Frame models would be the same.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000J2O5VE...g=brg_ana_1-20
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Old 15-03-2023, 10:16   #5
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Re: Inflatable kayaks and canoes

I have a lot of experience as a whitewater guide from years past, and I have tried a variety of dinghies on my two sailboats. For me, the easiest, simplest and most versatile has been a large tubed whitewater kayak from Sea Eagle. (At this point I should be getting some kind of remunerations from them!) It is not hypalon but it has held up well for 10 years of summer use. The large tubes keep us drier. I have the 14' and the whole family fits in it. It is much faster than rowing absolutely, especially into a headwind, and I don't have to deal with an outboard. I roll it up and it gets stowed on the foredeck against the house. It comes with a removable skeg which makes it track great, but I never use it, it is fine without it. Customer service has been good too. In the first couple months I owned it, the corner of one of the spray covers was coming unglued from the tube. They sent me a whole new kayak. I drag mine over the rocks, but avoid the barnacles. The floor is pretty rigid which helps make it stable and fast. For a small sailboat, if you don't want the the hassle of an outboard and you want to actually get somewhere, it's the best option I've found.
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Old 15-03-2023, 11:13   #6
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Re: Inflatable kayaks and canoes

Guess I should add, my inflatable kayaks don't track as well as quality sea kayaks. In part that is due to length, but also width, line of cut, and material.

That said, I continue to be pleased with how well the Advanced Element boats do track -- especially the larger one (which I mostly use). I've gone on day-long paddles, and while it's not as nice as my old proper sea kayaks, it's surprisingly good.
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Old 15-03-2023, 11:24   #7
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Re: Inflatable kayaks and canoes

We are live aboard in the Caribbean for seven years. We have rotomolded polyethylene kayaks on deck. They are in the way, always. There is little to explore in the mangroves. People use SUP thingys in general. We use our kayaks SELDOM! The best use is letting children on nearby boats play king of the mountains on them. What gets used is boards with Batwings and various other toys
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Old 15-03-2023, 13:03   #8
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Re: Inflatable kayaks and canoes

I have had a few 2 person Sea Eagle Kayaks.
They have mostly been in the Caribbean kept in a dry locker.

The first one completely disintegrated because the glue they used on the seams fell apart. So they gave me a new one at cost.
That too fell apart.

For some reason I got a third and it seems to be holding together.
Have Owned it for 2 years.
They claim you can go white water rafting and hit them with a hammer.

They are strong and track well.

While I am in Antigua maybe I will get it out and see how it is holding up.
I last used it last summer.
Hopefully Sea Eagle found a cement that holds up in the Caribbean sun.
Or maybe I will just sell it.
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Old 16-03-2023, 04:28   #9
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Re: Inflatable kayaks and canoes

I'm not cruising so I don't have mine onboard, but my wife and I have had a blast with our SUP-Yak from West Marine. It's pretty versatile, can be either a stand up paddleboard or a 1 or 2 person kayak.

There are a couple of videos about it on my YouTube channel for what that's worth. Not pushing my channel - it's not that great - but the vids are there if you want to see them.

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Old 16-03-2023, 07:27   #10
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Re: Inflatable kayaks and canoes

At the risk of going off topic, but just a suggestion.

We bought 2 x 10 Starboard inflatable stand up paddle boards (SUP). These are super light, so easy to handle and durable. They do not scratch your yacht. They tie up nicely to the stanchions, out of the way with the fin facing outboard. Three piece paddle stows away easily. Nice and stable and easy to use. You see so much more in/under the water while standing. Great exercise. Easy to handle in the surf. Great for cruising the mangroves or just heading to the beach for a swim or sundowner. We hardly ever use our tender, it so easy to SUP everywhere.
We got the 10 x 34 iGo. If you are a beginner do not go under 34. The width really helps your balance.
There are cheaper options, but you get what you pay for.
We also bought an electric pump that pumps them up pretty quick.

OutdoorMaster 20PSI High Pressure SUP Air Pump The Shark:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 16-03-2023, 09:56   #11
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Re: Inflatable kayaks and canoes

Quote:
Originally Posted by aqfishing View Post
We hardly ever use our tender, it so easy to SUP everywhere.
Actually you are right. Once my daughter got her inflatable SUP, I often chose that over the dinghy for just quick jaunts to the beach or whatever.
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Old 16-03-2023, 10:11   #12
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Re: Inflatable kayaks and canoes

The big negative of our inflatable kayaks is that, packed up, they are not small, they're pretty heavy, and not that easy to assemble. Takes at least an hour to assemble/disassemble. So they only come out when we're planning to stay put for a longish time.

They do sit nicely on our side-decks, tied to the stanchions, but I'm not willing to travel any distance like that. It makes going forward more difficult, and if we got caught in unexpected weather, they could become a hazard.

On the plus side, we have a good storage space for them on the boat. And they are significant enough boats that we could use them to go tripping for a few days. Between the two we could easily carry all our camping gear, and enough provisions to last a week.
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Old 16-03-2023, 11:01   #13
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Re: Inflatable kayaks and canoes

We have two Advanced Elements Airfusion kayaks for almost 10 years and have been very happy with them. They do take ~15 minutes each to setup but it is not difficult - like setting up a tent. They have internal aluminum frames in addition to the air cells so are a bit like a skin on frame kayak. At ~ 35lbs they are ok to haul around, and with the skeg they track well. We have paddled them in some pretty raw places on the mid coast as we always feel safe and secure.
We deflate and tuck them away them for passages (and the winter), but leave them on the foredeck when at destination and for short hops.
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Old 16-03-2023, 11:12   #14
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Re: Inflatable kayaks and canoes

I use one of the larger Sea Eagle inflatable kayaks, which is supposed to be good for up to 3 people/600 lbs although I've never put more than 2 in it. I've had it for 3 years now with no problems. It is probably bigger than I needed, 16' long, so it's a little awkward when I try to inflate this thing on a 36' boat, but not as awkward as having something that large tied up to the lifelines all the time.

I'm happy with it. It's sleek, fast, and is compartmented multiple ways so that a single puncture can't possibly sink it. It would need to be punctured in multiple locations at once, which would be an unlikely situation.

The only downside is that when it's deflated, with the pump, paddles, seats, everything else stored in the bag, altogether it's a little heavy. But I don't think there's a way around that.
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Old 16-03-2023, 11:35   #15
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Re: Inflatable kayaks and canoes

We've had a Sea Eagle 420x for the past 8 years. It seems durable ... I've run it over oyster beds and scraped it over rocks without any noticeable damage other than scrape marks along the bottom. In retrospect the smaller 380 may have been a better choice. The 420 weighs just over 70lbs (rolled up and in its bag) and is a bit awkward to carry, so requires some manhandling to get it up on deck. The foredeck space on our previous H38 was a bit limited for inflating the 14ft kayak and then lowering it into the water around the rigging, but not so much on the new Bavaria. It is VERY stable getting in and out of it which the Admiral really appreciates. I carry an extra skeg on board after dropping one into the water a few years ago ... and a very comical attempt to paddle it without the skeg. We carry it in the rear cabin when no one else is on board or on the cabin roof otherwise. If we're moving between anchorages in reasonably settled weather I'll tie the inflated kayak to the lifelines. It's a great addition for quietly touring around the anchorage and surrounding area.
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