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PostPosted: June 13th, 2020, 10:24 pm 
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Location: Mid-coast Maine
Hey folks -
I've moved, and given up the spine of the Appalachians for the coast of Maine. Have landed a pretty sweet place that is right on a harbor with open ocean not too far away and lots of little islands to explore in the Bay. Thinking about getting sea kayaks for us and the kids - 2 girls, 9 and 6. I paddled around in a sea kayak once before, up in Ucluelet, BC. So I know enough to know I don't know enough to go buy something. Any suggestions for brands, models, materials, what not to get? Think we will want two tandems to start, but that's about as far as I've gotten. Any help appreciated.
Thanks,
Christian

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PostPosted: June 14th, 2020, 8:45 am 
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Look up Littleredcanoe here (Kim)
She lives in Maine and should be able to give you all sorts of help there, as she both canoes & kayaks there.
Jeff

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PostPosted: June 14th, 2020, 1:26 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Well I do but never owned a tandem sea kayak . We have friends that did have one. It was a beast empty. 110 lbs! It was a Necky of some sort.. Glass.

Don't veer away from a glass boat. We have been using kevlar/glass boats on the coast since 1993. We had problems with the stern wearing pinholes in poly boats. At that time in the late 80s poly boats were hard to fix.

But your choice; they may be more fixable now and certainly are cheaper. Old Town offers a Necky Looksha T tandem. It weighs 96 lbs.
and therein is the rub if you take time loading your tide changes quickly and you may find yourself dragging that 96 or more pounds over rocks.. Depends on where you stop. I assume you have access to a boat ramp or floating dock.

Out on Muscongus Bay we had to help our friends lug the Queen Mary some 30 feet over slippery stuff. Not fun. ( It was a camping trip and one of the party was a SLOOOOOW packer).

Not too many choices in tandem kayaks aside from inflatables which I have not seen many used

Canoes are actually OK in sheltered areas like the top of Muscongus and the nearshore areas of Stonington. The caveat of course when the weather is good

I have actually paddled a pack canoe ( my RapidFire by Placid Boatworks ) to Isle Au Haut twice. Hornbeck makes some pack canoes that I have actually seen use on the ocean in nearshore waters. The old style has nice flared sides for stability and bobs like a cork . Unfortunately there is no dealer network and they are made in Olmstedville NY which is not far but is far as you can't git theah from heah.. Takes 8 hours to go 250 miles.

You have to budget for those other new things you might not have needed before
Wetsuits
Marine Radio
paddle float

The issue with a sea kayak is of course the skirt.I don't know what is available for small kids so I recommend you have a chat at Maine Sport on Rt 1 in Rockport. They actually are a paddlesport shop and not a box store.

Looking at instruction for kids I see that 8 is the minimum age for kids. Instruction can give you a feel for the sea which will also teach you if you don't take instruction but some of its lessons you really do not want to receive. Some areas have boils and holes like whitewater and others have very strong currents and eddy lines. Way back in the day we were taught sea canoeing. There were no kayaks around.


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PostPosted: June 14th, 2020, 3:39 pm 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
VA paddler wrote:
Thinking about getting sea kayaks for us and the kids - 2 girls, 9 and 6. I paddled around in a sea kayak once before, up in Ucluelet, BC. So I know enough to know I don't know enough to go buy something. Any suggestions for brands, models, materials, what not to get? Think we will want two tandems to start, but that's about as far as I've gotten. Any help appreciated.


If you are talking about “real” tandem sea kayak, not tandem rec kayaks, they tend to be very long, heavy (especially if plastic) and uncommon on the used market. And, if your family is anything like mine, everyone will soon enough want to be Captain of their own ship.

Our happiest family paddling days were when my sons both went into their own solo boats. Don’t get me wrong, I loved paddling with them in the bow, but I more loved paddling beside them, when I could actually hear what they were saying. And, as importantly, they lovedLOVED (and still love) paddling alongside each other, taking brother stuff.

There are kayaks, sit-ins and SOT’s, designed for young folks. I will straight up say this: DO NOT buy cheap “pumpkinseed” kayaks for your daughters, even those that purport to be “kid sized”. Many of them are anything but. They will be slow. They will be wide. Paddling a kayak with your arms held over your head is a good way to make your daughters hate the activity.

Seriously, adults can pretty much paddle any kayak in which they fit. Kids, at least happily, not so much. Not a big box Lifetime or Sun Dolphin “kid kayak”, but something from a reputable manufacturer, actually designed for kids for small folks to paddle. Those currently available designs do exist, but take some research.

The old (long discontinued) Dagger Piccolo was maybe the best kid/small person mini-sea kayak ever made. Dagger currently makes the (much heavier) Stratos 12.5 S, in somewhat similar kid/small person dimensions.

https://www.dagger.com/us/kayaks/stratos-125-s

There are still some currently manufactured mini sea kayak designs, as well as some kid-sized sit-on-tops. It has been a long time since I needed a kid-sized boat, but I’ll try poke around to see what else might be manufactured today.


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PostPosted: June 14th, 2020, 3:56 pm 
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We've got a variety of canoes and a few sea kayaks in the garage, so I acknowledge the utility of both.

I would personally not buy a tandem kayak. For family outings when the kids are small, I'd stick to a canoe. However, your 9yr old will probably be ready for her own kayak, and she'll likely appreciate the independence. Something about tandem kayaks has always put me off. A large expense for a boat that will soon become irrelevant when your kids want to paddle their own kayak.

Picking up a little boat trailer that can accommodate 4+ kayaks would be a good investment.

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PostPosted: June 14th, 2020, 7:05 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Christian if you don't want to disclose your home bay PM me. It may be suitable for canoes and I might know something of the area.. ie tides and currents and danger zones. Or I may not know!

Sometimes what is between your ears is at least as important if not so more than what is under your butt. There are some good books out there for kayaking in Maine but some are way old
https://www.amazon.com/Guide-Sea-Kayaki ... oks&sr=1-2

The Maine Island Trail Association guidebook is updated every year and has info on launches good sights safety and danger area. Getting it requires a membership but IMO is worth it.


Stability is an issue and for that reason staying low is a good rule on open water.


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PostPosted: June 15th, 2020, 7:48 am 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Six is a bit young to go into a solo boat on outings of any duration or difficulty. My sons went into appropriately sized solo boats (10’ 18lb OT Rushton canoe, 10’ 6” 28 lb Dagger Tupelo canoe, Dagger Piccolo 13’ 6” kayak) at about age nine, a little earlier on car camping pond day paddles.

The Piccolo still turns up used on occasion; if you found a used one in your area I’d snatch it up.

https://www.shoppok.com/skagit/a,29,845 ... ---275.htm

Just for funsies I Googled “Kayaks for kids” and “Kayaks for children. What a load of inappropriate junk, from near pool toys to Lifetime and Sun Dolphin big box junk. Mostly too short, too wide and too deep.

Length to waterline ratio matters; asking child to propel a short, wide, slow “pumpkinseed” kayak is a sure way to turn them off. Just no.

Looking through the currently produced small person kayak models from a few respectable kayak manufacturers any of these would be more suitable for your 9 year old and for years to come.

Eddyline Sitka ST

https://eddyline.com/kayak-model/sitka-st

Current Designs Vision 120SP

https://cdkayak.com/Kayaks.aspx?id=25

Delta 12S

https://www.deltakayaks.com/delta-12s/

I expect that there are similarly kid/small person designed sit-on-tops that are not BigBox pool toys.


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PostPosted: June 15th, 2020, 8:18 am 
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SOT's are rarely seen around here in the ocean. And then a wetsuit becomes crucial in the summer and until June a drysuit. I would never want to have to budget for kids drysuits ( if the even exist).

This is why SINKS are preferred IMO

https://seatemperature.info/gulf-of-mai ... ature.html


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PostPosted: June 15th, 2020, 9:32 am 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
littleredcanoe wrote:
SOT's are rarely seen around here in the ocean. And then a wetsuit becomes crucial in the summer and until June a drysuit. I would never want to have to budget for kids drysuits ( if the even exist).

This is why SINKS are preferred IMO l


Good point, although with an open canoe, or any boat on freezing water, the wet suit/dry suit needs are same if you take a swim.

We had a Dimension Typhoon sit-on-top that was as dry as a canoe, it had no scupper holes to plug. We never took it north, but my sons used it from Pennsylvania to Florida. Great fun little SOT, with one major design flaw.

https://www.google.com/search?q=dimensi ... 3-m_XR2GPM

It had “dry” storage in the stern, which was not the flaw. It had a high raised stern molding where the dry storage cover strapped on. So high that the Typhoon was impossible to roof rack upside down, even with tall clearance Quick & Easy’s. The only way to cartop it was right side up, on cradles.

The “no scupper holes”? I had it on the van roof one night when it poured buckets, ready to leave early the next morning. It was filled to the brim with water, so heavy there was no way to lift and end and drain. I started the van, drove it forward a bit and hit the brakes; a bathtub’s worth of water cascaded over the windshield and I could finally until it and drain the remainder.


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PostPosted: June 15th, 2020, 12:36 pm 
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Here is a table for when a drysuit is needed and when a wetsuit might do.
We are just barely out of drysuit season. But you can paddle year round with one as the warmth depends on what you wear underneath.


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PostPosted: June 16th, 2020, 12:16 am 
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Location: Mid-coast Maine
Thanks for all the tips, everyone.

Ungh... hadn't thought about drysuits for the kids. If they've got a skirt on the boat, is a wetsuit and a splashtop good enough? I'm too cheap to buy a drysuit for me, and I (used to) paddle 12 months/yr. But maybe that's Virginia weather talking.

Marine radio...? How about an InReach? Gotta replace the one I lost on the Broadback, anyway.

LRC, I'm not private about much of anything. We will be in South Bristol, right in the Gut, so convenient paddle to Christmas Cove, John's Bay, Pemaquid neighborhood, and the length of the Damariscotta River. Other side of the peninsula from Muscongus Bay.

What about the rolling thing? Does a sea kayak roll? Does one worry about them flipping?

The 9 year old will definitely want her own boat - she hates the "pumpkinseed" kayaks the grandparents have provided at the lake. I could absolutely picture what you were talking about when you said paddling above their heads. And you're right, she much prefers a singleblade and the Old Town Pack canoe. I'm bragging. BUT, my little one is LITTLE. Don't know where the genes came from but, she's a tiny thing. She also likes to be in her own boat - as long as it is tied to mine, and I'm towing her. I think she'll need some company in a boat for awhile. Which is why I need at least one tandem - hoping the sisters will run it after a little while.

We will have a 4 season salt water dock, so no need to trailer the boats, and I think if we do any tripping, I'm still inclined to rivers and canoes. There just can't be enough room for camp comfort in those kayaks.

Maine Sport in Rockport is well known to my wife's credit card. I thought they had little useful there in the way of downriver paddling, but I suppose I am now shifting the paradigm...

Will definitely look into the models everyone suggests.

many thanks!!
Christian

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PostPosted: June 16th, 2020, 10:29 am 
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Christian, I know nothing about marine radios or kid-sized dry suits. Properly kid sized wet suits are available, and when the older kid grows out of it the younger one might fit. PFD’s are much the same; we’ve had “Infant”, “Youth small” and “Medium” and finally four adult sizes.

Also, with kid PFD’s, check the fit and comfort, not something you can do on-line. An ill fitting, uncomfortable PFD does not make for a happy child. Or adult. If you need PFD’s for the girls I’d buy them in an actual paddleshop; PFD’s that are designed for paddling motion make a difference.

If you happen to see a used Dagger Piccolo, again, I think it is the best kid/small person mini sea kayak ever made.

I’m thinking that the coast of Maine should be fertile ground for used sea kayaks. Craigslist of course, but Facebook marketplace now seems to be the go-to place for deals on reasonably (or underpriced) used canoes and kayaks.

About the need for a tandem to accommodate the 6 YO. You may (should) be able to find a cheap-ish used tandem sea kayak on the Maine coast; people (couples) tire of big tandem sea kayaks and go into solo boats. Even if it is heavy as hell or you need to make some repairs, new hatch covers or epoxy & glass work, etc

You may only own it for a few years. Playing with the numbers if the 9 YO goes in a Piccolo or the like, and you go in the tandem with the 6 YO, the missus is going to need a kayak as well. So three boats; one tandem, two solos.

And in a few years, four boats. Sell the tandem, buy the younger kid a small sea kayak (or upgrade the older girl’s ride), and buy a 4th kayak for you or the missus.

Of course transporting three (four) kayaks is a challenge, and a whole ‘nother question.


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PostPosted: June 16th, 2020, 2:32 pm 
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Never used an Inreach but I think one of my concerns is notifying other vessels in the area of your presence should the weather turn crappy. Use of Channel 16 and a Securite Securite Securite is very helpful when working craft are around. I have no idea if Inreach can do such a notification. But a GPS is a very good idea . Cell Phones don't always work and if you are in trouble being able to give your position to the Coast Guard is very helpful


Few kayaks are for sale second hand but outfitters generally sell off rentals end of season. However Craigslist does have some now including what seems to be too good to be true.. reasonable for sure if it is in good shape https://maine.craigslist.org/boa/d/gray ... 45141.html

crud it is like ten miles from me.


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PostPosted: June 17th, 2020, 1:59 pm 
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littleredcanoe wrote:
Craigslist does have some now including what seems to be too good to be true.. reasonable for sure if it is in good shape https://maine.craigslist.org/boa/d/gray ... 45141.html

crud it is like ten miles from me.


That does sound like a good deal. Extreme Interface produced a 22’ 5” kevlar tandem sea kayak, the Phantom. 27.7 inches wide, 95 lbs, $3600 in 2003 money.

Christian, keep an eye out here as well:

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/10 ... xact=false

You can re-set the distance to 100 or 200 miles or whatever.

I am not on Facebook, but I can still see the Marketplace area. I presume you have to be on Facebook to send a reply/message to the seller.


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PostPosted: June 17th, 2020, 2:33 pm 
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Good information above. I'll echo the comment that tandem kayaks are a bit of a beast. I own a tandem CD Libre XT which we used with my family for a trip in Haida Gwaii, and a handful of other excursions since then. They are stable, haul a heckuva lot of gear, handle rough water, and are really really big.

When my kids were little and we paddled the west coast (Broken Group Islands), we paddled a tandem canoe rather than two tandem kayaks - In my opinion, two competent canoeists can manage one 17.5' canoe better than 1 adult plus 1 small kid can handle a 22' kayak, but make sure that canoe is not overloaded. If the water was so rough that we needed the seaworthiness of a canoe, we weren't going out on the water, or we'd be looking for a way off of the water shortly. Contrary to common belief, canoes do float on saltwater, but extremely good judgement and conservative decisions must be exercised when travelling with kids regardless of the mode.

Your kids are a bit young for solo paddling in rough water, but not too young to start paddling their own kayaks on protected waters. Kayaks also tow really well, so when the kids run out of steam have a towbelt to give them some assistance. Your own skills in a kayak should be good, especially for rescues. I'm a strong advocate for developing and practicing skills. Often that means lessons, but there are many routes to good skills, the key point being practice, practice, practice (in conditions).

Quote:
What about the rolling thing? Does a sea kayak roll? Does one worry about them flipping?


Kayaks, like any boat, can tip and any paddler should be prepared to deal with it. Some are tippy and some are stable, but with a good seaworthy kayak you can develop the body movements that allow the waves to rock and roll underneath you with little risk of tipping. Kayak rescues are not too hard, but requires some practice and know-how. Rolling back upright is easy to do, but hard to learn, so assisted and self rescues are the go-to for most kayakers. Rolling is a great goal though, and your kids will likely learn it easily if they are in a kayak that fits them well and they have some guidance. It's difficult to learn on your own because nothing makes sense when you are upside down under the water. But done right, it should be nearly effortless. One advantage of rolling is not only that it's the fastest driest self rescue that can be done, but it also helps you develop good techniques (bracing, body movement) that help you avoid the capsize in the first place (though I've seen the opposite as well where people don't bother bracing, just go straight for the roll as soon as they feel they're gonna tip).

Just a few comments as a kayaker and canoeist who has done a lot of paddling with 2 daughters.

Cheers,
Bryan

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