Thursday, 7 July 2011

Here's to New Adventures

And here she is....
An 18.2 ft long fiberglass Tahe Marine Revel.  I know, what happened to the Valley Etain?  To be honest I wasn't happy settling for a plastic boat and when Martyn mentioned there was a second hand Revel at Brookbank I jumped at it and put a deposit down the next day.   I spent 3 hrs in the van traveling up to Warwick for a demo and bring her home.  Apparently there was a very big waiting list of people hoping I wouldn't buy her, as it was a very good deal at £695!
First impressions were it was a lovely looking boat, beautiful sharp lines unlike any other boat I've seen.  A little hard to distinguish here on camera, it's going to be a nightmare with exposure on a white boat.  I like the white and the red nicely matches my drysuit and BA.  There are the usual scuffs on the hull as you would expect from a 2nd hand boat but nothing serious.  Up on deck it is immaculate.  There are a few chips out of the read seam that joins the deck and hull, again nothing really that noticeable.
The one review that I read before hand was that on the Solent Sea Kayaking blog.  This boat is advertised as a boat for medium to large paddlers and the review backs that up saying the cockpit feels big and roomy.  That's bad for me as I am neither big or roomy, so I was a bit worried it might be too big.  The cockpit rim itself is really small, I had to buy a new spray skirt as mine was far to big.  Sat in the seat it felt fine, in fact smaller than my Easky LV.  I've since added a small layer of foam for a nice snug fit.  The knee supports are the cockpit coaming itself which makes you feel a part of the boat, again a nice fit. 
Another point that was mentioned in the review was the cockpit coaming was on the thinner sharper side.  I would second that, I was a little nervous to put any pressure on it.  having said that I'm a bit nervous with the whole boat coming from a plastic boat.  On closer inspection it looks like the cockpit coming may have been removed at some point and re-attached.  There is no water coming in but I will probably add another few layers of fiberglass just to add a bit of strength and a smother finish.  Maybe that's why it was so cheap???
Now here is where the volume is and where it is big and roomy.  I have size ten feet and they are no where near the deck.  Lined up against other boats the deck does look higher volume although not like the hump on the Rockpool boats.  The foot rests felt a little small compared to what I have in my Easky but looking at this picture they look like they me be on upside-down??
The boat tracks well without the skeg although it wasn't exactly testing conditions down the bay.  The boat looks like it previously had a rudder but the hole in the back makes a perfect point to thread my lock through.  The skeg is metal and bangs about like mad when fully deployed, I'm going to add some foam to the inside of the skeg box to see if that helps.  The skeg slider is lovely an smooth.
Out on the water it is very stable, I was instantly pleased with a grin from ear to ear (and I got big ears!).  Paddling about the bay there was a tiny bit off sadness there, I'm gonna miss that read bow of my Easky I've become so attached to.  It is at home on a hard edge and gives plenty of confidence, I would go as far a saying it was as good as the Etain.  At just over 18ft long you would expect it to be difficult to turn but with a hard chine and rocker it turns beautifully.
The sides of the deck are cut away, same as on the wooden boat, which I believe originates from the Greenland kayaks.  This is great as I was always hitting the deck with my paddles.  It is also great for green;and style paddling.  I think every boat should have this feature.  You can also see the skeg slider in this picture.  The reviewer said this caused a problem as it was a little protruding, I tried hitting in it on purpose in my turns and paddling and I didn't find it a problem at all.
In this leaned back photo the shape looks a bit odd,  mainly down to the cut out in the sides of the deck.  There's my new snug fitting skirt.
"Five knots, piece of pi$$!"  I didn't have my GPS to judge my speed but it felt like I was flying along.  I felt like there was a lot less drag than my Easky also. 
I was trying to get a picture of how my boat sat in the water whilst I was in it.  The wake as I was paddling seemed to be starting from the toggle just after the front hatch where it starts to broaden out.
A slightly smudged logo.  In all I am extremely chuffed, a glass sea kayak for the same price as my Easky.  A special thanks to Martyn for the heads up on the boat.  A few small jobs to do, possibly swap the footrests over, I've added hip pads and set up the backrest, a bit of foam in the skeg box, maybe reinforce the cockpit coaming and a bit of foam on the seat.  Who know where she will take me but I look forward to new adventures to come.


stoney (Martyn) said...

Nice one!
Its literally a big brother to mine. The cockpit rim is exactly the same on mine, its bonded in by the two vertical surfaces.
I think my footrests are in the same way as yours.
It does feel wierd paddling a composit boat after plastic, and when I let someone go in mine last week, I was watching, thinking, don't land there its full of rocks, don't scratch it, be carefull. I'm sure there tougher than you think.
Give her a polish, mine really gluides nice after an hour with a cloth and car polish.

scott said...

It looks really stunning on the water Stu, and my favourite colour for a Sea Kakyak.
Sounds like you had a really good deal too. Me and my dad are now attending Glam Boaters so hopefully will be up to speed with new skills and get out with you soon.

Will Herman said...

Hi Stuart,
I'm not familiar with the Reveal, but I did sit in their Greenland boat - in that the footrests were very low i.e. close to my heel / against my instep, rather than the balls of my feet.
The picture above looks similiar. But there seems to be a second, higher rail, on which to attach the runners? Perhaps that would help.
The Rockpool's raised cockpit (Alaw) allows a different position to be adopted with the knees raised and more centred than most boats but towards the front bulkhead, the volume is much less. I have size ten feet and can only wear thin soled paddling boots, nothing with a heel. A very different boat altogether.
Enjoy the new boat, I think you will learn and enjoy your paddling far more in the Reveal than in the Easky which is a barge by comparison!

Stuart said...

Just been having a closer look at the boat, not really had chance before. The foot rests are on a metal panel which can be moved up or down between a series of three holes. Its currently in the middle hole but the panel is too big to move because of the deck line recesses.

The skeg is going to do my head in. There are no washers on either side of the plate which is causing the plate to bang about loosly. There are already chips on the corners where the box meets the keel. I cant get at the screw as its all glassed in! Only thing I can think is a bit of foam either side stuck with some glue?

stoney (Martyn) said...

I'll have a look at mine (skeg), I havn't had it right out, and to be honest, I havn't ever had one right out.

Stuart said...

Hi Scott, I've been trying to add comments to your posts but it wont let me. Nice to see you out on the salty stuff! A good trip which you want to try is out to Tusker Rock from Newton beach in Porthcawl, I did it the first time I ever paddled on the sea, it's not far out and easy with the right weather.

Thanks Will, It's a bit of a stange boat, it doesn't feel big but looks it along side others. I'm sure I'll have a few shots of it against Tarans Norkapp soon to compare. Can't wait to get it out, I felt a little held back in the Easky.

Cheers Mart, I think it was added by the previous owner because the wires for the rudder are still there. If I had the room I would polish it, the thing takes up half my garden!

stoney (Martyn) said...

If it had a rudder, thats the reason the footrests are low.
If you can find a picture of rudder equipped version, the controls are above the footrests, meaning the fixed rests must be lower.