« Walk 5, run 10 | Main | 20km off-road bike ride »

Tippy boats

Today we went to Marsport in Reading to try some K2s as we wanted to get a feel for just how tippy they are before bidding for one on eBay. I have previously wondered whether I might find the Nordkapp, my dream sea kayak, too tippy. I need not have worried. It is a barge.

Marsport and Kirton, the two main UK manufacturers of racing 'K' boats, grade their craft on a scale of 1 to 10 for tippiness, with 10 being the most stable. We tried a Condor (stability rating 8) and a Toucan (stability rating 5).

I had assumed that the Condor would present no problems but the first time I got in it I felt like I was walking a tight rope. A few minutes later, and feeling a bit more relaxed, I had a second go and found it much more comfortable. After a couple of hundred meters and a portage practice I could see us doing the DW in it (with some reservations about training on the Tideway). We then tried the less stable Toucan, again this felt very wobbly at first but I imagine I could get used to it.

Our biggest problem now is getting hold of two boats, never mind choosing what we would like, as there seem to be precious few secondhand ones available. Even if we were to order new ones there is a ten week lead time which means we would only have them in time for Waterside D, a mere two weeks before DW.