I am a firm believer in the capabilities of some of the smaller kayaks. Whilst some of the water I fish in is probably outside the realms of the target market for this boat, the Hornet has a lot under the bonnet.
After selling my ancient Prowler 13 to subsidise getting Red Dwarf (Mk1) back, I regretted the sale within a week as it dawned on me just how versatile that size was. Whilst my glass fishing yak is fine for the Big Blue, I set about looking for a replacement P13 to cover in mud, bounce off oysters, launch and land in rocky coves, transport SCUBA gear - as well as being easy to lift with the remaining 40% of a wrecked shoulder.
I had an idea of what I was after, the short list (fortuitous pun there) including the OK Tetra, Viking Espri, OK Venus or another vintage P13, although the Phoenix was a late starter, it added a few extra boxes to the list of features, and ticked them.
Key features swinging the decision were the transducer scupper, centre hatch and the multiple rails for RailBlaza fittings, and for under $1k, decided was worth a crack, and money quickly exchanged hands.
First trip out was a shake-down, a what-shall-I-put-where ...and to get a feed.
Conditions on the water today were 15kts, and wind against tide had the occasional crests.
The extra width took a little getting used to after my skinny boats, although aside from the occasional knuckle-knock, it wasn't a hindrance.
The first thing that struck me was the silence. Absolutely zero hull-slap. Nothing. At all! Very, very impressed.
Second was the speed. I was using the stock paddle that came with it and was easily pushing the Hornet along at a very respectable 7.5kph (Â±4kts) Definitely not shabby for such a short boat! Leaning into it and putting some power strokes in, I was able to hold 9kph (Â±4.8kts) for 500m into the chop. I will be using 7.5 for my dead reckoning calcs as that is a sustainable cruise for me.
The scuppers drain very quickly, although the occasional water feature of fountains through the foot scuppers was mildly amusing, it went away as fast as it had arrived . The seat area stayed dry (as much as you can in a SoT) and I didn't notice any water around there except when I was digging the hull into the water during some edging while playing.
As you'd expect with a short hull, the boat turns very easily and 2-3 sweeps had me facing the other way. Tracking was good though with only occasional correction strokes. I'm going to have fun in and around the rock gardens with this.
Back at the beach, pulling it back through the pea-sized loose shingle was effortless on the C-Tug, the inside was bone-dry, and the lift back onto the roofrack didn't even get close to causing a wince or grimace.
Sits perfectly on the roofrack bars too, which is great as I've worn my cradles out
Bottom line: Really impressed - the guys at Phoenix have put in the thought and hours on this and it's definitely paid off. It's not an open water boat, but as most fish coastal anyway it's does what it should in this respect.
However, Part 2 will be when I get a chance to get the boat out there in the next storm and see what it can do in times of war. Looking forward to that.
John Eichelsheim has done a very good article in Bayfisher.
http://www.bayfisher.co.nz/we-review-ph ... kayak.html
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- Hairy Little Dwarf
- Posts: 7000
- Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 9:39 am
- Kayak Make: Phoenix
- Kayak Model: Hornet
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