New Sea Leopard

Design , Outfitting , Skegs , Rudders, Pumps , Sails , Modifications
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Earvin
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New Sea Leopard

Postby Earvin » Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:59 am

Hi all,

I tried posting this earlier but my computer had a slight melt down :roll:

First of all congrats on the new forum. I am sure it will take off if the kayak fishing forums are anything to go by.

Has anoyone had any experience with the new Sea Leopards? They look like a nice piece of gear and seem to get a good rap. Being quite new to sea kayaks I would be interested in others opinion.

http://raftakayaks.spaces.live.com/

Cheers

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Colyak
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby Colyak » Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:07 am

I believe there is a Sea Leopard in the Qld Sea Kayak club. Contact gnarlydog in the members section here for a possible contact.
Col
I'd rather be wet than bored!
www.frozentime.com.au

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Earvin
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby Earvin » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:15 am

Thanks Mate,

I have checked out the club site and there is a sea leopard for sale so shot him an email.

Cheers

yakman
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby yakman » Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:33 am

I am pretty sure there is one on ebay or trading post, saw it the other night, might be worth a look.

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gnarlydog
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby gnarlydog » Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:25 pm

Earvin,
I am not that familiar with the Sea Leopard since I only test paddled it in rather calm conditions.
It is however a kayak that does not fit me because the deck is too low for my rather chunky legs.
Unfortunately I can't really comment on a boat that I spent a very short time in...

Gnarlydog

quicky
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby quicky » Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:06 pm

G'day Earvin,
I have purchased a new sea leopard and I am very pleased with it to date. My experience previous to purchasing was flat water marathon in K1/K2 boats which are very tippy, but by the same token make you improve technique or you spend more time in the water than the kayak. By the way I had not paddled for perhaps 30 years and the reason for purchasing the sea kayak is that we spend most of our recreation time at the coast and living in Queanbeyan/Canberra Lake Burley Griffin. I recently attended a training session with a well known south (NSW) coast retailer/trainer/etc. The instructor used my sea leopard as a comparitor to the other kayaks as provided by the company for training purposes demonstrating the deep chine and secondary stabilty as opposed to some of their boats with more primary stability. When he came back from a paddle in the sea leopard he was amazed at how stable the boat is, as he expected it to be a handfull.

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Earvin
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby Earvin » Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:19 am

Thanks all for your replies. I think I am going to have to arrange a test paddle and start saving or selling some stuff ;).

gnarlydog wrote:Earvin,
I am not that familiar with the Sea Leopard since I only test paddled it in rather calm conditions.
It is however a kayak that does not fit me because the deck is too low for my rather chunky legs.
Unfortunately I can't really comment on a boat that I spent a very short time in...
Gnarlydog


Gnarly was this the new SeaLeopard or old design as the new one has a raised deck for more leg room.

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gnarlydog
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby gnarlydog » Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:35 am

the Sea Lopard I test paddled was at 2008 Rock&Roll.
I assume Rafta Kayaks would have the latest model for demo.
The cockpit is rather small (ocean style) and personally I don't like that design since it does not allow you an easy enter/exit in rough conditions.

Gnarlydog

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Raider
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby Raider » Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:48 pm

Earvin wrote:Hi all,

I tried posting this earlier but my computer had a slight melt down :roll:

First of all congrats on the new forum. I am sure it will take off if the kayak fishing forums are anything to go by.

Has anoyone had any experience with the new Sea Leopards? They look like a nice piece of gear and seem to get a good rap. Being quite new to sea kayaks I would be interested in others opinion.

http://raftakayaks.spaces.live.com/

Cheers


Earvin,

I owned a Sea Leopard for a while. It is the most stable of any of the long narrow sea kayaks. When you sit in it your first impression is that you need a telescope to see the bow. It is a dream to roll and you can put it on edge without sculling with minimal practice because of that low rear deck. It has a good turn of speed and will handle a good sea. I had mine out in a sudden blow that the yachts were registering 38kn close by and it handled it easily.

The only problem I found with it is when you have a decent following sea it wants to broach easily. It will go very well with it up to about 15kn but over that the back wants to overtake the front. However if you are strong and fit and know how to edge a kayak it will respond. Damiano is right about the cockpit fit. I've seen his legs and don't know how he got into it. My legs are skinny and I found it a snug fit. I also think that you don't want oversized feet. The pedal adjustment is simple but effective and easily adjusted.

MY main concerns were the the way it was finished off. I had to have the hatch rings refitted and the shock cord hatch cover retainers repaired twice. It was a shame because they sealed perfectly. I never got a drop in any hatch until one broke and I ploughed through the heavy seas with about 20 litres of water in the front hatch which it did without a problem.

Summing up I liked the exceptional primary stability, the looks, ease of rolling and it's ability to handle a sea head on and it's enormous front hatch. I didn't like it in a following sea. Just plain hard work. It seemed heavier to paddle than what I have been used to and some aspects of how it was put together seem amateurish. If you get one check out the hatches thoroughly. When they are working they are watertight but were quite weak on mine.

I hope this helps

Raider

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Earvin
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby Earvin » Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:16 am

Thanks Raider. Great feedback. I am keeping my options open at this stage and just want to get a feel for the different kayaks out there and test paddle a few. At this stage I am in no rush to upgrade.

quicky
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby quicky » Sat Nov 15, 2008 5:32 am

G'day Raider,
I agree the cockpit is cosy and to do a wet exit for a person of my size involves lifting up (down) and back before rolling forward. Again with a wet entry depending on foot size you may have to rotate a little earlier before sliding into the cockpit. Again I am only a novice sea kayaker and far from fit, but found that all these things could be accomplished quite readily. I am more than pleased with the construction and finish of my kayak, but understand the manufacturer is continually making improvements with feedback received from clients. What surprised me with a boat that is long and narrow is the capacity to hold a heaps of camping and personal gear. Again I reinforce that I am a novice at sea kayaking and the only real experience with other sea kayaks is paddling at Coles Bay and Kettering.
Regards,

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Raider
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby Raider » Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:04 pm

If you like the handling the Prijon and are used to it, you will find the Leopard very different. I have owned about twenty different kayaks over the years in my quest for the perfect kayak and I would rate the Leopard as one of the hardest to control in a following sea and one of the worst finished. There are a lot of better boats on the market for the dollar. Whilst there are a lot of good imported boats around, I have gone full circle and am back paddling the locally made (NZ) Raider range of sea kayaks which I have found to be well mannered and in many cases, better finished and stronger than a lot of the higher priced imports.

It really gets back to what you want your boat to do. If touring is your thing, I have heard that there is a Southern Raider High Volume Expedition kayak due out soon. The Southern Raider has a good pedigree and is a very good boat in a decent sea. I got caught in a 35kn blow in one and was very impressed with what it could do. We had 2m waves peak to trough and it 's manouvreability was remarkable. It's only fault was lack of volume in the hatches for carrying gear on a trip but the new one which will be the same below the waterline but a couple of inches higher in the deck should fix that.

Good luck with your quest. The perfect allrounder is a myth. That's why I have 7 kayaks but aiming to trim back to 3, so if you know of anybody who is upwards of 100kg and has trouble fitting comfortably into a cockpit. I have a Sirocco (plastic clone of the Gulfstream by Derek Hutchinson) and a Presto 537 with sail. Both have large cockpits and are too big for me.

Cheers

Raider

Earvin wrote:Thanks Raider. Great feedback. I am keeping my options open at this stage and just want to get a feel for the different kayaks out there and test paddle a few. At this stage I am in no rush to upgrade.

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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby Raider » Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:14 pm

G'day quicky,
Glad you are enjoying your Leopard. I found rolling to be a much better option than other forms of self rescue. That low rear deck makes it very easy. You are right about getting your feet in and out but the small cockpit is easier to keep dry .

The front hatch is huge isn't it? The rear can be frustrating when all your gear is in round dry bags. I found the WX Tex (orange ones with the bleed valve) dry bags to be the best for the rear. They are flat and can fit between deck and bottom. It's amazing how much you can fit in it. Have you had any trouble with the shock cords that hold the hatches on? Do you notice the flexing of the hull when you pick up one end?

Raider

quicky wrote:G'day Raider,
I agree the cockpit is cosy and to do a wet exit for a person of my size involves lifting up (down) and back before rolling forward. Again with a wet entry depending on foot size you may have to rotate a little earlier before sliding into the cockpit. Again I am only a novice sea kayaker and far from fit, but found that all these things could be accomplished quite readily. I am more than pleased with the construction and finish of my kayak, but understand the manufacturer is continually making improvements with feedback received from clients. What surprised me with a boat that is long and narrow is the capacity to hold a heaps of camping and personal gear. Again I reinforce that I am a novice at sea kayaking and the only real experience with other sea kayaks is paddling at Coles Bay and Kettering.
Regards,

quicky
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby quicky » Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:07 am

G'day Raider,
I have had no trouble at all with the shock cords, just a little difficult to use until I figured out how to use the tab. Thanks for the tip on the dry bags, I had used a variety of sized cylindrical dry bags and was amazed how much gear it took. Even my Salewa two man tent fitted through the rear hatch folded up in it's original bag. Can't say I have noticed any flexing and I have dragged it down the beach by the bow fully loaded. I like your style owning seven kayaks, how's the marraige (assuming you are) or have you bought them all but one for her (she who must be obeyed)!!! I have just purchased the plans for a Guillemont Night Heron (secretly), for no other reason than I have always wanted to build a wooden boat, be interested to hear from anyone who has built one or any other strip planked kayak. When I used to paddle marathons the Struer strip planked K1's and K2's were all the rage and were absolutely beautiful. In fact probably one of the most flopped boats at that stage by the fibreglass kayak manufacturers.
Regards,

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Raider
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby Raider » Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:52 am

Hey quicky,

I probably noticed the flexing more because I have always had kevlar kayaks which are much stiffer than the vinyl in the Leopard and I noticed it when we picked it up from both ends and when punching into a decent head sea.

I am lucky because 'she who must be obeyed' is a paddler too and we have 10 kayaks between us. The down side is that I have to buy two of everything because she is as bad a gear freak as I am.

I know a couple of guys who are building strip plank boats. One received his first kit on friday and is about to start. The other is well advanced with his. Both are Guillemot designs and I think the new one is the Night Heron. Here are a couple of addresses for you to contact.

'Bell, Graham'
E-mail Address(es):
glbell@powerup.com.au

Tony Clark
E-mail Address(es):
tonyclark@aapt.net.au

Tony is at the same stage you are and Graham is well advanced. Tell them Phil sent you. Good luck

Raider

quicky
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby quicky » Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:56 am

G'day Raider,
You are indeed fortunate! I recently traded up one of my guitar amps, fortunately my wife is not terribly observant but just to make sure I rearranged the whole lounge room at the same time installing the amp while she was out to further disguise the purchase. Might be a bit more difficult to convince her that a Guillemot Night Heron is a garden bench!!
Thanks for the contacts, I will get in touch with both.
Regards,

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mick M
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby mick M » Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:58 am

Good morning, Iv bilt more than a cupal wooden kayaks, all stich and glue, im curently bilding a dubal Didarka , and in the new year im going to make a strip bilt outer Island
stich and glu is fast and needs minamal tools ect.. and good if you wont a hard chine kayak the best iv made is a rip of of the Inuat Clasic of Norm Sanders.

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Raider
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby Raider » Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:02 pm

Hey quicky,
If you are making Guiullemot park benches, can I put in an order for one?

I know a couple of other wooden kayak builders but they are stitch and glue men.

Cheers

Raider

quicky
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby quicky » Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:48 am

G'day Mick and Raider,
I have started a new forum in Kayak Talk headed wooden boats.
Regards,

quicky
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Re: New Sea Leopard

Postby quicky » Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:47 am

As you can see the Sea Leopard is very stable, don't know about the bloke in it!
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