Saturday, May 10, 2008

Plastic Romany Arrives in Comox

The first of the plastic Romany HV kayaks from Nigel Denis or Sea Kayaking UK have arrived in Comox. Many consider the Romany to be the ultimate day kayak. I for one have enjoyed my time in the fiberglass version.

When I saw the boat it was still covered in bubble wrap. It's a shade of yellow sort of half way between yellow and orange.

The seat looks unusual in that the seat pan extends high up at the back. The back band was not yet installed in the boat. However there where a number of adjustment so that the seat could be raised, lowered, or moved for or aft.

If the buyer happens to fall into the segment that this seat is ideal for they'll be happy. Or like many they will opt for a carved foam seat glued in.

The kayak also had the hatch covers molded in just like the Wilderness plastic boats and many others that came before. Personally I suspect this is where some of the leaking problems associated with plastic boats and hatches originates. This is supposition on my part but I think when the hot plastic ring comes out of the mold it may twist while the plastic cools.

If this is indeed the case getting a tight seal when the rubber hatch is pushed into place may not be possible.

The other area that has been a problem for plastic kayak manufactures has been with leaking bulk heads. Usually the leaks are related to bulk heads that are glued in. The glue fails or under pressure the bulk head is compressed and a leak develops.

This can happen when a kayak drops off the front of a breaking wave and slams down into a tough. Or when a kayaker, in search of that world famous photo opt, seal launches off the Sidney wharf on Vancouver Island into a low tide 20 feat below and on impact blows his feet through the forward bulk head. Great photo too bad it wrecked a kayak.

It was impossible to determine beyond a doubt but it appears the bulk heads in the plastic Romany are welded into place. This should rid the kayak of a potential trouble some problem.

Prices for the new plastic Romany HV where unavailable. The standard fiberglass Romany HV lists in Comox for $3295. To avoid confusion this kayak has carried the following names: Romany S, Romany Surf, Romany HV and possibly one other that escapes me.

The kayak I saw had the Kari-Tek Skeg Systems® which is cable activated. I liked it's firm feel and precise adjustment. It felt great as I stood there with feet firmly on the ground playing with it. Kari-Tek also builds rope and hydraulic skegs that are also available. The skeg box appears to be a vast improvement, it's very neat and cleanly installed.

The tech specifications for the Romany HV follow. The plastic kayak should be the same.

Technical specs

Length: 16 feet (4.88m)
Width: 22" (0.56m)

Front compartment: 51 Lts
Middle compartment: 37 Lts
Rearcompartments: 50 Lts

I hope to have a real water test in this boat soon. For more information visit.

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