Capsurz – Cap Saver Product Review

Kayakers know that one of the biggest and most frustrating challenges of wearing a baseball cap or hat on the water is the risk of losing it. High winds and the fact that you’re constantly surrounded by water makes wearing a cap a losing compromise.

Last winter I had to opportunity to connect with Mari and Eric, the owners and operators of Capsurz, over a quick conversation on Twitter. After losing my fair share of hats on the ocean, I thought it would be a great I idea to try a pair of Capsurz for myself. Mari sent me a couple pairs of Capsurz to give a try first thing this season.

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 In late April I was able to break out my Capsurz for the first time of the season at the Run of the Charles Canoe & Kayak Race. As a kayak racer, if you lose your hat, there is no way you can “go back” to retrieve it without losing critical time. I was able to secure my Capsurz before that start of the race on my orange Gore-Tex cap that I frequently where on the water. The Capsurz secured with ease in a matter of seconds and easily adjusted to my desired fit. After the six-mile loop, I was happy to see that I still had my hat without having to make any time-carving pit stops.

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In early June I went out with a group of friends in Cotuit Harbor on Cape Cod. The harbor welcomed us with a pretty aggressive SW wind which chased us through the duration of the first leg. After coming around the lee side of the island, we were hit with a nasty head wind which definitely gave the Capsurz a test. Even though we were traveling directly into 20-30 knot gusts, my cap remained secure and planted on my head.

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 Overall, the Capsurz are a great and inexpensive investment for anyone looking to keep their cap secured during outdoor activities. Made in the USA of stainless steel clips and colorfast paracord, you don’t have to worry about rust or unexpected tears—Capsurz are built for the long-haul. Whether boating, kayaking, or hiking above windy tree line Capsurz are definitely a great product to list with the essentials.

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Don’t forget to windproof your “cat” too!

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DTKP Made a Splash at Hanover Day 2014!

The Duct Tape Kayak Project made a splash at Hanover Day 2014; our first fundraising event of the season! We had a great time showing off the new kit DTK in Brett’s hometown at this amazing community event. More importantly, we were able to raise over $150 to help our friends at Heroes on the Water in their mission to rehabilitate wounded veterans through kayak fishing excursions thanks to dozens of generous donors.

Hanover Day 2014

Congratulations to Tiziana Polizio of Hanover for being the lucky winner of our raffle for two Red Sox tickets. We hope that you enjoy the game against the Blue Jays later this summer!

Thanks for your support and be sure to check us out at the Plymouth Waterfront Festival later this summer!

-Kayak Dave

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Bajau Laut Girl Bails Out Canoe with Feet – Amazing!

Check out this awesome video of a little girl in Malaysia who bails out a canoe with just her feet, leg strength, and whole lot of balance. This is awesome!

 

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Dagger Tybee S Review

Dagger Tybee Specs

The Deets:

Material: Fiberglass Composite

Class: Light Touring/Transitional

Length: 14’10”

Width: 23”

Weight: 43lbs

Hatches/Bulkheads: Bow and Stern

Hatch Volume (bow/stern): 25/92 liters

Deck Height: 11.75”

Max. Capacity: 255lbs

Cockpit: 31.5” x 16.5”

Rudder/Skeg: Rudder

MSRP: *Discontinued in August 2002*

 

Dagger Tybee S

The Review:

Note: This review is focusing on the Dagger Tybee “S” which is designed with a lower volume deck trimmed for smaller paddlers. While nearly identical in performance and overall dimensions to the standard Dagger Tybee, the “S” is slightly lighter in weight at 43lbs verses 47lbs, and has a lower carrying capacity.

 

First Impressions

I had the unique opportunity to purchase a Dagger Tybee S this winter which allowed me the opportunity to paddle it from the beginning of the 2014 season. The Dagger Tybee is a beautifully designed and built kayak- discontinued in 2002, it was designed for lightweight performance, stability, and maneuverability. The Tybee has a visually noticeable high quality layup, and while lightweight, one can see that its gel coat and composite is not thin.  Upon my first impression, I found that Dagger Tybee to be very stable and very comfortable. The thigh braces fit snugly and comfortably, and I had not problems getting into the cockpit. Even though the Tybee S is a low-volume kayak, it shares the same cockpit as the Dagger Tybee and Dagger Meridian which provides plenty of space for entry and exit.

Dagger Tybee Kayak

Outfitting

The Tybee S is outfitted with a standard rudder which is controlled by aluminum rail-mounted foot braces with adjustable straps. In addition, the Tybee is nicely arranged with both fore-and-aft composite bulkheads with KajakSport hatches.

Unlike many composite kayaks manufactured today with very thin composite or foam/poly bulkheads, the Tybee’s bulkheads are very solid. The rear bulkhead is angled slightly toward the cockpit to provide easy drainage. Static deck lines and bungees orient the deck to allow for easy handling during self-rescue and stowing while on the water. Characteristic of all Dagger composites of the early 2000s, the Tybee is outfitted with a cockpit mounted water bottle holder which does not inhibit paddler motion or seating.

The seat and back-band provide ample support while promoting proper paddling posture. Bulky footwear may have a hard time fitting into the low volume deck of the Tybee S. The first time I took out the Tybee S I was wearing Merrell mid-weight hiking boots which I found challenging to navigate around the foot braces and articulate the rudder system. Low profile footwear is highly recommended!

 

Performance

As a smaller paddler, I found that Dagger Tybee to be very comfortable and easy to adjust to once in the cockpit. The Tybee S is very stable although the primary stability may feel a bit tender at first. The secondary stability is solid, predictable, and eases the paddler into lean turns without feeling jittery or unstable. For a kayak just shy of 15’, the Tybee performs to the tune of a transitional touring kayak. It is quick to respond and gets up to speed with little hesitation. A word to the wise: be prepared the drop your rudder, the Tybee is very very maneuverable. While its playfulness is fun on smaller trips and proves to be an asset in tight rivers, the rudder may be a necessity on longer trips with greater distances. I had the opportunity to take the Tybee S on a down river trip in the Nemasket River in Middleboro, MA where the 14’10” Tybee performed perfectly. It maneuvered with ease around downed trees and tight pinches in the river but accelerated when needed.

Dagger Tybee navigating through rough terrain with ease.

Dagger Tybee navigating through rough terrain with ease.

Conclusion

Overall, the Tybee S is a great kayak and would be a great companion of anyone looking for a light touring kayak that is comfortable, stable, and playful. The Tybee is best in protected coastal, in-land lakes and ponds, estuaries, and rivers. For medium to larger paddlers, keep a lookout for the standard Dagger Tybee.  As for smaller paddlers, keep a lookout for the “S” and these are trimmed with cut-down deck height to accommodate lower weight displacement.

 

Comparison Models

If you are itching for a Dagger Tybee but just cannot seem to find one, there are a couple current models on the market today which have similar features, dimensions, and performance. Check out the: Current Designs Vision 150, Lincoln Kayaks Chebeague LV, and the Stellar S15.

 

-Alex

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P&H Capella 160 RM Review

The Deets:

Material: Triple Layer Polyethylene

Class: Performance Touring

Length: 16’ 4”

Width: 22’’

Weight: 51 lbs

Cockpit Size: 31.5 x 17 inches

Skeg/Rudder?: Rope skeg

Ideal Weight Range: 88-230 lbs

MSRP: $1599

P&H Capella 160RM

 

The Review:

The Capella is the flagship of the P&H Sea Kayak company fleet boasting a high level of versatility. The RM model is available in two sizes; the 160 for smaller paddlers, and the 166 for larger paddlers. The 160 has been my boat of choice since mid-2011, and I can proudly attest that this boat has been able to deliver the demand expected of it.

Outfitting:
The Capella 160 RM is fully outfitted with appropriate deck rigging from bow to stern. Diamond patterned bungees directly in front of the cockpit, as well as other well-configured bungees allow for storage of two extra paddles, as well as easy access and storage of other essential items. Perimeter static deck lines also run from bow to stern for safety points of contact. Three Kajak Sport hatch covers seal the three storage compartments exceptionally well with no water leakage. One 9.5” hatch at the bow, a 7.5” click on day hatch, and a 16”x9” hatch at the stern. All covers are easy to pull on and off, and the day hatch is a breeze to access while on the water. Three vented foam bulkheads seal off the three storage compartments. They work very well, but at some point you may need to reseal them with some 3M 5200 Marine Sealant. Just in front of the bow hatch is a recess for the optional Silva 70P Compass. Carrying toggles at the bow and stern are comfortable and bungee tethered close to the boat. The keyhole cockpit is very spacious for easy entry and exit, and the thigh braces are white water inspired. They contour to the natural shape of the knee/thigh, and are adjustable, as well as the modest, yet comfortable vac formed padded seat with adjustable backrest. Twist lock foot braces are simple to adjust and can be done on the water with ease without accidentally coming unlocked. The interior outfitting is highly comfortable making longer paddling trips bearable.

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Hull Design and Its Effects:

On the water, the Capella 160 RM radiates one word: Seaworthiness. Facilitating this are the rounded chines, shallow-V hull at mid-ship, and a well-defined bow and stern. The boat also carries a long water line that greatly aids in tracking. The rounded chines allow the boat to easily lean as far as the paddler desires, sometimes to a full 90° without the hindrance of the boat wanting to self-right. The sharp bow and stern reduce bow wave friction and stern turbulence generating good hydrodynamics for a plastic boat. Unique to the Capella RM is the raked bow with minimal flare, which I find to be an exceptional bow design. The raked bow in my opinion, based on paddling other boats with other bow designs, reduces the bow wave, and makes for a drier paddling experience when the boat slams down into the water after falling off the backside of a wave. However, this vertical design combined with minimal bow rocker causes the boat to go slightly through waves as opposed to over them. The rounded transition from bow to mid-ship greatly reduces stern squat and bow rise when greater speeds are desired, therefore, keeping more boat in the water to increase maximum hull speed. The hull as a whole seems to “suck up” varying water conditions, meaning that it does not get tossed around like a bath toy in rougher conditions. The rope skeg is reliable and varying the amount of skeg deployed (0-90°) always corrects the boat’s heading with wind and waves. The boat itself is made of triple layer polyethylene which makes it highly resistant to abrasion, but slightly heavy at 51 lbs.

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Stability:

The boat’s initial stability is respectable, but a novice paddler may find it a bit tippy. On edge, secondary stability has a great range of heel, and is consistently solid at all degrees within the range. In rough conditions, the boat is as stable as it is in calm waters. Be aware that the boat’s willingness to lean without self-righting characteristics will cause the boat to have no problem listing in surf, in which tipping over could result.

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Maneuverability and Tracking:

In calm conditions, maneuverability is quite good. Controlled sweep strokes with a little edging cause the boat to turn modestly. However, with the Capella’s stern looser than its bow, bow rudder increases maneuverability dramatically, in which the stern swings out making the turning radius much smaller than that of sweep strokes. In surf, the Capella’s long water line and minimal rocker make it rather difficult to turn. When it comes to tracking, heading can be well maintained without the use of the skeg, however in choppy and windy conditions, appropriate deployment of the skeg corrects heading well. I find that varying water conditions demand specific degrees of deployment.

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Speed:

The Capella’s speed in all water conditions lies somewhere between moderate/slightly above moderate for a plastic boat, and keeping pace is not difficult. Therefore, in rougher conditions, the Capella is able to maintain momentum without getting bogged down. It is able to maintain speed and heading very well with or without the skeg as conditions see fit. Crossings from point A to point B are sometimes a bit longer, but usually reachable without getting blown off course or becoming excessively fatigued.

After dissecting the ins and outs the P&H Capella 160 RM, what’s left is a boat that possesses a number of qualities that that are directed towards versatility; ranging from calm lakes to heavy surf, to instructional use as well. As I approach my fourth season paddling this boat, I can attest to the potential that the Capella RM has. Where there are drawbacks in initial stability and surf maneuverability, there are gains in momentum maintenance, secondary stability, and tracking. I would recommend this boat for experienced paddlers who favor all types of sea kayak related water conditions.

-CoRay

Pros: Design/construction, tracking, comfort, secondary stability

Cons: Initial stability, long waterline makes maneuverability in surf difficult

Rating:

4 paddles

 

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Don’t Miss the “Blood Moon” Lunar Eclipse – April 15, 2014

Whether you are a night owl or an early riser, or just one who loves to catch a glimpse of astronomical rarities, be sure to catch an amazing spectical in the early hours of April 15th 2014.

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This will be the first of four “blood moons” which will grace the night skies on April 15, 2014; October 8, 2014; April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015.

This event is known as a tetrad. “What is a tetrad? It’s four successive total lunar eclipses, with no partial lunar eclipses in between, each of which is separated from the other by six lunar months (six full moons).” – EarthSky.org

Blood moon tetrads are remarkably rare. From 1600 to 1900 there were no tetrads which makes April 15th the start of a very uncommon event in history.

The best viewing times for the East Coast will be between 3:06am and 4:24am according to NASA.

For more information regarding the Blood Moon phenomenon visit: What is a Blood Moon (Article) 

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Duct Tape Kayak Project – Schedule of Events for 2014

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Get ready for another exciting paddling season with the Duct Tape Kayak Project!!!

This has been a busy winter for the entire team with Brett deeply immersed in his BioChem studies and both Alex and I taking jobs in education! Our passion for teaching and learning has spawned an exciting new direction for the Duct Tape Kayak Project that we plan to highlight this season. We believe that building a Duct Tape Kayak has a lot of educational value and can serve as a memorable team-building activity for both children and adults. That’s why we decided to spend the winter designing a “Mini”-DTK (only 10ft long) that can be build as a kit! Be sure to follow our blog for updates on this new DTK throughout the Spring!

We also plan to continue to support our partner charity, Heroes on the Water, by donating 100% of the monies raised at our two fundraising events to help with their mission to assist in the rehabilitation our wounded veterans through guided kayak fishing excursions!!!

Here is our tentative schedule of events which will be updated throughout the season. Please feel free to leave a comment or drop us a line on our Facebook page if you know of any other events that may be a good fit for the Duct Tape Kayak now or in the future! -Kayak Dave

 

Cape Cod Mini Maker Faire:

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When: Saturday April 26th, 2014

Where:  Cape Cod Community College

The newest member of the Duct Tape Kayak fleet, our brand-new, 10ft-long “mini” DTK, will be making its debut at the Cape Cod Mini Maker Faire this Spring! This faire promises to be a ton of fun and will be packed full of innovate ideas and creations spawned in local garages and basements!! Join us for a wonderful day of imagination and creative adventure and preview our plans for future Build-Your-Own DTK workshops and a Do-It-Yourself DTK kit!!!

 

Hanover Day:

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When: Saturday June 21st, 2014

Where:  Sylvester Field in Hanover , MA

Our first fundraising event of the 2014 season will take place at the annual Hanover Day Celebration in Brett’s hometown of Hanover, MA! The red, white and blue DTK will be on hand to help raise awareness and donations for our partner charity, Heroes on the Water.  A donation will automatically enter you into a raffle for some amazing prizes! Hanover Day is a great family-oriented event that combines live music, artisan crafts, athletic events, and activities for all ages.

 

Plymouth Waterfront Festival (Tentative):

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When: Saturday August 23rd ,2013

Where: Plymouth Waterfront

The Duct Tape Kayak team will continue their fundraising efforts at the Plymouth Waterfront Festival. Visit our booth to learn more about the important mission of the Duct Tape Kayak Project to support Heroes on the Water. A donation will automatically enter you into a raffle for some amazing prizes! We plan to take the Duct Tape Kayak for a “historic” paddle past the Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower at some point during the day. This is a can’t-miss opportunity to see what we’re all about!

 

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April Fools Day: Broken Kayak Prank

In the mood for a good laugh this April Fools day? Check out this hilarious “hidden camera” broken kayak prank played on unsuspecting kayak renters. Can you say, Smile…?!

Happy April Fools Day,
The Kayak Guys

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Spring Paddling is Just Around the Corner!!!

The weather (it’s a balmy 20 degrees here in Southern New England) may not make it seem like Spring is just around the corner. However, the calendar and the recent departure of the ice from the lake certainly (and thankfully) suggest that we’re headed in the right direction…

Beach Fence

I’m really excited that the 2014 paddling season is coming! This has been an especially long and busy winter for me with my new teaching job, focusing on a handful of exciting new projects, and preparing for the upcoming paddling season. I’ve really missed being in the cockpit and I’m ready to hit the water and the blog-o-sphere with renewed energy and passion!

Anyway…I’ve decided to share a couple of instructional tid-bits in celebration of the upcoming return to the waterways. The first is an excellent reminder that came as a part of my ACA membership renewal package that highlights eight ways to paddle safe and have fun:

PaddleSmartCard

The second is a link to an excellent article written by our friend Byran Hansel at Paddlinglight.com entitled “22 Ways to Improve Your Kayaking Skills Forever.” I don’t know if I could have made a more complete list had I tried!…

Happy and Safe Paddling!

-Kayak Dave

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Standard Horizon HX751 VHF Radio Review

 

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Deets:

Brand: Standard Horizon

Model: HX751

Radio Type: VHF Floating Marine Transceiver

Weight: 10.8 oz

Case size: 2.44” x 5.57” x 1.61”

Ham & Noise Radio: 40 dB typical

AF Output: 700 mW @ 16 Ω for 10% THD (@7.4 V)

Transmit Power: 6-Watt two way

Features: Floating, Submersible, 1.7” display, Thermometer Sensor, NOAA Weather Channels

MSRP: $175.99 (in 2010)

 

REVIEW

I purchase the Standard Horizon HX751 VHF radio in August of 2010 for the primary use of open-water crossings and extended ocean travel in the case of an emergency.  After hearing several favorable reviews of the HX751, I purchased the Standard Horizon due to its acclaimed reliability and dependability on the water. Disappointment was soon to await (skip to Third Year section).

 standard horizon hx751

 

First Year: First Glance

Duration of Use (approx. One Month)

One of the key features which initially attracted me to purchasing the Standard Horizon HX751 was its ability to float and stand upright in the water in the instance of accidentally dropping it in the water. As a sea kayaker, it is great to have a VHF radio that will not sink to the bottom of the ocean like a rock and one that will remain visible in the water.

After purchasing the HX751 in August 2010, I used it through the remainder of the season (through September) in both fresh water and salt water conditions. I found that the functionality of the radio was great and its features were easy to use on the water. Its large, illuminated buttons make it easy to change settings and adjust the squelch and volume if needed.

The HX751 transmission power is very favorable- with the ability to reach crafts and stations up to 10 miles away. This gave me peace of mind on the water, having a stronger feeling of reassurance in the instance of an emergency situation or need for extraction.

I tested all of the features upon first purchasing the device and overall I was very satisfied with its overall quality, easy-of-use, and functionality. Although, one feature I was never able to use was the temperature feature. In theory, the HX751 is designed to read the water temperature when submerged until its thermo sensor was covered. Although the manual specified that the device may take several minutes to register- of the multiple times I tested this feature, the HX751 never displayed the temperature. This was disappointing as the thermo sensor is advertised as a key feature.

 

Second Year: Great Year

Duration of Use (approx. 3 months)

I continued to use the HX751 into the 2011 kayaking season, bringing it along several trips through the summer months. The radio performed well throughout the season, and while I did not have to deploy its use on the water- I found security in knowing I had the extra insurance just in case.

 

Third Year: Death of the HX751

Duration of Use (approx. One hour)

I did not use the HX751 until July of the following year when I went on a group trip through the Boston Harbor Islands. While I went kayaking several times prior that season, all of the trips were minor and did not require accompanying a VHF radio.

On the trip in Boston Harbor, I had my radio ready for action- on and scanning in the case of any small craft warnings. After about an hour on the water, the HX751 began to fade which I found odd considering I had just fully charged it the night prior. The LCD began to fade along with the volume which are all signs of typical battery drain. I did not think much of it, I was just glad that I did not have to use the device because I was the only member with a VHF radio and in this case, mine had failed on me.

After recharging the battery, the device failed to power on. I wrote the fade-away and die-off as a dead battery and decommissioned the HX751 for the remainder of the season. Battery replacements are not inexpensive for Standard Horizon products (batteries for handhelds can run in the $50 range), so I did not run out to replace mine that season.

 

2013 and beyond

Duration of Use (Not used)

I did not use the HX751 throughout the 2013 season and it was primarily stowed away inside as I did not go on any trips where another group member did not have a VHF radio on hand. Towards the end of 2013, I decided I would purchase the removable battery tray for the HX751 since it was a less expensive investment. The battery tray allows for the use of replaceable AAA batteries instead of a rechargeable Li-Ion. Upon using five brand new AAA-batteries, the HX751 still did not power on. I moved to the conclusion that the issue was not the battery, but in fact the handset was the culprit.

 

Customer Service

I called Standard Horizon’s customer service line and explained my scenario- the customer service representative was very kind and respectful but notified me that the radio was out of warranty, and would not be covered under repairs and replacement without a service fee. To my dismay, I was very disappointed with Standard Horizon’s procedure and stance behind their product since they guarantee that “Standard Horizon is committed to ensuring your enjoyment of this high performance transceiver, which should provide you with many years of satisfying communications even in the harshest of environments. Standard Horizon technical support personnel stands behind every product sold…”

I would like to suggest several amendments to this statement: First, when they state “many years” they actually mean four and a half MONTHS of seasonal use… Second, when they state “harshest conditions” they actually mean light coastal kayaking with minimal contact with the water… Third, when they state “stands behind every product” they mean only on our terms and conditions.

 

**Granted, I did take longer than I should have to report the radio failure. In retrospect, I should have reported the radio failure in the beginning of the 2012 season when it first died but my own assumptions that a nearly $200 VHF radio would virtually breakdown under minimal conditions lead me to believe it was not a call for alert** 

 

Recommended: No

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