I finally got my new Maelstrom Vital 166 out in some wind and waves to test it in something other than calm lake water and compare it with my Boreal Baffin.
This pic is from the launch in a protected bay. I couldn't really take a shot in the bigger waves and wind. I forgot to attach the float to my waterproof Olympus Stylus Tough camera (they sink without it), and the boat turns sideways too quickly on windy days before I can grab a pic. And I still can't roll yet. A head cam or a cam mounted on the boat would be great! I'm checking them out.
When there are whitecaps and lots of kite surfers out moving at speed on a big stretch of water, it's a good sign for boat play. And when you have a shallow protected bay without too many rocks to launch from on a sunny fall day, it's just perfect!
To be honest, I was disappointed in how the Maelstrom Vital headed into the bigger waves. It's one of those boats that jumps up and crashes down on the waves. It's annoying and doesn't let you make much headway against a strong wind.
I quickly found myself thinking about my Boreal Baffin. It cuts through the waves nicely and doesn't waste your time bashing and crashing on waves that you shouldn't have to bash and crash on. The next time the wind and waves kick up, I'm bringin' out the Baffin, I thought.
Another thing I noticed was, that when I wanted to turn into the wind with the Malestrom Vital 166, I had to work harder. The Boreal Baffin will turn into the slightest puff of wind, almost without effort. But try to convince the Baffin to turn away from a strong wind, and you may have an argument!
Once I turned the Maelstrom Vital into the wind, it was true. No problem. It does well in a cross wind, whereas, the Boreal Baffin weather cocks at an annoying level and almost always needs the skeg. Could we get these two boats to breed and make the perfect boat to play with!?
Turning the Malestrom Vital away from the wind was quite easy. It seems to like to surf. "This is what I'm made for!" OK, I get it. But you aren't much fun heading into the waves, and I REALLY LIKE THAT IN MY BAFFIN!
The Malestrom Vital will take you far and away quickly in wind and following waves and it stayed pretty true without much effort or skeg in 20 km wind. The Boreal Baffin will usually twist me sideways much faster.
All in all, I find both boats very stable and fun paddle mates. And it begs the question, "Who do you choose to paddle with on any given day?"
The next time the water gets bumpy, I'd love to haul the Malestrom Vital 166, Boreal Baffin, and find a Valley Avocet to play with in the same water and compare.
It looks like I'm still looking for "my" boat!
Happy paddling and finding your perfect paddle partner(s)