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Ok, so I know I'm late in the game and we're probably the last in the world to get the new boats, but there we are, I'm going to inflict my experiences and opinions on everyone too!
Received the new boat on Monday evening and took it for a brief burn in Hout Bay... There was a light SE blowing and all I had time for was a crank into the wind towards Chapmans Peak and back again.
The boat is a lot more stable than the old V10 shape, no doubt at all about that. It's not as stable as the Swordfish, it feels somewhat similar to the Evo II but a little friskier.
The seating position is very comfortable; the cut-outs are deep and I seldom hit the side of the hull with my paddle.
I felt a little disconnected from the boat at first because the cockpit is wider at the level of my calves than I'm used to; in most boats my calves touch the sides of the cockpit - not so in the V10. But last night, in my second go in the boat, I no longer noticed this.
The seat is comfortable for me - again a radical departure from the old shape where I didn't last 5min before I had a raw coccyx. After an hour of hard paddling last night however, there was a certain amount of rawness between my buttocks... Nothing a little vaseline won't sort out I suspect.
So - the seating position is great; the seat is comfortable.
By last night I had a non-slip pad on the footplate and a squash ball cut and installed on the bailer handle; Surfski.info stickers applied and protective helicopter tape on the rails!
I LOVE that bailer. Last night it was pretty flat so I kept the bailer closed most of the time; I had a mental image of a completely streamlined hull! After 20mins or so there was an inch or two of water in the footwell and I tapped the bailer with my heel to open it. Drained, closed it again without losing a stroke. Excellent. On the way back I did open it about 1/3 and the footwell stayed dry.
The rails either side of the cockpit are low. From experience with the V10 Double, this means that remounting is extremely easy (much easier than getting into the old V10). It also means that more water comes into the footwell - but the bailer obviously counteracts this.
Last Night's Race
Our Tuesday night dice was a 10km run from Hout Bay Beach out to Vulcan Rock and back. Vulcan Rock is situated about 3 1/2 out to sea from the mouth of the bay.
I had a fantastic start, sprinting at 14.5kph for the first couple of hundred metres. When I looked around I didn't recognise anyone... I missed a stroke and started falling back - I know my place!
Heading out to the mouth of the bay, I found it far easier to slip the group and I was pretty relaxed, occasionally putting in more effort to keep up with the surges. As we exited the bay, we hit messy, refracted water at the bottom of the Sentinel and I started struggling a little.
It's not that the ski is unstable; it's more that it handles differently to the SF or Evo. It's more lively and I found myself losing control of my cadence. I'd consciously slow my cadence and surge forward, then lose it again. Then I hit a fat piece of floating kelp that knocked the rudder and almost stopped the boat and I fell behind the bunch.
I focussed on trying to stay in contact and was encouraged by the fact that whenever there was a hint of reflected swell, I'd catch it and move closer to the group in front.
But there's no doubt that I wasn't as comfortable in the slop; but I think this is something I will get better at. (I've just upgraded damn it, of course I'm going to have to get used to it! I don't think it'll take long though.)
Coming back from Vulcan, I was able to catch some of the swells; the conditions were not easy though, the sea was neither flat, nor did it offer much assistance.
As we entered the bay, we hit a brisk headwind which challenged us for about 2km before we turned in towards the harbour and the beach.
(Well, interim verdict, it's far too soon to draw final conclusions!)
Overall I'm very happy with the boat. I definitely moved up a notch in the results (although they haven't been published yet), even in conditions that are my least favourite. I can't wait to race the boat in situations where there are runs to be worked.
There's no doubt in my mind that the ski is faster on the flat than the boats I've been paddling; it leaps onto runs and it's MUCH more stable than the old shape V10.
But it is an elite level ski and I think guys moving up to it from intermediate boats like the Swordfish and Evo II and Genius Blu must expect to have to get used to the feel - especially in messy, sloppy water like we had last night.
At this point I'd say that it's more demanding than the intermediate level boats that I've paddled; yet it's less demanding that other elite level boats. It holds out the promise that even at my level of paddling (mid-packer) I can be more competitive.
So... stand by for more!
(There's a SE gale with torrential rain forecast for Saturday... and a slightly less hectic forecast for our race on Sunday. Do I paddle the single or the double? Choices, choices...)
Thanks for your views on the new V10. In another post you recently said you would rank the Vault slightly tippier and faster than the SF and Evo. Pretty similar comments to what you are now suggesting about the V10. Can you make any direct comparison between the Vault and V10?
It looked like you were no further ahead of me (and my Swordfish) than last time we raced to Vulcan. The other one was ahead and pulling away very slowly but once it got rough at the turn he got wobbly and slowed down so I buggered off and left him. After the race the other one had a long story about his leash being tangled up in the bailer
Thanks for raining on my parade Johan!
Of course it has to be the one day when I'm really interested in the results that they haven't been posted yet...
I want to see where I was relative to some of my other markers... (and you!)
When I paddled the V10 it was directly after getting off my Swordfish and onto the V10 in choppy conditions with tide running and about 20 knots. Both skis felt identical to me as far as stability goes. However, my Swordfish is the light 11kg carbon model and the V10 was the 15.5kg performance model. I expected them to be similar and thats how they were to me, if I was paddling the V10 Ultra perhaps it would have been different.
Also I have a seat pad in my Swordfish that lifts me a little and moves me forward, in the V10 I was on the bare bucket. It would need a seat pad to work for me long term, again this might change things.
I have a friend that I race, same age as me, been paddling skis about the same amount of time. The only time I clearly beat him was when I was paddling my V10L and he was paddling his V10 sport, conditions were flat although I swum off the start trying to get my feet sorted under the floppy foot strap.
Since then I have moved onto Stellar SES, SEL and a Swordfish.
He has moved onto Stellar SES, SEL, Swordfish, EVO2 and beaten me clearly by 2 mins or more.
Recently he bought the new V10 performance and I have paddled the Swordfish against him twice. He beat me both times by less than 2 mins and the last time we raced I actually caught and passed him and led until just before the last upwind leg (where I had been gaining) but he was stronger to the finish. I really don't think the V10 is any faster in the races we have done together, however I think I'll pull out the Stellar SEL next race just to be sure
It would be interesting to see if I could winkle Dale off the V10 and back onto his SF for a couple of races.... but I don't think that's going to happen!
We might also do some speed comparisons in the harbour eg do laps on each boat, keeping to the same heart rate and compare speeds. That doesn't tell you though how you'll do on choppy water where your stability comes into effect.
Racing in varying conditions is the only real test. Bring 'em on!
I have a v10 ultra. The boat has increased my average speed over an xt by .5kmhr so far.
However it is a boat that if you feel great and drive it hard it will go quickly. The fastest time at our balmoral blast last week was on a v10.
If you are struggling with the bump the v10 is as slow as anything.
Feedback from a guy with a v12 was that the v10 was quick but needed to be driven harder to get onto runs etc.
Unfortunately there is no magic boat but the v10 is a quick intermediate boat.
Rob rounding Vulcan, paddling scared in the New V10 with this one and the other one chasing him