Carbonology Sport "Vault" a midpackers review

9 years 10 months ago - 9 years 8 months ago #5830 by AR_convert
This is my mini review of the Carbonology Sport “Vault”.



As per my forum name I am an adventure racer, I have been paddling seriously a little over two years now and in that time have progressed from an Epic V10 Sport to an Epic V10L and in that time have also paddled lots of other boats in my search for the ideal all round boat for the paddler who hasn’t got 4 or 5 days a week to paddle.

In reviewing this boat I have used my experience on the V10 sport and V10L as benchmarks, these two boats were very carefully considered purchases and I was very happy with both of them as per other posts that can be found under my username.

Due to a recent shoulder injury I had to call upon the services of a paddler to form a veterans team for one of the worlds largest adventure races staged here in Western Australia (WA). The paddler was a South African now living here by the name of Martin Gunda.

Martin was also a V10L (elite) paddler but had recently started paddling the Carbonology Atom in the carbon lay-up. Although I had heard and read about the Atom I hadn’t had the chance to see the boat until meeting Martin at the King of the Cape race a few weeks before the adventure race.

I went away having been very impressed with the boats clean lines and finish, I didn’t dare ask to paddle it as it looked far too big a step up for this mid pack paddler and besides it didnt look like a tall fella like me would have fit in it :blush: .

When I sold my V10L a couple of weeks ago, I started looking at what boats were around. I emailed Martin to ask his opinions on whether I should take a look at the New Carbonology Sport “Vault”. I have to admit when I first heard the name "Vault" is made the boat sound big and heavy (like a bank vault) :huh:

Martins reply went like this

I took the Vault out for a 15km paddle on Sunday morning. Richard Eadie had done a big downwind a week earlier and he averaged 16 kmh!!
The conditions I took it out on were a lot more placid. This boat was around 12.5 kg. I popped a butt pad in the boat…because I have to. The cockpit is more open ie built for a bit bigger paddler and you don’t feel as snug as in the Atom. Still the boat has a similar feel. It’s got more volume in the nose, and behind the cockpit. It’s slightly wider too. I’d put it in a category close to the V10 in terms of stability, but still 5.95m. It’s certainly no slouch. I could accelerate the boat from 10km/h to 16km/hr quickly, never had a brace stroke out at sea and the trick is to keep the rhythm going such that you are above 11 kmh ie on the plane. Into the wind it is still good with little slapping of the bow. On a flat day the atom would out perform it. On a big downwind that extra stability and volume would have it the same or quicker than the Atom. It probably about ½ to 1 kmh slower than the atom on the flat but definitely more stable. And it has 2 bullet venturies which make very short work of water.
It would be worthwhile for you to have a paddle on this.”




So today I rang Gary Butlion, another South African now living in WA who imports the Atom and the Vault under the banner of “ Viva Paddlesports ”. I spoke to Gary quite a while back when I heard about him setting up shop here as he had planned to build a version of the Atom as an adventure racing/downriver special here in Bunbury, about 90 minutes south of the Capitol, Perth.

Later I spoke to Gary and unfortunately the commercial reality was that production costs would be too high here to be competitive and so while he has gone ahead with the Atom multisport boat, it is produced in SA and imported along with the Atom and Vault boats.


I drove the 90 minutes south to meet Gary and we brought the Vault out for inspection.
Once again the Carbonology Sport presentation was faultless. I would rate the finish of this boat better than almost any other boat I’ve encountered accept the gleaming Epic’s, but there’s something about the smoother lines of this boat that I find more appealing.


( L to R - Gary Butlion & I)

This boat was the hybrid model, a combination of carbon and glass that brings it in at a tidy 12.5kg.
Having come from a 15kg boat the difference upon lifting it was immediate, even though it’s only 2.5kg, the difference in lifting and handling the boat made it feel much more.
On went the Garmin forerunner GPS and off I went for a roughly 8 km paddle.


I had to work through a few km of estuary and harbour waters before hitting the open ocean and even then the chop and swell only amounted to 1 -2 foot at best, however there was quite a bit of confused water as the swell refracted off a sea wall and it gave me a good idea on how the boat moves in what I find often challenging conditions when in the V10L.

There was a moderate breeze blowing so I ran the boat at all the various angles that one could encounter and every so often peeked at the GPS to see how I was tracking speed wise.

The boat left me with these impressions.

Primary flat water stability is somewhere between the V10 sport and V10L.

Secondary stability is again between the two boats, not as reassuring as the Sport but in the confused water and any side chop/swell it was an improvement for me over the V10L.



One big difference between the V10L and the Vault is the depth of the seat or maybe it’s the height of the cockpit sides, either way the boat is very dry, the venturi bullet scuppers are very efficient and where the V10L would have up to an inch of water splashing around in the footwell the vault was almost constantly dry.

Going through some chop that would normally see water on my lap in the V10L I didn’t have any water entering the cockpit.




This trait is similar in the Atom and Martin remarked that as the cockpit sides are high he can actually brace against them with his lower legs in big conditions to help with stability.

I found the cockpit very comfortable and would guess that it is the same width as the V10L, it fits me very nicely, combined with the high cockpit sides I certainly felt part of the boat and could imagine feeling quite secure in bigger conditions.

The footplate and adjustment seemed to be almost identical to the Epic set-up (functional and easy to adjust).



I really liked the rudder feel (feedback) and action, it felt much more connected than other boats I had paddled and I'm assuming this may have something to do with the use of metal cables as opposed to spectra cord?


There is a grab handle and bungy cords at the front of the cockpit but it didnt dawn on me until later that there weren't any bungy cords over the rear deck which can come in handy for stowing the lifejacket my missus makes me take out but doesnt get worn ;) I assume this may be done on purpose as I would anticipate a side saddle entry into this cockpit would be near impossible and so the surfboard style entry using the handle at the front of the cockpit is probably the way to go.

The boat didn’t feel any faster to me than other boats I have paddled. Upon returning home and downloading the GPS, I compared some average times with paddles in my own boat and a V12 performance recently. I have my Garmin set for 500m laps so I can look at average times through the paddle.

I would rate them all about the same in flat water, even though the V12 performance and my V10L were 2.5 kg heavier.

In mentioning the V12 I suspect the V12 has marginally less primary stability and I would rate secondary stability about the same as the Vault.
Viva Paddlesports

At $3500 for the 12.5kg hybrid (Carbon/Glass) ski it is more than competitive with other similar boats on the market in WA.

Gary told me that as there is no middle man he is able to keep his boats prices down, and another advantage he offers is that he personally backs the boats, although he hasnt needed to effect any warranty repairs to date he has had customers who have had the misfortune of damaging thier boat and Gary has had them back on the water quick smart, peace of mind here in the West!

For those attending the Mandurah "Duel" Ocean versus Estuary paddle Gary will have the Atom and Vault at the Expo for demo.

Just a footnote to the day. Before packing up to head home I asked Gary if I could see if I could fit in the Atom and to my suprise I could, with relative ease, so I took it for a quick blast and in one word..."Wow", this boat fly's :woohoo: within about 30 metres I was giggling like a child, BUT...although I didnt fall out, it is the type of boat that would need lots of time in on a regular basis to remain quick over longer distances and in anything but calm water, it will be very interesting to see how this boat fairs in the multisport and downriver racing scene next winter.

Current - Carbonology"Flash" Vajda "Infusion II K1" Previously ~Finn"Molokai Mk II"~Knysna "Vantage Pro K1' Carbonology "Vault"~Epic"V10L & Sport"~ [/b]Fenn"Mill Double" ~Spirit"PRS"~Finn"Affinity"
Always looking for the next boat :)
The following user(s) said Thank You: ts-d

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9 years 10 months ago #5831 by heinvr
:) Wow, thanks for the great review!!
Hope you have some great times like so many others have on the Vault.
Regards,
The Carbonology-Sport team.

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9 years 10 months ago #5832 by MikeWoodrow
I had a test of a Carbonology Vault in Sydney a few weekends ago - fibreglass version approx 14.3kg - thanks to Mal Hall from vivapaddlesports in Sydney.

On the same day I tested an Epic V10 Sport and a Think Evo 2 (both fibreglass). I was looking for a more stable and lighter ski than my old Red7 Surf 70. I can paddle the Red7 comfortably on the flat but struggle on the bumps, and remounting is tough with the deep cockpit.

I'm 85kg and right on the target for the Vault.

Stability: good primary stability (low seat). Bit twitchy for me once too far off centre. Would be fine with more experience.

Speed: difficult to tell for me (I was recovering from a cold on the test day and was padlding in confused water at The Spit in Sydney), but felt very good. The narrow nose felt really nice cutting through the water and waves. I managed to catch a nice boat wake quite easily and the boat sat quite well on the wave.

Cockpit: Nice and snug - felt like you were part of the boat. Quite narrow at the feet (narrow at the catch). Low seat aided stability but was a bit tricky to remount for me.

Finish: Very nice finsih. Nothing flash in the graphics department (simple white boat with blue seam for fibreglass, green seam for hybrid and I think red or black seam planned for carbon).

Drainage: Excellent - water drained out at only 7-8km/hr.

In the end I was torn between the Vault and the Evo2. I decided on a new Think Evo 2 as I could get a carbon/glass version (cg-tech finish) for about the same price as the fibreglass Vault (only A$90 more for the Think), was easier to remount, probably had better overall stability and was a better bet for re-sale being a known brand (the new Evo2 has virtually sold-out 48 skis in 5-6 weeks in Aus).

However, don't underestimate the Vault - it was a very good option and I would seriously consider it for my next ski when I'm a bit more experienced. If I was a better paddler I would probably have taken the Vault.

I am a big fan of the concept of the shorter length for non-elite paddlers (ie, the majority of us).

The top elite skis are designed for maximum boat speed for a paddler who can maintain that speed of around 13-14 km/hr. If you can't paddle that fast, then the extra length is probably adding more drag than a shorter boat.

Also, once you are on a wave, you will be travelling at the same speed as anyone else on that wave (regardless of ski length). The key is having the stability to put the power down to get on the wave - the Vault can let you do this.

The shorter ski also means less weight for the same level of construction.

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9 years 10 months ago #5833 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic Re:Carbonology Sport
heinvr wrote:

:) Wow, thanks for the great review!!
Hope you have some great times like so many others have on the Vault.
Regards,
The Carbonology-Sport team.


You're welcome, however I havent bought the boat.....yet ;)

I have to demo some other boats before making a decision.

Current - Carbonology"Flash" Vajda "Infusion II K1" Previously ~Finn"Molokai Mk II"~Knysna "Vantage Pro K1' Carbonology "Vault"~Epic"V10L & Sport"~ [/b]Fenn"Mill Double" ~Spirit"PRS"~Finn"Affinity"
Always looking for the next boat :)

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9 years 10 months ago #5835 by AndrewN
Replied by AndrewN on topic Re:Carbonology Sport
Just do it! I LOVE my Atom! It has been bulletproof after a full season in Durban which is not easy on boats...and FAST!

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9 years 10 months ago #5836 by kmac
Hein,

Any idea when your carbonology website is going to be up and running?

I'm curious to get more detail about your products, Vault, Atom and the new double???

Where would one be able to "test" some of your boats in Cape Town? I'm up in Namibia but get to Cape Town quite frequently.

In terms of sales to Namibia, would you handle that directly or through a shop /agent.

Thanks

Kirby

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9 years 10 months ago #5849 by heinvr
Hi Kirby,
There is a demo Atom with Richard Kohler in Capetown and a demo Vault with Rob Mousley.

Send me a mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can arrange something.

The website is a bit of a disaster, but sure we can sort it out over shut down in dec.

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9 years 8 months ago #6369 by MhojoNZ
Replied by MhojoNZ on topic Re:Carbonology Sport
Andrew, I wonder if you could post some more detailed comments about how you are finding the Atom.

I'm looking for a ski designed around the lighter paddler - 73kg in my case. Have tried a Stellar SES and Nelo. I've had a very quick paddle in the Atom (Hybrid) in flat conditions. The high sides to the cockpit seemed a bit odd but I guess you'd get used to it. Does that make remount difficult? It seemed to accelerate quite well. Had a gentle roll to the primary stability, didn't really get to assess the secondary.

I have a V12 elite at present but find the volume too high. In a cross wind I get blown all over the water. It is very fast on flat water but just feels like it would be better suited to an 85-90kg paddler.

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9 years 8 months ago #6376 by AndrewN
Replied by AndrewN on topic Re:Carbonology Sport
Hi

Still love it. I can't really feel that the sides are higher than a V10 with no butt pad. Compared to a Fenn Elite it is WAY less of a bathtub and feels much nicer - like you are sitting on it, not in it. I love how the footwell is quite tight - you feel snug in the boat and it responds so well to small leaning movements with your hips.

The only negative is that in big conditions into the wind it's a bit wet but the drainage is so good it never fills. Downwind, if you drive properly it is fast fast fast and on flat I have paddled a flatwater dice and was only 1 position off my normal spot achieved in a K1.

I love my Atom!

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9 years 8 months ago - 9 years 8 months ago #6377 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic Re:Carbonology Sport
Just ordered my "Vault" today :woohoo:

In the end I was tossing up between the Stellar "SES" and the Carbonology Sport "Vault".

They were both reasonable value.

$3500 for the Carbon/glass Vault (12.5kg)
$3995 for the Kevlar SES (11.5kg)

So the main reasons I went for the Vault over the Stellar were

1) Built by South African company with a history of boat building
2) Feedback from other very experienced paddlers who paddle Carbonology boats in big seas and back thier craftsmanship.
2) Local support (Gary stands behind the boats he supplies and has boat building experience should I accidentally damage the boat)
3) $500 is a lot of money for a Uni student with an AR habit ;)

In the paddles I had of the two boats I couldn't use performance as a deciding factor. :dry:

The Stellar SES would have had to really blow me away to get me over the build quality nerves I still have with them from some "tales" going around. I hope the Stellars prove to be robust boats over the long term.

As I've said before, the more competition in the market the better for us paddlers!

Oh and Peter who sells Stellar in WA is a real nice fella and from what he tells me is selling Stellars hand over fist, so there should be plenty of evidence of how they fair in our waters here ;)

Having a 2nd shoulder operation on Thursday and having a new boat on the way will make rehab a bit easier to take I reckon ;)

For those in Western Australia who are interested , Gary's container arrives around the 28th of Feb.

Looking forward to being able to give some further feedback on the boat in a few months once I'm back up to fitness. ;)

Current - Carbonology"Flash" Vajda "Infusion II K1" Previously ~Finn"Molokai Mk II"~Knysna "Vantage Pro K1' Carbonology "Vault"~Epic"V10L & Sport"~ [/b]Fenn"Mill Double" ~Spirit"PRS"~Finn"Affinity"
Always looking for the next boat :)

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9 years 8 months ago #6378 by Martin
Replied by Martin on topic Re:Carbonology Sport
I received the first of three built carbon Atoms and have had mine for about 16months now. I'm 74kgs and my other boat in a V10L elite. Yes the sides are higher even with my butt pad. The boat is very much like a dart and I paddle this boat exclusively now. I find this is really a smaller paddlers boat and I'm tucked in perfectly.

Can be wet but if you don't aim down the mine shaft you are OK. Even if you do the water clears quickly. The single venturi is more than adequate. Having said this I have done a number of 23km downwinds in Perth in 30 knott winds with nice swell and managed a) not to fall out and b) was thundering along at a fast speed hitting 28 kmh down waves.

Yes fast and you need to get used to the boat regarding the feel of the boat ( especially for me)

Had a swim whilst racing in the "Doctor" and took me a few attempts to get back in. Most likely because I don't practice getting in that much and I don't fall off normally. Also was super annoyed at wasting time swimming.

Have to say I really notice how well it cuts the water. The hull length stays in the water with little slapping.

As with any boat it's best to try one out in angry water to see how you perform. The best part is that at <6m it fits in the garage!!

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9 years 8 months ago #6379 by kiwial
Replied by kiwial on topic Re:Carbonology Sport
MhojoNZ gimme a call about the Atom, I am sure we can organise the Atom down your way for a week long trial

Alan Ferg

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9 years 8 months ago #6380 by Elmoroz
Replied by Elmoroz on topic Re:Carbonology Sport
Can we compare the speed of the New Carbonology Sport Vault to the Stellar Elite Small? Or it's more similar to a Fenn Xt?

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9 years 8 months ago - 9 years 8 months ago #6381 by rubberDuck
Replied by rubberDuck on topic Re:Carbonology Sport
Martin wrote:

Can be wet but if you don't aim down the mine shaft you are OK. Even if you do the water clears quickly. The single venturi is more than adequate. Having said this I have done a number of 23km downwinds in Perth in 30 knott winds with nice swell and managed a) not to fall out and b) was thundering along at a fast speed hitting 28 kmh down waves.


Funny that your Atom has only one scupper, as my son's Atom has two. BTW, he is still struggling to get to terms with the Atom. Unfortunatly there are just NO small skis that cater for intermediate paddlers at all. All the intermediate level skis are big volume skis. Manufacturers, please take note of this gap in the market.

I am thinking of the Vault also as a long term ski, and would like to compare it with the Think Evo in the lighter Kevlar/Epoxy contruction. My Glass Evo's weight is starting to bug me when I need to carry it.

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9 years 8 months ago #6382 by Downwind Rules
Replied by Downwind Rules on topic Re:Carbonology Sport
The Vault is absolutely nothing like the XT. The boat is aimed at the paddler looking ot progress without needing to go to the top end racing boats. These ski is stable and very fast for the non elite racer. In down wind conditions the boat is as quick as the top end boats, but loses some speed on the flat water. The stability is achieved from the width behind the hip and the flat section below and behind the seat.

I paddled one this last week end in 30knt southerlys and averaged over 16 kph with top speed in the high 20's (top speed is a firfy measure by the way as almost anything taking a sizable swell will hit these the top speeds) over a 15km stretch.

The boat is very responsives. I did come off once - blade grabbed and I was gone, but remount was very easy.

I cannot comment on a comparison with the SES as I don't , but thought it was an entry level boat too like the XT.

If you are after speed to burn, but great stability, then this boat is an option.

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9 years 8 months ago #6383 by Tudor
Replied by Tudor on topic Re:Carbonology Sport
Ive had my Amazing Atom for almost one year now and must say that it is the best kept secret in Sydney....but not for long I'm sure. Paddlers have traditionally stayed with known brands but those who care to think outside the square will find that the Atom is one of the finest downwind skis ever built. The ski is built perfectly for speed and racing downwind.The length and rocker is perfect for the runs. No other ski can accelerate as quick! 4 or 5 strokes youve got the speed, the nose is down and youre tucked in the trough. You'll catch runs you never thought possible.

In the flat...its a no brainer..just look at the design and shape ! Washrides so well you have to paddle backwards to get off the wash!

The deep seat gives the boat a snug, stable and secure feel to it and you feel at one with the boat..no slipping or sliding or the feeling of being washed out of the ski. The steering is very responsive and smooth...no sudden jerky movements on full lock. THERE IS MORE CONTROL which is important in big stormy conditions.

The low volume in the nose does mean that you will take in more water when paddling into winds stronger than 10 knots and when paddling around headlands with a lot of backwash but I found the cockpit cover keeps the boat a lot dryer and works well.

Overall a very exciting boat to paddle and guaranteed to put a smile on your face !

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9 years 8 months ago #6384 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic Re:Carbonology Sport
Tudor wrote:

In the flat...its a no brainer..just look at the design and shape ! Overall a very exciting boat to paddle and guaranteed to put a smile on your face !


Couldn't agree more, in my short paddle of the ATOM I was giggling like a little kid and possibly even said "Weeeeeeeeee :woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo: ".

Having said that, I would have to paddle the thing at least 4 times a week probably more to be able to race it and not fall out once fatigue set in. Who knows, if I get a leg injury one of these days I may turn to paddling full time and I'd be in an Atom like a shot...whoops, there goes any bargaining power I had ;)

Current - Carbonology"Flash" Vajda "Infusion II K1" Previously ~Finn"Molokai Mk II"~Knysna "Vantage Pro K1' Carbonology "Vault"~Epic"V10L & Sport"~ [/b]Fenn"Mill Double" ~Spirit"PRS"~Finn"Affinity"
Always looking for the next boat :)

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9 years 8 months ago - 9 years 8 months ago #6385 by Martin
Replied by Martin on topic Re:Carbonology Sport
Ja, The first Atoms that came over here had a single bullet venturi, which I personally believe is more than adequate. The atom is definitely a top end ski and for me a lot of time in the boat was needed to "drive" it properly, so I understand that your son may battle in the begining, more so if he's light and it is a carbon boat, but once he masters it he'll be moving it fast.

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9 years 8 months ago - 9 years 8 months ago #6386 by MikeWoodrow
Replied by MikeWoodrow on topic Re:Carbonology Sport
Having recently tested an XT, Vault, V10Sport and Think Evo, the Vault is nothing like the XT.

I really liked the Vault, but ended up buying a Think Evo 2 mostly because it had a higher seat which was more comfortable and easy to remount - which really just reflects my current ability.

But the Vault would definitely be on the list for the next ski.

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9 years 8 months ago #6388 by Colnagodreaming
HI BRETT

how long have you had the vault now? Any further comments to add? I like the idea of buying from a local business (Bunbury).

How would you compare the vault with the V10 sport performance (both around same price range)

Thanks Tom :blush:

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