P&H Sirius Sea Kayak Review
I paddled this kayak on several long day trips and used it for my first North Manitou Trip in November of 2002.
Image courtesy of P&H Kayaks Corporate Site
P&H Sirius Stats
Depth at front of cockpit coaming: 14″
Front Valley 7″ hatch, rear 17″ Valley hatch, and 7″ kajaksport day hatch.
Static rescue lines rigged fore and aft along perimeter.
Bungee deck rigging. Compass recess.
Rented model had a Silva 70p compass fitted.
Weight: Glass fiber 56 lbs.
Conditions Under Which Sea Kayak Was Reviewed
Flat Water Inland Lakes
Lake Michigan Waves: 3-5 Feet Wind: 25 Knots
Longest Journey Under Which Sea Kayak was Reviewed:
Four day trip to North Manitou Island-Lake Michigan
Tester: Me-Height/Weight: 5’7″/200 lbs (shameful but true I know weigh around 175 lbs).
When and how tested:
I tested a demo Sirius from Lee’s in Kalamazoo. I paddled it many times on flat water for lessons while teaching for Lee’s and also a few times on Lake Michigan for fun. I also used it on my first serious sea kayak trip on the Great Lakes. Jason Roon and I still talk about that trip to North Manitou in November. It was hairy as all hell getting out there. We started from Good Harbor beach, and aimed for the Island. Due to the high winds we ended up paddling much farther than we should have. I was a new paddler then. The only thing I knew about kayaking was how to go forward, sweep, and how to roll. In retrospect it was a very dangerous trip. But nothing ventured nothing gained. Jason Roon and I were weather bound for two days on that trip.
Fit and Finish of Kayak
P&H at that time, and in all of the kayaks I have demoed from them since seems to do a really great job. They perform excellent quality exterior gel coat, interior glass work, and all of the deck fittings and hatches. P&H at that time run by Peter Orton, also had the unique feature of having no exterior bolts or hardware for the keepers foot braces through the hull. This feature has since disappeared. I would love to see it make a reappearance in any kayak. The bonus is a clean line along the hull with no ugly metal hardware sticking through, and also no potential leaks through the hull due to hardware that is improperly installed.
I remember this particular demo lasting well into 2006. It was a very hardy kayak that was much loved. It ended up with many many spiderweb cracks, and many many hull repairs. Jason ended up using this particular Sirius for his guiding boat for a few years. It was eventually retired.
This kayak has a reputation for being tippy, at 20.5 inches wide, it is not overly stable while stopped. I think this has more to do with the rounded chines, and bilge section than it does the width. I capsized quite a bit initially when getting used to this boat. I remember going over a few times when I would be fishing around in the day hatch and a rogue wave would knock me in.
Speed and Maneuverability
The Sirius while not overly long, I always felt was a very fast kayak. It seemed to really jet off the line. It was also not unmaneuverable, at 17′ when edged it does spin around, but it definitely tracks more than it turns! The Quest is definitely a little faster and the Capella is definitely slower and more maneuverable.
Out of the Box Comfort
I used to be a bit more of a stickler for out of the box comfort. In sea kayaks the industry trend is to spend quite a bit of time and effort on comfort. White water kayak companies, (Pyranha and P&H are the same corporation now) tend to offer some nice features for outfitting in the way of back bands, thigh braces, nice seats. I still think P&H probably makes one of the nicest out of the box seats in the business. The thigh braces are excellent and offer good support. The back band is a solid white water style unit that has good lumbar support.
This is a fast sea kayak. It is also somewhat nimble being only 17’2″. It will carve and skid when edged with plenty of agility. I do feel that it needs the skeg down wind or cross beam.
I really enjoyed owning and paddling this kayak. However the depth of the cockpit makes this less than an ideal fit for me at 5’7″ with short legs. I just didn’t need all that room. Also the rear deck seems quite high compared to my Silhouette.