I had a chance to paddle John Fleming’s hot new P&H Cetus LV. I had fallen out of love with most of P&H‘s line after selling my Quest some years ago. Their lineup was bloated with a lot of big, high volume craft that didn’t excel in any given area. I was concerned when I saw the Cetus, because it was much the same in terms of overall volume as the Quest and the Bahiya. I had the chance to paddle the full volume Cetus on a beautiful blustery summer day on Lake Michigan. I did like the paddling characteristics of the full volume Cetus, but it was really too big for me. It caught wind rides easily and was fun to edge and carve with while riding downwind. I felt much the same way about the Cetus LV, I really liked the hull design and the handling characteristics. I have to say I immediately liked the Cetus LV.
I paddled John Fleming’s Cetus LV on Sunday on the Kalamazoo river. It was a good fit and still had plenty of volume for edging, and carving. The midsection has ample volume without making the foredeck overly high, which is a huge problem with most of P&H Sea Kayaks lineup. The aft deck was surprisingly low, another nice surprise as this was another problem with most of the P&H lineup, the Quest, Bahiya, and Sirius all had very high aft decks. John removed the backband and added a foam block off of the back bulkhead which is now ever so slightly slanted like most of the other british style sea kayaks. Thumbs up on this feature! The deck rigging ends up being a bit weird with the forehatch. But ostensibly you could store gear in there that would otherwise be on deck.
The kayak carved and turned easily. By shifting my weight forward or back, I could really change the dynamic of how the boat turned, which means it is responsive within the weight range. A tip for beginners, if you want to know if a boat is too big for you or not, paddle hard with a forward stroke, edge the boat hard and lean back, and see what happens. Do the same leaning forward, and see what happens. You should see some difference in the turn based on the wind and your shift in body weight. If there is little difference, chances are when the boat is empty, the boat is really too big for you. This is not a hard and fast rule, but more of a guide for size, fit and feel are just as important. I would error on the side of slightly smaller than larger as most of us paddle empty.
John Fleming astutely observed this is the least v bottomed hull that P&Hhas developed in a while. The Vela, (another favorite now called a classic which means even I am getting old) had a round bottom and hard chines like my Silhouette.
My only disappointment is that while 17’6″ or (seventeen foot six inches) sounds really long, I was able to hit the wall pretty easily while paddling forward. I never seem to hit that in the Silhouette. Apparently a more moderate volume size will become available late this year, with a Cetus MV or mid volume.
Lee’s Paddle Sports in Kalamazoo Michigan stocks P&H Sea Kayaks if you want a demo.