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Topic: Phoenix 160, still a lil rip, but a better design?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Capn Jimbo Offline
The Godfisher




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Posted: Aug. 30 2006,16:40



This will be the thread for discussion of the Phoenix 160.  A few quotes:

Stan:
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Anyone here seen or paddled the new Hurricane Phoenix 160 yet?  It is generating quite a bit of furor on the Texas Kayak Fishing forum.  In pics it looks like a SOT version of a sea kayak, like some of the South African superyaks.  I haven't seen one in person, but it appears to be a clean sheet design.  16 ft X 29 (?) inches X 56 lbs.  Lots of rocker, lots of room, innovative drain system.  The guys in Houston who have paddled it raved about it, but I'd like to see a review by someone who has paddled some of the African superyaks.


Moi:
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Stan thanks for the heads-up...

Based on the Phoenix ripoff of the T140, I'll be interested in seeing just how blatant, unrepentive, uninspired and unimaginative the Phoenix 160 will prove to be.

I'm tellin ya, it's simply amazing how easily some folks are taken in by marketing hype over a change in material.  The Phoenix 140 or 14 (has been both) was a near direct rip of the Tarpon 140, with little more than some rounding and minor modifications necessary to reproduce the T140 in molded sheet plastic.   The buzz had mostly to do with it's "lighter, smoother, more rigid" design that was accordingly supposed to be faster and more maneuvreable.

Hogwash.  

I went so far as to rent both a T140 and P140 and spent a day on the water with both.  Bottom line: no real difference. Look, I'm not a big fan of the Tarpons, but I remain bothered by a company who squanders the opportunity to be creative, conducts a blatant ripoff, then attempts to promote their "tour de farce" as excitingly new and improved.

Puulease.  But - until I see their "new" 160, I'll withhold judgement - still, I wouldn't hold my breath...


Stan:
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Jimbo,

Hurricane seems to have been stung by comments like yours, because the Phx160 really does seem to be a new design.  It looks "Tarponish" in the seat area, but the hull and the rest of the cockpit are quite different.  You are a member of the Texas Kayak Fishing forum.  Take a look at the pics next to the T160i and see the difference.

I am intrigued, but have reservations about their drain system; it would appear to be a bay-only boat unless it drains faster than I expect - or unless the rocker and flare are enough to keep big seas from ever getting into the cockpit (experience will tell).  Not that that's bad - in fact, I have never been BTB myself, but it does make the intended uses a bit different from many of the other fishing yaks like the Prowlers, which may not be very fast, but they do many things (including surf) pretty well.


Moi:
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Stan, thanks...

Will be spending some more time on this... for now some very quick initial impressions:  more rocker, no tracking "slots", small venturi drainage system, fuller ends, high bow, continues to copy the Tarpon seat back ledge (for what reason I can't imagine).  

Caveat:  will be posting a couple pics but be careful not to confuse the sheer (deck) line with hull shape.  This can be very deceiving, gives the appearance of more rocker than it has.


Stan:
Quote
I haven't a clue what the original reason for the "platform" behind the seat was, but after living with it for about 8-9 months, I find it handy for stuff I want to get at and not reach back to the well.  I stow my anchor there on one side, and in hot weather wedge a Camelback there between the straps of my seatback.  That may be more a testimonial to learning to use what's there than to good original design...

As far as rocker is concerned, look at the pictures of the PHX 160 and the T160 in the water.  Very different.  The PHX forefoot is actually above waterline; the T160's is submerged.


Moi:
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Stan, the "platform" behind the seat was related to Tarpons' built-in seat back.  Without the seat back, the platform is a totally unnecessary feature and becomes prima facie evidence of a design lift.

I posted a side-by-side pic, and a close look reveals the difference between deck sheer (rather dramatic) and actual hull rocker (very modest).  OTOH the Phoenix paddler is reported to be about 20 lbs heavier.  And further yet, the Phoenix is going faster, possibly accelerating (what effect this has on apparent rocker is unknown).


Carry on....

:capn:


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Capn Jimbo

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BUSHD841 Offline
Ladyfish




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Posted: Sep. 28 2006,13:51

Here's a link to a thread on a PH-160 vs T-160 demo from the Texas Kayak Fisherman forum. Page one includes some great photos and a very detailed comparison between the two models.
I'm eager to demo the PH-160 as soon as it is in stock at the Tampa Bay area dealer. It does look like a close copy of the T-160, but it also looks like a much better design in many ways.

http://www.texaskayakfisherman.com/forum....ix+t160
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Cookinman Offline
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Posted: Sep. 29 2006,14:54

Sweet looking ride - I'd be afraid to scratch it...lol
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BUSHD841 Offline
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Posted: Oct. 10 2006,18:18

I was at Sweetwater Kayaks in St. Pete, FL this weekend and asked about the PH-160. They said they will no longer carry Hurricaine yaks because of too many delivery delays.
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stant01 Offline
Cuda




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Posted: May 24 2008,15:04

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I came across a used PH160 south of Houston (about 3 hours drive away).  Better yet, the seller is a guy I know and trust, who has built several stitch and glue kayaks, some strippers, and several "hybrids" with a plywood hull and strip deck.  Kurt is an amazing craftsman, a good paddler, knowledgable, very skilled boat handler.  He bought one of the first PH160's to find out how a SOT would work for him as a fishing boat.  After a year or so, he decided he prefers his homebuilt SIK kayaks (and canoes) and put the PH160 up for sale.  I talked with him about it at some length and grabbed it the next day.  It is indeed all the early reviews said:  quick, agile, stable.  The drain system probably makes it a bay boat, but that is not a limitation for me.  The hull has LOTS of rocker; I don't have a convenient place to set it and measure, but with my 165 lbs aboard, it floats with about 18-20 inches of the bow out of the water.  Handling is quicker than any other SOT I've paddled:  quicker than my Disco, even quicker than my old Spike.  You really have to steer with every paddle stroke unless you drop the rudder, which I prefer not to do unless in a strong crosswind.  Rudder up it drifts crosswise to the wind. Rudder down it drifts pointed straight downwind, and is so agile I can steer it with the rudder if there is any perceptible breeze at all; long shoreline drifts casting to cover are a snap, whether the wind is 5 mph or 20 mph.

When it was first shown to the South Texas paddlers, it got rave reviews (see TKF for the reports).  But here the story goes south:  after several were sold, complaints began to come back that it didn't track well.  Many, many complaints.

Hurricane responded by redesigning the boat for stronger tracking (to the great sorrow of the designer, who thought it was the best SOT he'd ever designed), and bought back all of the early designs, except for three, including the one I bought from Kurt.  Walker, who reviewed the first PH 160 for TKF, says the redesign is far inferior, and wishes he had not let them have his first one back.  Sad - this is one superb boat.

And here is the punch line, Jimbo.  You have criticized OK and WS for designing barges and dropping their great boats:  the Pro, the Mars, the Spike, etc., etc.  That is indeed a shame, but I think you pointed the finger of blame in the wrong direction.  The marketing guys were just responding to customer feedback.  

We get barges because most SOT fishermen demand barges.  Those of us who actually like to paddle and appreciate a good yak are a tiny minority.

As Pogo said, "We is met the enemy and he is us."
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Capn Jimbo Offline
The Godfisher




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Posted: June 07 2008,07:57

Great info, thanks for taking the time, great post.  But as per your comment:

Quote
And here is the punch line, Jimbo.  You have criticized OK and WS for designing barges and dropping their great boats:  the Pro, the Mars, the Spike, etc., etc.  That is indeed a shame, but I think you pointed the finger of blame in the wrong direction.  The marketing guys were just responding to customer feedback.


This is not a chicken vs egg situation.   If you've ever been in marketing meetings I can tell you it's less what the customer wants, but far more what "unique new product" we can sell.  How to "grow" and/or create new markets.  Markets are created by advertising/marketing departments.

What marketers need and create are dupes willing to suspend disbelief.  

You are correct that OK dropped some of their very best performers due to what they perceived as customer demand for "stability".  But - and a big BUTT, er BUT - that demand followed Wilderness System's success in creating and promoting a market for their "stable", gewgawed Tarpon series.  Their notion was to created new users and expand the market by promoting stability and accessories.

They created a demand, and OK simply freaked - and it then became a race to the bottom.  And all marketing driven.  

Now as for the Phoenix debacle with the T-160 semi-rip.  There have been a number of boats that demonstrated rocker.  The OK Pro had it just about right, as did the Necky Spike.  Enough to turn easily but at the cost of some windage and control.  The first Phoenix 16 went nuts and paid the price - way easy turning, almost no control.  

When you need a rudder in even modest wind something is wrong.  

Actually I've come to really and truly appreciate the Disco.  This design tracks extremely well, but can be caused to turn on demand.  A near perfect outcome.  However, it does require (a) learned technique and (b) lean turning.   A beginner can (and should) buy a Disco, suffer inhibited turning for awhile until proper techniques are learned.

Stan, question:  You mention that the designer of the P-160 stated this was one of the best designs he'd ever done.  Did you have a chance to speak with him?  Do you know why he felt this way?

:capn:


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Capn Jimbo

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stant01 Offline
Cuda




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Posted: June 07 2008,19:35

Jimbo,

I didn't say it needed rudder in modest wind. I said I prefer the rudder in strong winds - 20 mph and up.  Even then you can keep the rudder up, but it is a little bit more effort.  Weathercocking is mild, not bad.  I have no beef with the handling at all.  My only real complaint: because of the rocker, the sharp vee forefoot of the hull is above water, so at brisk cruise it makes a gurgling bow wave; to sneak up on fish, you have to slow down a bit until the bow wave flattens and goes silent.

Kurt, the guy I bought the PH 160 from, designed its rudder system for Hurricane, and worked with the designer on it.  He made the comment about the designer.  I didn't meet him myself, so can't answer your question.

And BTW, this in no way lessens my respect for the Disco.  It is still my "gold standard" for small SOT handling.  But there are times when I want to stay drier (chilly winter days), when I'll take the PH160.  And the PH rudder makes drift fishing a breeze (sorry - couldn't resist a bad pun!).  Since most of my fishing is in long, linear man-made lakes (dammed up rivers, really), that is a huge plus; I can fish from the PH for long drifts working shoreline trees, rocks, and stumps.  I have to paddle a lot more to do that in the Disco.

But to my point:  note that Hurricane introduced the PH160 with the rocker, and didn't increase tracking until AFTER getting complaints from early owners.  Marketing didn't drive this; south Texas kayak fishermen did.  I can't speak for OK or WS; I have no personal knowledge of their history.
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stant01 Offline
Cuda




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Posted: June 07 2008,19:38

BTW, as for the noisy bow wave, the Spike did exactly the same thing.  Probably for the same reason: a relatively blunt bow entry, in contrast to the sharp (and silent) entry of the Disco.
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