Our Fathom had taken us a long way, but I was spending a lot of time paddling by myself and I wanted something that was easier to handle, both getting on and off the rack and maneuvering in the water. I splurged and ordered a Seda Ikkuma 17 through the Northwest Outdoor Center.
Claimed weight is only four pounds less than the Fathom, but six less than the Raven, the Eddlyline boat that I would have considered as a replacement. I have come to prefer Seda’s seating arrangement, a fairly flat platform suspended solidly from the cockpit coaming. Eddyline’s adjustable system has a lot of theoretical advantages, but with my particular leg-length I don’t seem to be able to make good use of them. The more nearly cross-legged posture in the Ikkuma allows me to edge more confidently and to roll the boat more successfully.
The savings in weight come at a cost that is not just monetary. I admire the Eddyline boats for their use of ABS plastic, which is a more environmentally-friendly kayak option. My boat is made of fiberglass and, perhaps worse yet, Kevlar (the all-fiberglass construction would have added back in those four pounds). The reason I didn’t get all-Kevlar is that Kevlar boats are said to be noisy as they try to flex. The reason I didn’t spend even more for carbon is that Seda doesn’t offer carbon construction on all their kayaks. I haven’t yet actually weighed the boat — there’s a chance that there could be a pleasant surprise. The occasional complaint about Seda boats is that they’re under-built, rather than over. Still, you never know quite what you’re going to get. Some of the promotional literature talks about toggles whose loops pass through the hull, for maximum strength; mine was delivered with little stainless U-bolts at each end.
Ikkuma is said to be the Inuit word for fire, and the new boat does look zippier than the old one. Still, I chose to keep the white-on-white color scheme that we invented for our Fathom, and for the car that we got to carry it around with. The Fathom itself has found a new home — a nice lady named Jan drove up from Portland to claim it in September.