Seabird Scott MV Sea Kayak

Length: 518cm (17') Beam: 55.9cm (22") Weight: 27kg Volume: 330 litres Paddler Weight Range: 70kg-90kg

Fibreglass/Diolen composite construction

Avg continuous comfortable cruise 4.2/4.5mph - sprint 6.7mph

Seabird Scott MV

The Seabird Scott is a composite sea kayak available in three sizes to fit most paddler sizes/weights

Seabird Scott LV (Low Volume)

Length: 16’4″ Beam: 21″ Paddler Weight: 50-75kg

Seabird Scott MV (Medium Volume)

Length: 17′ Beam: 22″ Paddler Weight: 70-90kg

Seabird Scott HV (High Volume)

Length: 17’10” Beam: 23″ Paddler Weight: 80-115kg

At around £1,500 or less brand new in the UK the Seabird Scott is very reasonably priced for a GRP/Diolen composite boat.  The Seabird Scott was designed especially for typical British sea conditions by Rob Feloy, the Devon based naval architect internationally renowned for his record breaking (inc. transocean) kayak and yacht designs and the innovative Inuk ultra fast kayaks - A man who knows a thing or two about kayak design then!  It is designed to handle rough water and be manoeuvrable and nimble with good stability, comfort and seaworthiness. The hull has a deep rocker curvature, shallow V form with flat bottomed mid section for surfing and relatively hard chines, allowing the kayak to edge and carve well in turns. I have paddled all three sizes of Seabird Scott kayak and they have all paddled well and in my opinion fulfil the above design brief.

The Seabird Scott LV is theoretically too small for me as, at 82kg, I am above it's recommended weight limit but I was surprised at how stable it was for a relatively narrow kayak and you could really feel the secondary stability kick in.  Within a minute of getting in I felt really at home in it and totally secure.  It cut through the water like butter and was very responsive on edge but so far only tried that size on flat water.

The Seabird Scott HV is really too big for me as I am right at the bottom of it's recommended weight limit, and it felt big when sitting in the cockpit, but I was surprised at how well I got on with it and it out performed my Capella 166 RM, on the sea this time, in every respect except for cockpit fittings and comfort (more on this later).  Rock solid stability, picked up waves more easily to surf, turned faster despite being a bigger boat and surprisingly, even though it was theoretically too high a volume for me and was unloaded so floating high, I had no problems with weathercocking in conditions when my Capella (unloaded) was quite noticeably weathercocking.

The Seabird Scott MV is theoretically the ideal size for me and this is the one I own.  I have now had my own Seabird Scott MV for around 4 years and have used it at sea, cruising the Norfolk Broads, in a force 6 gusting 7 on Coniston water in the Lake District and on Scottish Sea Lochs.  Excellent, I absolutely love it!  Even unloaded it doesn't seem prone to weather cocking like my old Capella (which unloaded was sometimes a struggle even with the skeg fully deployed) and has a very powerful and effective skeg. You do have to be careful not to pull the skeg over centre when retracting it otherwise you will find it difficult to deploy without a helping hand on the skeg itself.  I have put some tape over the cockpit skeg slider control at the safe point of retraction to prevent it going any further but one day will get around to adjusting the skeg cable length itself to prevent this happening at all.  It is a very manoeuvrable kayak when you want it to be as it has a decent amount of rocker but it also tracks just fine and I have no complaints about cruising speed. Build quality seems to be holding up OK and after 4 years it all still looks in good condition.

The kayak has a sloping rear cockpit bulkhead for easy emptying and rescues.  The front deck has a moulding to take the standard Silva 70p compass. Storage consists of a front compartment with rubber hatch, a handy small screw on hard plastic hatch directly in front of the cockpit which leads into a neoprene sock inside the cockpit so that when not in use it takes up barely any cockpit room, a day hatch behind the cockpit partitioned off with bulkheads and finally a large rear compartment large enough to easily take a whole dismantled Railblaza C-Tug trolley.

If I have any complaints about the Seabird Scott it is about the standard cockpit fittings and in particular the back band and the uncomfortable and bulky solid plastic thigh braces fitted with no foam padding. The footrests, with twist and lift handles allowing adjustment while seated are fine although I have removed mine and fitted a foam block footrest in front of the bulkhead which I prefer in most of my boats and find much more comfortable. I have refitted the cockpit in mine completely with a much more comfortable seat and backrest salvaged from another boat (although there was nothing particularly wrong with the original seat base).  I am still experimenting with thigh braces.  I originally glued foam padding to the standard hard plastic thigh braces which did make them more comfortable.  Then I tried fitting a set of thigh braces from a Dagger Axis kayak which were much more comfortable but after a particularly strenuous  pool rolling session recently (having owned the kayak for 4 years) I discovered a large crack in the fibreglass thigh brace mounting point built into the cockpit rim.  Whether this was because the original solid plastic thigh braces spread the load over the fitting more evenly or whether it was just a weakness in the mounting point I don't know but after repairing and re-inforcing the mounting point I will be experimenting again. If you own a Seabird Scott and have replaced the thigh braces with something other than the fitted ones which spread the load under the cockpit deck it might be worth checking the mounting points and re-inforcing them just in case before they crack.

However as I often customise the cockpit of  any kayak I own (as do many others) and considering the very reasonable purchase cost of this kayak compared to other new composite boats, then I am prepared to overlook a few hours and a few pounds spent to improve the cockpit comfort to make an extremely good kayak a great kayak. Considering we spend an extended time in our sea kayaks I think it would be great if some of the sea kayak manufacturers could outfit their cockpits with something like the comfortable and adjustable Dagger Ergo Contour white water fittings or the Liquidlogic "Bad Ass" outfitting and adjustable footplates as it would save a lot of effort customising later.  Composite sea kayak manufacturers cockpits don't appear to have advanced as much as the hull designs and seem way behind the white water boats.

After owning my Seabird Scott MV for 4 years I have no regrets, it has turned out to be a brilliant kayak and I love paddling it. If you don't have the luxury of a quiver of multiple sea kayaks for different purposes then it has just the right combination of characteristics to be a great "do everything" boat and one that both beginners and experts can enjoy paddling.

 

 

Sea Palling Norfolk January 2017.

A white Seabird Scott LV and a yellow Seabird Scott MV

Using a traditional wooden Greenland Paddle (Thanks Mike!) in the Seabird Scott MV

 

Capsizing and recovering in the surf (Twice!)

 

Some more footage of Seabird Scott Kayaks on the Sea