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Review

Sweet
I
(Delta)
magine a sporty little compact car
boasting lots of stock features at a
budget price – fun for the owner, but
likely snubbed by sports car purists. That is,
until one stops to look under the hood.
And so it goes with the Delta 16 – a
16
over the map.
The boat's creator, Mark Hall, dubs it the
"full-frontal lobotomy for the British Canoe
Union." And it's certainly a departure for a
manufacturer known to make predictable
and stable boats. At just 22 inches wide, it's
SISKA's Michael Jackson

intermediate paddlers.
tries the 16 off the
Chatham Islands near

Let the controversy begin!


Victoria, BC.

the 16 more on the level for beginner to

Perhaps the most compelling review


came from one guest kayaker, Dorothea
Hoffman, a female used to a narrow boat
sporty little compact kayak that, for lack the narrowest of the Delta offerings, with and one of the smaller-sized reviewers for
of a better phrase, comes tripped out the fit tailored for the smaller to medium- which the boat was designed.
with enough standard features to raise an sized paddler. "At 5’4”, 135 lbs, I am a woman who
eyebrow or two. And the package may be It's the level of experience the boat usually prefers my 19 inch wide boat. But it
enough – just maybe – to entice fans of the is designed to attract where views vary was quick and easy to adjust the boat to fit
more traditional Brit boats to take a look at most widely. Delta tells us it's for an my smaller frame, and I felt very secure and
what the 16 has to offer. intermediate to advanced paddler. But a few connected with the boat," she says.
Members of the South Island Sea key reviewers – among the most veteran A new fit kit that will allow slender
Kayaking Association (SISKA), BC's newest of SISKA's considerably experienced kayakers to adjust the seating to size will
paddling club, were offered the chance to membership – thought differently, labelling take that comfort one step further.
look under the hood and kick the tires as
this issue's guest reviewers. And as should Delta 16 specs
be expected for a start-up Brit-style boat, Length Beam Depth Cockpit Total storage Weight
in thermoform no less, the reviews were all 16' 22" 12" 32.5"L x 16"W 371.1 L 50 lbs

28 Wavelength Magazine FALl 2009


Delta 16

right size if you want to take advantage of


Win this kayak this kayak's ability. Entering the
For advanced paddlers, the 16 is likely
to come to life in surf and waves, where its thermoform debate
size and design is best suited.
To add to the versatility, Delta has added
a choice of a skeg, rudder or none (but
not both). This will widen the 16’s appeal
significantly.
So here's a tally of the assessments. The rating
The basics: The Delta 16 is unique for Touring: Delta is known for getting
its four hatches, two of which can best be a lot of volume out of a little, and the
described as pods – two day hatches, one 16 matches this with a healthy 210 litres
in front and one behind the cockpit. Both storage in the hatches – good for a week of
are self-contained, with the rear day hatch gear, maybe two if you scrimp. The ability
taking up only a portion of the boat's to slide the seat forward helped center
width. This has two advantages: making the weight and avoid weathercocking.
gear in the pod easy to reach and allowing Playing: "Easy to roll, easy to balance
longer gear such as tents to be stowed brace." The rolling is aided by a quirk of
alongside the pod, something not possible the Delta design: when inverted, it sits
if your day hatch is divided by a bulkhead. naturally at a 15-20 degree angle, a huge
The front day hatch also sits in a pod assist in getting upright.
that lies under the deck inside the cockpit. Stability: The Delta 16 is very easy to
This might appear to obstruct leg room, turn and maneuver for a smaller paddler.
but careful design avoids that trap. Weathercocking was an issue for a medium-
The Delta 16 has considerable rocker, sized paddler off Gabriola. The skeg helped
which for larger paddlers doesn’t necessarily tracking immensely.
equate into added maneuverability. But The positives: A thoughtful design,
once again, correctly-sized Dorothea set lots of extra features and attention to detail
the tone: "Due to the interesting curve make this an interesting boat to review
of the hull above the chines, the boat has and paddle. Clearly Delta is interested in
great secondary stability. Easy to put and raising the bar through paying attention to
hold on edge, a cinch to turn, it is an easily kayaker's needs. People who like this kayak
paddled boat." are likely to love it.
In other words, be careful you're the Overall: Full-frontal lobotomies aside,
Delta Kayaks has moved into a niche of
its own here with a very affordable and
About our versatile smaller boat catering to a smaller
person.
guest testers We would love to take this out in surf,
arguably the 16's forte. When we do we'll
post the results online on the Wavelength
Forum (www.wavelengthmagazine.com/
forum). In the meantime, consider this an
option for the smaller paddler who wants
a racy option without going the traditional
sports car, er, Brit boat route.
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FALL 2009 Wavelength Magazine 29