Pinguino’s On the Water Review: Indian River Lagoon



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REPORT: This was my second paddle in the 14.5 foot Pinguino kayak from Pygmy Boats, Inc. that I built this winter.  This time I paddled on the Indian River Lagoon near Vero Beach, Florida.  The Indian River Lagoon is a 156 mile long by 2-3 mile wide estuary, subject to winds off the Atlantic Ocean across the barrier Islands.  It's average depth is 3.5 feet.  Winds were about 10 MPH with waves about 1 foot as I began my paddle.  The wind and waves built throughout the morning until a steady 18 mph wind was blowing with higher gusts.  Waves were close together and had built to 2 + feet, with some whitecaps showing. 

My daughter, Elizabeth, paddling Pinguino

 The boat, without a skeg or rudder, handled very well.  It is a Swede form design, which means that the boat has a long fore deck and short rear deck with the paddler sitting aft of the center of the boat.  This tends to make a boat want to fall off the wind and head downwind.  Pinguino had this characteristic, but it wasn't pronounced. 

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Pinguino is a dry boat that tracks well and edge turns easily.  My goal in building Pinguino was to have a light boat appropriate for rivers and creeks, not big water.  If I wanted to use Pinguino in big water, I might consider adding a rudder to make upwind work easier.

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© Don Yackel 2016