Testing a Taran

Despite the exceptionally calm weather that dominated our recent trip around the Isle of Mull, I had still managed to break a few things. A visit to Mike's workshop at Rockpool Kayaks was overdue in any case - as was the opportunity to paddle the Taran 16.
Launched in 2010 and moving very noticeably away from traditional British sea kayak design, the Taran was immediately the subject of some controversy but rapidly proved its worth. Within two weeks in 2012, two new records were set for the UK circumnavigation, both in a Taran. At much the same time, the Taran 16 or Tiny Taran as we knew it then, went into production. Reduced in length by 43cm and marginally narrower, the Taran 16 retained an almost identical hull shape to the original Taran, offering greater manoeuvrability and easier storage...
But the story didn't end there. With an overall volume of 369l, the Taran 16 was still in fact, far from tiny - take the Isel at 276l for instance - and so began the process of designing a third Taran. Seen on the rack in the image above and taking its name from folk dances characterised by their fast tempo, the Tarantella offers a true low volume version of the original. In production now, more details are available directly from Rockpool.
Work is also underway on a new rudder footplate - one which will offer greater finesse and which I suspect those familiar with surf skis will immediately appreciate. Expect a number of other subtle but significant changes too as the Rockpool fleet is overhauled in the coming months.
Back in his Atlantic if not on it, Chris returning from a trip around Carmel Head. Not evident here, a good sized tide and fresh south-westerly had provided some interesting water earlier in the day giving me a rapid introduction to the very different handling of the Taran 16 to my more familiar GT.
And a last look toward The Skerries - West Mouse the island just visible immediately in front and to the right of The Skerries lighthouse.

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