Back in the UK and took a run today in the new-shape Yak on the sunny Medway in Kent with my old-shape Llama. Impressions: the slightly longer Llama sure is roomy – you can stretch your legs which is relaxing, like my old Sunny IK – but the feet-jam feeling in the shorter Yak I’ve quickly got used to.
Other things, the rounded Llama does seem to yaw left to right more (as you’d expect), especially without a frontal load – but this impression is strongest when watching the boat rather than actually being in it, as you body moves left to right with the boat, be it Yak or Llama. Yawing is in the eye of the observer. Most obvious best thing besides the colour is that new seat; no more messing around yanking the annoying back up as you hop in in less than ideal circumstances.
A week or two later I took the Yak out on a windy loch in Scotland. How easy it is to inflate with the wind at your back! On the water with the bow splashing water over my head, I got a chance to appreciate the skirt as well as how stable it feels with gusts up to 25mph or more. One thing I did notice was after stepping out in the shallows the thing was gone in the wind (towards the shore, luckily). I’d never have caught it if I was in the water and hyperventilating from cold shock. It reminds me that in such conditions I ought to attach the stick to a loop in the bow chord to slow down an escaping Yak.
Is the pointy Yak faster? Forgot the GPS to find out for sure and our paddles where too different in size to run the Yak and Llama side by side (plus we were towing a sick Intex), but we felt the Yak had the edge, again as you’d expect but we’re talking less than 1mph here. Now I’m up north in packrafting country I have more Yak mini adventures planned. More about the test against my mate’s £30 Intex dinghy here.