When two adults and a kid get into a small motorized aquatic vehicle, and drive it around at speeds exceeding 10 mph, their watercraft must be a boat. It can be a rigid or inflatable dinghy, a wide square-stern canoe, or a Wavewalk 700, but since it is used for boating, for this matter it is boat, and it makes sense to call it this way. Similarly, when two adult large size fishermen drive standing and fish standing in a small motorized aquatic vehicle, for them it is a fishing boat, even if from a technical-legal standpoint it belongs to a class of vessels labeled ‘Kayak’, as is the case with the Wavewalk 700, thanks to its slender dimensions. Indeed, at Wavewalk we are thankful for this official classification, because it makes life easier for us, as manufacturers. Besides, this boat also happens to work as a super kayak in paddling terms, which makes things perfect for us. For people who use it for boating or fishing, the fact that it’s a super “kayak” adds to its functionality as a boat, by making it extremely lightweight, fully portable, and super mobile – beyond motorizing. Versatility can be a great thing, and being able to paddle your boat effectively in case its outboard motor can no longer serve you for whatever reason, be it shallow water, rocks, or a technical problem, contributes a lot to your experience – It adds fun and functionality, confidence, and safety.
After this somehow lengthy explanation, we hope it’s clearer why Wavewalk offers its products in two lines – Kayaks and Boats. The main point here is what comes first for the user, and how they perceive the product. A boat comes ready for an outboard engine, and a kayak may feature an electric trolling motor, or a small outboard, but overall, it’s basically a paddle craft.
At this point, Wavewalk offers three W500 models and one W700 model in its Kayak product line, and four W700 models in its Boat product line. The W700 R model, which we offer as a kayak alongside the three W500 models in this product line, comes with no accessories, while all four W700 models offered as boats ship together with a Spray Shield and a TMM 700 HD motor mount.
The bottom line is that Wavewalk classifies and offers its products according to the way people intend to use them.
This is the story of my trip across Buzzards Bay, to the Elizabeth Islands, a chain of small islands between Martha’s Vineyard and the mainland.
Before the actual trip…
My first trip was ‘preliminary’ to the actual one, because it was cut short due to time constraints – I arrived to the boat ramp in Gooseberry island at the Horseneck Beach Reservation, found the parking lot full, and headed back on the causeway. I parked a quarter of a mile down the road, next to a rocky beach, a.k.a. a ‘Rock Garden’. It was early in the afternoon, and by the time I launched, filled the gas tank, and tested the boat (and myself), I realized that since I’m a novice seaman, I’d have to drive slowly, namely at less than 5 mph, which would have made the trip longer than I had planned. That meant that I might have gotten back home too late, which is a no-no.
What’s left from that preliminary, or shall we call it ‘Test’ trip are the panoramic view of the parking lot and the beach, and the still images from the end of the trip, where I’m seen dragging the boat on the beach, and up the ramp, back to the parking lot. Joao, a local resident, shot these nice photos – Thanks Joao! 🙂
The actual trip
I came back the next day to the same parking lot, before noon. I wore blue shorts and and a blue shirt that’s identical to the one I wore the previous day – It’s called ‘Movie Continuity’ 😀 Speaking of continuity, the weather was identical in both days – sunny and beautiful. That wasn’t due just to luck, since I had planned this trip a week in advance.
Launching in that rock garden was a piece of cake. To start the motor, I dropped the anchor about 100 yards from shore, turned around in the cockpit so I faced the motor, added fuel to the gas tank (I did it standing up, using a long spout), and I started the motor in full comfort, like I would on a big boat. I turned around, which is easy to do in the W700, raised the anchor, grabbed the joystick, pushed in the choke, put the motor in forward gear, set the RPM, and headed to the islands. I drove at a leisurely pace, giving myself time to enjoy the ride and shoot video.
I had two cameras on board – a Sony 400 with a telescopic x63 optical zoom lens, and a Sony Xperia watertight smartphone with a 4K Ultra-HD camera, mounted on a selfie stick. I used both cameras, and it turned out that the 400 performed well, while the Xperia didn’t produce good results, mainly because I failed to operate it properly 🙁
Massachusetts South Shore, Buzzards Bay, and the Elizabeth Islands.
At about 6 miles from shore, Penikese island was closer, but I decided to go a little further, and land on Cuttyhunk island, which is 7 miles from where I launched. It just looked better the trough the telescopic lens of my camera…
I approached Cuttyhunk island, scouted for a good landing spot, and beached without a problem. I didn’t even have to step in water 🙂
As I was making my first steps on that beautiful beach, enjoying the pristine nature and solitude, my cellphone rang… It was my mother in-law, who was concerned about me 😀 That conversation added a comic touch to the situation…
I refilled the gas tank, and checked how much water got into the boat. I had a towel tucked in each rear hull tip, and both towels were almost dry, which is to say that hardly any spray got in. This is due to fact that I drove slowly and didn’t give the waves a chance to splash into the cockpit.
The first half of the trip back to the mainland was a not that pleasant – The wind had picked up, and the boat was getting hit by waves from 7 o’clock, which made it harder to drive. The joystick offered me the perfect means to drive responsively and with precision, as I needed to, given that the W700 is such a small boat. Comfort wise, it was perfect. Under these conditions, driving while facing sideways and gripping the tiller directly would have been hard, and even driving while facing forward with an articulated (U-jointed) tiller extension would have been somehow uncomfortable.
The motor didn’t sound like it appreciated the continuous abrupt alternations between acceleration and deceleration, as each passing wave projected the boat forward and then dumped it behind… It turned out that this 6 HP Tohatsu motor isn’t just quiet and easy to operate – it’s also reliable.
The second part of the trip back was easier. As I approached the shore and recognized the area from which I had launched, I allowed myself to drive faster, and even standing up, which felt great. Spray getting into the boat was no longer a matter for any concern as this stage, of course.
Beaching in the rock garden was a piece of cake, but I have to admit that due to the shallowness of the water I wasn’t able to drive the boat high enough to step on dry land, this time.
Dragging the boat up the beach and back to the car wasn’t easy… After a few steps I stopped, and I used a little manual pump that I had with me to get water out of the hulls. I also took the towels out and squeezed water out of them. Altogether, I removed a couple of gallons of water from the boat, which made it easier to pull it up to the parking lot.
Other than getting my face and knees sunburned, I feel no physical impact whatsoever. No muscle tension in my legs, not even the slightest sign of back pain, and no pain in my left wrist and forearm, which could have happened had I used the articulated tiller extension in such a long drive.
The 6 HP Tohatsu outboard features an alternator, which means that it could feed the battery powering a small electric bilge bump, and thus turn spray into a non-issue. Some smaller Tohatsu outboards feature an alternator as well. Anyways, a long manual bilge pump such as many kayakers use would do equally well, I guess.
Over the weekend, I bow mounted a 30 lb. thrust Minnkota Endura electric trolling motor to my W700. This $99 motor is over 20 years old. Though it is labeled for freshwater use, it works fine in saltwater if it is hosed off after usage
Though I’d like to use a lithium battery, the price is still too high. So, I have an extra marine lead acid battery that slips easily into the forward hull.
With the motor locked in forward, it is easy to steer with a long handled canoe paddle from the stern while standing and even perform some slightly impressive maneuvers. This is wonderfully enjoyable but not too strenuous exercise.
It was too rough on the ocean for the bikini clad paddle boarders to be able to manage the wind and chop but the lone powered paddle cat-a-yakker was able to “Get ‘er done” despite conditions that kept the other yaks and paddle boards on shore.
My other brother, Larry, may be the Cable Guy. With the W700, a little extra thrust, and the plaid sleeveless cotton shirt, I have a new moniker: Larry, The Stable Guy
P.S. – The Wavewalk ball cap and motor bracket are available to purchase on the website.