Got to demo the Cetus LV and MV last weekend at the Port Angeles Kayak Symposium. I weigh 165 lbs, 5'8" tall, size 33 waist, and consider myself an advanced beginner - mostly exercise paddles, plus day touring with friends. But I'm also looking for a boat that can handle some tripping if I pack light and reasonably maneuverable - an "all around" boat.
I agree with most of what Douglas Wilcox had to say about the LV in his excellent extended review. This boat just feels refined and elegant in the water to me. It turns very nicely when edged with a nice gurgle sound when the keel kicks loose. While its no Romany or Chatham 17, the LV carved graceful turns through a line of old dock pylons. The LV also had Excellent build quality, and I like the seat, forward day hatch and all the available options with the LV.
The LV had zero weathercocking in 15 kt winds (0.5 mile fetch) both quartering to the bow and at 90 degrees. In quartaring winds on following seas, there was slight weathercocking which I could eliminate with partial deployment of the skeg. Deployment beyond half way was too much skeg in these conditions.
Initial stability was just fine, even coming from a 24" boat, and the LV cuts cleanly through oncoming waves. The thigh braces were not very aggressive to me, but fine for easy rolling and leaning. The fit was a little more snug than the MV, but I like the extra degree of sportiness of the LV vs. the MV.
The LV feels perfect if I will never do more than a light-weight 2 or 3 night trip with it. The MV is a little more roomy and the added 20 lbs in it's recommended weight range would allow more gear for extended trips, though.Boats I tested before purchasing the Cetus LV: I tested the Quest LV, The Explorer LV, Tiderace Xcite S and Tempest 16.5 pro.
I was looking for a boat with the agility of my Romany and the speed of my Nordkapp. Of course, I knew I was going to find a boat that met half way between those features. After testing all of the boats in previously listed, I ended up with the Cetus LV. I may have liked to have tried the Cetus MV, but it was not available at the price I found the Cetus LV, which was a demo boat. I purchased the boat after Russell, from Sweetwater Kayaks recommended the boat. I wanted a boat larger than my Romany with more speed to be used as a day boat.
The Quest LV was a nice boat, but a tad on the large size. Nice boat but I could not lay back on the deck. The Explorer LV was a tad too tight. The Tempest was nice, real nice but I wanted something a little longer. The Xcite was almost as tight as the Explorer. I found the boat fantastic. Great speed. Turns well and rolls very, very easy. By the way, I am just over 5'8", 170 pounds which is almost too big for the boat.
I loaded the boat with a first aide, change of shirt and pants, towel and a couple of water bottles. PFD, skirt and camera and I may have had 15-20 pounds spread throughout the front and back bulkheads. You can see half the name of the boat coming out of the water. Not too far sunk. I did not feel too tight in the boat, but I would not like to gain 10 pounds.
I guess I could give this boat a 10 if I was under 160 pounds. Bottom line, this is GREAT boat.