Circumnavigating Ireland in the Pace Tour

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Review of Pace 17 Tour

Rob Burgess: Reflections on a Pace

May 2019

I’m half way round Ireland, paddling a Pace 17 Tour. Prior to the trip I had not paddled a Tiderace before. I know that there are many wise sages out there that would counsel against taking a boat on such a trip without really trying it, but the offer was too good to refuse. In reality, I had one four hour paddle in the boat before I started ...

In terms of my background, I’m just a recreational paddler, about 75kg, about five foot ten, and 54 ... Paddled for about 14 years, mostly in a plastic Nordkapp and a Rockpool GT. But also paddled other boats along the way ( including a Taran ). Bear in mind that below is based upon paddling a fully laden boat.

From day one, the boat has been a joy to paddle. It gives a very dry ride, and is surprisingly stable in rough, confused seas. The hatches have been bone dry, and swallow an impressive amount of kit ( we’re typically paddling with good for seven days, and not carrying dehydrated packs ). It’s probably not quite as fast as a Taran 18, but definitely more stable. However, once ‘in the groove’ it can eat up the miles ( we are typically covering 40-55km a day ). I’ve not had any pressure sores from sitting in the cockpit for six hour plus sessions. 

The front deck elastics are quite far forward, and for precise map reading in rougher water, elastics on your spraydeck will make life much easier. And if you have large feet, it’s worth checking the fit for controlling the rudder ( I have size 10 boots and it’s not an issue, but worth checking when trying out the boat.)

It’s definitely an A to B type boat, and if you’re paddling is more biased towards playing, worth looking elsewhere in the Tiderace range. Given that it’s loaded, with a trolley on the back deck, it would be unreasonable of me to comment on its manoeuvrability, as it’s bound to feel a little sluggish. The trolley also means that I’m a bit more cautious when edging than normal.

We still have a good 3-4 weeks of paddling in front of us, and if anyone has an aspect of the boat that they would like me to check, feel free to ask. Just bear in mind that any observations I have are based upon the boat being loaded.

To summarise, the boat handles very impressively, although a couple of small cosmetic changes on the deck would, for me anyway, be beneficial. If looking for an expedition boat, you should definitely try one.

It has also been much admired and commented on by other paddlers along the way ...