Magic glide and awesome tracking

While retaining its sit on kayaking roots Perception Kayaks Europe’s Triumph 13 is an unusual looking beast when compared to the norm. Considerably longer than many typical sit ons, the Triumph 13 (as in 13ft) is made for covering distance, chewing up miles and burning around your local coastal or inland spot.

Out of the box

Perception’s attention to detail permeates right through the Triumph’s design. From the moment you ‘unwrap’ the beast it’s obvious a great deal of time and effort has been put into making the Triumph a quality paddling machine. As with all Perception kayaks, fixtures and fitting are high quality and embedded firmly into the hull to ensure they don’t unexpectedly pull out at critical moments. The Triumph’s finish is super high end and we know from past experience that the brand’s moulding process ensures all high impact areas have reinforced side walls to help with durability.

The hull shape is extremely defined with both the Triumph’s nose and tail akin to a flared water piercing arrow head. This blends into a spine – incorporated to increase tracking – that runs the length of the underside. Deep channels flank the keel serving to funnel water and increase propulsion and efficiency while the pronounced bow and stern gives way to rolled gunnels and a wide cockpit area. An enormous hatch is set deeply into the Triumph 13’s foredeck, combined with large aft tank well, gives ample storage for stowing belongings and necessary items – perfect for multi day tripping or journeys with overnight stops. Handy paddle keepers sit next to the seating area with grab lines and easy carry toggles making humping the Triumph about a little easier. Let’s be honest, it’s a large boat that requires a wide turning circle during transportation and anything that helps with moving it is welcome. The rear of the Triumph has a reinforced tail with a heavy grade plastic skid plate attached. It’s inevitable that you’ll end up dragging your boat across rough surfaces and this will help keep your pride and joy in tip top condition – it’s this attention to detail which sets the Triumph apart. Finally, Perception’s well positioned toe rests and lower seat cut out, which serves to bring the pilot’s centre of gravity closer to the water, gives a hint of the ride to come. Having inspected the Triumph on land it was time to head out for a float.

Onto the water

Getting aboard the Triumph is a relatively easy affair although there’s a slight roll, due to the increased length and rounded gunnel’s that may unnerve beginners at first. Once in paddling position though you feel ready for action – the Triumph looks and feels like a ‘real’ machine, rather than a recreational toy. As such it instils a sense of purpose in the paddlers mind and fires you up ready for action. One of the Triumph’s most noticeable features is its straight line glide. The 13ft length definitely helps but the hulls underbelly puts the icing on the cake. The Triumph’s high sided nose cuts through the water and deflects brine away from the hull. This is a key point as water is ‘sticky’ and flatter designs tend hold water making boats feel sluggish. With its similar tail shape, the Triumph releases well – the paddler only needs a few strokes to build momentum. The hydrodynamics of the Triumph are something more associated with sit in designs, rather than sitons. We wanted to test this feature further and put the hammer down for a few hundred yards before letting up. The Triumph just keeps on gliding – even when confronted with choppier water or waves it didn’t relent – distance is covered in twice the amount of time.

It hardly needs mentioning the Triumph isn’t exactly an agility machine. We couldn’t resist, however, taking the Triumph for as spin in the waves. Picking up runners with ease it’s hardly surprising the added push from a liquid wall brings the Triumph up to red line speeds pretty sharpish. If you’re thinking of piloting in surf, paddling skills are a must – it’s a beast of a boat and could cause problems in busy line ups. Here at Sitons HQ we’re lucky to have an offshore break that’s quiet. Without the risk of injuring others, putting the Triumph through its paces in small to moderate surf was good fun, although in a lot of cases ended us taking a dunking!

It’s also worth noting the Triumph is dream to slice into wind and current, making difficult coastal conditions easier to handle. Coming back downwind is super fun; the hull’s length and that magic glide coming into play again. Back to its natural habitat of sit on top kayak touring, the Triumph 13 is a joy to paddle over any distance. We did notice at coastal venues, where strong tides and current run, a few correction strokes may be needed as Mother Nature tries to pull you off course, but this is a minor point. If you live close to an inland waterway then you’ll be in heaven as you burn up the miles.

Conclusion

Perception Kayaks Europe Triumph 13 is a cracking step up boat for anyone wanting a touring vessel. The Triumph would make a good partner to your more manoeuvrable boat or if you’ve decided kayak touring really is your thing, but still don’t want to head down the closed cockpit route. Perception’s Triumph 13 certainly ticks all these boxes. Here at Sitons HQ we use the Triumph for exploring tidal harbours and inlets in our area. And yet it’s still fun to sometimes take for a blast in small waves – with enough paddler skill this is still possible. Amazing glide, good tracking, room to store everything, including the kitchen sink, Perception’s Triumph is a great example of how the sit ons market isn’t simply limited to kit for messing about at the beach.