The Whisky is a new design from famed sea kayaker Nigel Foster. Designed for a Swedish company by an Englishman who now makes his home in America, built in China and named after a drink from Scotland—the Point 65 Whisky 16 kayak is truly an international undertaking.
Point 65 Whisky 16 Specs
Weight: 58 lbs (fiberglass)
Max Capacity: 341 lbs
MSRP: $2,799 USD (fiberglass)
$4,099 USD (Kevlar/carbon)
Point 65’s Whisky 16 is a neat ride
Rather than producing yet another generic “me too” sea kayak, Foster continues his record of distinctive designs, boldly pushing the Point 65 Whisky 16 deeper into the playboat niche than most would be willing to go.
Clearly the hull was conceived with play and surfing in mind. It is highly rockered for manoeuvrability, with a very hard chine running the full length of its flat hull. Volume carries well into the ends and the bow in particular is very full, almost bulbous, and buoyant. The cockpit is quite far back.
There are large oval rubber hatches bow and stern, a smaller 20-centimetre round day hatch, and a 15-centimetre hatch on the fore deck within easy reach of the cockpit.
The Chinese build quality is reasonable but could use refinement. The boat felt solid, but multiple leaks into the cockpit were disappointing (one suspects the builder will have this resolved in short order). The Whisky 16 is also heavy for its size. And with the balance point of the kayak being forward of the cockpit, it’s an awkward solo carry.
Track and maneuver with sober precision
The fit is excellent and suits a wide range of paddlers. The backband offers good support and the thigh braces create a nice knee pocket that makes edging and rolling easy.
Afloat, the boxy cross-sectional shape and 22-inch beam yield solid primary stability and tons of secondary. It’s fun tossing the Whisky on edge, although due to its extreme rocker, it doesn’t require edging for tight turns; the boat virtually spins 180 degrees with one sweep!
Given the extremely high manoeuvrability, tracking was a pleasant surprise. The Point 65 Whisky 16 is easy to paddle in a straight line. Even in high winds where I expected the high-riding bow to deflect, the Whisky was easy to control. When the bow did wander, it was easy to bring back on course.
The Whisky goes wave surfing
Is is a warning sign to design a hatch specifically to carry your booze? How about naming your new boat after your favorite alcoholic beverage? We don’t think so. The Whisky hatch is useful for all sorts of things.
The flat hull and hard chines combine with the stern-weighted position of the cockpit for very good surfing characteristics. The full bow does a great job of staying on the surface too; the downside is its tendency to slam down hard on the backside of oncoming waves.
Even fully deployed, the Whisky 16’s distinctive clear plastic skeg doesn’t present much surface area, yet it provides good tracking and effectively counters the boat’s slight tendency to weathercock in wind.
Paddle and play in the Point 65 Whisky 16
The Whisky 16 from Point 65 is primarily a day-paddler that excels in play spots like rock gardens, tidal features and surf breaks. But it also works surprisingly well as a do-everything kayak. It has decent speed and, other than its tendency to “slam” in chop, it’s enjoyable to paddle in a wide variety of conditions and can carry enough gear for a few days. The Whisky 16 is a different and a very fun kayak.