Picture of Cam in the Max -- Mxphoto.gif (54952 bytes)

mariner max

Our ninth design evolved from our hugely successful Mariner XL. While we loved the way the XL handles especially when heavily loaded we knew from our experience with our Express that we could make it sportier and more responsive without giving up the XL’s superior tracking in difficult conditions. The MAX incorporates all the other "tricks" we learned in the years since the XL was first designed.

The MAX has the same midsection as the XL, the ends were modified to improve the XL's already legendary wave riding ability and dry ride, produce a quicker turning response and cut even more resistance from the hull at cruising speed. Comparing all six kayaks that were accurately measured in a towing tank by Sea Kayaker (Winter 86 and Spring 87) the XL had 9% less drag at a four knot cruising speed than the next best, and 18% less drag than one. We think we improved on that with the MAX.

The MAX's flared sides and reserve buoyancy in the bow and stern contribute not only to a dry deck and large storage capacity, but also to the same awesome secondary stability as the Mariner XL. (Sea Kayaker found (Spring 87) the Mariner XL could be leaned further before capsizing than all but one of the ten other sea kayaks tank tested. Quite astounding considering the XL was within 1/4" of having the narrowest waterline beam in the group--some kayaks with waterlines almost 3" wider capsized sooner, the narrowest capsized 15 degrees sooner and one kayak over 2" wider capsized at 10 degrees less lean).

The Mariner MAX keeps an even keel in steep unpredictable waves and does so with far milder motions than most paddlers have learned to expect. One person described this as "it’s as though a gyroscope is keeping it level in the waves. I can’t believe how secure I now feel, even in steep chop reflecting off cliffs".

The MAX makes course keeping easy at any angle to the wind and waves. The hull's windage balance and underwater profile provide unparalleled tracking in side winds (forget having to drag a rudder along at an angle to correct for weather cocking, and regain the secure foot pedals that let you add leg power to your stroke). Hard chines and a deep keel in the stern quarter minimize broaching in following seas. They work even when surfing on steep cresting waves. As a kayak starts to surf on steep waves most keels and stern mounted rudders are waving uselessly in the air and the kayak's rounded chines allow it to suddenly skid sideways into a white knuckle producing broach.

The MAX's narrow bow and V'ed underbody provides a gentle ride when driving hard into steep head seas (where many kayaks jar you by slapping and pounding). Moving the instantly adjustable sliding seat/footbrace unit forward can soften the already soft ride into whitecaps still further. The high buoyant bow provides what is probably the driest ride in the industry. The gentle curves and clean foredeck minimize flying spray (this is especially nice for eyeglass wearers). On the rare occasions when a wave gets on the deck and reaches the cockpit much of the water is shed to each side down the built in kneebrace gutters.

Several design features combine to make effortless, quick, and precise leaned turns (click on  Max Review  and read the testers' comments to see how well they worked). Quick turns are quite remarkable in a kayak that also tracks this well. The unique keel is designed so that the tracking automatically stiffens when you need it most, such as with a heavy gear load or when paddling hard. The sliding seat also allows you to fine tune the tracking stiffness to the conditions.

The bow's long straight entry lines gently part the water. This, a narrow waterline beam and small area of wetted surface provides an extremely easily driven hull (especially when compared with kayaks of similar stability and gear capacity). At seventeen feet long by 23 1/2 inches wide the Mariner MAX is most suited to paddlers 140 to 230 pounds, who enjoy skillfully controlling their kayak with body motions and a paddle rather than being dependent on a rudder. A comfortable yet secure cockpit fit makes the Mariner MAX an extension of your body.

The Mariner MAX has been reviewed by Sea Kayaker magazine-------click on Max Review or use the "Reviews" menu on the sidebar to read it.

Hull Configuration and Features:

  • Swedeform--widest aft of center the opposite of Fish-form (for less wave-making resistance due to the finer angle of entry)
  • Shallow V-midsection with flared sides (for a narrower waterline and high secondary stability)
  • Hard chine center and aft sections (carves turns and resists broaching)
  • Rounded V forebody (soft ride) develops into hard chine midsection
  • Molded skeg runs from center of buoyancy aft (resists broaching)
  • Little stern rocker, substantial at bow (for tracking and manuverability)
  • Rake in bow and stern profiles (easily slides over seaweed, obstructions, and steep beaches)
  • Substantial reserve buoyancy at bow and stern (for a drier ride and less pearling in surf)
  • Higher forebody (for more foot room--to size 12--and a dry cockpit)
  • Lower rear deck (easier Eskimo rolls and reduced windagecuts weatherhelm)
  • Built in knee braces (for security and control)
  • Balanced wind/water couple at cruising speed (doesn’t weathercock)


Length: 17’ 0"
Beam: 23.5"
Cockpit size (inside): 32.5" x 15"
Depth at front of cockpit: 11.5"
Depth at rear of cockpit: 10"
Center of Buoyancy: 55%
Volume (filled with water): 14.3 cu.ft. (107 gal.)
Volume (Nautilus program): Sea Kayaker uses Nautilus (all the volume inside the shape) 15.1 cu.ft. (113 gal.)

Hydrostatics with 150 lbs. added:

Waterline length: 14’ 6.5"
Waterline beam: 21.0"
Draft: 3.7"
Prismatic Coefficient: 0.50
Midship Coefficient: 0.79
Volumetric Coefficient: 0.00101
Wetted Surface in sq. ft: 18.83
Lbs./inch immersion: 83.2

Hydrostatics with 250 lbs. added:

Waterline length: 15’-0"
Waterline beam: 22.1"
Draft: 4.9"
Prismatic Coefficient: 0.52
Midship Coefficient: 0.80
Volumetric Coefficient: 0.00138
Wetted Surface in sq. ft: 21.68
Lbs./inch immersion: 93.7

1999 Mariner Kayaks