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Submitted: 07-10-2006 by Inukie
The St. Lawrence comes equiped with a small drink holder in the seat, which probably says more about the thinking behind this kayak than anything else.
The St. Lawrence is NOT a kayak for Arctic waters and should not be considered by anyone contemplating kayaking in the Arctic. We have been evaluating it and other kayaks for use by Inuit living here in the North. We have been comparing it to kayaks by Current Design, Boreal, P&H and Seaward. The ClearWater Design company supplied paddles broke off the very first day in light conditions at both ends in 2 degree water as the aluminum tubing contracted around the plastic paddle and seemed to shear them off. New paddles sent out from the factory arrived broken in shipping.
The rudder system simple will not work when the kayak is cold (2-4 degree C)as the foot pedals bind against the inside of the hull. Even attempting to push the pedals by hand on land out of water is nearly imposible when cold. (Arctic waters are always cold.) The company has not provided us without any remedy or suggestions to date.
The hatches (front and rear) seem unable to keep water out and seemed to have been miss-cut at the factory, so that they cannot seal properly. The company has not responded to any emails on how this might be fixed. We find close to a litre of water in each compartment on any day where there normal sea chop.
Contrary to other reviews above, it would be impossible to say that this kayak is safe in surf conditions. The St. Lawrence will either submarine the bow on even small waves (2ft) or is incapable or riding over waves when going to weather. It will broach on anything larger than 2 feet of actual saltwater waves in close sets. Made it can surf swells but who calls that surfing? Normal surfing on 3-6ft waves would seem impossible as the bow goes under immediately and the stern swings around before you have even started to surf. Strong bracing will avoid the broach but the bow will stay submerged even in light stuff.
The spray-skirt supplied by the factory comes undone just in normal paddling. It will not stay attached during any effort to roll or even lean into turn. Don't bother buying it as it will only block access to your drink holder.
The St. Lawrence weathercocks severely in winds over 18km and and in stronger winds and seas you will find you must do far more work trying to just stay upright and you broadside the waves.
Of the kayaks we are evaluating, the St. Lawrence received the lowest score from anyone who has tested it here in the Hudson Bay area. A score of 5 is fair as it seems only half as good as the others we have evaluated here.
In calm water and close to shore it would be adequate or perhaps on freshwater lakes and rivers during calm conditions when you can use that drink holder in the seat.
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