Submitted: 07-24-2006 by R.Anderson
I've had my CD "Expedition" for going on four years. It is an absolutely topnotch piece of fiberglass construction...beautiful to look at, and wonderfully well finished.
But, as has been alluded to in other reviews...it is not for a beginner. I was just that when I purchased mine. The salesman really didn't know anything about the boat (which I was unfortunately unaware of at the time) and he steered me in decidedly the wrong direction. I had so much initial difficulty staying upright that I called the factory for help. They clued me in that I had really gotten the wrong boat, but by that time I was in a practical sense stuck with it. Their advice to install about 50# of lead-shot ballast (two standard glass fiber bags of the stuff) in the very front of the rear cargo hold made the boat tolerable for my beginning skills...but still it could be a bit of a handfull. I have subsequently paddled it about 1000 miles give or take, and in the process become much more adept at "bracing" and leaning into turns, and all the rest of it. The one time I packed it with camping gear, the load made the handling much better. But even so, I have left the ballast in the boat (it is easily removeable should the need for maximum carrying capacity arise) because I still don't really trust it without it.
I love paddling, but I must say that my inital experience with this boat came close to souring me on the whole idea forever. I have spent much of my life on the water, having grown up on a lake, and I thought I knew all about boats, but the Expedition taught me to be a little more humble. I think any beginner would be well advised to stay away from this boat. It is true that it has a high degree of secondary stability (something that I have now learned enough to be able to take some advantage of), and that fact can save one's "bacon" given the right crucial circumstance; but generally speaking it usually takes an expert paddler to venture into the kind of situation where this characteristic can be taken proper advantage of in the first place.
There are kayaks, and there are kayaks, and I now know that there are kayaks that are even "tippier" than my Expedition, but not too many.