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Submitted: 08-15-2006 by paddledancer
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I bought my XL160 in July, 2003 from the factory store in Old Town, Maine as a "third" (no warranty) and it's been one of the best decisions I've ever made. The following month a group of 7 paddled the Allagash in northern Maine. Two of us took in the XL and a friend in a Loon 138. On the lakes we were like sports cars compared to the 20 ft. canoes but once we hit the river we both got wet several times. No harm done but neither of these boats are made for fast water. At 6'3" and 280 pounds I've had no problems getting in and out of the XL. It's very stable and tracks well even in windy conditions. I haven't seen a need for a rudder as the boat is so easy to turn with a little lean. if a skeg were available I would consider one as I tend to push with my legs as I paddle so I want the foot braces to be rock solid. The only problem I can think of is the way the spray skirt fits. The cockpit is really too large for a skirt to hold well so I don't bother using it and pump out when I can in heavy waves. I see Old Town has upgraded the seat so I may have to look into replacing the molded rock I sit on now (even with foam pads). I mentioned earlier that I bought the kayak with no warranty. While on the Allagash one of the foot braces broke and had to be wired together for the rest of the trip. On the way home I stopped in at the factory store to buy a new one..mentioned to the clerk what had happened and was given a replacement at no charge.
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