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Submitted: 09-19-2006 by Bill
I've had my Sunny for about a month now and have had the opportunity to try it out both in Lake Huron as well as the rocky shores of Georgian Bay, in the Great Lakes- deep, cold water. I researched inlatables for over a year- I have a hardshell (Wilderness Cape Horn) that I've spent many happy days in, and this is the first experience I've had with inflatables.
I was impressed with the quality of the boat construction, and I'm more impressed with her performance. Rigged as a double, you need to pay attention as the paddlers are quite close and paddle co-ordination is a must if you don't want to be the joke of the beach. There was still enough room for a large dry bag in the bow and a large backpack in the stern. Rigged as a single, there is tons of room for extended camping gear, and the boat moves very well through the water. In windy and choppy conditions, expect to get wet, although due to being low in the water, she handles much better in the wind than a canoe. She's not self bailing so a bailer/sponge is an asset.
The boat has an incredibly stable feel without being a pig in the water- as a single she's quite fast and easy to paddle- very comfortable to paddle for the day- you can change position with ease and even move around in her. The skeg gives her nice direction control, though you'll have to get out in water under about 8" deep.
The reports of the seat ropes being too short are true- they weren't meant for actually tying in but only knoting. The bow and stern lines are also a problem as they are only single knoted as well. I've replace these with 5/8th nylon braided, attached with a figure eight follow through with a barrel backup knot on both sides of the bow and stern, leaving a figure eight on a bight directly over the bow and stern. The seat ropes were replaced with the same 5/8th nylon, about twice as long as supplied, leaving enough rope for a simple square knot. The only other concern I had was the integrity of the air valves, though the company assures me there were few if any problems- I haven't read of any problems with these in any of the reviews. The valve covers would be difficult to operate with cold fingers though- they could be bigger.
The Sunny is easy and quick to set up, and I've even slept in the boat while anchored in a sheltered bay- fortunately I'm not very big as its a snug fit- but it is possible- slept like a log as well. I wanted the inflatable to take with me on a return extended trip (my seventh) to India where I intend to spend some months on a few rivers. I needed a boat that was reliable, repairable in the field, with lots of gear space, one I could sleep in if necessary, stable and with at least a reasonable turn of speed. The Sunny fits the requirements. Oh- a caution with this and any inflatable. I have a 10 ft. tether that snaps onto my PFD, attached to my bow line. If you think there's any possibility of falling out- you need to be tethered- in even a light breeze the boat will take off on you much faster than you can swim- a caution as well when you pull up on shore and get out, especially if she's unloaded- if its windy you need to tie the boat up or you'll turn around to see her drifting off. Rather embarrassing. Been there, done that.
All in all, I'm very pleased with the Innova Sunny, both in quality of construction and performance. The Innova people have a quality product with performance to match. Just a little nit-pick besides the rigging- the brochure/instructions the company supplies needs a bit of work to bring it up to the world class that the boat itself is.
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