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Submitted: 10-05-2006 by tmark
I purchased a used '05 poly Eclipse 17 and am very, very pleased with it. I'm 6'1", 175 lbs - big but not huge. I have tight hamstrings and my legs cramp up and go to sleep in most boats (e.g. the Necky Chatham 17 I dumped for the Eclipse). The Current Designs Storm was recommended to me as a "big guy" boat. It is huge! In fact, it is way too wide for me. Furthermore, despite the width, the Storm's cockpit coaming and, thus, thigh braces are very low - so my legs went right to sleep. The Eclipse 17's thigh braces are higher than most boats, and it is not too wide, so the fit is just right for me. I'll easily install hip pads for a close fit.
The "tippy" initial stability that some object too, makes the boat quite fast and efficient to paddle. The secondary stability is very secure for me, and when laid over the Eclipse turns very quickly with a strong sweep. All in all, it feels lively and fun.
If bracing is not instinctive, then the Eclipse 17 might be "too much boat" for such a paddler. First day in this thing, I paddled in moderately rough sea conditions and had no difficulty or near-capsize incidents. But, my braces are pretty good and getting better.
I'm not crazy about the neoprene/solid hatch cover system - why not use the new-style flexble covers like the Valley? Furthermore, there is a design problem with the current hatch system: the bolts that secure the hatch cover straps project down far enough that when I filled the front hatch full of gear and the neoprene cover was slightly pushed upward, one bolt wore a hole through the neoprene.
Lots of storage. Comforatble seat. Good rudder system. Excellent outfitting (as usual for Perception). The extra lbs are largely due to the many outfitting and hull features Perception has built into this boat (and other models).
A better hatch cover system would jump the Eclipse 17 to a "10" for me.
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