Submitted: 02-12-2007 by chas
Had mine about 7 weeks now - first boat I've owned. Using it for small local paddles on placid and slow water (that's all we really have in this part of England). Intend to use it in and around Thames Estuary and for overnight trips but want to get used to it before then. Also learning to roll it in a local pool - warmer than doing it outdoors at this time of year - haven't yet succeeded. I'm novice level, 48 years old 6' 1" and 190 lbs.
This boat is great for me - stable, comfortable, easy to get in and out of. Thighbraces sit well on my legs and I don't have aches after 2 hours on board - first boat I've had that on. As I said it is stable - but obviously not like an Acadia - which allows me to focus on paddling technique, understanding water conditions etc but it is still dynamic enough for me to learn about how kayaks work. It leans over quite well - I can just about get the spraydeck wet on the left - need to work on the other side - and is predictable so I know when I've reached that point. And when it goes over it's very stately - plenty of time to get a brace in (and take a precautionary breath) and when you do go over the generous cockpit lets you get out easily (all capsizes have been deliberately induced just in case you thought I was contradicting myself about the stability).
Crosswinds and the skeg seem to work well - I like the idea of a skeg compared to a rudder because I think I'd struggle to co-ordinate my feet on a rudder and also it makes me work more on sweep strokes and leaning to induce a turn (which is wierd 'cos it's the opposite of how you do it on a motorbike - leaning out!?)
So 2 final points - Firstly - Am I qualified to post a review? I'm not an expert kayaker so this review is only relevant to an average sized novice looking to test or buy a touring/coastal type boat. These people can decide for themselves from what I've put above.
Secondly - why "only" a 7? Easy - 5/6 is average. This boat is above average - it does what I expected it to do in the way I expected it to do it. It's clearly not perfect - all kayak designs are a myriad of compromises - it's great for me now but in 2 years time I may want something a bit more lively for some occasions which means I'll have to buy another boat (don't tell my wife). So it can't evolve with me. That's a 7 in my perfectionist view.