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Submitted: 04-06-2007 by Kevin W
The Pygmy Arctic Tern 14 is my fourth boat overall and the 3rd kit(stitch&glue construction) boat I have built. The kit seemed to go together with more precision than my CLC kits. At first I was hesitant to get a boat with such a short waterline thinking it would compromise my sprint speed and make it difficult to keep up with my colleagues. Also, at 23" this boat is beamier than my previous builds. Truly the At 14 does not have the fastest hull speed, but the reality is that this boat excels in every other category. I have have had more fun in the short time paddling this boat than all my other ones combined. The primary stability is good yet still playful. The secondary is confidence inspiring allowing you to make leaned turns that become second nature. Catching a wave is no problem, in fact this boat is terrific in the surf and the maneuverability seems to give it a great advantage over longer boats. In wild conditions, the Tern 14 really shines! The defined keel allows it to track fairly well and all that is needed to adjust is a slight knee hang to offset any weathercocking or in a quartering sea. The angular deck accommodates my upright paddling style in spite of having a wider beam. At 5'6", 150lbs. I am a rather diminutive paddler- this is probably the middle of the range recommendation for the AT14. It is a perfect fit for me. The only recommendation I can make is to customize the cockpit. I carved out a dense foam seat, added hip and thigh padding and trimmed down the back band so it would complement the seat. The smaller cockpit makes me feel more connected yet ingress/egress is no problem. I didn't install hatches on the deck- instead I put small inspection ports in the bulkheads. For me this is predominantly a playboat and I don't have to hassle with hatches that don't seal properly. That is one of the great things about stitch and glue construction, customization is easy. As far as the hull speed, I can cruise along with other kayakers with no problem. The all out sprint speed...well considering everything this boat has to offer, that is low on my list of priorities.
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