Submitted: 06-11-2007 by Eric
We had been recreational canoers for a long time before we tried a kayak excursion while vacationing in the Florida keys. After that and a similar experience at Bar Harbor, we were hooked on kayaking.
We bought a Whisper CL for our anniversary late last summer and couldn't be happier with it. We've used it primarily on 1-2 hour outings on the large Lake Monroe in Indiana, but also in the backwaters in Orange Beach, Alabama, and it's the boat we used in the Keys.
We find the boat to be quite comfortable, and the rudder -- essential on a boat of this length -- works well (though see below). My wife found that her back was getting sore after a while paddling, but when I suggested she slouch a bit, it helped. The relative closeness of the cockpits does make it advantageous to paddle synchronously, but that's not a problem for us. Because we've done only short excursions, we haven't even used the hatches yet, but they seem spacious and the covers very secure.
The rudder that shipped with the boat was apparently cracked when it was delivered to the dealer, so we had to wait for the replacement to come. And this spring, one of the rudder lines pulled out of its anchor in front of the pedal. Eddyline was quick to promise us a replacement part (though they then forgot and needed a reminder). We like the relative light weight -- two middle-aged people can lift it pretty easily onto the cartop carrier. Its length (19'6") means it JUST fits in our garage.
When I was shopping, I appreciated seeing what people used for accessories, so here's a quick summary:
I set up a Harken hoist system that works great with the boat, which was a real pain to install, but works great. We use a Yakima rack system with Mako saddles. The Yakima tie-downs are nice. And we splurged on carbon paddles from Aqua-Bound (230 cm), and are very happy with those as well, though after the first couple times out I wished I had a 240cm paddle in the back. I'm just 5'8" and have to dig pretty steeply to avoid hitting the side of the boat. I've adapted to it fine now and don't know that I need/want the added length now.
We went out recently with our kids (two teenage girls and a pre-teen boy), two of us in a rented canoe and one in a cheap rental single kayak. Though the Whisper CL had the 3rd and 4th strongest paddlers, it was easily the fastest boat of the three boats.
We're quite happy with our Whisper CL and would buy the same boat again.