Submitted: 06-22-2007 by Timo
I bought my Royalex hull Spirit II two years ago. It was equipped with a third seat which I thought to be a little funny at first. Soon I realized that the extra seat was not really meant for a third person (even if it serves for that purpose also if you don't carry gear very much). The seat in the middle is great for solo paddling! There's so much room for gear that, when going solo, I don't even need to remove the front and back seats, I just slide my most buoyant sacks underneath for added safety.
I've just finished a 130 kilometer paddling trip three days ago, spent a week on flat water, around one of the biggest islands in Finland. The Spirit II was beyond my expectations, once again. I had to pull through a couple of open waters with heavy wind one day, accompanied with waves and some rain. The canoe steered well, and with moderate waves I didn't need spray decks - I'm going to purchase (or make) them anyway in the future, just for convenience.
I don't like portages, and pack accordingly, not needing to worry about the amount of weight versus stability. The weight is a factor though when I bump into obstacles or just hit a submerged rock - the Royalex outer surface gets scratched easily but that does not have effect to the performance on water, what it does is a boost in street credibility...
I rotate paddling techniques during a trip, to keep myself from straining muscles. The Spirit II is great for the Canadian style as well. This is one well made, well designed canoe!