Submitted: 07-09-2007 by bryanpsims
I purchased my new Necky Manitou 14 a few weeks ago but I waited until I had a few outings under my belt before I reviewed it. I bought it for the purpose of making it my all-around “go-to” boat and I think I have a winner.
While it is billed as a “rec-touring” or “day touring” boat, it has some characteristics of larger, more expensive touring boats. At 14+ feet long and only 24 inches wide, it tracks very well and has good to above average speed. In a recent outing I estimated I was averaging 2 to 3 mph with little effort. Picking up the pace and doing some harder paddling I probably got to 5+. In conditions where tracking is difficult the skeg comes in very handy. I find that it most efficient when only deployed about 30 to 40%. The rear storage compartment sacrifices some space to the internal parts of the skeg and the control cables but with a little creative packing it still holds a good bit of gear. The fore and aft dry storage compartments are triple sealed and have so far held 100%. The open hatch is first covered with an elastic neoprene cover, followed by a hard plastic panel, followed by 2 snap-lock straps. The neoprene cover can be difficult to replace at first but I found that by first rolling it inside out, hooking the widest end on the hatch lip and then rolling it the rest of the way on, all the while keeping steady pressure on, it goes on fairly easily. At only 50 pounds it is incredibly easy to carry, load and unload as compared to some other boats I have owned in the past. Also, it was 12 to 16 pounds lighter than several other similar models I demoed in this same general size and class. That being said, it was also slightly more initially “tippier” than some of the others I tried. It is slightly narrower and has a true “shallow V” hull. Some other “day touring” boats had a modified “shallow V” with some hard chines. After you are in and start moving, secondary stability was very good. I have made several outings on a lake and some wider rivers where I shared space with fishing boats. The first few boat wakes I encountered I turned into them and rode over the waves. The sharp, narrow bow cut through some of the larger ones. As I got more comfortable, I stayed on course and paddled on, taking the waves from the side. My only minor complaint would probably be for the seat. The bottom is comfortable but I felt that the back may sit a little too high depending on the style of PFD you wear. Even when it is in the lowest setting, it still sits an inch or two above the rim of the cockpit. The height adjustment can only be changed while one is out of the boat as the back has to be tipped back approximately 60+ degrees and then slipped either up or down to a new position. I suppose you might be able to reset it while still in the boat but you would have scoot all the way up in the cockpit, reach 2 hands behind your back and make the changes completely blind. Thigh and back angle adjustments are easily reached on the sides of the cockpit and have clips to hold excess strapping out of the way. A drink holder is a nice touch.
Overall, I am very happy with my purchase and “pro” the Manitou 14. In my opinion it’s “cons” would be it’s need for a little more storage, a slightly better seat and more initial stability. I give it an “8.”