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Submitted: 07-11-2007 by greatmeadows
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(NDK) Explorer Elite seems to have a higher than normal combing particularly on the front. Compartments take on some water in rough seas, not sure from where yet.
Performance - Head on seas very mild mannered thin bow will just nose a hair under the wave and pop right up, quietly and smoothly. Following seas and some surf, dead on no hint of broaching, perhaps the most stable boat in these conditions that Iíve ever encountered. Beam and or confused seas - because of the fairly active primary the Explorer is happy to be on one cheek or the other in these conditions. For the novice the feeling is that you might capsize and there is the tendency to brace, however the firm secondary will not let you capsize. This is an area to get more comfortable with the boat over time and learn to trust it.
Speed - a steady cruiser, does not give a feeling of speed but neither does it feel stodgy. Iím able to stay with my companion paddlers comfortably. The Explorer tracks very well and even in beam wind or sea needs only the shifting from one cheek to the other to keep your bearing. On a long crossing under those conditions dropping the skeg maybe 20 percent is all thatís needed. The hull is so well designed to be neutral that a large amount of skeg results in moving the bow downwind. Turning is particularly good for a long boat; a sweep and and falling on the opposite inside edge will bring the boat around nicely. My Elite is published to be 8-10 lbs lighter than the standard lay-up and so may require my ballasting the boat with same weight to achieve optimum performance. I weigh 178 lbs.
The carbon NDK seat that looks like it was designed to torture its sitter has been surprisingly comfortable over long hours. The back band was replaced by the original owner with an NSI anatomical band, which works as advertised. I do a lot of rolling practice and the sloping bulkhead behind the seat is a marvelous idea when all else fails and you need to dump the water out of the cockpit. Speaking of rolling, my initial attempts were frustrating. With itís low rear deck the Explorer was supposed to be an easy roller. Well, for a long boat it is, just took a little bit of time to get used to it. Speaking of the low rear deck and sloping low rear combing, this cockpit is wonderful for a low torso paddler who is happy to keep the bottom of his rib cage from whacking into the combing when rolling or low bracing or any moderate torso twists. Build quality is acceptable-hull shows some ripples under the right light, the above mentioned water leakage, hatch covers not tethered, combing hole in deck roughly cut as well as the internal bulkheads. Bungees are loose and deck lines are tight.
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