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Submitted: 05-13-2000 by DMC
I have been paddling the Seaward Navigator for a year now, and it is a very stable boat. It has a wide beam, and its upraised prow cuts through waves like butter. It has good primary stability and good secondary stability, a compromise boat in both respects. Excellent for beginners. Some comments;
1. It turns slowly, even with a lean. It is not that manouverable a boat. Fortunately, it has a rudder, which really helps. But its turning radius is too wide to recommend high marks.
2. It has an enormous cargo capacity. This is a good thing. The deck rigging is excellent, it includes rigging for a paddle float rescue and its seat can be used as a paddle float as a back-up.
3. It is definitely meant to be paddled loaded. All sea kayaks are, but especially this one. I recommend adding about 8 kilos of ballast. I use milk jugs, filled with water prior to entering the boat. This stabilizes boat in beam seas nicely.
4. It cuts nicely throught the water, glides really sweet and tracks very well, this is the compromise where we also find poor turning without rudder.
5. Check the hull carefully. Mine is uneven and it tracks funny sometimes because of it.
6. Rudder system is good, thoughtful features like a bungie to tie down rudder when transporting, and a reliable mechanism
7. I would recommend this is a beginner's boat. It is too slow for advanced paddlers and too unresponsive in turning for guides. But I teach kayaking courses with the Navigator and it is manouverable enough to do this with. But with the high bow and slow turning, taking care of capsized students in wind would be harder than it should be. The high bow is caught by the wind, and favours broaching. But it tracks straight like a dream, and is a very dry ride, waves just break and slip harmlessly over the bow, very nice design.
Seaward is an excellent company, and this boat delivers. It feels tippy on land, but in water, its primary stability is excellent, without sacrificing secondary stability.
Thumbs Up, but if you want speed, try the Seaward Quest.
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