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Submitted: 01-07-2008 by capt-tuttle
Solstice GT Titan LV Review (Six months in the making).
My stats and requirements: 6í 270, needed a kayak that was good enough to do some serious kayaking in the Chesapeake, but allowed me to move legs and knees around to accommodate a lower back disk I blew some years ago. I have 1.5 years of paddling experience, with confidence on my wet exit and self rescue but only have the first 180 of the roll down.
I tried several kayaks, the WS Tempest 170 was the closest competitor, it was tight but thought it would work, couldnít find a 180 to try. I didnít paddle the Solstice because it was just too tight. The Solstice Titan felt like a barge, the Titian LV ďas the story book goesĒ felt just right, when I paddled it, I bought it.
What I know and like so far. Takes head on waves like a dream. I was paddling a Pungo 140 before this and was used to being slammed but the Titan LV rides up and settles back nicely. Feel more stable then the WS Tempest 170 but matching stroke for stroke with a fellow paddler I have the speed advantage. Tracking is so nice I prefer to paddle with the rudder up and only use it when I absolutely have to. Gets a little squirrelly when the wave action is coming in from the stern but in light chop and powerboat wakes it hasnít dumped me yet. I love the gas peddle rudder control, when I do use the rudder it nice to adjust it and still have a solid foot peg brace.
Negatives: well it is a lot of boat out of the water and it very subject to the wind. Also between the high deck and a PDF that rides up on me ďlong torsoĒ I have had to make my paddle float rescue with a stirrup. Hopefully when I fix the PDF problem I hope to also dump the stirrup. I donít have anything to compare this comment to but when doing self rescue practice in nice calm water, when the cockpit is filled with water it is very unstable. Kind of makes me wonder what it will be like in chop, will have to find out when paddling with the group.
One other rather serious negative. After taking the kayak out for the first time, I found a small but deep chip in the paint by the hatch(kevlar). Took it back to the store and after some back and forth with the manufacture they replaced the kayak, it took six months but at least I had the old one to use before the swap. I inspected the new one as well as I could, put it on the truck and headed home, and there I found a small crack in the paint that I know I didnít miss so it must have happened on the drive home. Now I donít really care the paint is damaged, I plan to do a lot of that this year myself. But I am disappointed to see a pattern in the manufacturing process. Maybe its just bad luck but I think I will shy away from Current Designs next time around.
One other note, I purchased the kayak at Annapolis Canoe and Kayak, Dave and his staff are great folks. The original paint damage was disappointing to me but I took it to Dave more as a just so you know kind of thing then anything else, and he led the way for repair or replacement so I didnít have to deal with the manufacture. I will always check out Annapolis Canoe and Kayak when looking to add to my gear or flotilla.
As for score: the boat does all I want, but no kayak is perfect so I would say a 9 out of 10 for my needs, two examples of manufacturing problems makes it a 7 but they did replace the first with little hassle so I will score it an 8.
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