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Submitted: 01-21-2008 by Skiffrace

In the summer of 2007 after some initial research I decided on a road trip and went to Port Townsend (I live in Portland, Oregon) to try most of Pygmy’s models. My preliminary impressions of various boats I tried
== Coho is a superb kayak overall: good speed, handling, cargo volume, however I found it's initial stability a bit low.
== Osprey standard is a bit small
== Osprey HP is super fast but does not want to turn unless you install rudder.
== Queen Charlotte line is somewhat outdated and does not provide the cambered deck feature which i find super useful- you don’t scrape your knuckles on the deck’s edge (why all kayak designers don't implement this feature in their kayaks ?)
When all was said and done I settled on Arctic Tern.

AT was voted the best sea kayak kit by the readers of the "Sea Kayaker" magazine, but I chose it because it just felt and handled right - all things considered it came on top (for me) Here is what I like about AT:
- Turns very well with leaned turns - no need for any steering device
- Tracks well without a skeg.
- Large cargo volume
- Excellent primary and good secondary stability.
- Dry ride

Here is what I dislike:
- Not as fast as I would like - Coho and esp. Osprey HP are faster.
- ??? I guess these are all the bad things I can say about this kayak.

In general, I think all Pygmy boats are superbly designed, both from the "mathematical model" and the "hands-on experience" standpoint. The designer (John Lockwood) has been at this for so long he's learned a thing or two (or three), what cannot be said about some of the "garage tinkerers" in the kayak building community (As the saying goes "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing").

Besides the kayak, you need to also consider other things, like construction process. Pygmy kayak construction process differs from CLC and other makers. I'd say Pygmy process is very good, but the instructions that describe the process have, uhm, some room for improvement. If you choose Pygmy, make sure you read (and re-read), (and re-read) the manual until you really understand what are they talking about.

If you happen to read this: How hard would it be to re-write your instruction to make it clearer for a beginner builder to understand? You are selling great boats and I would (will) buy another kayak from you (as soon as I have time to build one) but the fuziness of your instructions (not everybody is a skilled woodworker with 5 kayaks under his/er belt) is the only minus point in this review.

So, if you are an "advanced" beginner to "beginner" advanced paddler, go and build this bird, (or maybe the tasty fish) When all is said and done, you will wake up in the middle of the night, pet the cat, then go down to your garage and look at the boat with warm fuzzy feelings.

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