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Submitted: 07-02-2008 by exofishio
I am 6'4", 210, 56 y/o, 6 years experience, own 4 kayaks and the Phoenix 16 is my first SOT. I got it to fish from, and I can sit with my 36" inseam fully extended with my feet on the pegs. In fact, the peg rack could be extended another 1.5" if necessary, but my feet contact the pegs at the instep, not the ball of my foot, with my heel flat on the deck.
The 16 comes bare, not even a seat pad, but the ergonomics of the buttbucket are such that for an hour and a half, you may not need one nor a backband. I did go for the OK backband and Yakpad gel seat bottom for longer trips and a 230 paddle is plenty even for a boat as wide as this one.
The 16 ships no water across the deck nor up from the scuppers into 2 foot chop and 22 mph winds gusting to 28 and the boat tracks true enough I did not regret ordering it w/o a rudder. I'm a purist, and this boat will track as well as you can paddle. I made 2 correcting strokes in that weather in a 2 klick paddle against, abeam and running with the wind. The 16 is apparently intended to lay a straight wake and it will do that to the extent it took 10, TEN, side strokes to turn it 180.
Its sleekness is deceptive. It is not much faster, if at all, that a poly boat the same length and not nearly as wide, but it glides well. Don't get off it without a tether. There are 2 completely useless hatches. One day screwtype, behind the buttbucket, and one oval snapfit on the foredeck. Both open into the maw of the entire hull. No bulkheads to stop the trip to the center of the boat where the item either hangs in the plumbing, or hooks onto one of the exposed bolt threads to secure itself until you get ashore to fish said item out with a fully extended coathanger.
The boat cannot be carried efficiently by one person. The gunwale straps are not attached at the centerline and the boat tips dangerously astern to seriously ding the pristine finish of the keel, or to pull the carrier off his/her balance. You'll need a friend to carry one end or a cart to go any distance to and from the water.
The Phoenix 16 is a day paddling SOT. It is not easily rigged to fish from, unless you are satisfied with strapping a milk crate astern, nor was it intended to be rigged to fish from. There is no way to get into the hull to secure the assorted attachments you'll need to comfortably fish; rodholders et. al. The boat does ride at anchor well and is easy to cast from, but even as wide as it is, be careful sitting sidesaddle. The initial stability is excellent, but the secondary is nonexistent and once the 16 goes past the tipping point, there is no recovery. This boat can be capsized surprisingly easily for an SOT.
In summary, the Phoenix 16 is a generally well designed beauty with careless afterthoughts throwing eggs on it and a much less attractive but more utilitarian fishing 'yak can be had with a rudder for several hundred dollars less. But, if fishing is not your thing in a SOT and all you want is a suave, slick daytripper guaranteed to steal the show, the 16 may be your boat.
As an after word, the customer service at Hurricane is less than satisfactory. They have yet to answer my emails regarding issues with my order. Be advised.
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