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Submitted: 07-25-2008 by geojer
I owned a Solstice GTS in fiberglass for about a year and a half, here is the good and the bad.
I'm 6'tall and weigh 195 lbs, size 10 1/2 feet. I had this boat out in a range of weather 0-25 kts of wind and mirror smooth to 3 ft waves with the occasional surf exit and entry.
The boat fit me well, it was snug, but that's good. The cockpit was a tight entry and snug on the hips with a little padding. The construction was top notch, the glassing was clean without nicks or rough spots in and out, the rigging was good and nothing felt cheap, beautiful boat to look at.
the good---- The boat tracks well, point it in a direction and it will go. the rudder is easy to deploy, and the foot pedals work well with the setup. There is a TON of space in the front and back hatches for equipment. It is very stable this is good and bad, the primary and secondary stability both felt solid to me.
The bad--- This boat is very hard to turn. The length and the shape of the stern are working against you, This boat design needs a rudder, period. I had trouble turning the boat even with as sweep stroke and it leaned to the coaming. I could make it maneuver without a rudder but it's a wrestling match.
I had trouble with it leecocking in 10-15 kt wind, it may be the combination of my weight, height, and the boat..... I also had trouble with CD's new pedal clip system, they replaced the squeeze adjustment with a paddle-tension adjustment. The paddles would flip up and release tension during a roll, blowing out the pedal (and my roll...). My boat had a very leaky front hatch, after a rough day the front bow would be full of water. I think this may have contributed to my lee cocking problems. Still, no fun.
The boat will Pearl in surf easily, there is more buoyancy in the large back compartment compared to the front, so you need to lean waaaay back on a wave.
OK overall, the boat is fine if you need a stable craft to go straight, and your rudder never breaks. Trade out the tension paddle foot braces, and check your hatches. I should say this is only my experience and opinion. Many, many people love this boat, it depends on preferences, needs, skills, etc. For me it just wasn't a good boat. I gave it a seven for the little annoyances and a design that more or less requires a rudder for proper operation. I would suggest a lengthy test paddle before purchase.
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