Submitted: 09-17-2008 by ERB
I've read all the reviews and researched this boat quite a bit as well as demo paddled it and other boat quite a few times before purchasing it. Of all the boat's I paddled this wasn't the fastest, nor was it the most stable, but it was the best combination of the two to suit my taste. Also it didn't hurt that it was several hundred dollars cheaper than similar boats. Also as a side note this boat is made by Heritage now.
So far I've had it out in 3ft waves with 30 knots winds with no problems. It does very well in rough water and maintains its stability. It glides through calm water very easily although as was previously stated it does have a noticeable bow wake at higher speeds. But you're not going to paddle it that fast for very long so it's not a problem.
I'm a larger paddler at 240lbs but in this boat that leaves me a 135lbs cargo capacity for long trips I plan to take with it. The other comparable boat I was looking at would have left me with 70 lbs. The hatches were a bit of a pain at first but after working with them a bit the work nicely.
A word of advice, they go on much easier if you wet the edge first, if you don't your going to fight it on the entire way. The seat is nice and easily adjustable for height. It's a very comfortable seat for long days on the water and the back band backrest is also nice and soft. I can lie on the back deck rather well but the tall sides of the boat hinder a lay back roll a bit. All other rolls can be done rather easily.
The rudder controls yaw very effectively, and the boat tracks very well even with the rudder retracted. Due to my size I brace against the sides of the hull more than the thigh braces which means the buckles of the rudder lines rub against my legs. Also the rudder pedals float freely in their brackets, which means when you take your feet off them they have a tendency to move forward. When this happens I then had to take off the front of my skirt and push them back forward because due to my large feet and legs it's difficult to maneuver them inside the cockpit. I remedied this by cutting a military style bungee cord in half and attaching the hooks to a notch in the pedals and tying the free end to the forward most notches in the brackets. The pedals now stay forward and my rudder returns to the neutral position when there is no pressure.
All in all it's a good stable relatively fast boat that is a pleasure to paddle. The bulkheads of my boat were sealed sufficiently and do not leak. And the deck lines are more than sufficient for attaching deck bags, paddle floats, bilge pumps and the like. It's an all around good touring boat whether you're a beginner or experienced paddler.