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Submitted: 10-02-2008 by djo
Having paddled my Eddyline Equinox for a little over a year now, I through that it was time to report some my opinions. First a little about me. I am 6'3" about 220 lbs. and pushing hard on 60 years old. I have canoed for 5 decades and owned kayaks for about 15 years but have mainly used an old beat up Old Town Loon 138 as a platform for fly fishing for stripers from our place in Maine and to run over to Biddeford Pool for beer and lobster. I have put in a couple of hundred hours paddling the Equinox and for the first time have given some serious through to developing my techniques.
First impression: My objectives were to get a high quality boat that was light enough for me to wrestle atop my car solo that would allow me to do modestly challenging flat water in the windy Midwest. The Equinox meets these qualifications. It is a thermoform boat so it is very tough while having a weight that approaches a composite. As with every Eddyline boat I have seen the build quality is excellent. It is a 14 ft boat with sealed compartments fore and aft with a weight of 45 lbs making it easy to flip on top of my Camry. The boat is very rigid and highly resistant to the dings and bangs of launching and landing on rocky shorelines. The cockpit opening is large (18.5 x 35 in.) making entrance and egress easy but mandating a spray skirt to keep water out during even modest edging. The boat easily handles my size. The standard footbrace just fits my 34Ē inseam and my size 11 feet fit as long as I donít try to wear Tevas.
Second impressions: Eddyline designed the Equinox as a transitional boat with the high primary and secondary stability of a recreational kayak but length and hatches of a touring boat. They have succeeded in these objectives. With its 25 in. width, shallow V bottom, and hard chine constructions the boat has very high initial stability. Even complete novices are very comfortable. The boat makes a good platform for fishing, photography, and even putting your knees up and eating lunch. It also provides solid secondary stability needed to learn to rely on edges and leans. The seat is comfortable for me for 3 or 4 hours. There is plenty of room to stash a few days of camping supplies in the hatches.
Third impressions: While most of my paddling has been solo, I have put in enough miles with others to know that the Equinox is very easy to keep straight even in strong quartering winds and 2-3 foot waves. The boat does not have a rudder or skeg and does not need one. I have also learned that while the boat edges great it does not turn terribly quickly. One paddler, who is an instructor, did not believe me until he tried it. Sweeps and leans have to be greatly exaggerated to have the desired effect. I have tried it once on a small muddy Midwestern river and the limited agility made it less than an ideal boat. While the boat is not a dog, you have to work harder than your fellow travelers to keep up with equally skilled paddlers in true sea kayaks.
Overall: This boat is exactly what it is supposed to be. It is an extremely well designed extremely well built introductory kayak for someone that wants a high performance recreational boat or a low performance touring boat. It tracks well and probably for most paddlers will be more boat than they ever need. It has also convinced me of the quality of Eddyline products and of their thermoform plastics. I suspect that some folks will feel they want a higher performance boat in a year or so. I tried an Eddyline Fathom for an hour the other day and covet it mightily for its increased speed and nimbleness.
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