Submitted: 10-24-2008 by redmond
My boat is actually a Hop on Top 18. The design is the same as the Shearwater, but this boat was Paul Cronin's personal boat and it's made of Kevlar and Carbon Fiber. This is my initial assesment:
Finally got a chance to try it out. Compared to most SOT's, it's very quick. Unfortunately, I had my OK Sprinter out for comparison. The Sprinter is faster with better glide. The HOT 18 is a beautiful boat and more stable than the Sprinter and it will carry more. The HOT is also seriously lighter. Probably at least ten lbs difference. Nice when it comes to loading and unloading.
This was on flatwater, so I don't know about rough water handling. The under stern rudder worked very well and would turn it very quickly. But it did slow it down a lot when I really cranked it over. Makes sense. I really like the option of using the rudder or not so I've removed it and going to replace it with an over stern one. Also, some of the water I paddle in can get shallow so the over stern rudder will help there.
Couldn't tell anything about the inherent tracking or maneuverability of the boat because the rudder controls that. Now that I've removed the rudder, it'll be interesting to see what it does.