Submitted: 11-17-2008 by PrinceBooger
I purchased my craft in June 08 and I have been very satisfied with my purchase. I have been paddling for approx. 1 1/2 years now and have covered approx. 450 miles (about 100 miles with my Kestral) and have paddled the Gulf of Mexico, Intercoastal Waterway, mangrove backwaters, flowing streams, and lakes.
The tracking on this craft is virtually faultless, it is a very "dry" SOT even in 2' waves and when any water broke into the cockpit, it flowed out the one and only scupper faster than I thought possible. There are very few "nitpicks" I have with this craft. It doesn't respond enough to "edging" into a turn and "ruddering" is often necessary to negotiate tight to moderate turns. It does, however, accelerate briskly away from those lower speeds and it does have a wonderful "glide". The foot rest configuration, while appearing adequate, fell between the needs of my 32" inseam. I had to apply an adhesive dense foam to the further step point to get my knee-bend where it needed to be. This has been addressed on the 2nd generation 14' Kestral SOT with a conventional adjustable peg system. I was very surprised when I opened my rear hatch to find that knee straps are standard but I find that they are not "required" to paddle this Yak.
I am 5'9" and 190 lbs. I have not felt the need to change the supplied seat system and I can say that I find this craft a very comfortable paddle. My excursions have run from 3 hours to 6 1/2 hours in this craft and that is a testament to their ergonomic set-up. The Heritage Ultra-Lite 14' Tandem I was paddling with my wife was only bearable for 3 hours at best. At 39 lbs. and $1,550, this is a great value. My "9" rating is only based on the footrest configuration and my wish for more response to "edging", and the lack of ability to add a rudder to this craft knocked it down from a 10-- my heart wanted to give it. I have no regrets with my purchase. The stability of this craft is fine once you reset your expectations (and balance) from what is required for a ''beamey" roto-molded craft to what my wife called a "racehorse" craft. I was acclimated within 10 minutes.