Submitted: 02-09-2009 by smithfield_paddler
Iíve been paddling my Sirocco for almost two years now. I go about 200# and 6í with a 31-32" inseam. I was looking for a boat that I could plant my bum in the seat and still be able to swing my legs into the boat. The Sirocco was just able to pull this off. Unfortunately I was not able to demo the boat prior to purchase. Upon my first outing I thought I had made a mistake.
The chines are quite soft and the bottom of the boat is fairly round despite Current Designs calling it a "shallow V." CD also rates the stability the same as the Storm kayak. Iíve paddled the Storm and it is NOTHING like the Sirocco in terms of stability. The Storm has loads of initial stability, the Sirocco considerably less. The Sirocco, for me, lacks initial stability to the point that I really had to pay attention to what I was doing. Now she will edge and turn like a champ, but be ready for a swim if you push her too far.
Iíve had a hard time feeling the end of the secondary stability so I always keep a low brace on the ready when making sharp turns. I suspect this may be partly due to me having more height above my hips than below. Derek Hutchinson, whom I do respect, did design this boat and heís not exactly a real tall guy. The primary stability does improve significantly when the hatches are loaded and Iíve taken to bringing 8 lbs of ballast for the front and rear hatches during day paddles. That said, Iím still not comfortable enough to bring my good digital camera with me on the boat. Sheíd probably feel great with 40 lbs of gear. Being like most boats, she feels more stable moving then sitting still.
She tracks ok with the skeg up and just fine with skeg down. Iíd never say itís a bad tracking boat. Remember she is a great turning and very playful boat. While being playful, she still maintains a fine cruising speed for most any situation. Of course, if youíre looking to do really long paddles on a regular basis you should be looking for a different boat.
I found the outfitting to be decent but probably still sub-par to most of the boats it competes with. I like the foot braces and I hated the stock back band (it was replaced after the first summer). The thigh braces are so-so and also definitely sub-par compared to the competition. Other than that the boat has held up very well with no leaks or skeg problems. Most importantly, the plastic used for the boat seems to be as good as or better than the competition although not in the same league as Prijon and P&H. I paid $1100 for the boat new in í07 and that seems about what itís worth.
Iím now looking very hard at the P&H Scorpio, hoping to find more initial stability without giving up maneuverability. Iím sure my old Sirocco will make someone very happy...