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Submitted: 02-11-2009 by Chris

I bought a Guillemot 19 foot Expedition cedar-strip kayak about a year and 800 miles ago and now feel it is time to comment on my experiences.

I love the boat but it is not perfect. In addition to extended camping trips, I paddle it in all conditions a couple miles everyday and it can be a wet ride in head winds or choppy seas due to the curvature of the hull-deck. The fine entry allows the bow to cut into oncoming waves, which can wash down the deck. In beam seas, the boat’s stability is inspiring, off the wind, it surfs easily.

I find the 19' Expedition tracks loosely when paddled, is generally easily maneuvered but also easily deflected by waves or currents. Unloaded it corrects with the slightest adjustment to paddle stroke. But loading it with 300 pounds of paddler, gear, food and water for an 8 day trip up the Everglades Wilderness Waterway, I found my control was often overpowered by even moderate wind, tidal current or waves. A combination of these often required deliberate paddle-rudder correction or strong arm maneuvering. As the load lightened, the handling improved but remained challenging. Load placement did not make a significant difference but I found it easier to steer if balanced or slightly bow heavy.

This boat is a thing of beauty and a joy to paddle, but it will get a rudder before its next big trip.

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