Submitted: 05-08-2009 by wavespinner
While the 18X resembles the Endurance I replaced, it is clearly a different boat. The first thing I noticed was the weight. In going from a skinned carbon fiber to the Performance foam core, it picks up a few pounds. It also seems more rigid and the build quality is much better. The Ultra layup would reduce the weight, but the additional cost and potential problems weren’t worth it to me.
The integral rudder is designed to increase speed. The trade off is it doesn't have the bite of the flip-down edition. I haven't found that to be a major drawback. But, there's always a protruding blade below the waterline, so you do have to be aware of that in shallow water or plopping it down on a hard surface. It has the gas pedal control, but I might modify that to the kickstick tiller.
Hatch openings are generous. There is a molded in cutout for a day hatch behind the cockpit, but I wouldn't see many taking advantage of that.
The cockpit is set up so you can paddle in either the "normal" or knees-together position. Position adjustments are easy, which is good because it is sensitive to trim. Deck redesign allows slightly better access to the water.
From a racing friend's test drive vs. his Endurance and my own experimentation, I calculate it at about four to five percent faster. That's enough reason for racers to upgrade.
The beam tapers down at the waterline so yes, it is on the tippy side, more so than the Endurance. If stability is a priority, this isn't the boat for you. If speed is your need, this is your steed.