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Submitted: 06-15-2009 by George
I also bought this boat untested because it fit the general criteria I was looking for (snug fit around 14' with skeg), it was on sale, and I could return it if I didnít like it. This review is based on a few weekends of paddling on quiet water - slow moving rivers, lake with ~15 mph winds, and ponds. Probably about 20 hours on the water, with the boat empty. I'm 5'8" with more torso than leg with size 8 1/2 feet. I like a snug fit, and I do feel if I were any larger in any of the foregoing dimensions I'd be too big for this boat. I love the fit, but if you are any bigger, you may find the 14.0L a better choice.
I will preface by saying that I really like this boat. The fit is great for me, and its wonderfully responsive. It has a fair amount of rocker and a harder chine for a poly boat, so the combination makes for very tight radius turning. Initial stability is solid, although I haven't tested the secondary. The seating system is pretty much identical to Wildy's backband Phase 3 - so its very adjustable and comfortable. Again, the 14.0S is very snug, but that's what I was looking for.
Overall, a very comfortable boat to be in, and very customizable. One ergonomic issue for me was that the seat seems somewhat far up the cockpit. Not enough to impact overall comfort, but it did make the day hatch placement enough of a stretch that I would not be going back there on the water. But then there's enough room behind the seat for dry bag storage, so its a wash so long as its secured (this pretty much echoes what previous reviewer's comments). I also agree that water does get in the coaming quite easily.
I did find that the boat weathercocks easily; perhaps due to the degree of rocker and a higher stern deck than some comparable boats. The skeg helps, but does slow down the boat noticeably. Storage is on the small side, but this is a 14' low volume boat, so I expected that. Since I also backpack, most of my equipment is light or ultralight anyway so I can easily fill the boat with enough equipment and water for an overnight or a light weekend. I would not expect to take the 14.0S on a trip longer than a weekend, unless you aren't taking any water.
In conclusion, I would recommend this boat to a smaller - medium paddler who likes a snug fit in a boat, and whose intention for it is day trips perhaps with some overnight excursions. Ideally the boat would be used in more calm weather conditions, and/or situations where maneuverability is more of a priority over tracking.
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