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Submitted: 07-01-2009 by perkybill
I purchased the composite Manitou 14 in May 2008 and have used it a lot.
The composite boat weighs only 42 pounds and that makes it really easy to carry. It is a very stable boat and tracks well in most conditions. I like the skeg, since it is out of the way until you use it, unlike a rudder. I engage the skeg about half way down in strong following seas or confused seas and makes going straight easy in these conditions.
While it is easy to paddle at its cruising speed of about 3 MPH, it takes a lot of effort to step it up to 4 MPH. It is also not very good in strong headwinds. Because of the design of the chines, it is hard to edge and get a quick turn. That can be a pain in the twisty bayous of the Houston Bay area. The seat is hard plastic and is a true pain in the butt. I am adding a foam seat pad recommended by Necky and will see if this helps.
The seat back is a band, which is great for me with my bad back. I make sure it is in my lumbar region and I am fine. I thought I would miss having a full seat back, but I was surprised at the comfort. Because the back band is lower than the coaming, it makes it easier to put the spray skirt on than the extrasport seat back on other Manitous.
I do not know how to roll, but took classes in rescue, having the boat upside down many times. The hatches allowed a small amount of water, but with dry bags, you should be OK.
All in all, this boat is a well made, stable, light, but not real fast or easy to turn kayak.
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