Submitted: 07-20-2009 by JCC
I have had my Epic 18 since 2006. I got it as a demo at the end of the season, and while I would have preferred carbon fiber, the price was right on the glass version and it only weighs 47 lbs anyway. Now I am glad I have ght glass boat because I don't have any of the QC problems people have written about with their carbon boats. Despite the fact that the boat is stored outdoors until ice-over, the gelcoat is fine. The seat is suspended from the coaming and does not have much underneath it. but there re no cracks etc. The backband was uncomfortable, but I solved that problem by re-installing it upside down and putting a better strap on it.
The bungee cords on the back deck are useless for a paddle float rescue, however, and need to be replaced by solid lines if you are going to use that technique. That said, the boat rolls easily and if I trashed out of the boat, my first self rescue would be a re-entry and roll followed, if needed by a paddle float re-entry and roll. There is plenty of storage for longer trips, and while I can get about a sponge full of water into the hatches, this amount is not dangerous. Critical gear that cannot get wet should be in drybags no matter how much you trust your hatches anyway.
I only use the rudder when the wind is on the beam or further aft. Any other time, the extra drag is not worth it. That is also why I wouldn't install a longer rudder. On a steep following sea, it will wander a bit until the rudder bites, but that's what your paddle is for.
My question is about the speed this boat is famous for. I also paddle a Mariner II and a Betsie Bay Recluse. On a measured course with the same paddler (me) and the same paddle, the Epic is not much faster, if at all than these others. Maybe that's because I am 63 years old and can't push any of these boats that fast. I can do about 7.5 knots over my 2 mile course, and all 3 boats are within seconds of each other.