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Submitted: 07-23-2009 by podziewska
I've been researching the composite Eliza for 18 months and was almost ready to buy it until I finally got an opportunity to try it out. I was very disappointed.
The craftsmanship is mediocre. The skeg wire is run right through the middle of the rear bulk head, which is bound to interfere with using it for touring. The front bulk head seams aren't properly sealed for the last foot of the boat's length starting at the bow. In order to see it, you literally need to put your head into the hatch and look. The overlapping unsealed fiberglass edges are bound to either catch the gear that you pack, or start coming apart as a result of pulling the gear out. Finally, the thigh braces foam was coming off on a brand new boat.
The cockpit is designed for women with narrow hips. I'm 5'6" and 135 lbs with average hip width, and my hips barely cleared the cockpit coaming. I paddle in the winter using a drysuit, so I know I wouldn't fit into this boat while wearing bulkier clothing. Also, the cockpit is short, which causes shin scraping when entering and exiting the boat for a person with long legs. The seat lacks hip support, so when you put the boat on edge, your hips shift onto one side. Given the above issues, it is a boat for a petite paddler, not so much a medium sized.
The boat is light, very maneuverable, and tracks well. It is also a few hundred dollars cheaper than other boats of comparable size, like Impex Montauk, P&H Capella 161, or Current Design Willow. Provided you fit into the cockpit and don't mind the chintzy craftsmanship, it can be a nice boat.