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Submitted: 08-04-2009 by fffri

Although I have paddled actively for some 5+ years, I don't consider myself an advanced paddler, but I've paddled in a variety of conditions with my former kayak, a Wilderness Systems Cape Horn 150, which served me very well while I owned it.

Before my wife and I decided to buy P&H Scorpios (she has the LV version), we had demoed a variety of touring kayaks and were leaning toward the Wilderness Tempest, until we tried the Scorpio. After renting and paddling Scorpios for some two hours, we knew that these were the boats for us because we were both impressed not only by how they handled, but also because they seemed much better made than the other plastic kayaks we had tried.

Since I bought my Scorpio a month ago, I have paddled it on various parts of Narragansett and Buzzards Bays. but have not yet paddled on the ocean or tried the boat in the surf. The kayak is very nimble for it's length and responds quickly to edging and turns. It is stable in choppy seas and not phased by large boat wakes. Like other kayaks, it tends to weathercock when tides, currents, and wind are not in your favor, but using a little skeg puts the kayak right on track.

As I already stated, the P&H is a well-made kayak, but I don't believe that anything made by human hands is fully perfect, so the "9" rating is as good as you can expect from me. P&H's Corelite construction provides a plastic boat that is much stiffer that other plastic boats that I've paddled. It is also lighter: my full-sized Scorpio weighs just 55 lbs.

That said, the Scorpio is not without a few quirks. For example, it's "kink-free" skeg system seems to need further tweaking by the manufacturer. I have not yet experienced any problems with mine, but I know of both Scorpio and Cetus owners who have experienced difficulty with their skegs getting stuck while partially or fully deployed, and then they are unable to retract back into the hull. Fortunately, there is a fix to this problem..

P&H installs Kajaksport hatch covers on its kayaks, but the aft (i.e. the large rear hatch) hatch cover is difficult to fasten on the plastic boats because it appears to be a tad too tight. The cover "loosens" somewhat over time, I've been told, but until then, applying an appropriate lubricant and some dexterity seems to be the best way to ensure that the hatch cover goes on and stays on properly. Another hatch problem is with the small special hatch in front of the cockpit. It is a great idea and a great place to store a camera, sunscreen, or even a snack, but, as delivered, the hatch will leak if you plan to roll or practice wet exits, rescues, etc. P&H apparently used to caulk the seam, but now they've installed a gasket, which doesn't do the job, so someone will have to caulk the seam if you want to keep that hatch dry.

Despite these issues, my wife and I are very satisfied with our Scorpios. In addition to our satisfaction to the overall performance of the kayaks and the quality of the construction, we are most grateful for the advice and service of Samantha and Carl Ladd, proprietors of Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures in Westport, MA, where we purchased our Scorpios. On a very busy Saturday morning when the shop was full of customers, Carl took the time to lubricate the large rear hatches, caulk the small special front hatches on both our kayaks, as well as give us helpful pointers.

A great boat with great service--it doesn't get much better than that!

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