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Submitted: 08-11-2009 by David

My wife and I just completed two years of RVing around the USA carrying the Cayuga 13 plus an Old Town Pack Canoe (for flyfishing) on the top of our motorhome. During that time I have fallen in love with the Cayuga 13 (bought it for my wife). Heck...I love her too. As a follow-up to my review of 6/11/08, we have paddled all over the place including lakes, bays, rivers and streams. Again...I repeat that I believe this is the best kayak in this size range (12-14.5 feet). It's incredibly responsive, fast, tracks well, and easy...very easy to paddle. What amazes me is that I love taking it out into 2-3 foot waves or down class one/two rapids in small rivers. We had a ball on Casco Bay in Maine. Gotta be the ultimate boat for handling all types of water except for open ocean. We have canoed whitewater in Oregon for 20 years but the winds drive us crazy on lakes, thus the changeover to kayaks.

I did a comparison test today with a brand new Necky Manatou 14 kayak I bought last week, spending four hours with my wife in her Cayuga 13 going around Paulina Lake in Central Oregon. We just couldn't find another Cayuga out here on the west coast so I'd heard so many good things about the Necky and after a short demo on the Deschutes River I got a great price and decided to buy it.

    Here are the results.
  1. the hatch covers of the Necky suck! Boy...have they made something that should be easy very difficult with a neoprene cover that is very, very difficult to adjust. The Cayuga takes a few seconds. The Necky about ten minutes if you can get it to work.
  2. the speed and comfort of the Cayuga beat out the Necky. That's wife actually beat me in a short distance race. I won in a long distance one. And I am in great physical shape! It's due to the design difference of both boats. The Cayuga does not need a rudder. Look at the stern keel and you'll see why it tracks well.
  3. The Cayuga is easy, I mean real easy to paddle and glide. The Necky on the other hand has a slow response time for easy paddling. One has to use the thigh braces and slightly roll the boat all at the same time to make it move fast. One takes a little energy, the other takes a lot of energy to overcome the initial inertia.
  4. The Manatu 14 has a nifty skeg that works great in the wind.
  5. The Cayuga turns a little easier than the Necky but I was impressed with the turning speedf both. Not bad for a larger boat.
  6. Both are made of the same product, owned by Johnson Outdoors, and Necky seems to market their products better. Personally I think Old Town's attention to detail makes it a better boat for the money.
  7. The seats on both boats are very comfortable...same products.
  8. I would never buy the Necky Manatou 13 when the Cayuga is a superior boat with extra features such as thigh braces, better hatch covers, and superior design...all for the same amount of money.
Over the next two months we will put these two boats through their paces as we paddle the ocean, bays and rivers of Oregon. Next report in December. So far...that Cayuga is a real gem!
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