Submitted: 08-25-2009 by billc
Bought my Aleut new in '98. One of the best recreational investments I've made. Excellent tool for exploration. Have flown it to Hawaii, San Juan Islands, Fl (Order a small bag of extra rivets and purchase rivet gun at hardware store to facilitate easy repair of any damage occurred in flight). After all the miles on the water, I've only one small patch on the hull. Set-up is enjoyable (as with my Cooper) as I'm continually impressed by the design and engineering. If you've got the right vehicle and a garage or porch space, there's a way to get set-up time on the Aleut down to 5 or 6 minutes.
I've got an old Toyota van and during paddling season I generally keep the bow half of the frame assembled and left in the hide. I also keep the stern half of the boat assembled left out of the boat and hung from a nail in the garage; thus the two halves of the boat are ready to be easily tossed into the van at a moments notice. Then at the launch site, it just takes a few minutes to slide stern assembly into hide and fasten middle frame piece, rails etc...
Have had it out in following seas, six foot rollers with spray skirt on, and felt completely safe. It's a serious craft and can handle a wide range of conditions. Wind has never been much of a problem. Always tracks well and you'd really have to work hard at capsizing. There's no one boat that's perfect for everything, but if storage space is an issue, you enjoy flat water, and you want to feel comfortable and safe, it's a wonderful craft.