Submitted: 10-07-2009 by The_GCW
This review is from the angle of a (5'10" 130 lbs) person new to sea kayaking. I may be unqualified to rate a sea kayak but these are some of my observations.
I've had the boat out 31 times in a 6 week span of time w/ no previous experience. The boat has been used only on high elevation Colorado reservoirs including 2 camping trips totaling 3 nights. Don't know how it handles in moderate seas.
Edges well. Maneuverable. Affordable, light weight is welcome and She's cute.
Weathercocks; from what Iíve read about sea kayaks, the Tracer may weathercock a bit much but the skeg works like magic. I work at times to practice and use paddle strokes to point the boat where I want it to go and it works with effort but after reassuring Myself that I can do it, when the situation gets stressful, I use the skeg and conserve energy for when I may need it later.
Doesn't track straight; it trades tracking for easy maneuverability. When I stop paddling it veers / turns; pretty much almost never glides straight. Sometimes when I stop paddling to observe something, I wish it would just glide straight but I accept that in exchange for the maneuverability which is more important. Requires corrective stroking which is normal. I can do that. The good news is that, like today, I was out for 3 hours on a 3,000 acre lake (reservoir) at 9,000 feet above sea level with healthy winds, waves, swells, whitecaps etc. At one point with quartering waves (which want to move Me into the irregular rocky shore) that seem about 1 second apart and 1 to 1.5 feet swells the boat can easily maneuver to angle away from the rocky irregular shore when there's a few smaller waves, momentarily exposing the beam and then when noticing bigger waves approaching turn it back so I'm only exposed to quartering waves which the boat can deal with well allowing Me to relax.
The boat is fairly quick.
Secondary stability is right there. Primary stability is good; when I got the boat I felt tippy for a few but now the thing is easy. This is a good example of a boat a beginner would enjoy if the beginner was going to actually use it often and get to know it, rather than a beginner who may use it for a few times each summer. An enthusiastic beginner may not want a beginner boat.
I've been very happy with the Tracer. Rating it high. Feels like a 10, but what do I know with nothing to compare it to.