Submitted: 04-20-2010 by PW
After viewing the excellent DVD "Beyond the Cockpit" with Derek Hutchinson several times I thought would like to try one of his boat designs. My budget would only allow a plastic model so I picked the Sirocco. I bought one from a large dealer two years ago - it was priced right as it was idle stock that was stored outside for two years and looked good except for a dried out hatch cover that he replaced as part of the deal.
This is a cool looking boat with sweeping lines, a nice blue color and of course the mermaid artwork on the bow. I presently own six kayaks and while not an expert I do a fair share of paddling with my family in creeks, small lakes and in open water on Lake Erie and have taken rescue and rolling classes.
I am 5'10" tall and weigh 250 lbs. and wear a size 12 shoe. On the plus side this boat fits me well and is very maneuverable as advertised. It is easy to roll and easy to paddle on flat water. I like the simplicity of the skeg however, I really have not used it enough under all conditions to form an opinion of it. I get many positive comments about the mermaids.
On the down side I have many complaints with this boat. I can feel the hull bending when I get in. The seat brace is molded to the hull and not adjustable, the seat padding is very thin, the bulkheads leak and my biggest complaint is this boat is very unstable - at least for me. I paddled this thing in Alexandria Bay on the St. Lawrence river in heavy boat traffic and it required constant bracing to keep upright, I have not experienced this as much with any of my other boats in similar conditions.
If I had paid full price for this boat I would have been very unhappy after comparing the quality and features to other boats in it's price range and would have brought it back to the dealer. I would not recommend this boat to any one and I am reluctant to sell it to any of my friends - unless you really want the mermaids you can find a much better boat for the same or less money if you shop around.