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Submitted: 06-08-2010 by RDD
First, ruggedness. Bend the boat in two Ė not figuratively, but literally Ė have it spring back; put a few pieces of duct tape on it and immediately go out on the river for over two hours with only very minor leakage. How did this happen? Well, the boat was on top of our SUV, on the two cross bar racks, upside down (i.e., flat bottom toward the sky) and I was in the process of taking off the tie down straps when I discovered that we had left our paddles back at the camp site. So, off we went back to the campground. There was no problem the first three miles since the speed limit was 35 mph. Then we hit the open road and so I cranked it up to 60. After about a mile we heard this terrible crunching crashing sound. Upon looking in the rear view mirror I saw the cockpit of the boat. After exiting from the car I discovered that I had removed the front tie down. The back tie down had held the boat in place, but when the car speed and resulting wind had gotten strong enough, the boat bent totally in two upon itself. One third of the boat was still firmly attached to the back cross rack of the car and the other two thirds were bent 180 degrees down over the back of the car with that end of the boat scraping along on the pavement (the boat actually dented the top of the lift gate on the back of the SUV). When I removed the second tie down, the boat flopped onto the ground and much to my amazement the boat sprung back into its normal shape. Yes, there were about four spots, each about three inches long where the resin had cracked off a bit, but everything considered it was in remarkable condition. Being determined, we put duct tape on the bad spots and went out onto the water for over two hours with only very minor leakage. Thatís one tough boat.
Second, stability. The Maxi II has the broadest beam of any Poke Boat at 37 inches. This fact along with its flat bottom provides what I consider extreme stability. I paddle with many thousands of dollars of photographic equipment and thus stability is extremely important to me. The first time out I tested stability by standing up in the boat and then gently starting to rock the boat side to side. Iím 5í11Ē and 220 pounds. I proceeded to rock from side to side as hard as I could. I didnít even come close to tipping over. I have absolutely no qualms that Iím risking my camera gear in this boat. Yes, with a flat bottom and a 37" beam there is a down side, but it also helps to provide a draft of only three inches and together with Kevlar I have a 51 pound boat with extreme stability, which for my usage is just great.
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