Submitted: 06-11-2010 by alexrusso12
(All ratings are based on a 1 to 10 scale)
Primary Stability: 4
Secondary Stability: 8
Seat comfort: 9
Carrying weight: 10
I owned the Hurricane Tracer 16.5 for a summer season in which I did a moderate amount of assorted kayaking; coastal, open ocean, lakes, and ponds. Prior to owning the Tracer, I had plenty of experience in all types of sea and recreational kayaks, so I had much to compare it to. I found that the Tracer handled relatively well in most conditions. It's defined rocker made maneuverability simple on a slight lean.
The Tracer is a good alternative to a high-end composite sea kayak, it is light weight (46lbs), and proves to paddle very smoothly and respond well to forward and reverse strokes. One of the few issues which I found to be inhibiting to the boats overall performance was its noticeably tender primary stability. If a novice paddler, the Tracer will feel highly comfortable and acts as though it foundations on a much narrower hull design. The overall speed of the boat is unimpressive for one of its length (16'6"). While it capable of keeping up with its composite companions, it requires much more effort of behalf of the paddler. The built in drop skeg is very useful in the Tracer as it is highly susceptible to weather-cocking, and will often change direction at the caprice of a head wind. The seat design is exceptional, and proves to be unrestricting on long distance paddles as it provides reliable support.
Overall, I rate the Tracer as a 7, in that, it performs well in most conditions but its overall lack of primary stability coupled with slow handling notches the Tracer 16.5 down the competitor scale.