Submitted: 10-06-2010 by MDJ
The SN's river tripping/WW reputation is well established, so my interest is to know first hand if as well it will make an everyday boat for some of my local landscape photography work. Here in SE WV lie big, heavy water rivers, lakes and small streams, the latter both quiet and turbulent. I've had the boat(Royalex) for two days.
The first impression, on flat water, was the surprising speed, the nice glide. Faster and easier than my (NC) Bob Special (Royalex Lite) for example. Back in snaggy little channels behind a few islands, turning was quick and light and precise. Keeping dead-on straight and avoiding roll took a little conscious effort at first, but practice should continue to smooth my technique.
It sits pretty high when empty. A collapsible 5 gal. water jug placed forward helped the trim on this breezy day. Some effort and thinking are needed on open windy water when empty, and on some days I'll want another boat. But on the other days, I'll be able to work things out.
It's heavier than the Bob on a carry, but feels lighter on the water: better acceleration, easier turning, and faster and easier at a cruise. I looked at the round cross section bottom and swallowed hard. But I did get in and out with no problem. Even stood up in it without a scare. Don't know if it'll pole. Might be possible.
The experts say that its WW behavior when empty is very good and very user friendly and that loaded for a trip its capability is still so strong that the paddler can take a wide range of water comfortably and safely.
I say that the SN also has its feet on the ground and might become my daily transport. 8 stars and not 10 because I'm not sure yet about wind and poling. But the 8 are well earned so far. It's responsive, feels connected to me, feels really good.
Get a detachable carrying yoke. It has no yoke of its own.