Submitted: 10-20-2010 by msgckayaker
My Squamish has seen a great variety of water/conditions and has handled them admirably. I used it this year for the 42.5-mile Phatwater Challenge and the 22-mile Bluz Cruz race on Mississippi River and was able keep up with composite/wood sea kayaks similar in length. The biggest test for the Squamish was a rough open sea crossing from Horn Island to Round Island, MS. The swells approached 3-4 feet and the winds gusted to 20 miles during that paddle. With the skeg deployed and a consistent paddle stroke maintained, the yak did just fine. Other sea trips included several circumnavigations of Deer Island, Back Bay Biloxi journeys and a coastal trip from Ocean Springs to Pascagoula MS. The Squamish has also easily cruised through countless bayou, river, creek and lake trips throughout MS, LA, AL and FL as well.
My height is 5'8"-ish and my weight fluctuates between 170-180 lbs. The yak does have a max capacity of 250lbs. I have maxed it out camping gear and the boat can get sluggish, but it is still a capable sea vessel. The boat does sit low in the water due to the low volume design and I often use my spray skirt if the water conditions are questionable. However, I personally feel that my weight nearly maxes the boat out if one wants to get the best performance out of it. The combination of being low in the water and my weight bringing it down more puts the hull farther in the water. This can make the kayak challenging in taking tight turns even with good leaning/edging techniques. That issue is mine and not an issue with the kayak. Turning aside, the Squamish is an excellent and efficient touring kayak. I've found that I'm able to do long distances without excess fatigue. Keep in mind that this is a plastic boat too.
The kayak itself is well made. The polyethylene used in its construction is solid and has held up to anything I've thrown at it. However, I do have issues with the stern/bow hatch covers and the stern hatch that still plague me to this day. Using the yak in rough water conditions the first few times, I noticed a moderate amount of water in the rear hatch. After some troubleshooting I found that some of the guide holes that the deck lines pass through had small openings to the stern hatch. Water would pool up around these guide holes and drip into the hatch. I solved this problem by sealing these openings from inside of the hatch with silicone sealant. This has nearly solved the leak issue. However, I still have a minor amount of water that gets in the hatch from time to time, which I believe is due to the hatch cover itself. It simply doesn't seal the hatch well enough. The bow hatch has been completely leak proof which is very surprising considering how many times the entire bow of my Squamish has been underwater. The only problem I have with the bow hatch cover is that the rip cord ring that holds the cover on the hatch opening separates from the cover itself just about every time I open it. The same thing happens with the stern cover too. Lastly, the decorative tape that covers the seal line of the boat comes undone frequently. CD is aware of this and has sent me, free of charge, a roll of this tape. These negatives aside, the rest of the yak works great.
Overall, I'm happy with yak and I'll rate an 8. I would give it a higher score if not for the leaking stern hatch and hatch cover construction. The Squamish is wonderful poly sea kayak for the right sized person.