Submitted: 08-07-2000 by John L
One word: Awesome! I recently upgraded from a Perception (see that review too). I call it an upgrade, because I feel the Captiva sits on the line between recreational kayak and true touring machine. The Atlantis is absolutely a true touring machine. It is simply a fantastic boat. At 17’2" long and 23.5" wide, the boat is fast, efficient, tracks well and is surprisingly stable. I went from the back of the pack to the very front – and with very little effort. The smooth, shallow arch hull feels a little "tippy" initially, but that sensation goes away after only a few minutes. It responds very well to edging, which is a move sometimes required to keep the boat on coarse, as it is fairly susceptible to weathercocking. This surprised me, due to the very flat, clean, unobstructed aft deck. The integral rudder is a slick design, but requires some practice to use it effectively. At first, you tend to over-compensate due to the rudder's "lag" time – it seems to take a few moments after a pedal adjustment for the rudder's effect to "kick in." However, after a little practice, it becomes very predictable and works well. The Atlantis isn’t marketed as an extremely high volume boat, but without the included thigh braces installed, 6’, 240lbs fit very comfortably. How comfortable is it? My Atlantis’s maiden voyage was a 20-mile roundtrip excursion on Long Lake in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. I spent 8 hours in this boat with about a 30-minute lunch break at our destination (the North end of the lake) and a brief pit stop to and from. Dagger includes a seat pad and back pad that provides just enough comfort and support. I found there’s enough room to move around your legs, as I am highly susceptible to lower leg numbness in the paddling position – when my feet are braced up against the rudder pedals. Oh yeah, before we turned back, we explored the Raquette river at Long Lake's North end. Down stream and back upstream, against the wind and current, this boat handled like a dream. When we got back on the lake for the trip home, the weather had turned on us and we were faced with some confused 1-foot waves and swells as well as plenty of annoying powerboat wakes. The bow sliced through the waves and the boat handled beautifully through whatever conditions the lake could throw at us. Material: I really wanted a 'glass boat, but the cost was easily a grand above the $1349 list of the Atlantis. After padding this boat, I have a new respect for what can be done with plastic. Besides, the bright Lime Green color was the most visible site on the lake, even under a dark-overcast sky. And plastic is way more durable than fiberglass - just watch the sun (keep it coated with 303 to protect against UV). A word on Dagger Support: After I brought my boat home, I prepared to apply a coat of 303. As I was cleaning the hull and removing numerous stickers, I noticed some small "pores/pits" in a small section on the hull. This concerned me, so I contacted dagger through their Web site. No exaggeration, these guys responded within 10 minutes! As it turns out, the condition is to be expected in their plastic boats and is a result of the molding process. No problem. Unbelievable support!