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Submitted: 02-11-2011 by wildernesswebb
Have had my Mistral for a year now. I paddle it on rivers, with some flatwater experience paddling in one of the rivers that has several pools. Bought it from a guy whom thought it had too little initial stability. I don't get that feel at all. Actually more initial stability than most shallow arch hulls IMHO.
Nice, contoured yoke, but I removed it to install a center seat and I have set mine up to paddle solo or tandem. Holds a LARGE amount of gear with plenty of freeboard. With too light a load those stems are very prone to catch wind.
Rivers and maneuvering are where this boat shines. If you paddle a lot of flatwater, you better have a good forward stroke. I had a bit of trouble with the stern "Skidding" around tricky spots, but noted that loading so I had a little more weight in the stern solved that problem.
As for the material, it seems very tough. More resistant to abrasion than other composites or royalex. I bought this boat for roughly 50% of what it retails for so I have not felt the need to "Baby" it. It has come through a couple hard knocks on ledges and rock as well as scraping on Ozark streams pretty much unscathed.
As for paddling it solo, it is a BIG boat. I don't recommend it unless you are a big guy and enjoy paddling Prospector-type hulls and haul a big load. If you are small with narrow shoulders......
If you are looking for a Prospector type hull to paddle primarily rivers tandem and occasionally solo, this would be a darn good choice. It is dry, maneuverable, and stable. I've been very happy with this boat. I would give it a "8.5" if that were a choice. I'd give it a "10" if it had a bit less rocker and a bit lower stems. But nothing's perfect!
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