Submitted: 05-02-2011 by CSO
I bought two Pamlico 140s six years ago as first boats for my son and myself. Looking back on my experience with this and with others I have paddled, I can highly recommend this boat for beginners, large paddlers (I am 6'5", 215#). We've had them in everything from swamps to rivers to large bays to open ocean, and while not the best at the latter they do OK if you don't ask too much of them. Before we took them out in the open water we practiced self and buddy rescues and found them extremely easy to reenter, even in less-than-calm water.
Goods: Large cockpit, plenty of weight capacity - camping gear, etc. Very stable and forgiving, strong initial stability. Pretty fast for its width, tracks well - it has rudder fittings but I have never considered installing one. Best foot peg adjustment I've seen yet, easy to adjust when in the boat and provides a good firm rest.
Bads: Hard to edge for turns; hull is so wide you have to splay knees out to brace against hull if you want to paddle with more than your arms. The hatch cover is not easy to seal. No bulkheads means everything must be in dry bags. Large cockpit means a lot of water from spray, paddle drips - easy to pick up a few gallons of water on a choppy day, and a skirt has to be so large it won't hold if you get any significant amount dumped on you from waves, etc.
Biggest complaint is that both boats developed cracks in hull where seat bottom is "welded" to the hull. Since it is a stress point, it requires periodic repairs (plastic welding). I severed the seat bottom from the hull using a hacksaw blade; this seems to have stopped the problem without (so far) creating other stress points.
The Pamlico 140 was discontinued several years ago but for someone starting out or wanting a boat with the characteristics above, you can find them for next to nothing and you really can't go wrong. I plan to get a true touring kayak soon for longer trips, but I will keep the Pamlico for workouts and getting others started in this great sport.