Submitted: 09-20-2011 by marcoyoga
I recently purchased a new Merlin LT at a sale price since the Eddyline Samba has become the popular boat in this size range. The Merlin seems to have extremely good primary and secondary stability and handles windy days well considering it does not employ a skeg or rudder. It is not a fast boat by any means and is only marginally faster than Current Designs 12' Vision. In fact I would consider the Merlin more of an overpriced recreational kayak than a small sea or touring kayak.
The seat back leaves something to be desired and the weight of the boat could be some lighter, however it is not too bad. Storage is decent for such a small craft and the hatch covers appear to do a good job of keeping things dry. The most surprising performance aspect that I found is the lack of quick sharp turns. While the Merlin will perform leaned turns, it does so in a rather slow manure. This no doubt has something to do with the excellent tracking the short Merlin Lt displays. The Quality looks good for a plastic boat, but the price seems a bit stiff compared to some of the other more exotic builds coming out on the market.
I feel the Merlin LT is best suited for people of smaller stature looking for a recreational kayak that could be used for over night trips or just simple afternoons of fun paddling and fairly easy car topping. It is a fun boat to paddle, but I feel lack of performance holds it back compared to some of the newer boats on the market.