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Submitted: 08-31-2000 by Michael Heikka
The Dart is the nicest "quasi-touring" sit on top out there (tied with the Necky Dolphin). The larger Heritage sit on tops are far too difficult to turn, too heavy, and too limiting (limited cargo despite large boat, etc.) The Dart, on the other hand, is a very versatile boat: Great for evening/weekend paddles, will get through surf, and would be an ideal kayak fishing platform if you have to get some distance from shore. It is faster than almost all other sit on tops (especially with larger paddlers aboard). The Dart tracks like a rail without the rudder (unlike the wiggly Oceak Kayaks or Cobra models), but does not turn very well. Nor does it hold much cargo. If you want to do some extended camping, and carry the gear on the boat, the Dart isn't the right boat for you. But you can put nearly anyone on a Dart and they'll keep up with slower touring boats with ease. The Dart is heavy for its size, but well constructed. The only defect is that some people with short torsos and flatter paddling styles may destroy their knuckles on the high, raised, curved cockpit sides. Take the Dart out for a short paddle and see if you destroy your knuckles before you commit to a long outing. There are only two <16' sit on tops that regularly keep up with slow touring boats: The Dart and the Necky Dolphin. The Dart has greater speed and stability than the Dolphin. The Dolphin turns easier, and can be fitted with a rudder and cargo pod, and has a tankwell. If you want to go places on a sit on top (other than the surf line or the bay), the Dart and the Dolphin are "the" short list.
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