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Submitted: 11-14-2011 by edzep
I picked up a well-used Disko to try out. I've generally disliked the 6 or 8 SOTs I've tried over the years, and have previously owned a Hurricane Phoenix 14, which was respectable. The Disko came configured with the KajakSport front hatch, and a 6-inch T-handle center hatch. It weighs 53 pounds.
The Disco has a very mild V and a good amount of rocker. The V seems prone to flattening with careless handling -- like being strapped down in the bed of a truck. It looks like that's just what's been done to my boat. On the water, I could open the 6-inch hatch ahead of the seat, and press down on the hull bottom, to see the amount of deformation allowed due to weakness of the V. As suggested by another user, I formed some mini-cell blocks to wedge under the seat and footwells, to stiffen up the hull.
Maneuverability on the water is where the Disco shines. With thigh straps, it can be leaned over for tight turns, similar to a sea kayak. The boat tracks well, especially given it's waterline of only about 12 or so feet. Fastest cruising speed for me in this boat is about 4 mph. I'm pretty light; maybe a heavier paddler could get more speed due to longer waterline... not sure.
Coming from sea kayaks, I did not find the Disco tippy at all, even with a seat pad about 1 inch thick. It handled busy holiday boat wakes with no trouble, and was fun in the micro-surf. Sitting still with the scupper plugs out, the footwells hold about 1 1/2 inches of water with my 140 pounds, plus a small amount of gear. When the boat is moving, the scuppers actually suck! The footwells drain very well. If you're quick enough, you could get the plugs in place and have nearly dry footwells. In practice, I opted to keep the plugs in, and only remove them if I had taken on water that needed to be removed. I also discovered that if there's a fair amount of water in the foot wells when you heel the boat over to turn, water will flow around the center hump, and into the seat pan.
The D-rings for seat and thigh strap attachment are unique and quite study. Other fittings for safety lines, netting and handles are also well done. One peculiarity is that the seat attachment rings are further than normal from the seat well, and the straps on some seats will not reach that far! I used nylon line to make a set of extenders, so that I could experiment with different borrowed seats.
I was surprised to discover that the cockpit area of my Disko is not symmetrical. It's not grossly out of whack, but, it may be enough to drive an OC-type person nuts.
So, the Disco handles well on and off the water, and has relatively good speed. It's not made to haul a lot of gear, and there are faster SOT's.
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