Submitted: 11-23-2011 by 00264167
I haven't used a canoe for over 20 years so the vector 14 was completely new to me as I've never used a SOT before either. before buying i had concerns about stability but i was surprised to find i had no problem at all, if felt natural, but this may have been because im used to riding race bikes.
Ive been out in the Vector 14 a few times now in a variety of sea conditions. cruising speed is about 3mph..about the same as people walking alone the seafront, however in calm conditions it was more like a slow jogging speed, perhaps 5mph, which feels quite fast so close to the water.
in wind conditions of 17 mph gusts i had to keep correcting the course every few minutes as i dont have the rudder fitted, i would recommend getting the rudder if using in not so calm conditions but as soon as i only like to go out in fair weather its not really needed for me. no problem with tracking in less windy conditions
Even though the width is 25 inches it doesn't feel tippy to me as the whole point of the boat is the seat is low for stability and the scupper plugs have a value to allow water out but not in. its not often a wave will break in to the cockpit unless in really bad conditions but the plugs seem to work well. on difficult beach launches where lots of water has come in over the top, after about 10 minutes of paddling all the water is sucked out through the values and there's only a small amount of water, about 1cm water, around the area of the plugs. in calm condition sometimes its all sucked out completely.
the ridges in the boat work well to get the water flowing down to the plugs but keep sand held in the ridge.
I have noticed small stones can get under the rubber of the plugs sometimes and also they can get blocked with seaweed from above if a fair amount comes over the top. there are six drain holes in the boat, two at the footwells, two in the rear compartment and two under the seat. the seat is screwed and velcro attached to the boat. I'm quite new to this but i don't understand why they didnt allow access to the holes under the seat to put the plugs in there as most of the time there is about 1cm water in the seat (im 96kg)when not paddling, and it feels like theres some in there when you are paddling but its hard to tell.
given that I havent had much experience on the water i felt quite confident in the vector 14 even in 1-2 foot chop in the sea and quite a few hundred meters off-shore. only time i didnt feel very much in control is when you have the force of those waves going faster, pushing the boat from behind and it wants to turn sideways, but im guessing this would probably be the same with any SOT and even worse with ones with a blunter shaped stern.
All the hardware on the boat seems pretty good, all handles and fixings feel solid and stainless, the seat is the kind of closed cell foam you get in sandals and trainer shoes and i find it very comfortable. the hatches open to the entire inside of the hull and therefore have masses of room, no trouble getting anything big/bulky in the front hatch. they seal pretty well and even with water breaking over the front hatch it didn't let any in. it all depends on the rubber gasket seals, so i hope they don't perish.
originally I couldn't decide between the vector 13 or 14 but I'm glad I got the 14 as I wouldn't have wanted anything slower or less efficient, i haven't had any problems with stability despite the narrower width and the bow is more flattened on the vector 14 (i believe people were saying the bow of the 13 was affected by wind and hull slap).