Submitted: 05-30-2012 by Julie M
I bought a used Argonaut from a paddler in Rochester (it was listed on Paddling.net actually). I paddle with the Downtown Boathouse and Inwood Canoe Club in Manhattan, and over Memorial Day weekend I got to put it through its paces.
This is the first time I've paddled with a truly adjustable skeg. It makes a huge difference. The boat tracks well on its own, but in rough conditions the skeg keeps it true - almost too true. I found that coming back against the wind, I would keep the skeg down to go straight, but had to pull it up to turn past piers and other obstacles. The turning radius is a bit broad; even with the skeg up, a fair amount of edging is required to make a decent turn. It's not unlike a Chatham, or a Baja.
The turning radius is the price to pay for major stability. I took some sizable waves broadside, as well as dead-on. The boat is stable. It is a bit heavy for a glass boat. Long, as well - just short of eighteen feet. This makes it a little challenging to maneuver in and out of storage. I'm fortunate to have it on a low rack, so as long as there's floor space, I can pull it out and lift it on a cart for transportation.
Cargo is bone dry. The former owner added attach points in all sections so everything can be tied down in the event of a spill. I have yet to so much as have to sponge out the front and back hatches. There is plenty of room to fill up with food and equipment.
Overall this is a great boat. It's the first boat I've owned. I bought it for expeditions and day trips. It's at least ten years old but has worn well. The only reason it's not a 10 is that I am still getting used to it. It's a great boat, and a pity it was discontinued by Valley.