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Submitted: 09-10-2012 by rootie
I got the Perception Prodigy 13.5 to have a kayak that was a little smaller and more nimble than my wife's Prodigy II 14.5, yet still have room for one of our two children so we can all go out together. We've gone out several times this summer on flat mostly calm water and it has been a delight.
This is easy to paddle, relatively easy to turn for its length, and either my 3 year or or 8 year old are comfortable in the front space on the small foam seat. The "passenger" seat is loose, not attached to the boat at all.
Our most recent outing, my GPS says we paddled 3.8 miles (round trip distance on flat water), and we were out probably an hour and a half, including site seeing, and a stop back at the dock to rearrange kids.
I did not purchase the rudder option, but on one of our trips encountered some water currents that made me think a rudder would be a good addition. We have one on the 14.5 and it allows for much lazier turning, though I can't say how much it helps in the current or wind.
The cargo hold and the hatch on the hold are both substantially larger than the hold on the 14.5 prodigy II. The larger hatch makes it easy to put your dry bag or other items into the space. The seat adjustment mechanism is fairly easy to change from tandem configuration to a more centered position. I am able to do it on the water, and I would say it is easier to shift the seat while you are sitting in it.
What do I like:
+ the larger cargo opening and hold
+ easy adjusting seat and foot braces
+ nice straight tracking, it doesn't seem to push out of line while I paddle
+ easier paddling than some older sit-on-top tandems I've had the opportunity to compare
+ lots of room in the front for my kid without them getting into my leg room or paddle space.
+ leg pads on the combing to brace against without a sharp plastic edge
+ very stable, I've never tipped it over. The kids always lean to the side to play with their hands in the water while I paddle. The cockpit is deep enough they aren't in any danger of falling out.
Things I don't like or would like to improve (these are all quite minor):
- the hatch cover cord is too short to have the handhold tab where it can be used from the seat. An extra 6 inches of string would have been nice to allow the cover to rotate 180 degrees for easier opening from the seat. (you can open it, but you don't have a tab on the end you can reach easy)
- this is a bit heavy, though manageable. I can load both the 13.5 and the 14.5 on the roof rack of the truck by myself, but it is much easier to have help. If you often have to lug it to the water, a cart is very useful.
- The foam passenger seat is sized in a way that makes it not stay in place on the bottom very well. It is just slightly wider than the ribs (sorry, I am sure there is a technical term for the lengthwise bumps along the inside of the hull) in the bottom of the boat so the seat is always tipped left or right, and never flat and stable on the centerline of the boat. Making it a few inches narrower or wider would allow it to stay in place better. Or even better to make the bottom of the seat contoured to fit the boat.
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