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Submitted: 09-18-2012 by castoff
I picked up a kit on craigslist for $400. I had to car top it as the long hull sections had been joined, so I had to build a 2x4 on edge frame made to support these sections for transport. I finished the boat in February of 2012. I am 5'11" and 190 pounds with size 11 shoe. I had no trouble building the kayak. The kit assembles well. This was my first and last kit as I react badly to uncured epoxy. This is a real bummer as I enjoyed building of the kit.
I have since paddled it on the Suwannee River in FL, the Saluda in SC, and the marshes and ocean in SC. I find I could pack (for camping on salt water) 3 1/2 gallons of water inside the back next to the bulkhead and 2 more gallons behind them. This gives me about 5 1/2 gallons counting the 2 litters in my camelback. I can do at least 6 days and still have room for maybe another gallon or so of water if I pack like a backpacker with maybe a few extra comforts.
The boat handles well and I have been in 15-20 kt winds loaded for camping with no need for a skeg. I don't need skeg or rudder with this boat. It turns well with edging and a sweep and bow rudder stroke. It is reasonably fast even loaded. I find both the primary and secondary stability to be good. I can do a layback roll but I have to come out of the seat a bit to lay all the way back. C-C roll is fine. Beach surfing in 5 foot waves it will spear through a steep wave. It surfs well enough. The sharp bow does tend to slice through waves, put it does ride over them if they arenít real steep. I even could get through breaking 5 and 6 foot surf against 30 kt winds, but I didn't have the skill for reliably handling the surfing back in the empty kayak. I haven't done any "loaded for camping" surfing yet, but I have surfed 10-15 kt wind waves loaded and running with the wind.
I added tie downs under the cockpit deck and bungeed a 2 litter wide mouth plastic kitchen container with screw top for a dry under deck storage for items I might need or want while paddling. I have to pop the front of my skirt to access it. I can do a cowboy rescue and enter with the under deck storage while sitting mu butt in the seat and bringing my feet and legs in one at a time. I don't think a backward and turn up reentry like a traditional paddle float reentry well work with this under deck storage, but it is very easily removed. It is an easy boat to empty and reenter.
I added foot braces but took them out as a 3x3 inch foam bar wedged from side to side at the deck and hull junction against the bulkhead works perfectly for my leg length. My son at 6'2" uses just the bulkhead for his foot brace. I had to pad out the side braces and the thigh braces for a good fit for me. My back is about 3-4 inches from the back of the cockpit. I didn't like the knob that sticks up from the deck for securing the hatches so did my own hidden bungee closure for a watertight and flush deck look. I added 2 more of Eric's wooden recessed deck fittings both front and back between the hatches and the stern and bow, and put bungees across the deck and perimeter lines as I like this type of rigging. It makes it better for carrying a spare paddle, and grabbing the kayak when in the water.
All in all I find this a well mannered and fun kayak and expect to get years of use from it. I have really enjoyed the boat. I like the ease of doing a quick cowboy reentry, the ease of turning and handling, and the speed and glide of this kayak.
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