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Submitted: 12-11-2012 by Whit
Overall I give the boat a "9." There isn't a "10" out there yet!
I retired from the US Coast Guard, so I don't have much interest in going to sea with the boat. We use it in rivers of every size including the Columbia near the mouth. We explore large bays, large lakes, and any body of water that appears interesting. We don't camp out of the boat. We could, but we usually set our travel trailer up at water's edge and return to it each day.
- Initial stability - it is good if you are experienced with kayaks having a beam of 24" or less. We have no problem just sitting still in a 24" chop and taking pictures... passing stuff from cockpit to cockpit... At the same time it is easy to edge the boat to allow current or wind to turn you. We do this sometime when we are pursuing a critter we want a photo of.
- Secondary stability - Very good, but a bit odd. There is a quick, smooth transition from sitting flat to getting to the boat's initial edge. Then it catches. I would say this happens at about 30 degrees. Then, you have about 15 degrees where you have to work to get the boat further on edge. Suddenly it becomes very easy again... use caution... you're no longer edging, you're balancing.
- The boat turns well, but it isn't a play boat. We have taken it up very narrow fast running streams with lots of short, quick turns. As long as the forward paddler is proficient with a forward-reaching bow rudder stroke, you can turn quickly without losing much momentum. Laying out of the boat and turning on a brace works well if you have a fair amount of speed.
- The two paddlers need to "know" what the other is doing without looking at them. This is especially important for the bow position. We find it uncomfortable to turn and look aft from either cockpit.
I recommend the standard kayak rudder so you don't have to have it in the water if you don't want it there. The Light Craft rudder must be shipped prior to launching and it is in the water and working all of the time. We seldom use a rudder... strong winds or following sea/current. The rudder is a subjective choice. I have a friend who loves the Mariner Kayaks from Australia. They have a built-in rudder that is an extension of the keel. Look at Mariner reviews to see how folks feel about their rudders.
The boat is very durable. We've run it over rocks, oyster beds, sand, etc. The bottom has miniscule dents in it, but nothing that comes close to impairing the function. Warren offers an "expedition" bottom if you believe you will be really rough on the boat... ledge landings might warrant the extra weight and expense.
I installed some pieces of 3M film on deck where we put our deck bags. You can pick that film up at most auto body shops and it is very easy to work with.
Of course, the boat is very light and easy to carry. At 44lbs it is very easy to lift onto the racks atop our Chevy 2500HD 4x4 truck!
I've been very happy with Zac and his willingness to work with the customer. I'm 6'4" tall, 36" inseam, and size 14 shoes. Zac found a young man almost exactly my size to make modifications to the after cockpit. My wife loves the color green as do I, but for different reasons. Zac worked with us to find the right color!
Recommendation? Ask Zac to move the bulkheads that are aft of the cockpits closer to the edge of the cockpit combing. It would make it easier to empty a flooded boat.
Another... accept Warren's hatch design rather than the Kajak design. It seals very well and won't implode if you take a dumping wave or stuff an elbow through it on a self rescue.
Another... buy a Danuu cover for the boat. The Kahuna fits it exactly. You have to loosen everything up, slip the bow on first, then the stern.
Value for the money? It is not an inexpensive kayak, but neither is it a cheap kayak. It is a unique design. I believe the construction, material and workmanship make this a very reasonably priced boat.
I have no financial interest in this company.
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