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Submitted: 03-21-2013 by Ben Nozuka
I recently purchased a used Oracle GTS and now have about 50 hours paddling rivers, lakes and bays. The CD Oracle GTS is the sister boat to the Solstice. It was designed for smaller paddlers and it is constructed with thermoformed plastic, weighing 54lbs. I moved up from a rotomold Dagger Atlantis weighing almost 70lbs and the change was dramatic. Big differences were the tracking and the obvious weigh.
It's a North American style kayak with it's main objectives being straight tracking, efficiency and stability. In wide rivers and bays, the straight tracking and the efficient hull design, is a strong advantage but in meandering sloughs, it becomes a hindrance and inefficient. It takes forever to turn and the the effort leaves you exhausted. The Dagger is more suited to narrow rivers and sloughs with it's flat bottom and slight rocker.
That being said, I really love the profile and the sleek design. And the details such as the recessed deck hardwares makes it a well designed expedition kayak. It cuts through calm waters like a hot knife through butter. Leaves very little wake and the ride is smooth. Being just over 21 inches wide and 17 feet long, it take very little effort to get it up to cruising speed. And with soft chines and shallow v hull, choppy water doesn't affect it's stability.
Me being 150lbs the bow action in choppy waters is very controllable. In larger waves, it doesn't carve as well as a hard chine boat, but can surf smaller waves without much effort. The seat isn't the best compared to current modern offerings but I can paddle for hours without problems. I'm a 62 year old male with size 8 shoes so fitting into the cockpit is no issue. Anyone taller may want to look at bigger volume kayaks.
When it comes to rolling, because of the upright resting position of the rudder, it's a little difficult. Also during couple of self rescue practices, I noticed afterwards that 1)both hatches leak...rear hatch more, and 2)the rudder need to be lower to get back on to the kayak... hard to straddle a rudder sticking 1 foot above the deck when you're neck deep in water.
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