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Submitted: 04-12-2013 by Bill H
I've had my Essence 17 Airalite for 10 months. I ordered it and when it came in I thought it looked a little short and was a tight fit getting in so I measured it. It had an Essence 17 decal but was 16.5 in length. I took it back and they made another at Confluence but it took 2 months and I got no consideration from Perception for the lost time. I'm 6' 4" 208 and the boat is a tight fit. The new boat cut my shins on first entry due to sharp plastic which I needed to smooth out.
I've used it on lakes, sounds and the Outer Banks. With the pegs deployed all the way forward there is still more than a foot of space. I pack a bag in this area to get full use. The round hatch cover on the day hatch is an easy on and off but the round front hatch cover is very difficult to seal. I installed a stainless steel u-bolt on the stern to secure the boat.
I just got back from a week long trip to Bear island and found it a difficult pack requiring a lot of small dry bags. We went out and came back in small craft warnings and the boat is very stable. It edges well and is very maneuverable. It not as fast as I expected but I love the boat after working out the bugs.
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