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Submitted: 07-27-2013 by somalley
This kid-sized boat has gone through several name changes and should not be confused with the current Carolina 12, which is an adult boat. At various times, it has been called the Umiak, the Carolina 12, and the Carolina 12XS. To tell if you're looking at the kid or adult version, check the width and rigging - the kid version is 21.5" wide and has neither hatches nor thigh braces.
This is a great design for kids - it's sleek and fast, just maneuverable enough that they will learn how to make a boat go straight, and has great stability while still being leanable. I usually chuckle at reviews that claim a boat has all of those traits, because they usually are mutually exclusive. But these boats really do fit the bill, especially with a pilot who weighs under 100 lbs.
The boat has just enough wiggle in its primary stability to make it easy to lean/edge, but secondary stability is solid. In spite of being a "narrow" hull, my kids have to work to flip them. They even can stand up in the seats and jump out to swim, then scramble back in without flipping.
As kids grow, the boat will sit lower in the water and become less maneuverable, but it still will turn when edged, just like a "real" touring boat.
These boats aren't perfect. The seat is minimalist/cheap with no backband, there are no hatches or bulkheads, and the factory foam pillars do not provide enough floatation to allow on-water emptying/recovery if the boat flips/swamps. I use whitewater kayak floatation bags in ours.
I think these are discontinued now, but if you can find one used, it's a great kid starter boat
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