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Submitted: 07-27-2013 by trvlrerik
I am 5'11" 190lbs, and I also own an Alchemy S and added the L for less aggressive rides and as a "ride along" boat for friends. The relatively low cost of the Alchemy makes it easier to supply a decent boat as a loaner.
The L does feel considerably larger than the S and gives a little dryer ride in rough conditions. The L still handles and turns as quickly as the S, but it does catch the wind making it a little prone to wind cocking. Tracking is excellent for a boat this short, the skeg is handy in windy conditions to control cocking in side winds when you are not moving. The Alchemy seems fairly efficient as far as speed and glide are concerned for a shorter wider boat.
I would not classify the Alchemy a rec boat as it likes confused water and surf, but it would suit a beginning kayaker as the primary stability is pretty good, secondary stability can be felt once you learn where the "edge" is.
The outfitting is comfortable and very adjustable. The seat does seem a little forward in the cockpit to me making it tough to get a tight fitting skirt on quickly, also the day hatch is not very accessible unless your back is very limber.
I gave the boat an 8 as it can do many things pretty well but not as well as a design built boat. It is a good jack of all trades boat, it relatively low cost and good quality make it an excellent choice for a paddler that sees themselves in multiple types of water, day touring, lakes, flatwater, light rapids and surf are all do-able with the Alchemy.
Would I recommend this boat, yes I would, I bought two of them because you can have a lot of fun in them where ever you wind up in your adventures.