Submitted: 11-21-2000 by Gerry
I live in SE Michigan (read great lakes and flat water), and was looking for a boat small enough to use on local rivers and lakes, yet big enough to handle a week on Lake Superior or the Atlantic coast.
I tried a lot of boats, but the Looksha Sport really met/meets my needs perfectly. Lightly loaded, it's great on the Huron River -- I can sneak up on egrets and herons, float over sandbars and poke around in small ponds and inlets. It's easily cartopped (and I think I can rig a small trailer that will let me tow it behind my bike to the river), and well balanced for a shoulder carry (but at about 62#, it does dig a groove into my skin).
I took it island hopping last summer on the north shore of Georgian Bay. With a tent, sleeping bag, and camping gear and food for a week (fresh water isn't really a problem in the Great Lakes), I still had plenty of room, but it might have been tight if I'd had to also carry a week's worth of water. It's a very nimble boat for poking around the small islets and islands in the Bay, yet (at least when rather heavily loaded) it also tracks well in waves.
I also went island hopping off Cape Gargantua and Old Woman Bay in the NE corner of Lake Superior. Fully loaded, the boat tracked as if it were on rails, regardless of wind/wave direction. Unladen, the boat is very prone to weathercocking, but the rudder easily makes up for that (as does a 30# sandbag in the rear cargo area). Head on into 2 foot chop, with the nose often under water and water constantly breaking over the bow, both cargo areas stayed completely dry (more than could be said of my companion's boat). The double hatch (neoprene and poly) system is a great asset, though I've heard Necky may do away with this feature in the not too distant future.
I am a total neophyte at this, yet find the boat very stable. It did feel tippy at first, but after I'd paddled it a couple times, I was very comfortable. However, the secondary stability is truly amazing! I can eskimo roll it if I try, but the boat is rock steady on a hard lean, and recovers quickly with a brief stroke -- even when handled by a total newbie such as myself. It's also an incredibly stable boat for photography and fishing (and, presumably hunting, though I don't hunt).
The boat is very attractive (one of the reviews in the Necky catalog) commented that it avoided the Tupperware look of most plastic boats), and the attention to detail is fantastic. All adhesives ( of cockpit coaming and thigh braces for example) are well done; rigging is outstanding; hardware is stainless and finished to avoid poking holes in gear and/or skin. The rudder works easily and well, but I usually only need it if the boat is lightly loaded and the waves are quartering from astern.
The long, narrow design makes for a fast boat, but I have to really work to keep up with friends who have longer boats (but that was the tradeoff I chose to get a boat I could use on the river -- even in mild whitewater). The relatively low deck allows me to use a Greenland paddle if I choose, or even to use a larger paddle with a low-angle stroke -- if you're interested in Greenland paddling, be sure the boat you buy has a low enough foredeck to allow it).
The cockpit is pretty comfortable straight from the factory. I fashioned a backrest pad from some HD foam, and stuck some self-adhesive foam onto the thigh braces, but haven't really wanted (or needed) to make any other cockpit changes.
All in all, I'm very happy with this versatile, high performing boat. I'm also quite pleased with Necky's attention to detail and quality. Next purchase: probably a Necky Zoar Sport for my girlfriend (she finds the Looksha Sport a little to cramped). After that: a pair of Necky composite boats and/or a composite double.