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Submitted: 03-17-2014 by SMK

Wilderness Systems fielded a solid boat with the Cape Horn 150, narrowly missing perfect marks due to some well documented leakage problems. I've had mine (purchased second-hand off CraigsList) going on seven years now, and she's still able to turn in an admirable performance alongside any other polyethylene offering you'll find.

This kayak tracks exceptionally well when the rudder's deployed (agree with others' comments regarding fairly severe weather-cocking when it's not), and is possessed of sufficient stability to keep a skilled pilot dry in 20+ knot winds. If you do manage to get dumped out of this yak (and if you're really hanging it out over the edge, you will), then you're going to be bailing both cargo holds along with the cockpit unless you've capped them off with some after-market hatch covers. The hatches simply don't cut it on their own, regardless of how tight you torque down the straps. There are plenty of vendors out there who sell these, so shop around. Recommend a spray skirt always for obvious reasons (as one gent put it earlier: once she's swamped, you're going in), and a neoprene spray skirt year-round instead of a summer-weight one, as these tend to grip the cockpit lip tighter and will give you a better chance at a bomb-proof roll should you be forced into that mode.

As with any polyethylene boat you have to be careful with how you launch and land, to avoid cutting and scarring her underside. The more gashes, the less hydrodynamic, so it doesn't hurt to sand/polish out these little souvenirs from time to time.

On rolling and bracing this boat...make sure you're adjusted correctly in the cockpit from the go, with sufficient contact between your thighs and the underside of the deck. That means you're going to have to give up a little leg room at the pegs, but you need to wear a kayak, not sit in one. Absent that snug fit, you're unable to control her into the roll or hard brace and you're going to be tossed out--guaranteed.

My biggest gripe besides the hatches has nothing to do with this particular kayak as much as all polyethylene boats, and that's their refusal to hold a suction cup mounted light. For that reason, as well as ones related to speed, my next boat will be kevlar.

Anyway, all in all, the Cape Horn 150's an excellent kayak, great for novices and veterans alike.

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