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Submitted: 07-12-2014 by PJF
Purchased the 'New' & expensive GTX 3-piece from LL Bean for tandem yakking. It survived UPS shipping although the boxes were opening due to dried out & poorly taped seams. LL Bean should re-tape all the seams before shipment.
All goes together easily even though the seams don't mate well & with only one retaining strap on each side with a total of four straps to hold the three pieces together. When practicing a rollout & recovery in my pool, the seam from the rear & middle sections opened a bit on one side allowing the 3" 'tooth' from the middle section to pull free from it's socket & wedge against the body. I had to undo the straps & reconnect WHILE IN THE WATER before I could practice re-entering the kayak!
My lady & I practiced a rollout & the same thing happened. After pulling the kayak from pool & resetting all connection points, we lifted the kayak from each end & the kayak separated again under it's own weight. Not good at all! My lady refused to consider the use of this yak (you all know what THAT means, LOL!).
A simple fix might be to add additional straps to the seams underneath the kayak to help hold it together. In addition, we were not happy with the stability of this kayak. The flat bowl shaped bottom & narrow 29" width make this kayak a bit unstable in comparison to wider 1-piece yaks which have contours built into the outside rails, similar to a pontoon running the length of each side for stability with the center section raised a bit above the water to scup water from the interior..
The concept is of a three piece, take anywhere tandem or solo yak is appealing. The price and execution is not.
After some discussion with LL Bean, the kayak was returned. LL Bean was great throughout the entire process and after some gentle prodding, also returned the $60 oversize shipping fee. I'll be buying from them again..
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