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Submitted: 08-11-2014 by JEL
I help people find their right boat as first timers. I have about 25 years inland flat and mild white water experience. Mostly lake paddling. A light weight by most expert standards. That said, the following thoughts......
Fit and finish overall--10
Side handle placement--4; this is exactly where the knuckle sweep hits. The boats I found for my friends, both 2012 models had handles positioned such that all of us had trouble with any stroke other than high blading. Removed the handles entirely.
Seat center of gravity fore/aft: 10
Seat elevation relative to gunwhales: deep.
Seat comfort:8/9--8 for being a bit wet due to low position, 9 for good back position adjustment and comfort long [day trip] haul.
Seat material: 8--preformed cushion adequate but may become detached on extensive use.
Cockpit size for larger people-10 + 2=12. Absolutely great. This is the shining feature of this boat. The designers nailed it!!
Cargo aft space-9; access-5--web netting makes on water access cumbersome. Odd webbing, we ditched the entire cover and put loops into the strap openings then assembled bungee cross straps with eye hooks to allow access and multiple cargo options.
Tracking-9-a nice balance to as 14 foot boat, though long paddle stroke tend to cause nose wander. Shorten the stroke to ankle to hip and the effect is diminished. No installed guidance rudder on these boats on delivery.
Drift: 10. This thing does drift well once paddle inputs cease. Keel formed rudder straightens it out.
Fishing- tentative 9[not attempted, but deck works well for this configuration and overall hull design allows stability and range for most day trippers.
Handles bow and stern-4-anchored low profile handles are often twisting the hand in portage-we made loop handles with hose cushioned grips to fit on these handles and fixed the problem.
Weight: 9- not overly heavy.
Closing: nice design, great flatwater to significant boat and wind chop boat, front hull could use a tad more blade in the nose to cut side to side wander for longer stroking paddlers. Low seat / low center of gravity is absolutely great for tall people; cockpit size is a gift from the gods for tall people, many new boats do not really fit anyone over 6'3" well given foot stop positions and for whatever reason I keep running into people asking for help to find them SOTs that fit these titans. Go figure. I am 5'8". I can fit anywhere!
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