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Submitted: 04-12-1999 by SWJ
The Atlantis is Dagger's largest plastic touring kayak, and is roughly based on the the composite Sitka. I paddled the Atlantis at a recent demo day for several hours, and my experience was limited to a lake with light wind (10-15 MPH), a little chop and some small (under 18") boat wakes. The Atlantis is VERY comfortable. Much more so than Perception's Eclipse (which is Perception's flagship plastic boat, which I'll be using to compare the Atlantis to for reference). I'm 5'8" and about 195 lbs with thick, short legs, and pretty narrow hips. The plastic seat is covered by a nylon cushion like in all of Dagger's plastic touring kayaks. The Atlantis also has comfortable thigh padding. I was able to get locked in pretty tight. It rolled pretty easily unloaded.
Initial stability was quite good, and adequate even for beginners. Because of that, I thought the secondary stability would suffer, but not so. It was easy to get it up on edge (way up on edge) and keep it there, rock solid. The initial stability is stable enough that I would flyfish out of the Atlantis as I do out of my much more stable Edisto. By comparison, the Perception Eclipse has much lower initial stability and about the same secondary stability --- a net loss in my opinion.
The Atlantis responds well to leaned turns, actually turning faster and easier at times than my 14'6" Dagger Edisto (which is very flat-bottomed and doesn't lean turn worth squat). The Eclipse also responds well to leaned turns, as well as the Atlantis. The Atlantis seemed to weathercock some, but it was easy to trim that out with leans.
The Atlantis now has Dagger's integral rudder. I think the integral rudder is a great thing, and my next touring boat will probably be a Dagger because of it. It takes longer for this rudder to have an effect on your course, but once it kicks in, it works well. It's not as effective as a traditional over the top rudder for steering, but it's more useful for fighting the Atlantis' tendency to weathercock. My favorite thing about the rudder is that the pedals have a very short throw. Even with the rudder turned all the way to one side or the other, My leg on that side wasn't straightened all the way out (like with traditional rudders), which allowed me to still brace effectively with my feet and allowed me to transfer paddling energy to the boat effectively as well. When locked out, the pedals were very solid, almost feeling like they weren't rudder pedals at all (unlike a traditional rudder system, where the pedals often have a lot of slop in them with the rudder up).
Storage space seems adequate for long trips, and the boat probably tracks even better when loaded with gear. However, the boat handled well without a load, too, which is sometimes a problem for bigger boats.
Speed was adequate, though the Perception Eclipse, being a bit narrower, seemed quite a bit faster when I was paddling hard.
Overall, I think the Atlantis is a great plastic expedition-sized boat. I think it beats the Perception Eclipse by a hair, but your mileage may vary. If you need a big boat for long trips (or luxurious short trips!) and can't afford a composite boat (or want the abuse-ability of plastic), the Atlantis would be a great choice.
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