Submitted: 02-27-2001 by AAL
I have owned my Spectrum for 3 years now and have only one complaint, its weight. This boat is a hog at 62 pounds, which makes for some grueling portages. I have been reading the reviews posted here and I think what many people fail to notice about the Spectrum is the hull shape. This boat has quite a bit of rocker and does not fall into the typical touring boat category. It does not handle like a touring boat and if you paddle it like one you will have problems keeping it straight. Rocker allows a boat to spin more easily; the degree of this effect is controlled by the amount of rise and the location of the axis on the hull. A touring boat has little rocker and therefore will go straight practically by itself. Another effect of the hull shape is that it does not respond very well to typical leans where a right side lean helps you turn right and a left side lean helps you turn left. It actually responds in opposite, left = right, right = left in the initiation of the lean then right = right and left = left after the turn is in progress. It is a bit strange and can be quite confusing to an inexperienced paddler. The Spectrum was designed to be somewhat of a whitewater touring boat. Therefore it needs to be paddled like a whitewater boat. It is actually quite capable of handling class I and II whitewater as a result. Efficient paddling strokes are necessary and equalized paddling pressure on each side is needed to keep it moving straight. A slight pause will cause the back end to spin around requiring corrective strokes. As for the tracking issues, people who experience problems are either paddling it wrong or are light in weight. The spectrum is a high volume boat. Light paddlers may not have enough weight to allow the boat to glide and utilize the full shape of the hull. Adding a little weight could help. Too much weight can also be a problem, sinking the boat beyond efficiency. Equal distribution of weight is helpful as is adjusting the seat forward or backward to help level out the hull as it passes through the water. If the stern (back) sits too low in the water, the point of the bow (front) will not cut the water properly therefore causing poor tracking. If the bow sinks too low, more energy will need to be spent to maintain forward speed. It really is a good boat; I have seen many reviews and have also watched many people paddle it. Some get it, some don't. Its not the boats fault, its just doing what it was designed to do. I think people should do more research to avoid buying something they do not like.